Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Fantasy Man's 2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings - Closers

The Fantasy Man's 2013 Fantasy Baseball Closers RP Rankings

1. Craig Kimbrel
2. Fernando Rodney
3. Jim Johnson
4. Jonathan Papelbon
5. Joel Hanrahan
6. Sergio Romo
7. Jason Motte
8. Tom Wilhelmsen
9. Mariano Rivera
10. Rafael Soriano
11. Drew Storen
12. Ryan Madson
13. Joe Nathan
14. Rafael Betancourt
15. Chris Perez
16. Jose Valverde
17. Addison Reed
18. J.J. Putz
19. Andrew Bailey
20. Jonathan Broxton
21. Brian Wilson
22. Carlos Marmol
23. Huston Street
24. Greg Holland
25. Matt Capps
26. Grant Balfour
27. Wesley Wright
28. Frank Francisco
29. Brandon League
30. Steve Cishek
31. Heath Bell
32. John Axford
33. Glen Perkins
34. Casey Jannsen
35. Bruce Rondon

Relievers with Opportunity (Also good for Holds):
In each case here, the primary closer obviously needs something drastic to happen but these are the relievers that can quickly step in and get you saves...

Tyler Clippard - Drew Storen injury risk
Kenley Jansen - Brandon League lost his job last year
Ernesto Frieri - Ryan Madson coming back from injury
Joakim Soria - will back up Nathan
David Robertson - Mariano Rivera back from injury, will vulture saves
Joba Chamberlain - Mariano Rivera back from injury, could vulture saves
Jeremy Affedlt - If Sergio Romo doesn't work out, he'll step in, vulture saves
Jared Burton - No real option in MIN unless Capps comes back
Ryan Cook - Grant Balfour is shaky as a closer
Jordan Walden - Holds and vulture saves to rest Kimbrel
Kyle Farnsworth - Former closer, lost job due to injury
Brett Myers - Former closer, will get chance if Reed is ineffective
Aaron Crow - Jury still out on Holland
Joaquin Benoit - Good for a few vulture saves
Vinny Pestano - Back up to Chris Perez
Luke Gregerson / Dale Thayer - Huston Street always hurt
Jon Rauch/Bobby Parnell - Francisco injury risk

I'll probably re-order this ranking later in the off-season but this is what I'm thinking now.  This is the most frustrating position to draft.  Every "expert" will tell you to draft closers late in the draft, if you want finish in the middle of the pack. You really do need a solid closer and when an opportunity presents itself to draft a stud in the earlier rounds (late 6th - 8th), then go for it.  Personally, I'd rather draft a Rodney, Mariano, Papelbon, Hanrahan somewhere when the closer run starts because I'm confident I'll get what I'm paying for. Sure, you can wait until the 13th or 14th and get Matt Capps or Greg Holland but your simply throwing darts.  If they pan out, that's not value, its pure luck.  Go back and look at all the closers drafted last year. Which closers finished the year with solid closer numbers?  Basically the guys in my top 15. Of that 15, 6-7 of them were either drafted late in the draft or plucked off the waiver wire. Problem is, you can't predict that. The guy who picked up Fernando Rodney isn't a genius, he's a luckbox.  However, I bet the guy who drafted Craig Kimbrel did well in the standings.  Point here is you can wait until late and pluck a closer or grab a guy off the waiver wire but your simply throwing darts and praying.  I'd rather draft a solid closer knowing what I'm going to get... or at least feeling confident in the solid closers out there who's jobs don't appear in potential jeopardy based on injury or ineffectiveness.  That's just me. Not saying my strategy is right or wrong, just offering my experience and whats worked for me. If you know where you can find starting pitching value, then you can use the higher slots to draft a solid closer or two..... Jus' sayin'.

The injury risks are tough to deal with this year.  Mariano Rivera still has to be considered a top talent after missing a year with a knee injury considering the track record and the save opportunity potential. The job is obviously his and if you've seen him pitch for 15 years on a daily basis like I have, you know he's going to come out and be solid. Wouldn't be surprised if he gets off to s slower start though.  Brian Wilson is more of a risky pick because he doesn't have the track record of Rivera.  He's got the talent and the hype but who knows how he responds to injury.  Remember, Mariano tore his ACL, Wilson needed Tommy John. Big difference here.  Drew Storen hasn't proved he can stay healthy for a full season so use caution and don't get too excited even though the Nationals look like they'll win 250 games. Temper your expectations on Storen and don't overpay for the team hope. A full season of Storen will net some nice value as long as you don't reach to get him. The other injury risk is Huston Street.  You love the ballpark but you hate his health history. Dude gets hurt every year.

Rafael Soriano and Jose Valverde are solid - elite closers looking for jobs. Toronto, Detroit, and Houston come to mind with money for them with Minnesota, Miami, and Oakland in the mix. I don't see Oakland buying a closer based on their purchase history, Miami just dumped, and Minnesota doesn't seem like a team that purchases high priced talent.

As for sleepers, I like that you should find Ryan Madson and Jonathan Broxton a bit lower on the draft board. Madson missed a year last year and Broxton wasn't always affective with the Royals. Broxton is a really nice sleeper who could potentially provide elite closer stats for a winning team. I also like Tom Wilhelmsen to hold onto the job for Seattle in 2013.  He's a monster 6'6", put up great numbers, more K's then innings pitched, great ballpark and plays in a lot of close games.  Super sleeper for now is Wesley Wright assuming he gets the closer job. The Astros are now in the American league, Wright a new face and relatively unknown and pitched well as a reliever in 2012. If the Astros sign someone, then my other super sleeper is Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers signed Brandon League but he lost his job last year in Seattle. Jansen showed he could save games and now with another year experience could be primed to steal the job away at some point.

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