Tag: JJ Putz

2012 MLB Closer Profile: J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks

Let’s not joke.  J.J. Putz had an amazing comeback year in 2011, notching 45 saves for the well-built and oiled Arizona Diamondbacks team. 

He even did that while missing most of July on the DL, which we have become accustomed to with J.J. Putz. Even more amazing, he put up 21 saves between August and September. 

Everything about 2011 was amazing—his 2.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a K/9 over 9!  Putz was one of the top closers in baseball for 2011. 

Enter 2012, and let’s get back to reality.  Putz is a good closer, but his career has been plagued with injury and inconsistency.  In his nine-year career, Putz has only reached 70 appearances one, and more than 60 appearances five times. 

He is also 35, which is a tough year for pitchers to hit.  Their stuff can certainly start to fade beyond 35.

So what do with J.J. Putz?  Do you expect a repeat of 2011 or something closer to his actual career?

Let’s start with the Diamondbacks.  They are a very good young team poised for a playoff run.  They have a solid, though shaky rotation led by Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and the newly acquired Trevor Cahill. 

Kennedy pitched amazingly last season, but chances of him repeating that performance are not good. 

Still, the rotation of the Diamondbacks will get many leads to the bullpen.  In front of Putz, he has several good veteran relievers including Takashi Saito, Brad Zeigler and David Hernandez.  All that bodes well for Putz.

As for the offense, it is shady.  After Upton and Montero, where will the hits come from?  Chris Young, Jason Kubel, Stephen Drew?  While the Diamondbacks have a sound offense, they’re going to suffer scoring droughts.

My concerns with Putz deal with his health.  If his arm “isn’t right,” he won’t do well.  Last year, Putz changed his pitching style a bit.  He threw more fastballs and less sliders, and he continued to abuse hitters with his splitter. 

His fastball tops out at 95 MPH, which is hittable by major league standards.  What he did so well in 2011 was hit his spots with his slider and throw a great splitter.  So, if you draft Putz in 2012, you have to hope for all that to play out in your favor again—I can tell you now, chances are slim. 


The Closer Report 2012 Projections

32 Saves, 3 Wins, 3.01 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 57 Ks


2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis

J.J. Putz has an ADP around 133, which means if you want to draft him, you better get him by round 12.  I’ll pass on that. 

At 35 and coming off a huge season, Putz is overvalued.  My recommendation is to pass on Putz that early.  If he is around in the 17th or 18th round take a chance, but otherwise you are taking on a closer who is injury-prone and hasn’t had two great back-to-back seasons since 2006-2007.

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MLB Fantasy Baseball Draft Closer Debate: Huston Street vs J.J. Putz

This is a very close debate between to guys who should have big years. The question that will be answered is, who do I take first? Let’s establish that Street’s and Putz’s ADPs are very close to each other. Putz is going around the 145th pick or the 13th round. Street is going around the 151st pick or the 13th round. 

Looking at both these closers, it’s easy to see why they are going so close to each other.  Both have good K/9 rates and both can consistently close. It’s also worth noting that both Street and Putz have their perspective jobs with no other real competition for the role. 

Closer Report 2011 Projections
(from The Closer Report 2011 Draft Kit)

Huston Street: Ranked No. 12 – Projections: 36 saves, 5 wins, 3.01 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 65 K
Colorado Rockies team SAVE PROJECTIONS: 46

J.J. Putz: Ranked No. 22 – Projections: 30 saves, 2.79 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 70 K
Arizona Diamondbacks team SAVE PROJECTIONS: 34

Huston Street has a clear advantage over Putz and for several reasons. First, he’s on a team poised for a run at the playoffs and the Rockies should present him with plenty of save opportunities. I project 46 save opportunities for the Rockies, with only 34 from the Diamondbacks. 

Arizona is in a rebuilding year and though they have a strong core of players, they will not win nearly as many games as the Rockies will leaving Putz at a disadvantage in the number of chances he has.

At 27, Street is in his prime. While he has been injury prone at time, he has always been consistent. I expect a better season than he had in 2009, where he saved 35 games. Putz, on the other hand, is 34 years old and while still extremely effective is also injury prone and no longer in his prime. 

