It’s been a rough week for Fantasy Baseball players. Mariano Rivera went down with an unexpected injury, Chris Sale was moved to the bullpen, and Chone Figgins is no longer a starter. Well, the last one is probably a blessing in disguise, but today we’re going to talk about some of the biggest stories in Fantasy Baseball, and what you should be doing to bail out your team.
RP David Robertson – The nightmare at Yankee Stadium will continue long after Mariano Rivera was helped off the field. The greatest closer of all time, Mariano has been preserving leads for the New York Yankees since 1996, and closing games out in 1997. For 15 years the Yankees didn’t have to worry about who pitched in the 9th, but with Mariano Rivera out for the season, they’ll need to turn it over to some new blood.
Some of my colleagues have argued that Rafael Soriano might be the better option to close for the New York Yankees, but I wouldn’t bet on it. While Rafael Soriano has a solid ERA in 9 innings this season (2.00 ERA), he’s walked nearly as many batters as he’s struck out (6:8). The control just isn’t there, and a few blown saves in New York would result in Rafael Soriano being booed so mercilessly that he would be afraid to pitch in his home park.
I think it’s fairly obvious that with the game on the line, the New York Yankees will call on David Robertson to save the day. The right hander has outpitched even the great Mariano Rivera this season, allowing no runs and striking out 21 batters over 12 innings. That’s not a typo, as Robertson has struck out nearly 2 batters per inning. David Robertson is pitching so well, that he’d put Eric Gagne’s 2003 Cy Young winning season to shame.
If David Robertson is available in your Fantasy Baseball league, you better pick him up now. Because he should be the New York Yankees best option to close, and adding him will give you a chance to pick up an elite reliever who should pick up 20-25 saves over the course of the season. You couldn’t ask for a better fallback option in Fantasy Baseball.
SP CL Chris Sale – To say that Chris Sale was effective in his first season as a starter would be an understatement. Over 5 starts the southpaw went 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA, striking out 29 batters in 32 innings. That’s the kind of production we expect from an ace in our rotation, and it makes Sale’s move to the bullpen very curious.
As Bryan Lutz explains, the reason for Sale’s move to the bullpen is because he might be injured in the future. While this is a huge blow to the Chicago White Sox, it is not as devastating in Fantasy Baseball. In fact, it might be a bonus for teams looking to add a closer, as smart owners can stash Sale in the starting pitching slot and benefit from adding an extra closer.
According to Bryan Lutz, Chris Sale will be replaced in the rotation by Dylan Axelrod. He’s a soft tossing right hander who relies heavily on his slider. His numbers in the minors have been solid, and he might be a decent low end option for teams in need of a starter.
Make no mistake though, Axelrod is no replacement for Sale in the rotation.
IF Chone Figgins – As Geoff Baker tweets Figgins will no longer be starting for the Seattle Mariners. This is a devastating blow to Fantasy Baseball owners who earned points for players performing poorly. On the bright side, they’ll always have Adam Lind.