When talking about fantasy baseball closers over the years, I often refer to a ninth-inning pitcher's ability to not only have the raw stuff to secure saves amid all the pressure but equally important is to have the mental strength (or the stones if you will) to block out all the noise and get the three outs when the stakes are the highest. There have been countless cases of guys who can throw 100-mph and become virtually unhittable in setup but then turn completely into crap when they move to ninth inning. Case in point appears to be the Los Angeles Dodgers' Scott Alexander who became the team's closer last week when incumbent Kenley Jansen went on the DL with more heart trouble. Going into the stint as closer Alexander had a very good 3.27 ERA. Two appearances with saves on the line later, that ERA shot up to 3.88 as Alexander somehow gave up four earned runs in just 1 IP; with the most vile being the 3-earned run in .2 IP bomb he put forth Monday night. So by the looks of it, Alexander clearly doesn't have the mental strength to get it done in the ninth inning and so just like that count on manager Dave Roberts looking elsewhere for his next option. And that is where Kenta Maeda comes in.
It was the same day Monday when Roberts made the announcement that both Maeda and Ross Stripling would move to the bullpen with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood coming off the DL and with the rest of the Dodger's pen hurting or struggling, these two immediately move to the front of the saves line. Maeda stands out in particular given the recent injuries of Stripling and also for the fact he has been a strikeout machine this season with 130 K in just 109 IP this season. While Maeda has struggled of late in the rotation, his potent fastball and swing-and-miss stuff seems a natural fit for the ninth inning which means if anyone dropped him in your league, now is the time to go get him. Of course, Maeda himself has to prove he can handle the ninth-inning himself but you always got to be out front when it comes to picking up possible saves.