When the 12th or 13th round comes around and both these guys are the board, there is no reason why you should consider taking Putz over Street. Granted, Putz will likely strike out more batters and even carry slightly better numbers, but Street is a 40-save candidate and there aren’t many of those out there in 2011. 

J.J. Putz ad Huston Street should eace have great seasons. However, when it comes to fantasy baseball, I want the 27-year-old closer with the winning team over the 34-year-old with the rebuilding team. 

By Todd Farino,
The Closer Report

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: NL Closer Cheat Sheet To Help You Dominate Your Draft

As fantasy baseball drafts quickly approach, I thought it would be helpful to provide a quick reference cheat sheet for closers. Remember, don’t take a closer too early as there is value to be had late in drafts.


NL East

The Atlanta Braves have yet to officially announce a replacement for the recently retired Billy Wagner, however we believe that Fredi Gonzalez will give Craig Kimbrel the reigns as the team’s new closer. 

The only other NL East team with a possible closer carousel is Washington, where second year player Drew Storen will likely start the season as the team’s closer. Tyler Clippard or Sean Burnet would likely replace Storen if the youngster runs into trouble.


NL West

The two safest and most valuable closers to own from the NL West are Brian Wilson and Heath Bell. Both players are coming off excellent campaigns in 2010 in which they each represented their respective team in the All-Star Game.

Newly acquired J.J. Putz will likely begin 2011 as the Diamondbacks closer, while Jonathan Broxton will continue in his role as the closer for the Dodgers. Broxton was temporarily replaced by Hong-Chih Kuo last season after some sub-par performances, which is something that Broxton owners should be aware of this spring.


NL Central

The top closer to own from the NL Central is Carlos Marmol, as he is a near-lock for 30-plus saves and has an impressive career K/9 ratio of 11.9. 

The Pirates have yet to announce their closer for 2011, however the smart money is on Joel Hanrahan. 

Keep an eye on both Aroldis Chapman and Kyle McClellan this season, as both players are young fireballers and the heir apparent to the starting closer.

Ryan Franklin was less than spectacular in 2010, posting a pedestrian 3.46 ERA with only 29 saves. Despite posting 40 saves last year, Cordero had a near 4.00 ERA and may lose the starting job to the fan-favorite Chapman.


This article was originally published on www.kramericasports.com, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Daniel Hudson and Arizona Diamondbacks

For a team with 70 or fewer wins in the last two seasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks actually have several useful fantasy players.  

The first of those players to come to mind for most people would be position players.  Guys like Justin Upton, Chris Young (still cannot believe he is useful again), Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero are all useful fantasy hitters.  

Also, the addition of J.J. Putz means 2011 will not be a constant closer guessing game in Arizona as it was in 2010 (at least until Putz gets hurt).  

However, Arizona’s rotation may be somewhat overlooked.  While their staff may not be among the league’s elite, there are certainly fantasy relevant guys in the rotation.

No matter what the depth chart on the D’Backs home page says, Joe Saunders is not the No. 1 starter on this team.  

Although Saunders won 17 games in 2008 and 16 games in 2009, he really was not that good and only accumulated four Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over those two seasons. 

Not exactly sure what that means?  Let me put it this way: Gavin Floyd had a 4.3 WAR last year with only 10 wins and a plus-4.00 ERA.  Saunders clearly benefited from playing on two AL West-winning Angels teams.  

Saunders’s ERA has been over 4.40 in all but one fluke season, and his career K/9 is 5.14.  As you can see, Saunders is no staff ace, but more like a third or fourth starter on a team with a very thin rotation.  He might be useful in deep NL-only leagues, but for where you will have to draft him to get him, you should probably avoid him altogether.

In my opinion, the true “ace” of the staff is Daniel Hudson. 

Click here to continue reading this preview.

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MLB Free Agency: 15 Players Teams Will Regret Not Re-Signing

Being a baseball general manager is a thankless job. Every move that you make is second-guessed, critiqued and analyzed to death before a new player even steps out onto the field. Then there’s the separate issue of what to do with your hometown players, some of whom have evolved into local legends or fan favorites.

Every player has to become a free agent eventually, but the gut-wrenching question facing every general manager is when is the right time to let those players go? In the case of these 15 players, their GM’s let them go too soon.

