What did John Axford's recovery do for his job security?
If people want to believe it cemented the gig, let them. After all, it's hard to devalue a reliever with a set job, at least one that's validated in his manager's eyes. To cap the Canadian's up-and-down 2012, Ron Roenicke handed duties back to Axford late last summer and was rewarded with a 2.93 September-October ERA, which will ease skip's concerns.
Estrada must prove himself - again
Observant and tempered fantasy gamers shouldn't erase theirs, though. His walk rate, even when he turned things around, remained in the class of Carlos Marmol and Brian Wilson. See that 20.26 pitches per inning pitched that he posted. Of the three seasons in which Axford has closed, he has logged two with a 4.19 BB/9 or higher.
The 1.30 HR/9 and 19.2 HR/FB that plagued his line weren't ridiculous, either, despite his continued grounder inducement and revived low-zone targeting. His enemies' rate of infield flies was nearly cut in half to 5.8, and the liner rate went up to 24.0 from 15.2. Whether by a loft or a rope, he was hit much harder than he was in other years. Those problems remained even during his rebound in the final month-plus and will materialize in some form as long as he's active.
In most rooms, the surcharge for perceived employment safety cancels out any profit that the righty could offer because of his strikeouts. The difference between Ax and the numerous other midrange RPs with SVOs is miniscule, so your ROI has a palpable chance of disappointing your wallet.
Jim Henderson and Brandon Kintzler aren't household names that prompt Roenicke to question himself at the outset. However, they're intriguing enough to say that Ax will need to sustain his inflated fall improvements and conserve his manager's cuticles to lock this one down for an entire campaign. The best time to invest comes when your room's market price takes a dive. Aggressively driving his bandwagon into elite pastures will crash your roster.
Where do Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers go from here?
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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