FANTASY BASEBALL: Closers who Cannot Close (RP Rankings)
It is bottom of the 9th Inning. Your closer has a three run lead, and you already mark the save for your fantasy baseball stats. One problem, he is unreliable and instead of getting that easy save, he makes your ERA explode, and he makes your WHIP go from good to terrible. This season the closer position has been as unreliable as ever. I would say out of the current top 10, there are only 8 who are really guaranteed closers for the rest of the season:
Yes I left out John Axford and J.J. Putz, but there is reason to worry about them. More on that situation below. This article will rank the top 50 RP options in fantasy baseball moving forward, and it will give you 10 closer situations that could switch quicker than we think.
Remember you can always talk Fantasy Baseball Around the Clock in the BEAST DOME NATION.
CLOSERS WHO ARE GOING TO LOSE THEIR JOB
*10 Closers who are most likely to lose their job ranked #1-#10.
(Jordan Walden temporarily lost his job, I expect him to earn it back before the end of May when the Angels heat up again.)
#1 Kyle Farnsworth (DL)
Fernando Rodney has restored his fantasy value as a closer. The big man has looked great with an ERA of 1.08, but most importantly an opponents batting average of .107, and a perfect 6/6 in saves. Farnsworth was no lock for the job before the season started, and now coming off of a pitching elbow strain he does not sound as intimidating. Rodney should have a bit of a leash when Farnsworth returns.
Player to Grab: Fernando Rodney
#2 Drew Storen (DL)
When Storen comes back, he will have a big uphill battle as he went through surgery on his pitching elbow. He was dynamite last season, but Henry Rodriguez has been too perfect since taking over. H-Rod has a perfect ERA of 0.00, and an opponents batting average of .038. He is nearly unhittable, and unless this trend stops there is no reason to believe Storen will have a very short leash when he returns. There is no timetable on his return, but many think it will be before the All-Star Break.
Player to Grab: Henry Rodriguez
#3 Hector Santiago (8.53 ERA. 10 Ks in 6.1 INN. 4/6 Saves)
The fact that Santiago has not been announced as back to the being a middle reliver has me stumped. The who should be closer, Matt Thornton is pitching lights out with an ERA at 0.93. Thornton was supposed to be the guy and be a lock for 20 saves unless he blew up, which he clearly is ready for the role. However the future closer for the White Sox in Addison Reed is pitching even better with an ERA at 0.00. On top of that he has 10 Ks in 7.2 INN. He will be the closer sooner than later, the entire city of Chicago wants it. I would be surprised if Santiago is closing any games in May.
Player to Grab: Addison Reed
#4 Sergio Santos (9.00 ERA. 4 Ks in 5 INN. 2/4 Saves)
Santos came into this season with the closers job clearly his. The problem is his 8th INN man Francisco Cordero is one of the best closers in the game with 329 career saves. The bigger problem is Santos was off to a very rough start, and now is having shoulder problems. That combined with the fact that Cordero is 2/2 in saves and has only given up 1 ER in the last 5 INN means that Santos could be looking at the 8th INN when he returns. Santos owners have to hope Cordero continues to slip, because this K rate for Santos is a bit alarming with that high ERA.
Player to Grab: Francisco Cordero
#5 Frank Francisco (7.36 ERA. 8 Ks in 7.1 INN. 4/5 Saves)
Francisco had a rough Spring, and after starting out the season perfect he has shown his vulnerability. Jon Rauch was in a similar situation with Francisco last season on Toronto, and stole the job from him. This season it should not be any different as Rauch is dominating with an ERA at 0.00 and a WHIP 0.50. Should not be long before dejavu strikes twice, this time in New York.
Player to Grab: Jon Rauch
#6 Aroldis Chapman (0.00 ERA. 20 Ks in 11.1 INN. 2 Wins)
Chapman is not a closer now, but by the end of the month we should know if he is going to be a closer or starter. The Reds had him as a lock to enter the starting rotation before Ryan Madson went down. So far this season Sean Marshall has blown 1 of 5 save chances, but does not sit with a pretty ERA at 6.14 and a WHIP of 1.64. Mike Leake on the other hand has an ERA of 6.50 and has had 3 bad starts in his 3 lone starts this season. If Leake continues the trend, look for Chapman to enter as the starter he wants to be. Even as a Middle relief option, Chapman leads all relief pitchers in Ks, and he will lower your ERA and WHIP.
Player to Grab: Aroldis Chapman
#7 Matt Capps (5.14 ERA. 2 Ks in 7 INN. 4/4 Saves)
Capps has some cushion with the closer job because Glen Perkins is struggling with a 7.36 ERA. Keep in mind though, Capps is not a solid relief pitcher to begin with. The Twins also have a hot Jared Burton who has a WHIP of 0.50 in 8 INN to go along with 9 Ks. If he continues to dominate, or if more realistically Glen Perkins starts pitching like his vintage self, Capps will lose the job quickly if he blows a save or two. They were not afraid to pull him last season. Perkins is coming off of a 3 K shutout INN against a hot Red Sox team, that will push his value in the right direction.
Player to Grab: Glen Perkins
#8 Chris Perez (4.50 ERA. 5 Ks in 8 INN. 7/8 Saves)
The truth is, Vinnie Pestano is the best relief pitcher on Cleveland. He had a chance to be the closer after Perez blew opening day, and Pestano let everyone down. Since then he has been okay. Eventually that ERA will decrease to under 2.50 and the controversy will begin. Last season Vinnie struck out 84 batters in 62 INN. Perez does not have a K rate like that, Perez is also not looking good with opponents batting .250. I give Perez two blown saves in a row, and Pestano will get his shot. If not by the All-Star Break.
Player to Grab: Vinnie Pestano
#9 Javy Guerra (5.59 ERA. 11 Ks in 9.2 INN. 7/9 Saves)
This listing has more to do with Kenley Jansen than Guerra being bad. We all know Jansen has ridiculous K potential with 20 so far this season in 12 INN. That is Arolids Chapman K type stuff. If Jansen becomes the closer, which he is definitely the more threatening pitcher batters will be afraid of. Then he will hold tremendous value and be the best one on the market. Especially for a Dodger team that always wins games by 1-3 runs. Guerra should have either 3 of next 5 starts converted, or his job will be gone. Either way, Jansen should be the closer at somepoint this season.
Player to Grab: Kenley Jansen
#10 John Axford (5.40 ERA. 11 Ks in 6.2 INN. 4/4 Saves)
Call it my deep sleeper pick, but I see this being the surprise of the season. The truth is, K-Rod has historically been a better closer than Axford. John has been great the past couple of seasons, but K-Rod is a man who is more than capable of taking over. The fact that Axford has only had one flawless appearance in 8 relief opportunities is a bit alarming. Also add the 1.95 WHIP and the opponents batting average at .267 and we have a potential disaster. Right now K-Rod is not looking good at all with an ERA at 5.79, but last season with Milwaukee he had an ERA of 1.86. I expect him to take over if he gets going, and Axford continues to walk batters and give up hits. I would sell!
Player to Grab: Francisco Rodriguez
CLOSERS TRENDING UP: Brandon League. Rafael Betancourt. Jim Johnson.
CLOSERS TRENDING DOWN: Jordan Walden. J.J. Putz. Heath Bell.
CLOSER RANKINGS PROJECTED (REST OF THE SEASON):
*Not listed. Brett Myers #31 after Storen.