NL King Ranks NL Only Fantasy Baseball Closers
Tier 1 - The Elite
Jonathan Papelbon - He is on a top team, will get a lot of opportunities with Phillies big 3, he is strong in ERA, Ratio and K's. He's a proven commodity with at least a couple of big prime years ahead of him.
Craig Kimbrel - Was absolutly ridiculous last year especially 127K's in 77IP. The one red flag I am bringing up was in the minors Kimbrel had great stuff but did suffer from control problems. Kimbrel made a giant leap forward in that regard as he walked 32 in 77 innings last year. Kimbrel doesn't give up a lot of hits and only gave up 3 HR's last season. Those numbers are formula's for a big season. But remember Carlos Marmol had a monster 2010 very similar to Kimbrel and he was a guy who had control problems in the past and that problem reared it's ugly head last year. Outside of that Kimbrel will be a NL closer stud for years to come.
John Axford - Axford has had a similar career path as Kimbrel in terms of reaching his potential due to his control issues. Only really the last 2 years Axford has emerged. Same red flags for Axford as Kimbrel. If Axford keeps the walks down he will have a very big year.
Tier II - Solid
Ryan Madson - Last year was the first year Madson was a full blown closer but he showed he is more than capable of being a top closer. Leaves the Phillies and joins the Reds who should have a real good season. Can't go wrong here.
Health Bell - A lot of articles have been written predicting the demise of Heath Bell. They talk about his walks going up, his fly balls going up, leaving Petco, his weight etc etc. I know this that Heath Bell is a bulldog and still has real good stuff most importantly has the mentality a top closer has to have. If he slips in your draft - POUNCE.
Drew Storen - I loved his numbers last year the only thing I like to see different is see his HR's allowed come down (gave up 8 last year).
Joel Hanrahan - Another guy who in the past control problems killed him. He made huge strides last year as Pittsburgh closer by only allowing 16 walks in 68+ IP last year. If he can duplicate that control 2012 will be another big year.
Brian Wilson - This might be a great year to buy The Beard on Draft Day. Wilson didn't have his usual great season last year as he missed most of September so because of that he didn't hit 40 saves and Wilson had some awful outings which killed his ratio for the season (over 1.4). Provided Wilson elbow is 100% (follow that during his spring) I believe he will bounce back to the years he had in 2010 and 2009. Because of the elbow if you land Wilson as your closer it would be wise to get Casilla and Romo to your team as well. Plus those guys are very valuable even if they don;t get saves but that's my next article.
Tier III - Can be Top Notch
JJ Putz - The only thing stopping Putz from having another year like last year is injuries. Keep in mind Putz did turn 35 at the beginning of Spring training.
Jason Motte - He is finally getting his chance to be the Cards closer. Had a great season last year although most of it as a setup man. Was the Cardinals closer in the stretch run in September as well as throughout the playoffs. The only down side with Motte is it's a small sample as a closer.
Carlos Marmol - My advice is unless Marmol goes for a bargain in your draft let someone less draft him. If Marmol gets it together and has a season like 2010 good for the other owner. He has such control issues I would let someone else take the gamble.
Huston Street - I like Street but he always seems to land on the DL for a month during the season and come the summer if as expected the Padres are out of it he could be moved for young players.
Tier IV - Serching for Bargins
Frank Francisco - I like the low walks and the K's but don;t like the amount of HR's he gave up (7 in a little over 50IP). Goes from Toronto a hitters park and the AL to the NL and a pitchers park in Citi Field.
Rafael Betancourt - Was sensational last year but his whole career he has been a guy who is either red hot or ice cold. Throw in he is 36 and that combination worries me.
Javy Guerra - Had s strong summer as the Dodger closer but he better not slip up because highly talented Kanley Jansen is breathing down his neck.
Brett Myers - Hasn't been a closer since 2007 and the team is awful. Also 2007 was the only year Myers was a closer. he is capable of doing a good job but unless you get a draft day bargain than pass.
NL King - C.Lizza