by Ray Kuhn
Saves are always the hardest category to hunt for. Closers are volatile, to say the least, and there is generally only one player on each team recording a save(when there’s actually a save chance)
When every team is in action, at most, there can be 15 saves in a night, yet there can be an indefinite number of home runs or stolen bases or RBI. This time of year finding saves becomes even a little more high stress, as relievers are often dealt. Figuring out who is left standing to pitch the ninth inning for teams who are already looking towards 2017 is both a necessity and difficult task.
And that brings us to Mauricio Cabrera and Ryan Dull…
Mauricio Cabrera – Atlanta Braves
The 22-year old Cabrera has six major league innings under his belt, and he has recorded a save in two of the seven games in which he has appeared. Jason Grilli has already been traded to Toronto and Arodys Vizcaino has gone five appearances without recording a save. Jim Johnson also recently picked up a save, instead of Vizcaino, who had pitched three days in a row.
While Johnson is currently the next in line for saves behind Vizcaino, I would be surprised to see him on the team once the calendar hits August. A reliever like Johnson, who has experience both in a closing and set-up role, is a hot commodity and Atlanta has little use for him. With Brad Zeigler and Fernando Rodney already having been moved, Vizcaino and his 10 saves this season could also conceivably be the next closer to go. This is especially true if they Yankees decide to hold on to all their arms to make a run at the playoffs. Even if Vizcaino isn’t dealt, Cabrera still could likely be in line for some saves. That makes him one of the most valuable relievers on the free agent market at this time.
Since his promotion Cabrera has allowed 2 ER in 6.0 IP on 9 H and 2 BB. What gives me pause, though, is that he only has 1 K. However, earlier this season in Double-A that wasn’t an issue, as he had 35 K in 33.2 innings with opposing batters hitting just .165 against him.
Ryan Dull – Oakland A’s
Unlike Cabrera, who was just promoted and has an uneven path to the closer’s role, Dull has a much clearer line of site to the job.
Sean Doolittle is back on the DL with shoulder issues with an unknown return date and John Axford currently has a 5.09 ERA. Currently Ryan Madson is the closer, but his grip on the job is beginning to loosen.
After this past weekend in Houston, Madson has five blown saves against 17 saves and his ERA has risen to 3.62 with a 1.34 WHIP. Dull stepped in to get the save on Saturday when Madson wasn’t available, and he was also the pitcher called upon recently after Madson had some his damage. Plus, since there is a legit possibility that Madson gets moved by the trading deadline.
Dull has spent the entire season with Oakland and has been a reliable arm for them out of the bullpen. In 40 games, 44.2 innings, the right-hander has a 2.01 ERA to go along with a minuscule 0.72 WHIP and 47 K vs. 8 BB. At this point it is just a matter of time.
Both pitchers are young, have upside, and pitch for teams who likely will be dealing bullpen arms as they look towards the future. That means opportunity is abound, and with what we have seen from them thus far they are poised to take advantage of it.
*** Are you still battling for your Fantasy Baseball Title? Make sure to purchase Rotoprofessor’s 2016 Mid-Season Draft Guide for just $4.50 to help!! Click here for more details ***