Boston Red Sox RHP Garrett whitlock may not earn as many Rookie of the Year votes, but he clearly deserves praise for his outstanding first league season. Whitlock leads the Boston Auxiliary Corps in WAR and is among the league leaders in that category among its relieving brothers. While he lost a critical match on Monday, the fact that he hit the ninth round and started the 10th at all is quite telling. Fantasy baseball leaders should pay more attention to Whitlock.
What we should read in Monday’s result is that Whitlock may well become Boston’s favorite. We should not focus on how the first place Tampa Bay Rays tied the game on a fluky Austin narrow home runs inside the park, which with an actual midfielder in the game and help from other outfielders, should only have been a double player. Nelson cruz entered the rally in the 10th lap, but again, it was not exactly Whitlock’s fault. The Red Sox are crawling, and Whitlock (with a 1.86 ERA) is a key player.
Matt barnes leads the Red Sox with 24 saves, but even before he tested positive for COVID-19, his fight in August cost him the closer role. Adam Ottavino went five months and allowed nary a home run,
Whitlock’s emergence in a relevant fantasy alternative should remind managers that opportunity is almost as important as skills and pedigree. Whitlock, 25, never beat Triple-A. He started 14 games for Double-A Trenton in 2019, to medium success. It hardly predicted that he would get a central role in 2021. His role in Boston this season was to handle several relief rounds and to keep the fights close. He did so for several months. Now he closes. I love this story!
By the way, in case you were wondering (as I was) who leads the AL top rookie honors, it should be Rays OF Randy Arozarena, med Houston astros RHP Luis Garcia and Chicago White Sox OF Andrew Vaughn in the mix. Cleveland tighter Emmanuel Clase is also a rookie and has a fantastic season. I NL, Cincinnati Reds 2B Jonathan India is terrific, as it is Miami Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers. There are so many great rookies!
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Rowan wick, Chicago Cubs: It took Wick, the first four plus months when he recovered from an oblique load, a few weeks to get his first rescue. Now he can boast of three the last week. The Cubs play better, and Wick has several strikeouts on three of his last four outings.
Alex Colome, Minnesota Twins: Ignore him at your own risk. Colome is the No. 5 relief jug in 30 days Player fails and has five rescues in the last two weeks. Do not report him for ERA, WHIP or strike. Make him for the rescues.
Andrew Chafin, Oakland Athletics: Svennen’s left hands have been busy and great for his new team (1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP), and as the right-handers around him struggle, more rescues can wait. Sergio romo did not withdraw any Blue Jays in his recent outing. Lou Trivino has allowed races in five appearances in a row while battling back problems. Left-handed Jake Diekman last saved a match before the All-Star break. Chafin can be closer!
Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies: Move on. It’s been a great comeback story for Bard in 2020, but he last saved a game three weeks ago, and Carlos is here has handled the role nicely since then – including a couple of weekend saves against Atlanta. Bard is still listed in three times as many leagues, but you can easily help change that.
Ryan pressed, Houston Astros: Maybe this is nothing, but manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Pressly was not available on Sunday due to a sore arm. Uh oh! It’s hard to tell from the numbers, as Pressly has only allowed one race since August began, but Houston has a large AL West lead and Kendall Gravedigger can see some ninth-inning work.
Jonathan loaisiga, New York Yankees: Let’s celebrate that no relief jug has more fWAR than this guy, which can be made for the season with a torn rotator cuff. For an emergence, with nine wins, five saves and a 2.25 ERA! Fantasy leaders are likely to take over Loaisiga next season, as relievers are unstable and a repeat of this fantastic season seems unlikely. Wait for saves or ignore them completely in draft, then find the next Whitlock or Loaisiga (or Jordan romano, Andrew Kittredge, Paul Sewald, Scott barlow, Gregory Soto, etc.) next May!