Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mailbag: K-Rod chasing Thigpen?

Fantasy Mailbag:

K-Rod (pictured) got another save last night. Any chance he threatens Thigpen's season record?

- Matt

Bobby Thigpen. Wow. That's a blast from the past.

For those of you wondering about Thigpen's whereabouts, he's currently managing for the Bristol (Tenn.) White Sox in the Appalachian Rookie League.

It was 18 years ago when Thigpen recorded a MLB-record 57 saves for the White Sox. Of course, three years later, he had lost the closer job to Roberto Hernandez in 1993 and defying the laws of aging, Hernandez is still pitching today for the Dodgers.

Thigpen played a couple more years for the Daiei Hawks in Japan before fading into the sunset.

But say the name Thigpen nearly two decades later (and after clarifying you're saying Thigpen, not pig pen), most baseball enthusiast knows exactly what MLB record he holds.

K-Rod, aka Francisco Rodriguez, the Angels formerly-goggled wonder who exploding on the scene for the 2002 World Series champs, has been almost automatic since taking over as full-time closer in 2004. The past three seasons he's piled up save totals of 47, 45 and 40.

But 57?

Surprisingly, K-Rod has 10 saves already, including 7 in the last 12 days, despite fighting an ankle injury for most of April. Any other tweaks with that injury and the record is completely out of reach.

Saves, as you know, is a tricky stat to predict. To make a run at Thigpen, you not only need to be a dominate closer, but also have a good setup guy on a team that wins a lot, but plays a lot of nip-and-tuck games. The Angles may be the perfect storm.

They play more like an NL team, utilizing small ball, stealing bases, hit-and-runs, etc. K-Rod would need 60-62 save opportunities in order for this to happen, which is nearly impossible. Especially, considering he's never had more than 67 appearances in any season.

But never say never. I do see a healthy K-Rod finishing with a fantasy-best 51 saves this year.

Find a worried K-Rod owner and see what it'll take to get the "banged up" closer.

And don't mention the word "Thigpen."


Anonymous said...

Wow, you dogged Thigpen like a bad brother-in-law! Toss

buntdouble said...

In doing my own research, I found your article from earlier in the season. I wrote a midseason update on Francisco Rodriguez's bid to break the single season saves record.
take a look!