John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays: Fantasy Value from Closer by Committee

I am a huge proponent of “don’t pay for saves” in fantasy baseball drafts. Unfortunately, that inevitably leaves me kicking myself this this time of year for being so cheap in the draft — as I often find myself having to pay for saves in trades.

Thankfully, it often works out that there is at least one closer situation in flux just as I get to my most desperate. Right now, we have the Tampa Bay Rays moving to a closer by committee.

Grant Balfour has struggled mightely this season and has finally gotten the hook as the main saves guy in Tampa. Joe Maddon is opting to use Balfour in low leverage situations until he gets right.  So the closer by committee should come down to just two, maybe three guys. The Rays have solid options in Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Juan Carlos Oviedo.

Stats to Date

Jake McGee29.1342071.530.78
Joel Peralta28.2302014.081.26
Juan Carlos Oviedo21.1222072.111.17

As you can see, none of these pitchers has recorded a save yet (Balfour himself only nailed down 10), but they have pitched well and have made good on the majority of their opportunities.

When looking at relief pitchers wins are certainly just icing on the cake, but it does show that they can pitch when the game is on the line. Each pitcher has earned two wins, so that’s a wash.

Clearl, McGee and Oviedo have been called upon in hold opportunities more thus far, so I would assume that those two would get the nod before Peralta — although Peralta’s 41 4olds in 2013 could have built him a little equity with Joe Maddon.

Ultimately if I were to rank these guys in order of best position to assume the closer role it would certainly be:

  1. Jake McGee
  2. Juan Carlos Oviedo
  3. Joel Peralta

According to the numbers, each of these pitchers is likely available in your league at the moment, so if you have an expendable player and are in need of saves, it is time to scoop one of these guys up. Start with McGee and work down from there.

It will also be important to track the situation closely. The next time the Rays have a save opportunity—which may not be for a while— if each pitcher is rested and ready to go, take note who Joe gives the ball to. In fact it might be better to check who Maddon saves for the end because if he rolls out Peralta in the seventh, then Oviedo in the eighth, and saves McGee to close, you may have your lead on which arm to nab.

Still, I I do not advise waiting too long because McGee is likely to be taken by most guys who want to add more saves as he is the logical choice for the first shot at closer.

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Tags: Closers Jake McGee Joel Peralta Juan Carlos Oviedo MLB Relief Pitchers Saves Tampa Bay Rays

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