|Fantasy Baseball: Save Me: The Closer Update|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on May 09, 2005
1. Brad Lidge, Houston Astros – What can I say about this guy that hasn’t already been said? He is a pure dominating closer, though he currently is feeling the effects of the flu. I still think that he is the best closer in the game at this point. Even though he won’t get many save opportunities, he will get the numbers. As a further testament to his talent, Lidge was the closer on the 2005 cheap team. His biggest rival is Chad Qualls.
2. Francisco Rodriguez, Anaheim Angels – Nothing has changed at the top of my list. Lidge is first, K-Rod is second. The Angels should have plenty of save opportunities, but their bullpen is deep enough that Frankie won’t get them all. If you are looking for some vulture saves, this is a good team to begin with. His biggest rival is Scot Shields.
3. Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins – So, uh, he hasn’t given up an earned run all year. This story will surely jinx him, but it had to happen some time. His WHIP is a .44, and he’s striking out more hitters (13) than innings pitched (11.1). Add all those factors together and you have a pretty darned good closer. He does not have the stuff of a Lidge or K-Rod, but he can put up some nice numbers. His biggest rival is JC Romero.
4. Francisco Cordero, Texas Rangers – Another Francisco, Cordero is extremely talented, but usually worked hard. Manager Buck Showalter has pitching problems, to say the least, so Cordero usually has to work a lot of innings. No matter what, pencil him in for 40 more saves over the rest of the season. His biggest rival is Carlos Almanzar.
5. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera has not done much at all, which is why he dropped a few places down this list. He is still a good pitcher, striking out more than a hitter an inning, but his WHIP is quite high. Rivera needs to throw quality strikes. As soon as he does so, expect the numbers from this once great closer. (Note: Someone dropped Mo Rivera in a Fantasy League of mine. Of course I added him.) His biggest rival is Tom Gordon.
6. Keith Foulke, Boston Red Sox – Foulke is one of those guys who can throw plenty of pitches in an outing, which bodes well for his real life value. This is Fantasy Baseball, as we hate that. Foulke can put up great numbers, mid 2 ERA, low 1 WHIP, and, for a team as great as Boston, a lot of saves. Just be patient and watch the number of innings pitched. His biggest rival is Mike Timlin.
7. Billy Wagner, Philadelphia Phillies – All right, Worrell is now on the Disabled List (I hope and pray for the best). This means that it is time for Wagner to step up and show just how great he is. And he has been doing that. Like Nathan, he has not allowed an earned run all year, so he has pitched quite well this year. Look for Billy the Kid to return to his regular numbers. His biggest rival is Rheal Cormier.
8. Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres – An early season mishap at Coors Field inflated his ERA, but if you can hype that up and get him, great going. This is a very high ranking, I know, but he is really great. I expect the Trevor Hoffman of old, not an old Trevor Hoffman this year. Congrats on your 400th career save, Hoffy. His biggest rival is Scott Linebrink.
9. Octavio Dotel, Oakland Athletics – All right, I’ll admit it: The A’s are pitching better than I thought they would. While Dotel hasn’t had a lot of saves (6), he figures to be in line as the closer when the A’s take off on their torrid second half streak. You might want to hype a not-that-great A’s team to get this fellow. His biggest rival is Huston Street.
10. Dan Kolb, Atlanta Braves – There have been some nail biters in Atlanta. Kolb has the control to pitch well, but that control has been fluctuating lately. He has already given up 10 walks (he gave up 17 last year) and his strikeout numbers are not great (but then again they never were). I think Kolb is just pressing too much, trying to become a strikeout closer. He needs to go with what made him successful and he will be all right. His biggest rival is Chris Reistma.
11. Jose Mesa, Pittsburgh Pirates – Wow, this guy is really something. He saved forty-three last year and he’s doing quite well again this year with 10 saves, second in Majors. I do not know why I am ranking him this high, but Mesa just might have another forty save season in him. Who guessed he would have done it last year? His biggest rival is Solomon Torres.
12. Eddie Guardado, Seattle Mariners – He is ranked this high because of injuries to other star closers. While El Burrito is not a bad closer, he can get you thirty five, I’m not sure what his “other” stats will be. Also, his setup men might get a few vulture saves, always not a good thing. His biggest rival is Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
13. Yhency Brazoban, Los Angeles Dodgers – Brazoban has held the closer’s role quite well, but Eric Gagne is about to return. He probably has 1 to 1 _ weeks left on the DL, then a three game suspension to serve. Brazoban should be applauded for his efforts, and you should applaud yourself for drafting him. Just remember, the ranking should read Brazoban/Gagne. His biggest rival is Eric Gagne.
14. Miguel Batista, Toronto Blue Jays – Well, holy heck. This guy has eight saves already and he’s still a free agent is a couple of my leagues. What more could people want? This guy has a low ERA, but the WHIP is problematic. I would draft him expecting thirty saves at the most. His biggest rival is Justin Speier.
