Monthly Archives: April 2020

Winston Rehabs Career In The Bayou

Jameis Winston has a career 19,737 yards and has already surpassed the career totals of “The Mad Bomber “Daryle Lamonica (19,154), “The Ruston Rifle” Bert Jones (18,190), and “The Punky QB” Jim McMahon (18,148).  Numbers don’t mean as much as the eras of football have changed significantly.  Winston’s 5,109 yards in 2019 are the 8th highest single-season total in NFL history. His 33 TD and 30 INT was a roller coaster ride for the Buccaneers.  Winston set an NFL record with 7 interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in 2019.  If memory serves me correctly 2 of Winston’s first 3 passes vs. the Texans interceptions with the first one being returned to the house.  I received multiple texts from upset friends that I recommended to play Winston.  The 84.3 Passer rating made Winston the 27th rated passer.  Bruce Arians is a solid offensive coach that couldn’t reign in Winston.  Teams passed on Winston in favor of other free agents and or draft choices.  Reportedly Winston had more lucrative offers on the table, but took the 1-year cheap deal with the Saints.

The Quarterback carousel is full of lost causes that turned it around with a change of scenery.

There’s a myriad of reasons why QB’s find success elsewhere, development as a player, better coaching, better scheme, better surrounding players and so on and so forth.  Here’s a few Quarterbacks that went from Heroes to Zeroes and back to Heroes.      

Before the draft in 2019, Ryan Tannehill was traded with a 6th rd pick in 2019  from the Dolphins to the Titans for a 4th 2020 and 7th 2019.  The Dolphins had decided to move on from their former first round pick and hit the reset button.  Tannehill far outperformed expectations, led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game, and won the Comeback Player of the Year award in the process.  Jim Plunkett flamed out in New England and San Francisco before winning a pair of Super Bowls with the Raiders.  Randall Cunningham sat out a year before returning to the Vikings and leading the team to an NFC Championship Game appearance.  Steve Young was discarded for Vinny Testaverde in Tampa Bay.  Young was traded away for a 2nd and a 4th in 1987 to the 49ers.  The rest is history in a Hall Of Fame career.  Testaverde flamed out in Tampa as well and went on to have a lengthy NFL career that included 2 Pro Bowl appearances.                   

After 5 seasons in the league, the book is out on Winston.  Bad decision making far outweighs the rocket arm.  The Saints are a great landing spot for the 26-year-old Winston to rehab his career.  The Saints have played Winston twice a year for 5 years. Their coaching staff knows his strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies.  Working with Sean Payton, Joe Lombardi, and Drew Brees in theory should assist in Winston cleaning up some of the bad decision making in his game.  Winston has the opportunity to put together good tape in the preseason and get considered for another job.  Winston also has the opportunity to force his way into the Saints Post-Brees plans.

Closer Strategery

Closers are the position where I’m often looking to draft as late/cheap as possible. Every fantasy owner manages their team differently. I am of the belief of why spend an early draft choice or high dollar auction money on the most volatile position in all of baseball. Closers often lose their jobs to a string of sub-par performances. One club’s disposed closer is another club’s reclamation project.  Starting Pitchers who no longer have the repertoire to go through a lineup multiple times are sometimes put in the bullpen.    

6 pitchers came out of nowhere in 2019 to be among the league leaders in Saves.  In preparing drafts no of these pitchers were on my radar. Entering 2019, Liam Hendricks had 1 Save in 8 major league seasons with 4 clubs.  Hendricks at age 30 appeared in a career-high 75 games. Along with 8 Holds, Hendricks took over for an injured Blake Treinen and finished with 25 Saves.  Hendricks is now the undisputed closer in Oakland. As quickly as Hendricks found it, Treinen lost it.   

Treinen’s roller coaster ride the last few seasons can show how quickly relievers get turned over.  2014-2016 Treinen pitches in lower leverage roles for the Nationals. Treinen wins the closers job in 2017 in Washington and is ineffective.  He’s moved to the Oakland A’s in July and ends up with 13 Saves in Oakland. Goes on to Save 38 games in 2018 in an All-Star Campaign. 2019, Treinen has 16 Saves then promptly loses his job due to injury and ineffectiveness. The 2020 offseason is granted free agency and signs with the Dodgers.

Taylor Rogers in his 4th season with the Twins figured it out in 2019.  30 Saves, 10 Holds, 11.7 SO/9, and 1.000 WHIP. Because the Twins do so much mixing and matching in their bullpen it took a while to lock into Rogers as the closer.  Sometimes clubs are reluctant to put a lefty in the closer’s role.      