For the sake of this list we’ll eliminate players who had no chance of resigning with their former teams (Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford) and players that teams made an effort to sign but were outbid (Cliff Lee).

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New York Mets Bullpen Uncertainty: Sean Green To Brewers, Mets Eyeing Joe Beimel

After the New York Mets non-tendered Sean Green earlier this month, it was only a matter of time before a team gobbled him up for the potential ‘relief’ he could offer.

The time has come, and that team is the Milwaukee Brewers, who are looking to reload this off season to have a productive 2011.

This is fine and dandy to us Mets fans because honestly, Sean Green wasn’t all he was hyped up to be. After acquiring Green in the trade that also sent underperforming reliever J.J. Putz to the Mets, Green only appeared in 11 games in 2010, managing eight walks in 9.1 innings of work.

That’s not to say he was a total wash as a Met, striking out 54 batters in 69.2 innings in 2009, but with his strained rib muscles moving north to Milwaukee for $875,000 this year, it’s easy to agree that the Mets made an easy addition by subtraction transaction.

With an already unstable bullpen heading into the 2011 season, the Mets should have used every reliable resource available, but Green was far from reliable, and once again the Mets are on the lookout for bullpen arms.

One name said to top GM Sandy Alderson’s list of relievers is lefty Joe Beimel.

Beimel is the Mets’ primary target to replace the holes left by Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi and has been admired in the organization as the lefty-specialist the Mets need in the left-handed bat-heavy NL East.

Of course, with the Mets’ financial woes this off-season, Beimel will have to come cheap. Both Feliciano and lefty Randy Choate signed deals this off-season that has them making $1 million+ over two years, and Beimel is probably looking for right around the same amount.

One could gather, as free agency continues and spring training draws nearer, that Beimel will settle for a deal somewhere around one million for one year. A pretty respectable deal for a one and done type pitcher, but that’s just my thought.

With the likes of relief pitchers J.C. Romero, Hideki Okajima, Will Ohman, Ron Mahay, Dennys Reyes, and Mark Hendrickson remaining on the open market, the Mets still have ample opportunity to bolster their bullpen for 2011. 

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Arizona Diamondbacks Add Bullpen Help, Sign JJ Putz

New Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers had one goal this offseason. That was to somehow improve the worst bullpen in baseball last season.

The Diamondbacks bullpen finished the 2010 season with a 5.74 ERA. That was a full run worse than the next worse bullpen. The Diamondbacks were rolling out “jabronis” such as Chad Qualls, Leo Rosales and Cesar Valdez.

Not only could the underbelly of the bullpen not get to the closer, but when they finally did, nobody could close games for them. Qualls was a clown show and Juan Gutierrez, who replaced Qualls, was no better.

Towers has done his best to get rid of these clowns and bring in fresh arms. The latest fresh arm Towers has brought in will be expected to close games with authority in 2011.

Towers and the Diamondbacks signed RHP J.J. Putz to a two-year, $10 million contract with an option for 2013. The option is for $6.5 million according to Ken Rosenthal.

This is a really good signing by the Diamondbacks.

After a disastrous 2009 season with the New York Mets where he battled injuries and the Mets medical staff, Putz had a bounce-back season with the Chicago White Sox. It was like Putz was back with the Seattle Mariners all over again.

Putz had a 2.83 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 10.8 K/9 in 54 innings. Putz was especially tough on right-handed batters last season. Righties hit .164 with just three extra-base hits in 120 plate appearances.

What made Putz so tough was the return of his split-fingered fastball. He threw more splitters last season (29.4 percent) than at any point in his career.

Not only was he throwing it a lot, but it was nasty. His 5.1 wSF was the fifth highest in the Major Leagues in 2010.

At 33, Putz appears to have a lot left in the tank and should be a solid signing for the Diamondbacks.


You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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MLB Free Agents: The 10 Most Underrated Players on the Free Agent Market

Every offseason the free-agent class is headlined by a small group of big-name players. In 2008, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were the big names. Last year, it was probably John Lackey. In 2010, Cliff Lee is undoubtedly the biggest fish in a very, very small pond.

