The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

5 Reasons to Add Alex Claudio

With the trade deadline looming, the never ending scramble to procure saves off of the waiver wire will be in full effect. Brandon Maurer changed teams on Monday with many more trades to ensue. Lost among all the rumors, Alex Claudio of the Rangers. Fantasy owners still remain tepid adding his predecessor this year, Sam Dyson despite pitching well in San Francisco and Claudio’s not nearly as popular as Kyle Barraclough despite his recent performances.

It’s not always the splashy edition which wins fantasy titles, but the under the radar zig when the others seem to be zagging. Should Claudio be on more rosters?

1. Is Claudio even the closer? 

Great question. Although his manager will not say so, Claudio’s notched three of the Rangers last four saves. He did get a night off in Tampa Bay with Jose LeClerc filling in and not the ever popular Keone Kela. Fantasy owners and pundits alike await Kela to ascend to the closer role armed with a strong arsenal. However, he’s neither shown the poise nor the health to run away with the job. Looking at recent usages, Claudio’s been the ninth inning option when available for Texas.

2. How’s a non-strikeout pitcher going to be able to close games? 

Again, tough answer but Claudio seems to be akin to a left-handed Brandon Kintzler relying on his defense to limit damage by opposing teams along with converting saves. Claudio’s recorded a 9.8 swinging strike percentage this year with 80 percent contact against. Not exactly eye-popping numbers. But, when delving into his O-swing (swings and misses at pitches outside the strike zone), his number jumps to a strong 37.9 percent. While Claudio does not rack up strikeouts, he’s effective and pounds the strike zone putting pressure on the hitter in the late inning, high leverage at-bats.

3. Pitches per inning

No reliever throws fewer pitches per inning on average than Alex Claudio. Through his first 45 appearances spanning 52 innings, Claudio throws 12.45 pitches per inning. This allowed him to make four multiple inning appearances of his nine in July. On back-to-back nights in Tampa Bay, Claudio worked a total of 3.1 innings using 37 pitches for a win and a save. Efficiency may not be sexy, but tell Greg Maddux this.

4. Arsenal

Claudio used to be a starter, but he’s cut down his pitches to the sinker (86.7 MPH), change (71.3 MPH), and slider (77.2 MPH). His change continues to be his best pitch generating a whiff per swing percentage of 34.5 this year and holding hitters to a .145 batting average against. His slider also checks in with a 28.6 whiff rate and a .211 average against. The sinker can get him into trouble but Claudio limits hitters to a 22.6 percent hard contact rate, seventh lowest among qualified relievers.

Plus, Claudio induces groundballs 70.6 percent of the time. This ranks him second against all other qualified relievers this year. Does a failed reliever converted to the bullpen with a high groundball percentage and being a southpaw come to mind? A hint, he just set the American League record with his 55th straight save converted. Zach Britton made him mark in the bullpen with a strong ground ball rate and grew his strikeout percentage during his time as the closer. It’s not to say Claudio will make this type of jump, but his O-swing percentage along with the groundball lean hints at upside.

5. Momentum

In June, Claudio registered a 1.98 FIP, and he’s followed it up with a 2.15 mark in July. Since May 29th, Claudio’s pitched 29.1 innings with a 1.82 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 23 strikeouts and six walks. He’s looking much sexier, right? Limiting hard contact with the change and keeping the ball on the ground will translate to Claudio giving up some home runs. But, over the long haul, he could do well in the role he’s yet to be confirmed being in. Sure, one can chase the closer du jour on the White Sox or other teams who will join them in flux in the days ahead, but save some FAAB and kick the tires on Claudio to see if he can keep this up until the end of the season. Ownership percentages suggest he’s available in far too many leagues.

Anytime a pitcher can be alluded to by comparing trends to Greg Maddux and Zach Britton, he’s worth tracking. Claudio’s far from perfect, but he could be enough to get the lion’s share of the Rangers saves the rest of the way without killing a fantasy team’s ratios.

Statistical Credits:,,,

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.