No, you’re not crazy, there are more no-hitters and no-hit bids in MLB than usual and here’s why

Tuesday night, Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton threw the sixth no-hitter in franchise history and the third no-hitter in baseball already this season. There was only one no-hitter last year. The 2018 season is six weeks old and already there have been three no-hitters. Huh.

After Paxton no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson flirted with a perfect game against the San Diego Padres — the Padres have already been on the wrong end of one no-hitter this year — before it was broken up in the seventh inning. A no-hitter and a perfect game on the same day would’ve been something else.

Saying it feels like a daily occurrence that someone gets through six innings without allowing a hit would only be a slight exaggeration this season. It’s been happening fairly regularly.

From @SlangsOnSports: After James Paxton’s no-hitter last night, fhe Nationals’ Jeremy Hellickson generated the 20th no-hit bid of at least six innings this season. There were 24 all of last season.

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 9, 2018

I suppose it should not be a surprise there have been so many no-hit bids early this season. Non-pitchers have a mere .248 batting average this year, which is the lowest in baseball since the league hit .245 in 1968, the year before the mound was lowered. I suspect the league batting average will increase in the summer months, but right now, getting a hit is really hard.

There are a few reasons for this, of course. Strikeouts continue to increase — hitters are striking out in 22.7 percent of their plate appearances this season, which would set a new all-time record for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons — and infield shifts are widespread. Heck, there are outfield shifts nowadays too.

Makes sense, right? Put defenders where the hitter is most likely to hit the ball. I’m surprised it took baseball this long to catch on. The shift takes away hits. That’s what it does.

The league is hitting .294 when a ball is put in play this season. That is down from .300 the last two years though, historically, it’s not unusual. The league batting average on balls in play has been sitting in the .290-.300 range for a few decades now. It’s in the lower end of that range in 2018, but again, once the weather warms up, I think we’ll see an uptick.

So, if balls in play are falling for hits at what can be considered a normal rate, why is the league batting average so low? Because fewer balls are being put in play, that’s why. So far this season only 67.4 percent of all plate appearances end with a ball being put in play. That is an all-time low.

Here, to really drive home the point, is the percentage of plate appearances that end with a ball in play over the last 100 years:

pa-with-balls-in-play.jpg

Fewer plate appearances are ended with a ball in play than ever before.
CBS Sports

You can see the spike in balls in play after the mound was lowered in 1968 — that was the entire point of lowing the moundl! — but, generally speaking, it’s been a gradually trend downward over the last century. The last few seasons have been especially drastic. We’ve gone from 72.2 percent in 2010 to 67.4 percent in 2018. Nearly a five percentage point drop in less than a decade.

Is the decline in balls in play leading to the early season spike in no-hitters, or just the fact that there seems to be a serious no-hit bid every other day? Yeah, it is, to some degree. Likely a small degree, yes, but it is absolutely a factor. Fewer balls in play means fewer chances for a base hit. It’s quite simple.

Going nine innings without a hit is an anomaly — a tremendous accomplishment for the pitcher, for sure, but it is an anomaly, and that’s what’s what makes it fun — and it is possible, if not extremely likely, that we will go the entire season without another no-hitter. MLB has gone two-plus years between no-hitters on multiple occasions and it could happen again, for sure.

No-hitters may be an anomaly, but I do think all these no-hit bids we’ve seen this season — those games where the pitcher doesn’t allow his first hit until the seventh or eighth inning — are a symptom of larger problems.

  1. There are a lot of strikeouts in baseball now and fewer balls being put in play.
  2. Many teams are rebuilding and thus running weak lineups out there on an everyday basis.

The Padres are in the middle of a deep rebuild and they currently have baseball’s highest strikeout rate (27.2 percent) and third lowest batting average (.226). I reckon Hellickson’s perfect game bid Tuesday night won’t be the last time San Diego is on no-hit watch this year, and hey, maybe last week’s no-hitter won’t be the last time they get no-hit. Fewer balls in play and bad teams are a great combination for no-hit bids.

No-hitters are a lot of fun, and in this age where pitchers are kept on strict pitch limits and bullpens are so involved, individual no-hitters like Paxton’s or Sean Manaea’s are really cool. Who doesn’t like to see history? No-hitters don’t happen all the time, however. The fact remains that there are fewer balls in play and less action on the field than ever before right now, and in the age of short attention spans, that lack of activity can be bad for baseball.