15. Shingo Takatsu, Chicago White Sox – The closer situation on the south side of Chicago is about to explode. Takatsu is slowly losing his job to Dustin Hermanson, but how long that takes is up in the air. Your guess is as good as mine, but mine is two weeks from today. His biggest rival is Dustin Hermanson.
16. Brandon Lyon, Arizona Diamondbacks – Lyon moved up the list further than anyone else, which, I suppose, is a good and bad thing. Good because I believe he can do something good, but bad because I did not have faith in him to begin with. Lyon leads the Majors in saves and deserves to keep the job in Arizona for the entire year. The D’Backs are a surprising team because they are actually winning. Keep Lyon as long as you think the Snakes can win. His biggest rival is Greg Aquino.
17. Julian Tavarez, St. Louis Cardinals – I’m giving Tavarez the nod over King because I’m not sure what to expect from King on a daily basis. Al Reyes, while getting a save last week against the Braves, will remain a 7th inning man. Tavarez should be the number one guy for Tony LaRussa until Isringhausen returns. His biggest rival is Ray King and the return of Isringhausen.
18. Matt Herges, San Francisco Giants – Well, an injury to Armando Benitez can do wonders for your career. Benitez, set to begin throwing again in 4 weeks, is probably done for the year, while Herges is ready for another shot at closing. He started last season as a flash in the pan, so draft him and be ready to dump him. His biggest rival is Jim Brower.
19. Danny Graves, Cincinnati Reds – After an implosion against the St. Louis Cardinals (a three run homer to Edmonds, and two run homer to Mabry), Graves took a tremendous blow in my mind. This probably marks the beginning of the end for Graves as a closer as well as Wagner’s chance to perhaps shine sometime soon. His biggest rival is Ryan Wagner.
20. BJ Ryan, Baltimore Orioles – Ryan had quite a few strikeouts last year and that is always a welcome sign for closers. I expect him to strikeout quite a few and save around thirty-five games. His ability to do well across the board should place him higher on this list in the very near future. His biggest rival is Jorge Julio.
21. Troy Percival, Detroit Tigers – So Percival finally got a save. It’s about time. The Tigers have lost one of their hitters in Ordonez, but could still win quite a few games. Percival will be closing them out, at a rate of thirty for the rest of the year - once he returns from the DL. For the moment the job belongs to his biggest rival - Ugueth Urbina.
22. Braden Looper, New York Mets – The Mets’ bullpen is one of the weakest in the league, but Looper does his part by pitching well…sometimes. He has problems with consistency, but he has quite a good arm. Looper can save thirty games in one year, but the WHIP might not be too great. His biggest rival is Roberto Hernandez.
23. Danys Baez, Tampa Bay Devil Rays – Well, he only has three saves, but he does have two wins. These low numbers are good, because Baez will save thirty games this year. Expect him to begin picking up the pace once the Devil Rays get to feast on the AL Central a little bit. His biggest rival is Lance Carter.
24. Bob Wickman, Cleveland Indians – Well, the old man has seven saves already, but that ERA and WHIP are killers. I expect the save numbers to be decent, but let somebody else have the ratio killers. His biggest rival is David Riske.
25. Todd Jones, Florida Marlins – Jones was once a good closer, but he has since spent many years writing for thesportingnews.com and setting up. Now Jones has a chance to close once again, and I am not sure what to expect. I would steer clear, unless you are really desperate for saves. His biggest rival is Nate Bump.
26. Chad Cordero, Washington Nationals – The Nationals have been a very surprising team and are competing. Their closer, Cordero, has the talent to save twenty five on this ball club and with decent enough ratios. Of course, this whole thing could just fall apart. His biggest rival is Luis Ayala.
27. LaTroy Hawkins, Chicago Cubs – The closer situation on the north side of Chicago is just horrible. LaTroy Hawkins has absolutely no aptitude for closing, but Dusty Baker continues to use him. Who else is there? His biggest rival is the return Joe Borowski or Mike Remlinger.
28. Derrick Turnbow, Milwaukee Brewers – Save opportunities are scarce at best for this team, but Turnbow has more saves than Mariano Rivera. While I don’t expect that to continue, Turnbow is a good buy now, sell high candidate. And you better do so soon because he gives up a lot of walks. His biggest rival is Mike Adams.
29. Chin Hui Tsao, Colorado Rockies – Tsao is certainly a talented player, but pitching at Coors Field requires a lot. Look for a Shawn Chacon ERA (high), but quite a few saves to maybe, kind of justify having him in a deep, deep league. His biggest rival is Byung Hyun Kim.
30. Ambiorix Burgos, Kansas City Royals – Where do the Royals find these guys? Affeldt is out with an injury (surprise surprise). Burgos holds the closer role on one of the worst teams, but without a deep bullpen. He could save something around 10 before being yanked in favor of someone else. His biggest rival is a healthy Jeremy Affeldt or Andy Sisco.