Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: What's in a Save when Brandon League is Ruining your Fantasy Team?

 This was the only handshake Brandon League would get last night in LA. (espn.com)
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

If there's one thing that could ruin Puig-a-rama in LA, it's Brandon League. The woe-not yet-begone closer of choice for the Dodgers blew his 4th save of the season last night. Even worse, he did so coming off a 3-hit game from Yasiel Puig and took a win away from the holiest of holys Clayton Kershaw. If there was ever a time to seriously consider preemtively dropping League, it's now.

League had been working off of 7 straight appearances that didn't lead to a Dodgers L (5 saves, 1 win, 1 blown save), so there is still a little bit of juice to squeeze from this closer, but it's not looking bright. The plague that is Brandon League has been infecting fantasy owners all season. Either you have him and he's scuffling his way to 13 saves with a 6.00 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and a barely there 4.88 K/9, or you have Kenley Jansen waiting in the wings and have been begging and pleading for LA manager Don Mattingly to let the other blue glove drop and bring in the big man for 9th inning duties. Either way, it's about time to accept that League as the closer isn't going to work out.

Sure, many have said this for quite some time. Many ever since the Dodgers signed League to a ridiculous $22M contract in the off-season after the Dodgers acquired League mid-season. I guess the LA brass shook free a couple of coins from their Aston Martin's cup holder and it was burning a hole in their pockets.

Jansen served admirably last year as closer with 25 saves and dialed up 99 Ks. However, continual hear murmurs put him out of commission during the end of the year, and it appears the Dodgers didn't want their closer to be a question mark. So against common sense, League took the reigns in April.

It really hasn't been as brutal as everyone makes it out to be for League. He's only blown 4 saves this year with most of the damage being done in non-closer related work, but the peripherals all speak to his inability to get the outs necessary to close out games. It's been a smoke and mirrors act thus far for League, which is disappointing as he does sling a mid-90's sinker and did very well filling in for Jansen at the end of 2012. 

The biggest reason the be-Leaguered have pointed to League keeping the gig is his paycheck, but with the Dodgers losing, Puig looking to bump $85 million man Andre Ethier to the pine most certainly in the case of League's job security (as in many) money is not an issue for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As a League owner in many formats, I took this oppotunity to purge him from my roster - if anything just out of frustration. I'm usually carrying 3-4 closers on a team, and if I could cut bait on League for (I'm fully expecting Jansen to be already owned) Rex Brothers, Vinny Pestano, Trevor Rosenthal, or a Justin Wilson type, or adding another good position player or starter; I am.

I think Jansen will be used in high leverage situations: 8th inning, 1-run leads, or now if League lets a couple runners on. Ultimately, it will take League to bomb out in multiple outings for the axe to finally fall, but for my WHIP and ERA I'm not waiting. The saves at this point aren't worth the aggravation of holding onto League. I'm only keeping him on teams where I'm desperate for saves and there are no other options. Even in those leagues I may waiver a bit. 

I was a believer in League heading into the season. I didn't think it'd be pretty. I knew Jansen would have the nicer numbers, but when things are going this polar you can't keep expecting League to get the call.



The Funkman says: "This is unbelievable. Brandon League, for shame!"

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