The Pelicans defied all expectations, but now the DeMarcus Cousins problem looms this offseason

After DeMarcus Cousins went down with a torn Achilles in the final seconds of a game against the Houston Rockets at the end of January, the Pelicans were thought to be sunk. They were eking their way into the playoffs at the time, and many thought that it was time to pack it up and start thinking about next season after they had Cousins locked up on a max contract.

What did the team do instead? Dell Demps unloaded Omer Asik’s nightmare contract to the Bulls to pick up Nikola Mirotic, they ripped off 20 wins in their last 28 games (including a five-game win streak to end the season), and they made the playoffs as the No. 6 seed. There, they shocked everyone by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers before losing in five games to a Warriors team that’s, in a word, better. They ended the season with a furious fourth quarter against the Warriors in Game 5 that saw them outscore Golden State 29-18.

But now, things get hard. The Pelicans aren’t ready to play with the best teams in the Western Conference, and this season was always going to come down to the Warriors and the Rockets. But the Pelicans showed that they can play great basketball. Anthony Davis is locked up until 2020 with a player option that would keep him through 2021, and Jrue Holiday is signed until 2021 with a player option for 2022 as well. Both players have more than earned those contracts. But Cousins is an unrestricted free agent, which raises the question: Should they risk giving Cousins a max contract, and how would that shake things up for the Pelicans moving forward?

The case for Cousins

Boogie can be a game-changer. He and Davis were on a historic pace playing together, and his injury forced the Pelicans to change the way they play. Yes, Mirotic was excellent when he was plugged into the starting lineup at the end of the regular season — and he was a huge reason for the Pelicans beating the Trail Blazers in four straight games — but when he went cold against Golden State, it showed. Mirotic went back to a 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc, but it was his streakiness that got the Pelicans into trouble. On top of that, in Game 5, the Pelicans had just four offensive rebounds to the Warriors’ 12, a problem that dated back to 2016 that Cousins assuaged, hauling in 2.2 offensive rebounds per game in the games he played this year.

There’s also a bigger-game factor in signing Cousins: It placates Davis on a few levels. Anthony Davis can opt out in the summer of 2020, and even if he wants to stay in New Orleans, there’s little reason not to opt out, because he will have looks from every team if he does. Davis has long said he doesn’t want to play a true center game, and he’s expressed a desire to keep Cousins in New Orleans. Before the All-Star break, around the time of Cousins’ injury, Davis had 9.6 touches per game in the paint, 6.4 post-ups, and 4.5 elbow touches. 

Cousins allowed Davis to play stretch in a way he wasn’t able to in his career. However, after the All-Star break, Davis had 11.3 paint touches, 6.7 post-ups and four elbow touches. Forcing Davis to play in the paint all game takes away one of his defining traits, which is the ability to spread the floor and play four-out one-in with Cousins inside.

The other part of this is a relative lack of depth at center. The Pelicans have Alexis Ajinca and Mirotic on contract next season, but coach Alvin Gentry was reluctant to put Mirotic in the starting lineup. Once he did it paid dividends, but the ability to play him off the bench is beneficial for New Orleans. The lineup of Rajon Rondo, Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Davis and Cousins played 26 games together in the regular season, going 17-9. That lineup could be within their grasp next year, and having Holiday, Davis and Cousins together creates that “Big 3” everyone is so obsessed with in today’s NBA.

The case against Cousins

Money, plain and simple. The arguments about Davis and Cousins not being able to coexist have largely been put to bed, although there is a question of how much better the Pelicans are with them both on the floor. New Orleans scored 111.3 points per game before the All-Star break and 112.6 per game after it. Davis and Cousins are both decent enough shooters that they can space the floor — this isn’t the 2014-15 Pistons with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe — and Cousins is one of the best passing bigs in the NBA. The real question is how much better does Cousins actually make the Pelicans when Davis ends up essentially replicating his production alongside whoever ends up playing the five? Cousins was averaging 25.2 points per game, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists alongside Davis’ 26.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and and 2.5 assists. After Cousins went down, Davis lost his mind, putting up 30.2 points per game and 11.9 rebounds.

