Commentary

Shandler: Why you don't pay for saves

Updated: September 4, 2007, 2:45 PM ET
By Ron Shandler | Baseball HQ
Back in March, virtually every ESPN writer, to a man, warned you about investing too many draft-day dollars on saves. "Saves are fickle," we said. "You can pick up saves during the regular season." For those in snake draft leagues, we told you not to draft a closer before Round 6 or so.

The track record speaks for itself. The 11-year history listed in the "Baseball Forecaster" shows that, on average, over one-third of the pitchers drafted for saves will go belly-up by the end of the season. That means each dollar you invest in an auction league will return about 67 cents.

But this year seems to be a little different. Many of the low-skilled closers we warned you about have managed to keep their jobs. For pitchers like Ryan Dempster, Joe Borowski and Todd Jones, we advised you to make sure to pick up their bullpen backups. But those speculative investments -- pitchers like Bobby Howry, Tom Mastny and Joel Zumaya -- have provided a grand total of eight saves combined.