Written by Brian Popkin
Published: 14 May 2007
The fantasyworld has not going well for me so far. The worst part is my closers. Guys like Rivera and Hoffman have sky-high ERAs. It seems like there are blown saves every day. For closers April ain’t good. So I decided to do a little research and number crunching to confirm my suspicion. I compared the April stats with the projected 2007 full year stats for all closers and came up with the following. (A. Reyes from Tampa Bay wasn’t included because I couldn’t get any 2007 projected stats for him. He is having a great April though.) The 2007 projections for 29 closers are an average of 3.18 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 9.23 K/9. The April 2007 numbers are 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 8.89 K/9. So even though closers are still striking out guys, they are giving up too many big hits. This goes contrary to the pitching trend that overall pitching has reduced ERAs by 20% to 4.06 this year. The pitching has been better due to colder temperatures. It is said that when the weather heats up, the hitters will benefit the most. So if your closer has been killing your ERA and WHIP, you can take comfort that you are not the only one out there.
Here are my recommendations for some closers in the common format of making stock picks:
Guys to Sell:
Borowski - Hard Sell. I watched him against the Yankees get blown up like that fat fish in Finding Nemo. I also had him 3 years ago when his final season stats were a 8.02 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP. His closing days are on borrowed time.
Torres has not been good. Todd Jones has too few Ks. A. Reyes, sell high unless you really need the saves. Isringhausen was so bad last year that I don’t trust him. BJ Ryan and Gagne are too injured to count on.
It is very easy to trade closers. In most leagues saves are hard to find. The other week I traded Torres for Cain and Borrowski for Randy Johnson. (Johnson hit 97 the other day on the Arizona radar gun and is bringing the Ks. If he can lay off his weak offspeed pitches he’ll be fine.)
Guys to Hold:
I’d hold on to Lidge and Dotel. I don’t think they are finished getting saves yet. Rodney and Zumaya, should be held too. I’m also holding Myers and Hennessey. I’m just not sure of those two.
Guys to Buy:
I’m buying Accardo and Downs for Toronto. Buy them both because one of them should be getting Toronto saves soon. I’m also buying R. Soriano instead of Gonzalez for Atlanta saves. I’m buying Otsuka too.
If these guys can be picked up for very cheap, I’m buying. Betancourt will be very good this year. Lyon might get a shot in Zona. Bill Bray is on a hunch. Geary is a good backup to Myers in Philly.
Heath Bell should be a big help for San Diego. (Years ago, I saw Bell look great pitching for the Mets against the Yankees. He has a deceptive delivery and his fastball has a lot of movement similar to Mariano Rivera. I always thought he had better stuff than his results.)