As promised, here is the 3rd and final installment of a 3-part series on the "Closers of 2006". I hope you have been able to take some of my insight and can use it successfully in your draft. So now, I will shut up and present to you ...... The Elite Closers of 2006! Barring any freak injuries, these are the guys you cannot go wrong with no matter what part of the draft you can get them!
Mariano Rivera, RP, NYY - What do I need to say that you don't already know? Rivera is the best plain and simple! Low WHIP and mucho K's and the Yankees will hand him the ball every time!
Fantasy Mans Advice: Make him your first choice at Closer if you decide to take one early. Pick him up in the 3rd round! ..... or he'll be gone by the 4th!
Brad Lidge, RP, HOU - Don't expect Lidge to feel too bad about the monster homerun he gave up to Pujols during the Wild Card series! If you remember, he did come back for a big save or two after the 'Stros beat the Cards later on in the playoffs....but then only to give up another homerun to Scott Podsednik (a guy who had 0 homeruns during the season! YIKES!) Lidge will be on top of his game this year in hopes to erase those very memories. Plus, the Astros project to be a pretty decent team and with the top notch pitching they have in Oswalt and Pettitte, look for Lidge to break the 35+ mark and over 100+ K's....again!
Fantasy Mans Advice: Follow the leader! If Mariano is gone, Lidge is your man! His K's make him a great option. Plus, remember that the post season doesn't count in fantasy baseball and you'll feel better!
Francisco Rodriquez, RP, LAA - 45 saves last year which was 2nd in the league should be obtainable again this year as K-Rod will once again be lights out! He converted 14 of 14 late in the season and should be on the rise again this year.
Fantasy Mans Advice: Me personally, I'd take K-rod over Lidge simply and only because of Lidge's misfortune in the postseason last year.... But thats just me! You'll be happy either way!
B.J. Ryan, RP, TOR - Ryan is unstoppable as a lefty closer and thats why Toronto is paying him the big bucks! He posted a low era and a lot of K's last season. Ryan will put himself into the elite this year and should notch over 35+ saves. The Bluejay pitching staff can be great and as long as they can get the ball to Ryan, he should have a sweet season.
Fantasy Mans Advice: The fact that the Bluejays will have to play the Yankees and the Red Sox a total of 36 times this season, I couldn't move Ryan ahead of Rodriquez or Lidge. Still an Elite closer this year!
Joe Nathan, RP, MIN - Back to back 40 save seasons means that Joe Nathan is an Elite! Although his era jumped a bit, his K's went up too and his WHIP decreased. Nathan can be had for much less than the above 4 and put up the same or even better numbers.
Fantasy Mans Advice: He may slip a bit to the middle rounds but don't let him slip too far if these other guys are off the board. Grab Nathan before Street, Cordero, Wagner or Jenks!
There you have it! The Elite Closers of 2006! I hope you get some use out of this 3 part series. I sure did and I'm the one who wrote it!
Enjoy your Tuesday!
The Fantasy Man ......OUT!