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The Closer Report » Baltimore Orioles, Brad Lidge, Brandon Lyon, David Aardsma, Houston Astros, J.J. Putz, Jason Motte, Joe Nathan, Joel Peralta, Jon Rauch, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Farnsworth, Mariano Rivera, Matt Capps, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Octavio Dotel, Philadelphia, Ryan Franklin, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays » 2011 Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Closers To Avoid Drafting

2011 Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Closers To Avoid Drafting

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As it is every year, closers come and go throughout the season.  Whether it is performance based or injury, they will be replaced.  Here are 10 closers that despite their ADP, career numbers, or Closer Report Draft Kit ranking, I’d avoid at all costs. 

1. Ryan Franklin, STL- Ok, wasn’t his 15 minutes up two years ago?  Give credit where it’s do to the steroid survivor that he’s lasted this long.  He will LIKELY open as the Cardinals closer, but with no future contract and Jason Motte spreading his wings and circling above, Ryan Franklin won’t close for long.  I expect Motte to be the closer no later than May 15th and I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the opening day closer, winning the job in spring training.

2. Brandon Lyon, HOU- How many times has this guy had the closer job, then lost it.  Had it, then lost it again.  So, it shouldn’t surprise you that he will likely be on a short leash for the up and coming Houston Astros.  Wilton Lopez and Jeff Fulchino both can close just as good as Lyon and both have shown more consistency in their perspective young careers.  Lyon could hold the job for 2-3 months at best, but either mediocre pitching or injury will do him in.

3. Kevin Gregg, BAL- Good ol’ 3G is back closing for yet another team for a third consecutive season.  This time it’s for the Orioles, who have proven over the years that they aren’t the best team for a closer.  With an improved offense, the Orioles are likely to make a little noise this year and that bodes well for Gregg,  Koji Uehara or the Gunslinger himself Alfredo Simon (assuming he plays).  Kevin Gregg had a great start to last season, and finished 37/43 in saves with a 3.51 ERA.  I don’t see him breaking 25 saves since his knee is due to give out in June, nor do I see him keeping the job all year on a team with nothing to lose.

4. Matt Capps, MIN- So many people are drafting Matt Capps and I think those people forget that Joe Nathan is due to come back this year.  He is planning to be ready by the start of the season, so Capps may have one month as the closer, then bye-bye!

5. Kyle Farnsworth, TAM- Was this not the funniest closer deal of the off-season?  I understand MLB and Yahoo have to designate someone as the closer, but Farnsworth does excite me in the least.  Besides facing Red Sox and Yankee hitters 38 times, he just stinks.  He’s a great 7th inning man, OK 8th inning guy, but the ninth is not his cup O’ tea.  Look for Joel Peralta or J.P.Howell to take the job from Farnsworth quite quickly, even in spring training.

6. Joel Hanrahan, PIT- If there is one thing the Pirates have, it’s depth in their bullpen.  Hanrahan has great stuff, but his capacity to control his pitches gets him into trouble all the time.  Enter Evan Meek.  He was not only a strikeout machine last season, but an All-Star.  Meek has closer stuff and the bulldog mentality to get the job done.  That’s right, I see some Mike Fetters in him. Hanrahan also should watch out for José Ascanio. 

7. Brad Lidge, PHI- I’ll say more cause I just need too.  OK, if you want to draft Brad Lidge to hold your fantasy bullpen together, then go right ahead.  Besides having a sensitive ego, he also has knee and elbow issues.  He’s a train wreck heading on a collision course at a futile rate.  Yea, I bet you get what I’m saying.  Whether or not Lidge is capable of keeping his closer job all season isn’t enough reason for me to draft him.  He is far to inconsistent and I’d rather not see that 7+ ERA destroying my fantasy ERAagain. Ryan Madson and the always aging Jose Contreras are waiting like hungry vultures.  If you are betting on 35+ saves from the Legend of crying after Andre Either hands it to you in the ninth inning, then I have some land in Florida I want you to buy.

8. Octavio Dotel, TOR- Don’t-Tel me he’s going to close for the Blue Jays.  HAHA, ok.  Not only do the Blue Jays have three qualified closers in their bullpen, but they have one of the best bullpen’s on paper in the majors.  So to think that between Rauch, Francisco, or even the hit TV show Frasor that somehow Dotel will end up closer is just plain crazy! I’ll refer to it as Melnick Crazy! 

9. David Aardsma, SEA- Aardsma is coming off hip surgery and that means he’s 60!  Kidding!  Still, he’s not likely to be ready to start the season and waiting in the wings is by far the best slider in relief pitching, Brandon League.  Granted he has bouts of inconsistency, but League clearly has what it takes to be an elite closer if given the chance.  If all goes well, League will open the season at the Mariners closer, not David “Achy Breaky” Aardsma.

10. Mariano Rivera, NYY – Oh my gosh!  How dare I say it!  It’s Farino crazy I tell you.  I just said it, avoid Mariano Rivera.  I say this for three reasons. 

  1. He’s 41+ (likely older)
  2. He’s coming off a season where he showed decline and dealt with two injuries.
  3. The Yankees signed Rafael Soriano to back him up.
  4. The Yankees just don’t provide allot of saves chances.

Was that 3?  How about the fifth and most important one.  If you want Rivera, look to the 5th or 6th round to draft him.  There is no way I’m spending a 5th draft pick on a 41 year old closer on a team that regularly wins 11-3.  Last year the Yankees ranked 18th in saves and that likely won’t change much.  Rivera should have a fine season, but counting on him to perform with numbers that justify a 5th round pick is just crazy and a poison for your bullpen.

By Todd Farino, The Closer Report 

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Filed under: Baltimore Orioles, Brad Lidge, Brandon Lyon, David Aardsma, Houston Astros, J.J. Putz, Jason Motte, Joe Nathan, Joel Peralta, Jon Rauch, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Farnsworth, Mariano Rivera, Matt Capps, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Octavio Dotel, Philadelphia, Ryan Franklin, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to "2011 Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Closers To Avoid Drafting"

  1. Justin says:

    a 1.80 ERA and 33 saves. Definitely a decline.

    1. thetrueguru says:

      Thanks for the sarcasm Justin(?). The way I see it, it was clearly a decline from a physical perspective. He’s been injured and is getting older than wood. You go right ahead and draft Mo and we will see how he does.

  2. Sam says:

    While he’s probably over-priced and drafted too early, I guarantee you that Rivera will do better than more than 9 other opening day closers, and therefore shouldn’t be on this list. And I’m a Red Sox fan so no bias here.

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