I have questions.
so, uh, where did this version of francisco rodriguez come from?— Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley) April 27, 2014
You guys, seriously. Questions. This guy's career was over a few years ago. The Mets hated him and couldn't be more eager to get rid of him. He was traded to the Brewers for Danny Herrera (claims to fame: short; traded for Josh Hamilton) and Adrian Rosario (claim to fame: who?) when the Mets were done with him.
The Brewers used him as little more than John Axford insurance ("If you don't straighten up and act right, John, mama will have to call in Francisco!") until they dealt him to Baltimore last year. Even then, he pitched in 23 games, had no saves, put up a 4.50 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP. He became a free agent in the offseason, and nothing much happened. It took until February for him to get a contract, and even then it was just a one-year deal as nominal insurance, only this time it was for Jim Henderson.
Only, he got the Brewers closer job in spring this year, and dude's been insane. Like, insane insane. In 14 games, he's pitched 14 innings (cool how that works). He's allowed eight baserunners (five hits, three walks). He's struck out 21. He's allowed no runs. He has 11 saves and has been worth 0.7 fWAR, which already matches his combined 2012 and 2013 totals.
Now, to be fair, he's almost certainly on a hot stretch, as his .208 BABIP would be his best since 2003, and 70 points below his career average. He (obviously) has a 100 percent strand rate, which also seems unlikely to sustain. And his ground-ball rate, which has typically hovered in the low-to-mid 40s, sits at 54.2 percent right now.
In the long run, odds are Rodriguez sinks back. He's not, you know, Craig Kimbrel and Dennis Eckersley's love child. Yeah, he'll regress, as will the Brewers at large. But in the short run, he's a prime ride-the-streak candidate. I don't believe in hot and cold streaks as far as being predictive goes - a guy is hot until he's not, then he's cold until he's hot again, etc. - but a closer with a prime job is an obvious must-own, and it seems unlikely you'll get anyone to pay you big bucks for Francisco Rodriguez right now, as everyone assumes regression.
For now, though, I'm bumping Rodriguez up in the closer rankings. Dude's earned it.
This is this week's rankings. The first one is who you'd want for right now, the next week or two. The second list is long-term, accounting for guys like Aroldis Chapman and such. Enjoy:
|1||Craig Kimbrel||ATL||2||Last seven days: 3 IP, 3 baserunners, 6 K's. He's fine.|
|2||Greg Holland||KCR||3||Go read what Rany Jazayerli had to say about Ned Yost's closer usage Saturday, then cry for the team.|
|3||Koji Uehara||BOS||4||Giving up his first run Saturday proved he's human, only not by much (0.96 ERA).|
|4||Kenley Jansen||LAD||1||On pace for 100 games, 87 innings. Maybe reel that in, Dodgers?|
|5||Glen Perkins||MIN||5||Gave up 4 runs in first 3 IP; has given up 1 in 8 since.|
|6||Sergio Romo||SFG||6||Only bad outing came in that 12-10 extra-inning game. I'm inclined to give him a mulligan.|
|7||Trevor Rosenthal||SLC||7||At some point, he'll have to get more dominant; maybe his 1 IP, 3 K save Friday is the start of that.|
|8||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||12||Never would have guessed he'd climb this high.|
|9||Mark Melancon||PIT||NR||He's got the closer gig with Jason Grilli hurt, and I think he keeps it.|
|10||Joakim Soria||TEX||15||Has faced a total of 16 batters in his last 15 outs, and that one baserunner was on an error.|
|11||Huston Street||SDP||11||Eight baserunners in 10 innings; only run allowed came on a Brandon Belt homer.|
|12||David Robertson||NYY||27||No runs on the season, though DL stint means he's only pitched in six games.|
|13||Joe Nathan||DET||13||Might rank higher, but it seems the Tigers really aren't going to work him hard.|
|14||Steve Cishek||MIA||8||I still trust him despite Friday's loss.|
|15||Rafael Soriano||WAS||9||Perfect so far on the season; I probably ought to start moving him up.|
|16||Jonathan Papelbon||PHI||16||Gave up 3 runs in 0.1 IP April 2; 0.00 ERA in 11 IP otherwise.|
|17||Addison Reed||ARI||17||Allowed runs in three of his last five outings.|
|18||Grant Balfour||TBR||10||Friday's outing was abysmal, and he's walked 9 in 10.1 innings.|
|19||John Axford||CLE||22||Team stuck with him after struggles of a couple weeks ago, and he's been strong since.|
|20||Jonathan Broxton||CIN||19||His 0.00 ERA is almost as surprising as K-Rod's, even if his is in only 5 innings.|
|21||Tommy Hunter||BAL||20||10 hits, 3 runs in his last 6.2 innings. Oh, and only three strikeouts.|
|22||Sergio Santos||TOR||29||Will get every chance to perform, with Casey Janssen back on the shelf.|
|23||Joe Smith||LAA||NR||His name might not even be real, but Ernesto Frieri is out, so, whatever, weirdest Witness Relocation ever.|
|24||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||23||Maybe it's just ageism, but who the heck feels confident in a 41-year-old closer with less than 4 K/9?|
|25||Matt Lindstrom||CWS||21||1:1 K:BB ratio; 18 baserunners in 11 innings.|
|26||Chris Withrow||LAD||NR||I feel like the Dodgers have to give Jansen a break, and Withrow has been tremendous.|
|27||Kyle Farnsworth||NYM||26||Are they really going to let Daisuke Matsuzaka get saves? I can't see it.|
|28||Fernando Rodney||SEA||24||I'll just let Jeff Sullivan discuss this, but no, dude. No.|
|29||Luke Gregerson||OAK||NR||Sigh. No, I don't know who will get Oakland saves, just like last week.|
|30||Jim Johnson||OAK||NR||Gregerson has been getting the opportunities, but Johnson has been better of late.|
|7||Aroldis Chapman||CIN||7||His return draws ever nearer.|
|16||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||18||Like I said, short-term, go for it, but regression will bite eventually.|
|19||Mark Melancon||PIT||NR||On talent, he'd rank higher, but Grilli still might be heard from.|
|23||Jim Johnson||OAK||29||Look, I don't know about Oakland. Stop asking me, it makes me sad.|
|28||Fernando Rodney||SEA||23||How many more Rodney-esque outings before Danny Farquhar gets his chance?|
|29||Chad Qualls||HOU||NR||Josh Fields has been pretty danged bad lately; I guess it's Qualls' time.|
|30||Pedro Strop||CHC||30||Best of a bad lot in Chicago, and now Jose Veras is hurt.|