More than that, the Pelicans had some floor chaos alleviated. The ball was proliferated better, and with four-out one-in and Davis in the paint, they played better on the perimeter while giving Davis post-up isolation. The biggest thing we saw in the postseason was the Pelicans pushing the pace constantly, going on runs that way. That’s how they beat the Warriors in Game 3. The Pelicans averaged 13.3 fast break points per game before the All-Star break. After the break, they led the league with 19.9 fast break points per game. At the time of their exit, they led all postseason teams with 18.1. The had the fastest pace of any team in the playoffs. Cousins can’t run the floor the way that that pace dictates, and coming off of a torn Achilles that’s going to be even more of an issue.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported during the postseason that the Pelicans are unlikely to offer Cousins a max deal due to their success without him. If another suitor enters the fray — remembering what is presumed to be a limited market for Cousins — the Pelicans may find themselves unable to compete if they’re only willing to offer a two or three-year deal. Also, keeping in mind that the Pelicans have never had the opportunity to shuffle a Davis-Cousins-Mirotic trio, that opportunity may help, but it also may not be worth the risk if a team starts offering four to five year deals for a player that’s been in the league for eight years, even if he will only be 28. The Pelicans would be pushed up against the tax in that situation, which Demps has avoided in the past.

Where it gets messy

Letting Cousins go isn’t a trade-off. They can’t use a bunch of saved salary cap money to go and get players to fill out a bench that needs filling out or another top-tier wing. They may dangle Moore as a trade piece, but that’s a whole other conversation. The Pelicans are in a salary cap bind with Holiday and Davis tying up most of their cap. That isn’t a bad thing, both players have played up to their contracts, but even with all of the talk about stylistic fit with Cousins, the bottom line is this: He makes the Pelicans more talented. This is a small-market team that showed it can, if nothing else, get itself into a position to play the elites of the conference. The Warriors’ series likely doesn’t end different if Cousins can play, but it does change the conversation around the series from “can Mirotic keep shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc” to “how does the Pelicans’ Big 3 stack up against the Warriors’ death lineup.”

The Pelicans have built their team different from the NBA norm. Where the Rockets and Warriors have loaded up on shooters and small ball while the league has followed suit, the Pelicans have added size to their roster. The problem with that strategy, of course, is that three points is still worth more than two.

New Orleans was built under the assumption that Davis is the future, and it traded for Cousins during the 2017 All-Star break to help solidify that future. Cousins’ presence allowed Davis to play happy and in a style that he liked. However, now the Pelicans must walk that balance between keeping their superstar happy and doing what’s best for the team. Should they let Cousins walk, Davis may not be thrilled at the front office defying his wishes. However, as we saw at the end of this season, it could allow the Pelicans to play their best basketball.

Chester Rogers early fav for Colts’ No. 2 WR – Chester Rogers | IND

The Indianapolis Star’ Zak Keefer believes Chester Rogers is the “leading candidate” to be the Colts’ No. 2 receiver.

With Donte Moncrief off to Jacksonville, Rogers and free-agent pickup Ryan Grant are going to compete for the No. 2 gig. Rogers has the early edge as one of GM Chris Ballard’s favorites and seems to be picking up coach Frank Reich’s offense quickly, as the self-proclaimed “top of the class” among the receivers in the classroom this offseason. Rogers’ 2017 was derailed by a summer hamstring strain. The 24-year-old has taken up Pilates to combat the issue. May 9 – 11:37 AM

2018 French Open odds, picks: Red-hot tennis expert says Rafael Nadal primed for an upset

The 2018 French Open starts May 21 on the clay at Roland Garros and will attract bets from average Joes to professional bettors. World No. 1 and defending champ Rafael Nadal, seeking an unprecedented 11th French Open title, enters as the odds-on favorite. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Nadal at -250 to win the year’s second tennis major, meaning you have to risk $250 just to win $100.

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, both 8-1, are the closest contenders. Roger Federer, who won the French Open in 2009, is skipping all clay court events this year and won’t play.

Does anyone besides Nadal have a serious shot? Renowned tennis bettor Sean Calvert thinks so. And you’ll want to hear what he says given the streak he’s on.

Last month, Calvert called John Isner winning the Miami Open at 100-1 — a life-changing payout for those who followed Calvert’s advice. In March, he nailed Juan Martin Del Porto winning Indian Wells at 10-1.

An unparalleled tennis analyst, Calvert has been cashing huge payouts for six straight years. Some of his legendary calls include Stan Wawrinka winning the 2014 Australian Open at 60-1 and Jack Sock winning the 2017 Paris Masters at 80-1. In last year’s French Open, Calvert profited a whopping 16 units.

