2011 Closers Primer: Strategy & Stock Watch

DO NOT REACH FOR A CLOSER!

Every year you should hear this because there are always closers, like a Chris Perez last year, who break through and give solid numbers to your team without even being drafted.

While it is nice to have a Brian Wilson, the numbers difference between him and an Andrew Bailey are not significant enough to make him a top five round pick.

The impact of closers on a fantasy lineup is not as big as the impact of a hitter or starting pitcher. Make sure to not overvalue the closers left on the board.

Stock Watch:

Rising:

andrew-bailey-fantasy-baseball-relief-pitchers-closersAndrew Bailey, Oakland A’s: How can the former Rookie of the Year continue to rise? His saves stayed the same as his rookie campaign even though he missed a month on the DL. Couple that with his ERA dropping to a miniscule 1.47 and you have a bona fide fantasy closer. The A’s offense is not the type that will result in too many blowouts, so expect Bailey’s opportunities to keep coming. The way he has started out his young career makes it difficult to think that this year will be any different. Bailey belongs near the top of this year’s class of closers.

Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians: Perez very quietly put up some big numbers with the Indians last season. He took the job from Kerry Wood after Wood went down with an injury, and never looked back. His 23 saves in a partial season are impressive enough, but his 1.71 ERA and almost 8.71 K/9 show signs of good things to come. Perez was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals a few years ago, and he is starting to show why he was so highly regarded by the Indians front office.

Falling:

Jonathon Papelbon, Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are clearly trying to send a message to their closer by bringing in an already accomplished fireman in Bobby Jenks. Now, a crowded back-end of the bullpen of Papelbon, Jenks, and young Daniel Bard could mean the end of the Papelbon era in Fenway. The Sox closer was already coming off a year where he had an ERA near 4.00 and blew eight saves. If his struggles continue, it may be Jenks or Bard who receive the save opportunities in Boston.

Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers: Broxton was supposed to be the next great closer in this league, but the big righty has fallen on hard times. He blew seven of his 29 save opportunities last year and regressed in most major categories. He lost the closing job to Hong-Chih Kuo, who then converted 12 out of 13 opportunities and made Broxton an afterthought. Although the Dodgers have claimed that there will be an open competition this spring, it is hard to see Broxton’s 4.04 ERA and 7 blown saves holding up to Kuo’s 1.20 ERA and overall superior numbers.

The Big Questions:

Which inconsistent closers have finally figured it out or been figured out?

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