Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 NL Only Fantasy Baeball Closers Rankings

Fantasy baseball advice for closers is a bit choppy this year it seems.  We'll breakdown the 16 closers for NL Only leagues. You'll see that this category is a mind field.  If you have one of the four elite closers in the NL consider yourself very lucky.

The Elite:
Craig Kimbrel - ATL - The numbers are beyond ridiculous especially his Ratio and K's.

Jason Motte - STL - Has emerged as an elite closer for a world championship team so he has been through the stress grinder. Real good in ERA, excellent in K's and Ratio and good for 40+ saves.

Jonathan Papelbon - PHI - Similar to Motte just slightly less overall statistics.

Rafael Soriano - WAS - His ratio and less K's then the above 3 is why he is the 4th best closer.

The Rest:
JJ Putz - ARI - Solid across the board, healthy but red flag is he's 35 and has had injury issues in the past.

Jonathan Broxton - CIN - The Reds want Chapman to be a starter. We know that with the 3 year contract the Reds gave Broxton at $7 Mil per.  No longer the elite closer he once was but can be a solid choice.

Sergio Romo - SF - Always put up the numbers to warrant the chance. Have to worry a bit if Romo can handle the job from a physical standpoint, as he has had injuries in the past. If you have Romo, probably be smart to handcuff with Santiago Casilla.

Huston Street - SD - I don't think he'll repeat his ERA and Ratio numbers from last year but Street is an effective closer when healthy. Problem is he always lands on the DL. Handcuffing with Luke Gregerson is a good long term play here.

John Axford - MIL - The K's and Saves were there but his ERA and Ratio show how much he struggled last year.  Gave up 10 HR's as well 39 walks in 69 innings. That's a recipe for a disaster. Big year for Axford to show the Brewers if he's their closer going forward. Risky pick.

Brandon League - LAD - Watch Spring training to see if it's Brandon League or Kenley Jansen. The early word is that League is will start the year as the closer.  Jansen is the one with the great stuff and proved last year he could close as well.  Jansen is a bit of an injury risk and the Dodgers might want to ease him in. League will start the year as the primary closer but there is a chance Jansen could take over the job, just something to keep on the back burner.

Jason Grilli - PIT - Solid as set-up man for the Pirates the last two years and at age 36 gets his chance to close. Pirates traded Joel Hanrahan and signed Grilli to a two year deal so they're believers. He has the stuff to be an effective closer but his inexperience is the question.

Rafael Betancourt - COL - At age 37, put up a solid year and will most likely be a free agent after the season (Mutual 4.25 Option) and the Rockies are in rebuilding mode.  Look for Betancourt to be traded come July and setup somewhere else. Landing Rex Brothers could be a great long term play.

Carlos Marmol - CHI - Marmol was solid in the second half last season but he's undoubtedly the closer because of his nearly $10 million salary. If he struggles, the Cubs won't hesitate to cut their loses and move on and go to free agent signed Kyuji Fujikawa who was a closer in Japan. If Marmol does pitch well, you can be assured the Cubs will move him in July as he's on the last year of his contract.

Steve Cishek - MIA - A bit of a high Ratio which is always worrisome as a closer.  Obviously 2nd tier guy.
 
The Mets - Frank Francisco was terrible last year and has a bad elbow, the Mets want Bobby Parnell to close but can he handle the job mentally? Has good enough stuff to be a decent closer but I don't know if he has the mind set. Brandon Lyon is in that bullpen and will get a chance if Francisco and Parnell can't get it done.

Next article will be on NL Only Draft Preparation and Game Planning Strategies. This will be posted Monday morning.  You can follow me on twitter @ TheNLKing.

NL King - C.Lizza

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