By R.J. Anderson //
Charlie Manuel hinted on Tuesday that Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo will be the team’s first choice to close out ballgames in the wake of Ryan Madson being placed on the disabled list. Despite that, Bastardo remains available in two-thirds of ESPN’s fantasy leagues entering Thursday. Is Bastardo worth the addition for potential cheap saves, or do the fantasy owners know something more about him than the Phillies?
The easy answer is that Bastardo is still undervalued. The lefty has a 0.96 earned run average on the season, a 0.86 WHIP, and has more strikeouts than innings pitched. Bastardo’s career splits do not indicate he has much in the way of a platoon split, so the Phillies can use him against lefties and righties without worry. Such flexibility could allow the Phillies to feel more comfortable with Bastardo in the ninth than other options, but it might backfire, and have them using him earlier in the games too.
The drawback to adding Bastardo is that the Phillies have had the third-least save opportunities in baseball, only ahead of the Rays and Dodgers. This is due to a confluence of factors. The Phillies, as a good team, often beat their opponents by more than three runs, and their rotation goes deeper into ballgames, allowing for more complete game opportunities. Add in other stuff—like walk-off wins—and it’s understandable how this can happen.
Adding Bastardo comes down to your league and roster. If Bastardo only holds value as a long-term closer, then consider passing, but if a few saves and holds the rest of the way is just what the doctor ordered, then pick him up and watch him go.
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