Grab This Sleeper Closer Now | Options for Fantasy Baseball Injuries
Fantasy Baseball Week 7 might as well be one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Heck, we have seen a mixture of sorts between Pestilence, Famine and Death with the rash of players hitting the DL. We're trimming down from five players to two topics this week, but the meatiness remains the same, especially with finding a new sleeper closer. Here are some positive outlooks for the Fantasy Baseball season as we've seemingly hit rock bottom.
That Dan Winkler Name Sounds Familiar
If you simply glanced at Arodys Vizcaino's stats, you wouldn't think much of them. He has a 2.75 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 9.2 K/9 and seven saves. Sure, the WHIP could be lower, but any closer outside the Top 10 is going to have at least a wart or two. Dig a little bit deeper, and you will start to understand the frustration Braves fans and Fantasy owners have.
Vizcaino has two blown saves, three earned runs in his last two appearances and has never had a clean save opportunity.
Arodys Vizcaino has made 20 appearances this season, none more that one inning, but has worked just seven perfect frames. Not one of those 1-2-3 innings occurred in any of his nine save chances. #Braves
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) May 16, 2018
You can also see that Vizcaino has been lucky, as his xFIP sits at 4.88 thanks to a weak SOBB (StrikeOut% minus BB%) at 12.0 (BB% sits at 12.1). The luck kicks in with a high LOB% of 85.6 and low BABIP of .240. Those are a bit tough to gauge those, as while both are better than his career norm and the league average, Vizcaino posted nearly identical numbers last year. Nevertheless, the frustrations are mounting, and the speculation has begun.
Some assumed A.J. Minter could push Vizcaino this year or even just get the job naturally if the Braves traded Vizcaino. However, Minter's SOBB is an abysmal 4.0 thanks to an absurd 16.0 BB%, something he struggled with in the minors. So, we move on to Dan Winkler. In case his name sounds familiar, it should, as Winkler was a high-regarded prospect, initially as a starter for the Rockies organization. After injuries and a move to the bullpen, Winkler is maximizing his potential with a 0.98 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 13.3 K/9 (32.8 SOBB).
RE: #Braves closer situation. It's a long season and Arodys Vizcaino is still a useful piece of the Atlanta bullpen. That said, it may be time to explore some match-ups that give A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler a chance to work that final inning/higher leverage situations.
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) May 16, 2018
As you can see, Winkler is already bouncing around the minds of the beat reporters and possibly even the Braves managers. Even if Winkler doesn't take over soon, his numbers are useful in all leagues, similar to Andrew Miller over the past few seasons.
You Get an Injury, You Get an Injury, Everyone Gets an Injury!
Let's look at the list of names to hit the DL in just the last 10 days!
Robinson Cano (plus suspension), Todd Frazier, Yoenis Cespedes, DJ LeMahieu (after a brief return), A.J. Pollock, Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, Jeimer Candelario, Alen Hanson, Miguel Cabrera (12 days ago, so just missed), Bradley Zimmer, Leonys Martin, Keynan Middleton, Marcus Stroman, Rich Hill (because that's where he lives) and Joey Lucchesi
And that's not even including Adam Wainwright because, honestly, does it matter, or Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy with their setbacks.
I think it's time for the return of the #ICCU. For those that have been with me for years, that's "I Ciely Curse You," in Fantasy Sports shorthand. It started years ago, as with what seems to be a 100-percent mortality rate, if I own a player in two-plus leagues, he's bound to get hurt. For an example, check out my #LABR team (and this is a 15-team league).
You can guarantee that after winning last year, I'm finishing last this season.
So what can you do if you're in a bind like me? For one, you can laugh at your pain and get an early jump on your Fantasy Football research.
Second, you can sell anyone for anything to keep you in the fight. You should do that anyway for the quality of the league. Don't be a dead owner. Third, you can implement my 350 League setup from now on.
What is a 350 League? Glad you asked. Here's the rundown.
I have long tried to find ways to make Fantasy Baseball more accessible, more entertaining… more fun. Ask yourself this: What's the most fun part of Fantasy Sports (besides winning your league)? The draft! The excitement, anticipation, planning, values, regrets, post-draft analysis, etc. It's the best part. With that in mind, 350 leagues were born. That stands for three, 50-day segments to the Fantasy Baseball season.
Just having more drafts won't make it more fun on its own, and you don't want to lose the season-long battle to win it all. There is certainly a rewarding feeling by surviving six months… although, that last month (September) really isn't the greatest itself. Too often, owners stop paying attention, making waiver moves, etc., which makes other teams gain or lose position, often by no fault of their own.
That's why I created the 350 League, to address all issues. There are three 50-day segments with drafts for each. Off the bat, you get to draft three times. Three times the fun! There are 10 keepers per team (you can adjust to your taste, but we found 10 to be the best mix). That way, you don't lose potential gems you found in the 20th round, and you're not forced to give up your studs. With 150 days total, the season ends at the end of August. That's truly when Fantasy Baseball should end anyway, as many lose focus for Fantasy Football, and it avoids the September owners losing interest and the September call-ups that skew real-life production anyway.
That's the short-ish version behind the 350 Leagues. More drafts + keepers + shorter season + higher level of owner investment = better way to play Fantasy Baseball.
That's great for your future, but what's a third option besides diving into Fantasy Football and/or getting raked over the coals in trades? Scour that waiver wire. The Winkler pickup is a start, but look for more Hanson types too – the gambles on upside. Stash Vlad Guerrero Jr., Alex Reyes and more young stars before everyone else (you likely have the bench room now). Go crazy with your FAB and take a chance on Tyler Clippard keeping the closing gig, Jordan Lyles and Freddy Peralta being for real, Franmil Reyes forcing his way into a permanent role, Daniel Descalso finally being better than… Daniel Descalso, C.J. Cron breaking out, etc. If you're in a bind, you have to take risks. After all, what's the worst that can happen if you suffered multiple injuries? Falling to last place? No one cares if you finish third or last. It's winning that matters.
Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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