In 4 seasons, Hansel Robles worked in lower leverage situations in the Mets bullpen before getting released mid-season in 2018.  Robles pitched much better in LA in 11 appearances. Entering the 2019 campaign, Cody Allen’s $8.5 million dollar contract put him in the closer’s role for the Angels.  After 4 Saves, the wheels came off for Allen and he was never able to regain the closer’s job back. Allen appeared in 25 games and was released in June. Robles finished with 23 Saves for the Halos.    

Ian Kennedy signed with the Royals in 2016 to help stabilize the starting rotation to the tune of 5-years and $70 million dollars.  Kennedy was decent his first season in KC 11-11 3.68 ERA. The next 2 seasons saw Kennedy go 5-13, 5.38 ERA and 3-9, 4.66 ERA. For 2019, it was determined Kennedy would work out of the bullpen going forward.  Kennedy was in a camp battle with Wily Peralta for the closer’s job. Kennedy took over early in the season and saved 30 games. He also posed a career-high 10.4 SO/9. 2020 is the final year of the contract and he may actually have trade value now.  

Emilio Pagan is on his 4th team in 4 seasons.  He ended up with 8 holds and saving 20 games as Jose Alvardado and Diego Castillo both got injured and imploded.  In 3 major league seasons Pagan owns a 0.982 and a 10.6 SO/9. Gopher balls are a problem for Pagan as he’s allowed 7, 13, and 12 in respective years.  Now with the Padres, Pagan is projected to set up Kirby Yates. In terms of contract status, Yates is in a walk year and Pagan won’t be a free agent until the 2024 campaign.  Maybe Pagan will be in line for Saves again if the Padres fall out of contention.       

Carlos Martinez has been an enigma during his time in St. Louis.  Entering his age 27 season, Martinez was projected to remain a mainstay in the Cardinals rotation.  Unfortunately, a shoulder injury threw off the start of his season. Arriving in the middle of May, Martinez was brought back in the bullpen.  Jordan Hicks saved 14 games until being shut down for the campaign with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Martinez ended up eventually taking over as closer and saved 24 games.  The 9.9 SO/9 and 1.179 WHIP ended up being career bests for Martinez.  

Entering fantasy drafts in 2019, Liam Hendricks, Taylor Rogers, Hansel Robles, Ian Kennedy, Emilio Pagan, and Carlos Martinez were not on my radar.  However they were each on one or more of my fantasy rosters in 2019. There’s no guarantee last seasons’ success will carry over to 2020. Closer is one of the most volatile positions in all of baseball and owners need to be prepared to pursue the next best thing.

Below are the Saves leaders for the last 3 seasons.  There’s some stable names on this list and more than a few one-hit wonders.     

2019

Kirby Yates SD 41

Roberto Osuna HOU 38

Aroldis Chapman NYY 37

Josh Hader MIL 37

Brad Hand CLE 34

Raisel Iglesias CIN 34

Will Smith SF 34

Kenley Jansen LAD 33

Alex Colome CWS 30

Ian Kennedy KC 30

Taylor Rogers MIN 30

Sean Doolittle WSH 29

Hector Neris PHI 28

Felipe Vazquez PIT 28

Edwin Diaz NYM 26

Liam Hendricks OAK 25

Carlos Martinez STL 24

Ken Giles TOR 23

Shane Greene ATL 23

Hansel Robles LAA 23

Emilio Pagan TB 20

Sergio Romo MIN 20

2018 

Edwin Diaz SEA 57

Wade Davis COL 43

Craig Kimbrel BOS 42

Kenley Jansen LAD 38

Blake Treinen OAK 38

Felipe Vasquez PIT 37

Brad Boxberger ARI 32

Aroldis Chapman NYY 32

Shane Greene DET 32

Brad Hand CLE 32

Raisel Iglesias CIN 30

Bud Norris STL 28

Cody Allen CLE 27

Ken Giles TOR 26

Sean Doolittle WSH 25

Fernando Rodney OAK 25

Sergio Romo TB 25

Keone Kela PIT 24

Brandon Morrow CHC 22

Robert Osuna HOU 21

2017                                                       

Alex Colome TB 47

Greg Holland COL 41

Kenley Jansen LAD 41

Corey Knebel MIL 39

Robert Osuna TOR 39

Fernando Rodney ARI 39

Craig Kimbrel BOS 35

Edwin Diaz SEA 34

Ken Giles HOU 34

Wade Davis CHC 32

Cody Allen CLE 30

Brandon Kintzler WSH 29

Raisel Iglesias CIN 28

AJ Ramos MIA 27

Kelvin Herrera KC 26

Hector Neris PHI 26

Sean Doolittle WSH 24

Aroldis Chapman NYY 22

Jim Johnson ATL 22

Brandon Maurer KC 22

Brad Hand SD 21

Felipe Vasquez 21

Seung Hwan Oh 20