Tag:Grant Balfour
Posted on: April 9, 2009 11:48 pm

Bullpen Briefs

The closer.

Highly sought after, highly prized, highly infuriating.

Heading into the season managers were excited about new, fresh closers like the Oakland Athletics Joey Devine, the Chicago Cubs Carlos Marmol  and the St.Louis Cardinals Jason Motte. While others were looking for insurance plans when incumbent closers like the Detroit Tigers Fernando Rodney and others succumb to their usual mediocrity and give someone else a shot at closing out games.

So what has happened to these guys? Well Devine is on the 60 day DL, Mamol remains the set up man in favour of Kevin Gregg and Jason Motte blew his first save attempt. Where as Rodney was surprisingly effective, despite recording no save (none save situation)

So here's a quick Bullpen round up;

Top 10 saves leaders.

1- Heath Bell-  2sv, 3k, 0.00era,

2- Jonathan Broxton- 2sv, 4k, 0.00era

3- Matt Capps- 2sv, 1k. 0.00 era

4- Fransisco Rodriguez- 2sv, 2k, 0.00era

5- Joakim Soria- 2sv, 2k, 4.50era

6- Brad Zeigler- 2 sv, 3k, 4.50era

7- Grant Balfour- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era

8- Fransisco Cordero- 1sv, 4k, 0.00era

9- Frank Rodriguez- 1sv, 2k, 0.00era

10- Brian Fuentes - 1sv, 1k, 13.50era


Surprise Saves of the Week

1- Grant Balfour- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era- Picks up a 4 out save after coming in with the sacks drunk in the 8th inning.

2- Denny Reyes- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era- LaRussa says it was for the lefties match up. Maybe he's previewing available options. Keep an eye on the situation.


Players to Watch

Given the uncertainty of the closer role, and the volitility of the closers outside the top tier there are plenty of guys that could lose their jobs without a moments notice, so here are five guys to keep an eye on.

1- Ryan Perry-1k, 0.00era- Well it was only one inning but the guy has a 95mph fast ball, and Rodney is no stud and Brandon Lyon well he's Brandon Lyon

2- Rafeal Soriano- 1k, 0.00era- Not quite the picture of health but neither is current closer Mike Gonzalez when healthy he should rostered.

3- Ryan Franklin- 2k, 0.00era- We know that LaRussa doesn't trust young players, Franklin could get a shot again this year if Motte isn't lights out next time out.

4- Grant Balfour- 1sv 1k, 0.00era- As you can tell I like this guy, but given Troy Percival's injury past he's a guy to watch for.

5- Jose Arredondo- 2k, 13.50era- Kind of an obvious choice but it wouldn't be the first time that Brian Fuentes has been replaced in season for the younger arm.


That's your quick Bullpen Brief, remember you can always find saves, they're just not always pretty.

Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:01 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2009 10:06 pm

M.R Awesome

Immediately I'd like to point out that the title is regarding me, yes I know cocky, but hey. In case you're wondering no it's not really regarding me, it's regarding, Middle Relievers.

You know what middle relievers are right? The pitchers that bridge the gap between the starter and the closer? Doesn't a ring a bell? You know those perennial "closers in waiting", yup, middle relievers. Ahhh now you see what I'm talking about.

So why on earth would I decide to write a blog about middle relievers, they're just innings eatters after all. True, but there are few middle men that will not only "eat" innings, but post elite ratios, great strike out numbers, pick up a bunch of vulture wins and saves. Now you're getting exciting, and wondering, who are these guys and how much will they cost?

First off lets post this stat line.

Pitcher 1- 20w, 2.78era, 206k,1.05whip, 246 IP

Pitcher 2- 22w, 2.41era, 309k, 1.10whip, 272.2IP

Pitcher 1, Roy Halladay, how much did that guy cost you? The perennial Cy Young candidate cost you an early draft pick, and alot of money at the auction.

Pitcher 2-, Grant Balfour , Matt Thornton , J.P. Howell , Jared Burton. Shocking I know, 4 unknown, underappreciated middle relievers that likely weren't drafted in any leagues and if they were, they were your last draft picks, and couldn't have cost you more then $5 for the whole lot of them.

There's an inherant risk with spending a high draft pick or big money on pitcher, when you can utilize the "Lima Plan" and grab productive middle relievers for cheap. If you're questioning the logic of strategy ask yourself this. "How hard it is to replace a $1 pitchers production should he get injured?" Easy grab one from the free agent pool. " How hard is it to replace a $20 pitcher?"  Not nearly as easy.

For those astute owners, you managed to pick up numbers that even an ace pitcher couldn't put from names off the free agent list. What more could you want?

A list?

OK, here's a list of Middle relievers to draft this year.

Tampa Rays Grant Balfour , J.P. Howell , Joe Nelson. Toronto Blue Jays , Jesse Carlson , San Diego Padres Mike Adams , St.Louis Cardinals , Jason Motte , Pittsburgh Pirates , John Grabow , New York Mets , J.J. Putz , Milwaukee Brewers , Carlos Villanueva , Mike DiFelice , Los Angeles Dodgers , Hung-Chih Kuo , Cory Wade , Kansas City Royals , Kyle Farnsworth , Colorado Rockies , Taylor Buccholz , Cincinnati Reds, Jared Burton , Chicago White Sox, Octavio Dotel , Matt Thornton , Chicago Cubs, Jeff Samardzija , Boston Red Sox , Manny Delcarmen , Hideki Okajima , Baltimore Orioles , Dennis Sarfate , Cleveland Indians , Rafael Perez , amongst others that will appear during the season.

Keep an eye out on the bull pen situations, particularily on guys that post strong K/9 (8k/9 or higher), as well as guys that don't walk alot of batters less then 2.75BB/9.

Pay attention to young prospects who start the year in the pen to monitor their work load.

All things being equal, middle relievers are key contributors to your fantasy baseball teams, and championships.





The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com