Back in the spring I introduced a concept I called the 100-K Club. The idea was that it was very likely a faction of closers would record 100 strikeouts and owning at least one in a mixed format would be quite advantageous. Today we’ll take a look back at the hypothesis and see what’s transpired as we approach the quarter pole.
To review the theory, relievers offer more than saves when it comes to accruing rotisserie points. Everything is dependent on where you are in the standings, but a reliever with an ERA below 2.50 and a WHIP less than 1.00 can add 1-3 points in each category as compared to a 3.50/1.15 guy. The extra 20-30 whiffs from a 100-K Club member can do the same.
Once you get past Craig Kimbrel, and perhaps Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, the perception is closers can be grouped in tiers without much heed given to their skills. While in previous seasons this may have been accurate, my contention coming into the current campaign was there is a significant group of closers – the prospective member of the 100-K club - that warranted a higher rank since their contributions transcend saves.
If it was Kimbrel and the rest then you’re only behind the team that has Kimbel and chances are it cost to roster him so that team has fewer assets to use elsewhere. If there were 12 potential members of the 100-K club then everyone would have one and the impact is a wash.
But with something in between, like this season, you could have a jump on half the league while keeping pace with the other half, especially if you acquired a closer that the market did not value as high (Greg Holland, David Robertson, Trevor Rosenthal being the prime candidates). My advice was not necessarily paying market value for Kimbrel, bit in mixed leagues, aim for one of the lesser valued potential 100-K Club candidates. Let’s see how that’s worked out.
First let’s see if the seven closers that were identified as likely members are on pace to eclipse the century mark in whiffs. Keep in mind Chapman and Robertson both had DL stints so they should exceed the prorated number listed.
For what it’s worth, when discussing the concept in the spring Frieri was included due to his elevated strikeout rate. However, he was not recommended as a target due to the exact reasons for which he lost the closer gig in Anaheim then was subsequently traded to Pittsburgh who has since released him.
Considering the above note on Chapman and Robertson, conceptually it’s a pretty good bet at least four will surpass 100 with a decent chance all but Frieri make the grade. Let’s investigate this from a practical sense, using several of my actual leagues as models. I’ll list the top-three teams in the standings from each along with their closers. These are all 15-team mixed leagues.
- Kimbrel, Holland
- Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, Jake Petricka
- Casey Janssen, Francisco Rodriguez
Tout Wars Auction
- Rosenthal, Holland
- No closers
- Koji Uehara, Jake McGee, Santiago Casilla
Tout Wars Draft
- Jansen (Jason Grilli)
- Kimbrel, Casilla
- LaTroy Hawkins, Neftali Feliz
NFBC Main Event
- Rosenthal, Rodney
- Chapman, Robertson
- Zach Britton, Addison Reed, Rafael Soriano
- Cody Allen, Rodney
- Steve Cishek, Huston Street
NFBC Ultimate Auction
- Robertson, Mark Melancon
- Kimbrel, Chapman
- Allen, Cishek
NFBC Draft Championship
- Robertson, Holland, Allen
- Janssen, Uehara
There are 21 teams listed and 11 of them have one of the six closers featured above. This is by no means definitive but it is greater than the number that would be expected to be found randomly. The sample is too small to declare the odds of finishing in the money are greater with a member of the 100-K Club on your side, but it is certainly worth considering.
Next time we’ll take a look at some closers on the fringe of the 100-K Club and some set-up men that qualify based on their whiffs but aren’t getting saves.