Now, Calvert has analyzed the latest 2018 French Open odds and locked in bets on five players. None of them is Nadal. They range from moderate to monumental long shots, including a rising star with 60-1 odds. Calvert says all five are serious contenders — no matter what oddsmakers say.

We’ll give one away: Calvert likes Dominic Thiem (8-1) as a potential French Open winner, noting he’s one of only four players to have beaten Nadal twice on clay since 2014.

Calvert is equally high on four other players not named Nadal, including a 60-1 long shot. Anyone who backs him could net a monster payday.

Who wins the French Open? What massive long shots should you jump on now? Visit SportsLine now to see Sean Calvert’s picks, all from the acclaimed expert who crushed the French Open last year and just cashed in huge on John Isner winning the Miami Open at 100-1.

PGA Tour DFS, Players Championship 2018: Best DraftKings, FanDuel daily fantasy golf picks include Tiger Woods

Before you set your PGA Tour DFS lineups on DraftKings or FanDuel for the 2018 Players Championship, you need to hear what Mike McClure has to say. McClure is a DFS pro with more than $1 million in career winnings and he’s off to a red-hot start on his PGA Tour picks this year.

Last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, McClure locked in Luke List as a value pick at just $9,700 on Fan Duel and $7,400 on DraftKings. The result: List shot 70 or better in three of his four rounds on his way to a score of 5 under par and a top-10 finish. Anybody who had him in their lineup was well on their way to a profitable weekend.

Now McClure has set his sights on the Players Championship and revealed his optimal DFS lineups.

One huge name McClure is all over this week: Tiger Woods ($10,900 on FanDuel, $8,600 on DraftKings).

Woods, one of only six players with multiple victories at the Players Championship, is an almost sure-fire bet to be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

Woods is one of the most expensive players on DraftKings and FanDuel this week, but you can afford him if you follow McClure’s roster-building strategy.

One player McClure is avoiding like the plague at TPC Sawgrass this week: Jordan Spieth ($12,300 on FanDuel, $11,100 on DraftKings).

Spieth is among the most expensive players on both sites this week, but has struggled at the Players Championship in recent years, missing the cut in each of his past three starts. McClure sees far better value than Spieth in the 2018 Players Championship field.

McClure is also targeting multiple value picks you’re not even thinking about that will allow you to build a loaded roster with huge potential. Picks like these could be the difference between winning your DFS contests or going home with nothing.

So what lineup should you enter on DraftKings or FanDuel for the Players Championship? And what mid-priced player is the key to victory in DFS? Visit SportsLine now to see the complete optimal tournament lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings, all from the man who has made over $1 million playing DFS, and find out.

Mark Ingram ‘vigorously’ challenging suspension; here’s why he claims he should win

The Saints running game took a big blow on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced Mark Ingram would be suspended the first four games of the 2018 season. Also a loser in this situation? Mark Ingram’s hopes for a new contract.

However, Ingram’s representation issued a statement on Wednesday indicating this will not be the last we’ve heard of Ingram’s battle with the NFL about whether or not he should be suspended.

More specifically, the statement claims that Ingram, while he did test positive, did not test positive for a performance-enhancing substance, but rather “a substance in fact permissible” with an NFL exemption. 

“At the end of the 2017 season, as a result of a NFL mandated drug test, Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance-enhancing substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL. He has vigorously challenged the test results through the arbitration process. The arbitrator’s Opinion is due on or before Wednesday, May 16. Upon having the opportunity to review the arbitrator’s opinion, we will explore what further options are needed.”

In a statement from Mark Ingram’s reps, it reads:

Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance enhancing substance, nor an illegal substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL pic.twitter.com/mvYeozV3OK

— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) May 9, 2018

Without trying to play the role of pharmacist here, it sure does sound like this could be something that would classify as a PED, but also something that is prescribed by a doctor and, therefore, if the NFL is alerted ahead of time and the player is given the exemption to use it, perfectly legal under NFL standards. 

Back in 2013, then-Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was suspended for taking Adderall, but later had his suspension overturned. After the fact, Sherman said there are a lot of players in the league who are prescribed the ADD medication. (A newspaper claimed he said “over half” but Sherman later denied it.) We saw plenty of features on the drug at the time, but it’s sort of cooled down recently in terms of a thing people talk about around the NFL. 

Not saying this is what Ingram was suspended for, but it’s a similar situation in that he apparently believes he is cleared to use whatever he was suspended for by the NFL. 

If that’s the case, or if there was a situation where he had a mishandled sample, etc., we could easily see Ingram back on the field for Week 1.