The problem is, players of this ilk command huge salaries and usually end up on big-market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets. The most interesting part of free agency is to be found when one looks past the big names at bargain players—those whom people had forgotten about.

Even when looking at the underrated players on the market, this year’s free-agent class is still poor.

Not to kill the suspense but, no, Cliff Lee will not be appearing on this list.

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MLB Free Agency: Power Ranking the Top 10 Relievers on the Market

Believe it or not, the 2011 MLB season is just around five months away, and one of the rising topics in  many circles is where exactly some of the free agent relievers are going to wind up, or what is going to happen to them prior to spring training.

I picked out 10 guys who are sure to draw attention—some more than others—as we slowly move along the MLB offseason.

You’ll notice that two teams in particular (Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox) are the most active teams with a bevy of players they are either getting rid of, and/or considering.

Let’s take a look at who I have, and if there is a name you want to throw out there, do so below in the comment section.

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Boston Red Sox Look to Overhaul Bullpen: Eyeing Minnesota, Chicago and Tampa Bay

Last year, the Boston Red Sox had a number of barriers en route to their third-place finish in the American League East behind the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.

Despite all of the injuries to their regular positional players (Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, etc.), the bullpen was and still remains a focal point for this offseason for a number of reasons.

Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard were the only two members of the bullpen who had ERAs less than four, and had it not been for the seasons of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, it should be viewed by many experts and fans that the rest of the Red Sox pitching staff all had issues throughout the season despite its 4.20 ERA, which was ninth best in the American League last year.

Additionally, the Red Sox bullpen had 22 blown saves last year, which was the fourth worst in the major leagues last year. Why did the Sox have a jump in blown saves last year? The Red Sox were second worst in batters faced in the American League last year only to the Kansas City Royals, as they faced a whopping 38.68 batters per game.

Fortunately, there are some very good options in free agency that can aid in shoring up their second set-up option and their middle relief corp.

Here is a look at some of the leading options that the Red Sox may approach as candidates during the offseason:

Jon Rauch (Age 32)

Rauch entered last year as the primary setup man for the Minnesota Twins before Joe Nathan went to the DL due to a torn elbow ligament. Once Rauch settled in as the closer, he did pretty well prior to the Twins trading for Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals. Rauch led the Twins with 21 saves against four blown saves and had a .268 BAA. Rauch earned $2.9 million last year and is comparable money to JJ Putz. In terms of value, Rauch is one of few closers in the free-agent market that will not cost a first-round draft pick as well.

Jesse Crain (29)

Before Joe Nathan, Jon Rauch and Matt Capps went to the Twin Cities, it was widely regarded that Crain was the Twins’ closer of the future. Entering last year, Crain had a number of disappointing campaigns (2007, 2009) but really turned it on with the Twins deploying a heavy dose of their bullpen.

Crain was second on the team among his bullpen mates with a stalwart 1.176 WHIP and his seven hits per nine innings led the team. He earned $2 million last year and could provide good value to the Red Sox.

Matt Guerrier (32)

Guerrier was no slouch last year as well for the Twins bullpen. Over the last two years, Guerrier has held opponents to batting averages of .207 and .219 and WHIP of .97 and 1.10 respectively. More of a control and finesse pitcher than Crain, Guerrier has been a workhorse as he has totaled 70 innings or more for the last four seasons. Guerrier earned $3.15 million last year.

JJ Putz (33)

After enduring two injury-plagued campaigns in 2008 and 2009, Putz was a mainstay in the White Sox bullpen last year. He went 54 innings and held opponents to a .204 BA while striking out 65 batters. Putz earned $3 million last year and with Sergio Santos and Matt Thornton on the rise, Putz may not be returning to the South Side.

Grant Balfour (34)

While all eyes will be on closer Rafael Soriano this offseason and if he re-signs with Tampa Bay, along with his other teammates (Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena), Balfour is a target worth keeping an eye on. Balfour earned $2.05 million last year as he held opponents to a .206 batting average and held a 1.08 WHIP en route to a 2.28 ERA.

If the Red Sox can get any of their left-handed assets out of the bullpen to improve on their 2010 campaigns, these are some of the American League middle relievers that are within Boston’s budget and can replace what Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez were suppose to bring to the table over the last couple of years.

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