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Key Stats: Forget that he plays for the Royals. Forget that he isn’t as “established” as the other guys in his tier. Joakim Soria had 42 saves, 66 Ks, a 1.60 ERA and 0.85 WHIP last year. You don’t need to know anything else. This guy is good and because he isn’t famous yet or maybe because he plays for the Royals he doesn’t get respect. Whatever. Vladimir Guerrero used to play in Montreal and got no respect too.

Skeptics Say: Soria is a reliever. The longer the Royals let him throw, the worse he threw. This is something out of a fantasy owner’s grasp, but hope that he doesn’t need too many pitches. From pitches 16-30 the ERA was at 3.68 and it was over 7 there after.

Peer Comparison: After finding out Jeremy Gray was getting married Chazz Reinhold exclaimed, “What? What an idiot! Oh what a loser. Good, good more for me and you.” That’s kind of the way I feel about Eric Karabell and other experts who believe that saves are saves anyway you get them.

Comparing Soria to Brian Wilson there was really no difference in terms of saves last season; however, other stats were altered greatly by their performance. Let’s say two teams had team ERAs of 3.90 outside of Wilson and Soria in a rotisserie league that allowed for a 1700 maximum innings requirement. The team that had Soria would finish at 3.81 and the team that had Wilson would finish at 3.93.

Do you think that .12 is not a big difference? Fantasy baseball like any other sport is a game of inches, but if .12 wasn’t enough inches in your league think about it like this Karabellians. If you multiply Soria and Wilson’s stats by three (or however many relievers you carry on a team) the ERA gap widens even more. Think about this same test for WHIP. Think about it for strikeouts. You can’t just draft relievers for saves – especially in the age of pitch counts and situational relievers.

Save Chance Outlook: After being named to the All Star game and not slowing down any thereafter, Soria is locked in as the closer. The Royals brand seems to be in a positive transition with Zack Greinke’s recent deal. Soria got over 40 saves last season so getting around that on what should be a better team is reasonable.

What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #5 Closer and #72 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #9 Closer and #105 Overall;ESPN: #4 Closer; Yahoo: #6 Closer and #99 Overall

Projection: He’s young and has shown no signs of breaking down. Pretty safe bet compared to the likes of David Ortiz and Carlos Delgado who will be picked ahead of him.
39 saves 2 wins 2.15 ERA 0.96 WHIP 71K in 68.2 innings

5 Responses to No. 66 Joakim Soria RP Kansas City Royals

  1. Charlie Saponara says:

    First of all, I can’t believe I chimed in before Dave on the Soria post!!!!

    Second, I completely agree. Saves are saves, but there are four other categories in a standard league. With relievers a lot of the time ERA and WHIP go hand in hand. Besides, I’ve made the argument in my “Saves and Opportunity” article that save opportunities are random at best. When looking at a closer throw the SV totals out the window and focus on the other numbers.

  2. Schruender says:

    You’re right saves are random. Soria and Brian Wilson getting 40 plus saves for teams that won less than 50% on the season says it all.

    You can go back and look at this with so many teams. When all things are equal, then take the closer for the better team. There aren’t too many cases in baseball when “all things are equal.”

  3. Dave says:

    At no. 68, that puts Soria around the fifth round in a twelve team league. Seems like a pretty fair value to me, maybe even a little higher than I expected to be honest! It certainly makes me feel a little better about keeping him in my keeper league (number four of my four keepers). It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but not as bad as I would have thought. Makes it justifiable at least in my mind.

    “Skeptics Say: Soria is a reliever. The longer the Royals let him throw, the worse he threw. This is something out of a fantasy owner’s grasp, but hope that he doesn’t need too many pitches. From pitches 16-30 the ERA was at 3.68 and it was over 7 there after.”

    I wonder if this is true for other closers as well, if only for how closers get used. One inning specialists for the most part. A high pitch count may simply mean that the closer is pitching into trouble, not necessarily wearing down easy. I say this too because Soria was a starter in the Mexican Winter Leagues prior to 2007. I suppose he’s now conditioned to be a closer, but it wasn’t too long ago that he could stretch out for a good nine innings .

    Good stats to know though, and well written summary.

  4. Dave says:

    Oh yeah, and who’d have thought I’d get beat to the punch on this guy!

  5. Schruender says:

    I bet it is true of closers and relievers in general that they get worse the longer they are left in. I really had trouble finding a weakness with Soria. I’m not saying he’s the best player or anything like that, but what you saw last year and in 2007 is essentially what you should get this year.

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