One problem: it seems odd the case would go to an arbitrator if Ingram has a permission slip (for lack of a better phrase) to use whatever he got popped for. Maybe that’s just the protocol and it could be that this time next week we’re talking about Ingram’s suspension being overturned. 

It could also be another fun offseason of seeing a prominent NFL running back battle the league in court over a suspension. It’s hard to believe this is the second-weirdest thing to happen to Ingram this offseason.

2018 Players Championship: Jordan Spieth says event is one of the toughest tests in golf

Paul Casey has withdrawn from the 2018 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass with a bad back, which means all of the top 50 players in the world will not actually play this week. That number is now 49, which is unfortunate for Casey (who has been awesome in 2018) but not much more than a statistical footnote for the tournament as a whole.

Paul Casey (back) withdraws from @THEPLAYERSChamp, which means we no longer have all top 50 in OWGR in the field. Would have been the first time it happened since 2016 U.S. Open.

— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) May 9, 2018

With a field that is either the deepest or second deepest over the course of the season, it’s not a difficult argument to make that The Players is the hardest golf tournament in the world to win. Maybe that’s why only five golfers have ever done it twice (since the tournament moved to TPC Sawgrass in the early 1980s) and nobody has done it more than twice.

Jordan Spieth spoke on this subject on Tuesday, and his insight was helpful and formative in terms of the way we think about this event vs. the four majors.

“At this point in my career, I obviously have the PGA circled,” said Spieth, who only needs the PGA Championship for the career slam. “I think it just kind of depends who it is and what’s happened.

“… I have not won The Players, and we look at this tournament up there in about equal value with the major championships. The only thing that holds it away from being a major is simply people jotting down how many majors people won. 

“It is one of the toughest tests in golf with potentially the best field in golf. I think it is the best golf in all of golf. If you win here, you can win anywhere else. There is no added thing that any other tournament brings that this tournament doesn’t have. Therefore, guys like Rickie [Fowler], who kind of catches some slack for having not won a major yet, essentially he’s won what’s harder to win than a major: The Players.”

I agree with Spieth’s take here, even though from a very technical standpoint, the PGA Championship is probably slightly more difficult. The point is that we get all caught up in what’s denoted a major and what’s not, and we forget that it was all arbitrary to begin with. Fifty years from now, The Players might be a major based on what somebody in the media in 2068 says or thinks.

Tournaments are made by who shows up, and despite Casey’s WD, this one remains a crown jewel that anybody in the field would love to add to their resume.

NHL Playoffs 2018: TV schedule for conference finals, bracket, scores, series results, odds

So what side should you back? And where does the value lie? Visit SportsLine to get NHL odds and picks for every Stanley Cup Playoff game, all from the advanced computer model on a red-hot 21-8 NHL run.  

Five teams remain in pursuit of the Stanley Cup after the Capitals exorcised their second-round demons on Monday night and eliminated the rival Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champions, in overtime of Game 6. Elsewhere, the Predators made good on P.K. Subban’s Game 6 guarantee with a dominating 4-0 win in Winnipeg to force a deciding Game 7 back in Nashville. The puck is set to drop on the final game of the second round on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

Below you’ll find the full playoff schedule, bracket (and results), which will be updated as the postseason progresses. Stay with CBS Sports for your Stanley Cup playoff coverage and analysis, and check out CBS HQ for daily highlights and breakdowns.

How to watch

TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, NHL Network, SN  
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App

(All times ET)

* – If necessary

Bracket

2018-nhl-bracket-caps.png

Conference finals

Friday, May 11

Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Saturday, May 12

Vegas Golden Knights at TBD, 7 p.m. — NBC, TVA Sports

Sunday, May 13

Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Monday, May 14

Vegas Golden Knights at TBD, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Tuesday, May 15

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Wednesday, May 16

TBD at Vegas Golden Knights, 9 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Thursday, May 17

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Friday, May 18

TBD at Vegas Golden Knights, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Saturday, May 19

*Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:15 p.m. — NBC, TVA Sports

Sunday, May 20

*Vegas Golden Knights at TBD, 3 p.m. — NBC, TVA Sports

Monday, May 21

*Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Tuesday, May 22

*TBD at Vegas Golden Knights, 9 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Wednesday, May 23

*Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Thursday, May 24

*Vegas Golden Knights at TBD, 8 p.m. — NBCSN, TVA Sports

Second round 

Thursday, April 26

Friday, April 27

Saturday, April 28

Sunday, April 29

Monday, April 30

Tuesday, May 1

Wednesday, May 2

Thursday, May 3

Friday, May 4

Saturday, May 5

Sunday, May 6

Monday, May 7

Thursday, May 10

  • Winnipeg Jets at Nashville Predators, 8 p.m.

