After being scored upon in 9 of his last 13 appearances and collecting 2 blown saves and 2 losses in the process, Fernando Rodney was not the arm called upon on Saturday evening to protect a lead in the 9th inning for the Mariners. Instead, manager Lloyd McClendon turned to the youngster Carson Smith who had no issues with a clean inning of work with one strikeout to earn the first save of his career.
I have been singing this tune for weeks now as reported in detail on May 23 in “BLOW-PEN Report: Fernando Rodney and His Broken Arrow,” and even before that I issued some tidbits on the situation. Rodney just has been horrible this season and it was only a matter of time before Smith was given a chance to close out a game. However, unlike the situations in Miami and Texas that I also reported on in the BLOW-PEN Report before those closer situations changed, I think that Rodney will get a chance to try and prove himself again. The fact that McClendon stuck with Rodney for so long in his time of struggle suggests to me that he really prefers Rodney as his closer and/or does not think that Smith is prepared to be thrusted into that role full-time in just his first full season in the Majors. And as I suggested in the BLOW-PEN Report, it could be a case of Rodney tipping his pitches, which is something that would be fixable if that’s what the ultimate issue is. But whether or not Rodney does work out the kinks to earn his manager’s trust back is certainly far from likelihood.
For now, I think that Rodney will see one of the next save opportunities and if he does well then he will continue to see more until he blows another. But obviously Smith needs to be picked up in all league formats as he has very dominant stuff to be very successful as a Major League closer. If not right now, then Smith should assume the role as closer for the Mariners later this summer when Rodney could possibly get traded if the Mariners are not in contention, or the beginning of next year. So for keeper and dynasty leagues, he should have been grabbed a while ago.
Smith currently has a 1.08 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 29 K/5 BB in 25 IP.
Matt Carpenter is currently the top ranked third baseman, but we all knew that he is a pure grinder and a great hitter. Miguel Cabrera is proving to be in good health after having some foot issues last year that seemed to sap his power. And there are the young studs who are rising through the ranks such as Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado. But who has been an unexpected find at third base and what can we expect out of the disappointments at the position? Time to dive into the third base position and see what has been going on there so far this season.
Surprises: Marcus Semien, Jimmy Paredes
I talked about Semien in the second basemen post, so let’s skip on to Jimmy Paredes. Paredes began the year on the DL for the Orioles, but was activated a couple weeks in and has been functioning as the team’s DH out of the 2-hole mostly and has so far put up a line of .333 AVG, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R, and 1 SB in 14 games played Is this surprise performance for real? Well, I am not going to call it for real just yet, but let’s just say that I am very intrigued by Paredes, especially because of where he is being slotted in the Orioles lineup. He is a player that has seen some big league time every year since the end of 2011, but has spent the better part of those days as a AAA player where he displayed the ability to be a 10 HR/30 SB guy over the course of a full season. That is useful stuff in fantasy, so when a player with those skills comes along and starts off hot, it does not hurt to pounce on him on the waiver wire and just see what comes of it. At 26 years old, Paredes is just entering his prime and could really blossom. The one aspect of his game that scares me off is that he has an aggressive approach at the plate, so he does not walk much at all. His current mark is at a microscopic 1.6 BB%, but this kind of fits in with the Orioles team philosophy. Nonetheless, I would still look to pick him up in fantasy leagues as he can actually turn out to be this year’s Josh Harrison. Continue reading →