Before the 2005 season, Derrick Turnbow was a fringe reliever known more for his steriod suspension than his fastball.
Before the 2006 season, Derrick Turnbow was a near 40-save closer who fantasy fanatics were salivating over.
Knowing this, would I have snagged Turnbow in the top rounds of a draft this season? Heck no!
Was I happy that Turnbow fell into my lap when I took over an NL-only team in a keeper league this winter? Heck, yeah.
Am I still happy now? Hmmm, well…
On May 12, Turnbow was 12-for-12 in save opportunites and sported a 1.35 ERA. Happy.
As of yesterday, Turnbow had blown four of his last seven opportunities and had an ERA of 4.74 before shutting the door on the Padres last night. Add in the fact that THREE of his four mishaps cost my NL-only team a win AND a save, I’m completely furious at the floppy-haired, XXL-pants wearing reliever.
But it’s not just big Derrick. Right about now, it’s not fun to be an owner of Turnbow, Brad Lidge, Francisco Cordero, Jose Valverde, Joe Nathan, Eddie Guardado, Eric Gagne…well, the list goes on. This is why as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more overrated in fantasy baseball than closers. It’s been years and years since I’ve overpaid for a closer on draft day, and I can’t say I regret that decision at all. Of all the major stat categories in fantasy leagues, saves are the easiest ones to come by. 20-game winners don’t grow on trees. 40-homer hitters don’t grow on trees. 20 save closers? They’re available for purchase at most 99 Cent stores.
Don’t believe me? I give you Tyler Walker. As of today, Walker has more saves than Ryan Dempster, Huston Street, Mike Gonzalez, Bob Wickman, Joe Nathan and Armando Benitez. He has as many saves (10) as Chad Cordero. He has one fewer save than Mariano Rivera and Billy Wagner.
Walker was probably drafted by a few people who thought he’d pick up some saves in San Francisco while Armando Benitez was on the shelf. After all, Walker saved 23 games in Bentiez’ absence last season. But on April 17 of this year, Walker had zero saves, two blown saves, and a 24.30 ERA. Two days later he wasn’t in the Majors. Two months later, he’s about to catch Mariano Rivera and Billy Wagner.
Desperate for saves? Just think of Walker, Todd Coffey, J.J Putz, Akinori Otsuka and other names before you unload a stud hitter for the next 9th inning casualty.