Let’s enter into a fool’s errand together. Let’s speculate as to who may suddenly find themselves racking up saves in the second half of the season. Finding a cheap source of saves is an excellent way to make up ground in fantasy baseball.
But with the uncertainty and craziness surrounding the closer position this year, it will be almost impossible for this to be more than wild speculation, but it’s fun, so let’s go for it.
I love a good right hander that can throw the ball 97 mph, but enough about my crushes. I tell you this because I do a lot of research on bullpen arms before the season begins. I go through every team, determine their likely closer, then determine next in line, plus at least two long shots for saves (An excerpt of this list can be seen in the graphic above). So let’s start by mining my preseason list, then we’ll move on to some surprise arms.
Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland Indians
I’m as shocked as anybody that Chris Perez has been as reliable as he has been. Quite frankly, I thought that Vinnie Pestano would have the closer job in Cleveland by now. At this point in the season it’ll probably take an injury, but Pastano has the stuff to take the job and never give it up.
Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants
Santiago Casilla has had a rough couple of weeks but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t keep the job. Let’s not forget that he’s already racked up over 20 saves and held an ERA under 2 until just recently. Plus, the reality is that Sergio Romo is just too suited in the setup role he’s in now, which is to throw a slider 110% of the time. Still, it’s possible that a change is made in the Bay.
Dale Thayer, San Diego Padres
It’s not that I’m a Dale Thayer fan, I just know that it’s a matter of “when” not “if” Huston Street gets traded. The obvious solution would be to slide Thayer right back into the role he occupied when Street had his usual DL stint, but the Padres could throw a curveball and choose to show off their closers of the future, Brad Brach or Brad Boxberger.
Tom Wilhelmsen, Seattle Mariners
OK, this is cheating because Tom Wilhelmsen is already the closer for the Mariners. I mention him because there is a strong likelihood that Brandon League is traded, considering he’ll become a free agent after the season any way. This will solidify Wilhelmson in the role, meaning he’s a solid second half closer option.
Jared Burton, MInnesota Twins
Matt Capps will be traded this season, although he’ll most likely not occupy the closer role for his new team. While the trendy pick is for Glen Perkins to take over the closer’s role in Minny, it’s highly plausible that the Twins will let the 6’5″ 31-year-old Jared Burton be a stop gap.
Brandon Lyon, Houston Astros
While Brandon Lyon certainly isn’t a sexy choice, he does have a legitimate shot at the job, being that there is a likelihood that Brett Myers is traded (If they can find a team to take his salary, that is). Wilton Lopez is the sexier choice but he’s siting in the minors on the DL right now.
Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Jonathon Broxton has been great filling in for the injured Joakim Soria, but he only has a one year contract with the club. With so many teams needing bullpen help, it only makes sense that the Royals would move him considering that they have Greg Holland (or perhaps Aaron Crow) waiting to take over 9th inning duties.
Ryan Cook, Oakland Athletics
OK, this is another cheat on my part with Ryan Cook already handling closers duties. But with Grant Balfour likely traded you could argue that Cook’s job will become more secure.
There you have it, some possible second half fantasy baseball closers. None of these names are anything close to a sure thing, but make a note of them all if you’re looking to make a second half run in the saves category.