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Roto Roundup: Blown Saves Galore, Brad Miller, Nathan Eovaldi and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Wednesday's MLB action, including Brad Miller, Nathan Eovaldi, and lots of blown saves.


Ray makes an appearance on SiriusXM Fantasy radio

Just a quick plug: I made an appearance on The Drive SiriusXM Fantasy radio show on Tuesday night, chatting with Ray Flowers and Kyle Effrink about some daily fantasy plays, including Nathan Eovaldi, Brett Anderson, the Rockies center field situation, and C.C. Sabathia.

Hopefully, I can contribute to their show in the future.

Additionally, I will be making an appearance on Joe Pisapia and Dan Strafford's show on SiriusXM Fantasy radio on a Saturday night in the near future. Their show runs from 10pm - 1am ET.

Finally, make sure you check out the Fantasy Baseball Roundtable podcast over at Blog Talk Radio. I was a guest on the show with Patrick DiCaprio from Fantasy Pros911 and BaseballHQ and Mike Podhorzer from FanGraphs/RotoGraphs. We discussed plenty of topics including one expert leaving $61 on the table in the Tout Wars mixed league auction which I participated in, some advice for fantasy owners looking at April performance, and our thoughts on players like Homer Bailey, Masahiro Tanaka, and much more.

Closer News: Jansen, Nathan, Papelbon, Grilli, Perkins, Johnson and Veras

I am paying attention to closer performance early in April, as we have seen several changes in the closer role in April the past few seasons. And this April is no different, as there were several blown saves and near blown saves over the first few days of the season.

On Tuesday evening, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen loaded the bases with two outs before getting out of the jam by striking out Nick Hundley to end the game and earn his second save of the season. He gave up singles to Yonder Alonso and Will Venable, then walked Yasmani Grandal with two outs, before striking out Hundley. He was a little wild so it is something I will watch in the next few appearances.

Tigers new closer Joe Nathan spoiled a gem by Tigers ace Max Scherzer on Wednesday afternoon, by giving up the tying run in the ninth inning. Nathan came on to preserve a one run lead, and proceeded to give up a run on a hit and two walks, and no strikeouts. Not a good start for the Tigers new closer.

J.J. Hoover may not be long for the Reds closer role according to Joe Kay, an Associated Press sportswriter in Cincinnati:

Would be sounds like he would be given the closer job once he comes off the disabled list, which is something I was thinking about on Tuesday, as Broxton has more closer experience. Is manager Bryan Price following in Dusty Baker's footsteps here?

Broxton may get the closer gig, but Hoover has more closer skills right now, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Twins closer Glen Perkins blew his first save chance of the season, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk. Set up man Jared Burton wasn't much better as he gave up a home run to Adam Dunn in the eighth inning. Perkins signed a contract extension in the offseason, so he will have a long leash in the closer role should he continue to blow saves.

A closer who may not have a long leash is Pirates closer Jason Grilli. Grilli came on in the ninth to preserve a one run lead and proceeded to give up the tying run on three hits. Lucky for Grilli, set up am Mark Melancon also gave up a run on two hits in his one inning of work.

And then there is Phillies closer Jonathon Papelbon. What he did last night is give new Phillies manager Ryan Sandberg an ulcer. Papelbon came on to preserve not a one run lead, but a two run lead, and all he did was blow the save by giving up three runs on four hits and two walks. He made 21 pitches and allowed six base runners. Wow. His time in the closer role may be nearing an end this season.

Cubs closer Jose Veras wasn't as bad as Papelbon, but he needed 38 pitches to get three outs, but not without blowing the save opportunity by giving up the tying run on a hit and two walks. I doubt we see him pitching in the ninth later today after throwing 38 pitches.

A's closer Jim Johnson now leads the majors in blown saves with two in his first two opportunities. Johnson was called to pitch the ninth inning with the A's winning 4-3 and got just one out, while giving up three runs on three hits and two walks. It might be time to grab Sean Doolittle or Luke Gregerson to stash, although Gregerson gave up a run in the seventh inning.

Brad Miller: 20 home run bat at shortstopb

The Mariners-Angels game ended too late for me to write about on Tuesday night, and what I missed was an impressive night from Mariners shortstop Brad Miller. Miller went 2-5 with two home runs and three RBI in the Mariners 8-3 win over the Angels.

Miller was the recipient of plenty of offseason love from fantasy writers this offseason, and his game two performance rewarded those who backed him. In 306 at bats last season, Miller hit .265 with 8 home runs, 41 runs, 36 RBI and 5 stolen bases. That pace would put him at around 15-16 home runs for a full season, but he could surprise with a 20 home run season in 2014.

Nathan Eovaldi: Breakout Candidate

I talked about my love for Nathan Eovaldi on my appearance on The Drive with Ray Flowers and Kyle Effrink on Tuesday evening. Eovaldi was solid on Tuesday night, giving up two runs on six hits, a walk and six strikeouts in six innings of work in the Marlins 4-3 win over the Rockies. On the show, I mentioned that he is a solid pitching target for those that play in daily fantasy games, and that he had worked on developing his off speed offering this offseason, so he could see his strikeout total rise this season.

Eovaldi was also the subject of a David Schoenfield piece on ESPN on Wednesday, and here is an excerpt:

Here's something you probably didn't know: Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi had the highest fastball velocity last season of any pitcher who threw 100 innings. His 96.2 mph average fastball topped the 96.0 mph of the Pirates' Gerrit Cole. Now, we all know velocity isn't everything if you don't have movement and location, but it does speak to Eovaldi's good arm and his potential. What he needs is to refine his command and develop an offspeed speed as a better strikeout weapon (his slider is OK, the curveball needs work). He had a strong 2014 debut, allowing two runs in six innings against the Rockies with one walk and six strikeouts. He still relied a lot on his fastball -- 65 of his 95 pitches were heaters (average: 95.8 mph) -- but he's a guy to keep an eye on.

I think he can be a breakout starter this season, and is one you might want to grab off the waiver wire as he is criminally under-owned at this time.

Now batting sixth, Bryce Harper

I tweeted a few days ago questioning why Nationals manager Matt Williams was batting his best player, Bryce Harper fifth in the lineup. Well, he did himself one better on Wednesday, batting Harper sixth in the the lineup. Against right handed starter Bartolo Colon!

I see Williams coming to his senses at some point, as Harper should be in the three spot in the Nationals lineup, no questions asked. Until then, Harper could see less at bats as the season goes along, hurting his fantasy value.