Lets not joke about this guy. J.J. Putz had an amazing comeback year in 2011, notching 45 saves for the well-built and oiled Arizona Diamondbacks team. He even did that while missing most of July on the DL, which we have become accustomed to with J.J. Putz. Even more amazing, he put up 21 saves between August and September. Everything about 2011 was amazing for Putz. His 2.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a K/9 over 9! Putz was one of the top closers in baseball for 2011.
Now enter 2012 and let’s get back to reality. Putz is a good closer, but his career has been plagued with injury and inconsistency. In his nine-year career, Putz has only reached 70 appearances one, and more than 60 appearances five times. He is also 35, which is a tough year for pitchers to hit. Their stuff can certainly start to fade beyond 35.
So what do with J.J. Putz? Do you expect a repeat of 2011 or something closer to his actual career? Lets start with the Diamondbacks. They are a very good young team poised for a playoff run. They have a solid, though shaky rotation led by Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, and the newly acquired Trevor Cahill. Kennedy pitched amazingly last season and chances of him repeating that performance is not likely. Still, the rotation of the Diamonbacks will get many leads to the bullpen. In front of Putz he has several good veteran relievers including Takashi Saito, Brad Zeigler, and David Hernandez. All that bodes well for Putz. As for the offense, it is shady. After Upton and Montero, where will the hits come from? Chris Young, Jason Kubel, Stephen Drew? While the Diamondbacks have a sound offense, they’re going to suffer scoring droughts.
My primary concern with Putz is his health. If his arm “isn’t right” he won’t do well. Last year Putz changed his pitching style a bit. He threw more fastballs, less sliders, and continued to abuse hitters with his splitter. His fastball tops out at 95 MPH and that is hittable by major league standards. What he did so well in 2011 was hit his spots with his slider and threw a great splitter. So, if you draft Putz in 2012 you have to hope for all that to play out in your favor again and I can tell you now, chances are slim.
The Closer Report 2012 Projections: 32 Sv – 3 Wins - 3.01 ERA – 1.09 WHIP – 57 Ks
2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis:
J.J. Putz has an ADP around 133, which means if you want to draft him, you better get him by round 12. I’ll pass on that. At 35 and coming off a huge season, Putz is overvalued. My recommendation is to pass on Putz that early. If he is around in the 17th or 18th round take a chance, but otherwise you are taking on a closer who is injury prone, and hasn’t had two great back-to-back seasons since 2006-2007.