The landscape of fantasy baseball is as perplexing as Manny Ramirez alleged drug use. The well versed fantasy player has to diligently check box scores and be abreast in a multitude of areas. In my humble opinion the quickest way to propel your way through the standings is to snag the set-up man that is about to inherit ninth inning duties. This week in baseball the hot seat is becoming an inferno in cities such as Chicago and St. Louis. While fans of these cities might be running to the nearest bridge it presents immense potential in what could be a league changing waiver wire pick up.
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The south side of Chicago is in disarray with the melt down of Matt Thornton. Coming into the season many experts believed that Thornton would thrive in the closer role and rapidly became a prime sleeper candidate. Last year, as a set-up man, he sported a tidy 2.67 ERA and had an 81/20 strikeout to walk ratio in 60.7 innings. Fast forward through the first two weeks of this year and it's quite the juxtaposition. Wednesday night Thornton graced the ninth with a 2 run lead and promptly blew the save. To add fuel to the fire Matt was brought out in the 10th and completely imploded letting up an additional 3 runs. For the year he has blown all 4 save chances while carrying a 7.71 ERA and a gaudy 3.21 WHIP. This is the part of the article you actually stop reading and sprint to you waiver wire in hopes that Chris Sale is available (45% owned in my league). Sale has as much upside as anyone being groomed for the closer role and his funky delivery leads to a lot of missed bats. The always humorous Ozzie Guillen has actually lead many to believe that Sale will NOT be the first to inherit the closer role but all other suitors have not stepped up. Simply stated, Sale has filthy stuff and I believe will force Guillen's hand in this matter. Everyone has that last roster spot for guy to take a flier on and this "Sale" could help you afford a league crown.
St. Louis has arguably the smartest and most patient fan base in all of baseball. That patient's is about to turn into down right panic with the start Ryan Franklin has had. When you have blown 3 of 4 save chances and have an ERA almost in double digits (9.82) you tend to cause alarm. Manager Tony Larussa has suggested 40 year old Miguel Bautista would get first crack at the closer role. With this as your first option things look bleak. Luckily the Cards have 2 young righties waiting in the wings with Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte. While age and a lack of experience are a concern both possess a repertoire which could translate into a ninth inning stud. This situation is a little to murky to have a full endorsement to pick up Boggs or Motte but they must be on your watch list and be ready to pounce.
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