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The Wire Troll: Tyler Clippard Moves to the Head of the Class

May 27, 2012 | By Tim McLeod | comment on this post
Tyler Clippard is the newest closing option for the Washington Nationals.
Now that he’s earning saves, maybe Tyler Clippard will do something about his haircut.

The Memorial Day long weekend is here and with it comes — surprise, surprise — more movement in the ninth inning to report. In over 20 great years of playing the game, we’ve never witnessed a campaign with as much uncertainty in the saves category.

Is it time to actually make the bold move and include the middle relief component in our game? Change is a very slow process in the rotisserie world, but the way we currently approach the bullpen category in our game is in dire need of an overhaul. Expect more venting on this subject from time to time.

Without further ado, let’s move onwards and upwards and get to our Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks of the week.

Tyler Clippard, RP, Washington Nationals (CBS: 37 per cent owned, ESPN: 35 per cent owned): The Nats finally tired of watching Henry Rodriguez struggle and have shifted to a bullpen-by-committee approach. The only problem (and it’s a good one at that) is that Clippard is not doing much sharing so far with Sean Burnett. With three saves in the past week, Clippard is definitely on the right side of that job share. Many (including RotoRob — although he was shot down by both Buck and yours truly in a Podcast when he suggested it) thought he’d inherit the job when Drew Storen first landed on the DL, but the Nats kept their prized possession in his setup role — until now. Storen is not returning until the All-Star break (if then), making Clippard a must-own in all formats.

Gerardo Parra, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (CBS: 31 per cent owned, ESPN: 21 per cent): It’s a bit crowded in the D-Back outfield with Chris Young returning from the DL, but realistically a slight ligament tear doesn’t bode well for Young’s chances at playing every day for the remainder of 2012. Parra has enjoyed a solid campaign so far with two homers, 14 RBI, 24 runs scored and 10 thefts. The combination of Young’s injury and more Interleague play just around the corner, should ensure that Parra will see regular at-bats for at least the next month.

Josh Bell, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks (CBS: 8 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Bell was tearing the cover off the ball at Triple-A Reno and now has a big league job — at least short term — as Arizona has shifted Ryan Roberts into a utility role. Bell was DFAed by the Orioles and subsequently traded for the dreaded PTBNL. He’s struggled mightily in several MLB auditions with 83 strikeouts to only six walks in 232 at-bats — not exactly exhibiting what anyone would class acceptable batting zone knowledge. But Bell has a real opportunity here and third base is a sore spot on many Fantasy squads so a small bid to see how this plays out is a reasonable speculative move. Could the third time be the charm for the former Charm City top prospect?

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 42 per cent owned, ESPN: 3 per cent): As mentioned, more Interleague play is coming, so with the need for a DH, the Cubs are already talking about bringing up Rizzo. It doesn’t hurt Rizzo’s chances that Bryan LaHair has been trending downwards the past several weeks. There isn’t a whole lot left for Rizzo to prove at Triple-A as he’s scorched the league to the tune of 17 homers, 44 RBI, and an incredible .354 BA. Buying in now could save a buck or two before he’s actually recalled, which could be right around the corner.

Carlos Marmol, RP, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 32 per cent owned, ESPN: 24 per cent): This will be our final mention of Marmol for the 2012 season. He’s set to return from the DL this week and will probably (at least from the outset) move into a setup role. The Cubs are into Marmol to the tune of $7 million for 2012 and a further $9.8 million in 2013. Quite the predicament, isn’t it? Toss in the fact that new closer Rafael Dolis has been struggling and coughed up the win Saturday against the Pirates (with a walk-off hit batter!) and there’s an opportunity for Marmol to regain the job. We’re betting that Marmol finds himself back in the closer role in the Windy City sooner rather than later.

Ernesto Frieri, RP, Los Angeles Angels (CBS: 35 per cent owned, ESPN: 26 per cent): We recommended Frieri back at the beginning of the month and he sure hasn’t disappointed. Last week the righty appeared in three games and in 3 1/3 IP he amassed eight… yes, eight strikeouts. Frieri is up to 40 strikeouts in 19 2/3 IP on the season and with back-to-back saves Friday and Saturday he has to be the favourite to close for the Angels moving forward. This train is leaving the station, but with his current ownership levels there are still way too many empty seats.

Other Options

Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Seattle Mariners (CBS: 10 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): It’s a bullpen-by-committee in Seattle as Brandon League becomes yet another 2012 closer casualty. Wilhelmsen has held the eighth inning role and looks like the principal benefactor, but both Steve Delabar and Shawn Kelley are also in the mix.

Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 7 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): The promise Wood flashed in 2010 for Cincy faded last year, but the kid’s still only 25. After back-to-back decent starts, he is an intriguing option in NL-only leagues.

J.D. Martinez, OF, Houston Astros (CBS: 56 per cent owned, ESPN: 23 per cent): He’s not as good as what we saw in the first two weeks of 2012, but nowhere near as bad as we saw during his recent slump.

Quintin Berry, OF, Detroit Tigers (CBS: 8 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Berry’s stay at the top of the order could be rather short with Austin Jackson tentatively looking at a short DL stint, but if you need speed, Berry’s 19 stolen bases at Triple-A Toledo should have your attention.

Chien-Ming Wang, SP, Washington Nationals (CBS: 3 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): It’s a long way from the glory days in Pinstripes, but doesn’t everyone want to Wang Chung tonight?

P.J. Walters, SP, Minnesota Twins (CBS: 10 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): Is Walters now the Twins’ ace [shudder…]?

Jose Quintana, SP, Chicago White Sox (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: 1 per cent): The southpaw is coming off a solid start against the Tribe Friday. John Danks is dealing with shoulder soreness and Quintana’s solid effort will undoubtedly lead to further opportunities.

Chris Heisey, OF, Cincinnati Reds (CBS: 7 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Heisey’s platoon with Ryan Ludwick is getting very one sided. Heisey spanked 18 homers in only 279 at-bats last season.

Steve Clevenger, C, Chicago Cubs (CBS: 1 per cent owned, ESPN: unowned): Koyie Hill… really?

RotoRob’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Podcast

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