Opening round

Wednesday, April 11

Thursday, April 12

Friday, April 13

Saturday, April 14

Sunday, April 15

Monday, April 16

Tuesday, April 17

Wednesday, April 18

Thursday, April 19

Friday, April 20

Saturday, April 21

Sunday, April 22

Wednesday, April 25

NHL Playoffs odds

Here’s a look at each team’s projected odds to advance via SportsLine, not to mention their odds to win not only their conference, but also the Stanley Cup.  

Ingram appealing ban, says he had exemption – Mark Ingram | NO

Mark Ingram is appealing his four-game PEDs suspension.

In a statement, Ingram’s agent said his client had a “proper use exemption” for the substance which Ingram tested positive. “At the end of the 2017 season, as a result of a NFL mandated random drug test, Mark tested positive for a substance that was not a performance enhancing substance, nor an illegal substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL,” Ingram’s agent said. A decision from an arbitrator is due by May 16. May 9 – 10:49 AM

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Seung Hwan Oh could be Blue Jays new closer

More Fantasy Baseball: Matt Adams worth the hype?

With news coming Tuesday that Roberto Osuna was put on administrative leave for the foreseeable future, we have a closer opening in Toronto. And if any team has a stable of relievers with experience closing, it’s the Blue Jays. 

  • John Axford has 144 career saves and led the National League with 46 saves in 2011. He also has a 1.56 ERA in 17.1 innings so far in 2018.
  • Tyler Clippard has 61 career saves, including 32 in 2012 for the Washington Nationals. Clippard has a 1.47 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 18.1 innings this year.
  • Seung Hwan Oh has only been in the majors for a little more than two years, but already has 40 saves. But he had 277 saves in nine years in the KBO. He has a 1.76 ERA over 15.1 innings this year.

For his part, Jays manager John Gibbons was noncommittal when asked who is closer will be moving forward.

“We’ll see how the game develops, you know?” Gibbons said. “See what it takes to get to that ninth inning, but we’ve got a few guys who could do it.”

That makes sense, and I wouldn’t be surprised if multiple guys get saves for the Blue Jays in the next month, but I’m betting on Oh getting the first crack at it. He has the most recent success in the role and the most extensive closing history, even if most of it was overseas. I’m trying to add Oh in any categories league that I can get my hands on him, but I’m also willing to speculate on Clippard or Axford (in that order) if I miss out. All three of these guys have been good enough early on to think they could help in ratios while Gibbons figures out who his guy is.

Here are three other waiver wire adds for Wednesday:

Since the start of the 2017 season, Matt Adams has played in 161 games. He has a .281 average with 30 home runs and 89 RBI. His .375 wOBA, is the 25th best mark in baseball. His .564 slugging percentage ranks even higher, 10th amongst players with at least 450 plate appearances. He’s been absolutely elite, and people keep giving up on him. The Nationals seem intent on not making that mistake. 

On Tuesday, they even started him against a lefty, with Ryan Zimmerman at first base and Adams in left field. If he’s playing everyday, he needs to be 100 percent owned. Scott White wrote more about Adams here if you want read Scott’s thoughts.

I’ve waited a while to do this, because I really can’t believe it. But it looks like Alex Gordon is back. Gordon has a .321/.361/.474 slash line and has been absolutely raking since returning from the disabled list. Since April 24, he’s 21 for 58 with three home runs and two doubles. 

Gordon’s peripherals are strange, but encouraging enough that he should be more than seven percent owned. His hard contact rate is way up, as is his line drive rate. Gordon isn’t walking at all, which is weird, but his strikeouts are way down as well. 

Gordon is still best served for points leagues, which means he’ll only be owned in deeper leagues. 

Luis Guillorme is apparently being called up by the Mets, and he’s less than one percent owned, so we need to talk about him.

Guillermo is a glove-first middle infielder with good contact skills and a good grasp of the strike zone. He has almost no power and hasn’t shown a lot of speed in the minors either. He could be a decent source of power if he gets regular playing time, but the Mets already have too many infielders. I’m adding him in NL-Only leagues and checking my deep Dynasty leagues to see if he’s owned.