Francisco Rodriguez is the closer, at least for now, in Milwaukee. Credit: Getty Images
We are just 10 days into the 2014 baseball season, and a fistful of bullpens are already in disarray. Show us your surprised face.
The ever-elusive chase for saves in fantasy leagues is raging, with owners who didn’t overpay on draft day reaping rewards. Digesting and projecting these situations early on will ensure health in the category all year.
Heading into the spring, Jim Henderson was penciled in as the Brewers’ closer. But that’s why they play the games. Henderson struggled so badly that Francisco Rodriguez got the call on Opening Day and hasn’t looked back. Through Wednesday, he hadn’t allowed a run while Henderson is scuffling in a middle relief role. Henderson will regain the job at some point down the line, but it’s going to be a while. He’s only worth holding in the deepest of formats.
Matt Lindstrom surprisingly beat out Nate Jones for the closer’s gig with the White Sox, sending owners scurrying to scoop him up. Don’t take the bait. Lindstrom, 34, can’t get lefties out and has given up six hits in three innings with one blown save already. Jones (hip) is the player to stash on injured lists, while flamethrowing youngster Maikel Cleto is a name to watch. Lindstrom won’t be long for the job.
V is for victory
Mets closer Bobby Parnell is out for the year following Tommy John surgery, opening the door for a blast from the past. Jose Valverde is 36, but is just two seasons removed from a 35-save campaign and is off to a hot start this year with six strikeouts and zero runs allowed through 4 1/3 innings. He’s not going to hold the job all year, but a solid couple months before giving way to Gonzalez Germen or Jeurys Familia is realistic.
MLB pickups ...
1. Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies – He’s won the center field job the old-fashioned way — earning it.
2. Brad Miller, SS, Mariners – He is batting in front of Robinson Cano with plenty of pop. Yes please.
3. Yangervis Solarte, 3B, Yankees – This unknown is piping hot. Ride the train until it sputters out.
NFL stock ...
Downgrade these guys based on recent news:
1. Shonn Greene, RB, Titans – Ken Whisenhunt has confirmed he’ll ride with a true committee in the wake of Chris Johnson’s departure.
2. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals – New offensive coordinator Hue Jackson continues to talk up a renewed emphasis on the run game.
3. Andre Brown, RB, Texans – Arian Foster (back surgery) has already been cleared, meaning Brown will have a bit role.
Follow fantasy sports writer Adam Levitan on Twitter@adamlevitan.