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David Bednar is a much-overlooked helper

Unless you have one of the best closers (e.g. Josh Hader, Liam Hendriks or Raisel Iglesias), chasing saves can become increasingly tiresome as some MLB managers tend to use a committee approach.

That means saves can come from one place one day and a whole different place the next, making it a lot harder for fantasy managers to find saves (unless you have Nostradamus-like skills – and if you do so, please send Powerball numbers to the email at the bottom of this article).

But how about this: instead of focusing on striving for saves, why not focus on striving for pitchers who can fill the RP slot and give you positive results? Why focus on one stat when you can have someone help you with multiple categories multiple times a week?

Pittsburgh’s David Bednar is entering the season reportedly sharing tighter duties with Chris Stratton, who amassed eight saves on 13 chances in 2021 but was relegated to seventh-inning duty on opening day with a blowout loss.

Despite being part of a potential committee and being on a bad team, fantasy managers shouldn’t ignore Bednar, who remains available in about 70 percent of ESPN leagues.

David Bednar
David Bednar
AP

From Jun. 18 – Oct. 1, Bednar went 3-0 with a 1.01 ERA, three saves, nine holds, and a 43-11 strikeout walk rate over 33 appearances. He limited opponents to .156 and .453 OPS averages during this stretch. Overall, he went 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA, 11.4 strikeouts per nine, 2.8 walks per nine, and a .97 WHIP.

Among pitchers with at least 60 innings in 2021, Bednar ranked 15th in strikeout percentage (32.5), 18th in swinging strike rate (15.6), and had the 19th lowest opponent average (0.184) in the majors.

Bednar looked sharp in six spring appearances, hitting nine over 6 ¹/₃ innings (12.8 per nine), walking two and not allowing runs.

Bednar’s fastball has a top speed of 100 miles per hour and it’s a pitch he uses more than 55 percent of the time. He had a 27.9 percent breath rate and capped opponents to a .195 average over the past year. Opposing racquets also had a lot of trouble with his curveball, a court he used 23.6 percent of the time and hit .128 against with a puff rate of 46.8 percent.

Bednar might not get many saves (this has more to do with being on a terrible team than being on a committee), but he has closer stuff that will help fantasy teams anyway.

Giants: One of the most enticing assists available is flamethrower Camilo Doval (60.7 percent owned by ESPN Leagues), who has a top speed of 102 mph and has had three saves over the past year and hit 12.3 per nine innings. He had a 17-game stretch in which he didn’t concede a earned run, kept his opponents at a .148 average, and had a 27-4 strikeout-to-walk rate. No problem being closer to the Giants, right? Wrongly so, because manager Gabe Kapler doesn’t believe in traditional bullpen roles. So Jake McGee (31 saves in 2021) will get plenty of action, as will Doval and even Tyler Rogers. Despite the committee, Doval should be included on the list.

Camilo Doval
Camilo Doval
USA TODAY sports

Tiger: Gregory Soto, who hit 10.7 of nine shots in 2021 and had 18 saves in 19 attempts, should rank ninth for a much-improved team against Michael Fulmer, whose speed has dropped this spring.

Red: Tony Santillan, who had a 2.91 ERA and had beaten 29.5 percent of the batters he faced in 2021, finished in a clean ninth place (15 pitches, 11 for strikes and two strikeouts) to win the opening day to score a save for Cincinnati. With Lucas Sims (elbow) out it’s unclear if that vaulted the 24-year-old ahead of Art Warren but Santillan is worth watching.

Marlin: Dylan Floro is out with an arm ache meaning Anthony Bender should be lined up for endgame situations… for now.

Boys: David Robertson, not Mychal Givens or Rowan Wick, picked up the Cubs’ first save of the season. The 37-year-old, who seems healthy after a couple of injury-plagued seasons, could very well keep the job and he’s available in more than 90 percent of ESPN leagues.

David Robertson
David Robertson
Getty Images

Father: Robert Suarez is a 31-year-old rookie at the top of the Padres’ depth chart and features in less than 35 percent of ESPN leagues. In four spring games (meaningless, of course) he allowed one deserved run across four innings while striking 15.8 per nine and walking none. Dinelson Lamet could challenge him but Suarez is worth a flyer.

rockies: From 2016 to 2021, Alex Colome made 155 saves with a 2.91 ERA and 8.7 strikeouts per nine. His main rival is Daniel Bard, who had a 5.21 ERA, 11.0 strikeouts per nine and 20 saves in 28 attempts in 2021 Managers chase savings.

Big hits

Tarik Skubal SP, Tigers

The Roto Rage favorite had quite a show season, allowing just two runs over 13 ²/₃ innings (1.32 ERA). He also has a strikeout walk rate of 21-3, 1.17 WHIP and an opponent average of .241.

Byron Buxton OF, twins

Went 15-for-32 (.469) with five home runs, 13 RBIs, eight carries, a stolen base and 1,608 OPS in 12 spring games. If only he could stay healthy.

Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton
AP

Clayton Kershaw SP, Dodgers

Tie for Spring’s lowest opponent average (.154) while hitting 13, walking three and maintaining a 3.09 ERA over 11 ²/₃ innings.

Kyle Higashioka C, Yankees

The Bombers backstop hit .423, drove in 11 runs and hit seven times in just 26 show-at-bats. He also had a 1,695 OPS.

Big puffs

Cody Bellinger OF, Dodgers

In 13 spring games, he went 5-for-36 (.139) with no home runs, an RBI, the league’s worst 18 strikeouts, and a .301 OPS. Hopefully this isn’t a sign that the 2019 NL MVP is coming.

Chris Flexen SP, seafarers

Despite having a solid 13-2 strikeout walk rate over 16 innings, he had a 7.31 ERA and allowed seven home runs and a .294 opponent average.

Chris Flexen
Chris Flexen
USA TODAY sports

Yoan Moncada 3B, White Sox

Had the lowest OPS (.264) of qualified spring hitters. He also went 4-for-33 (.121) with 13 strikeouts in 12 exhibition games.

Brandon Woodruff SP, Brewer

Allowed the second-most earning runs (14) of any pitcher this spring. Opponents hit .308 with six home runs ahead of him in just 11 ²/₃ innings.

Check swings

– Are you still looking for a replacement for Lance Lynn or Jacob deGrom? Consider these widespread guns (owned by 50 percent or less of ESPN leagues): Nick Pivetta, Steven Matz, Patrick Sandoval, or Tylor Megill, who hit six, walked none and picked up a win for the Mets on Thursday.

– After being drafted into the Royals roster after an outstanding spring (.406, three HRs, eight RBIs, two SBs, 1,222 OPS), MLB’s top prospect, Bobby Witt Jr., walked away with an RBI and a run-in 1v4 KC’s opener. That one hit, the first of his career, was a go-ahead double in Thursday’s eighth inning.

– That’s 40! St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright clinched the win against Pittsburgh on Thursday after pitching six shutout innings, striking six and none walking. Albert Pujols, 41, went 0-for-5, and Yadier Molina, 40 on July 13, went 0-for-4 on Old-Timers’…sorry, opening day.

Team Name of the Week

Snell’s like Teen Spirit

https://nypost.com/2022/04/09/fantasy-baseball-david-bednar-is-much-overlooked-reliever/ David Bednar is a much-overlooked helper

JOE HERNANDEZ

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