Welcome to bean town Andrew Bailey. Bailey is just one of many closers that find themselves on a new team in 2012. This is one of the more fascinating off-season moves and not just because I’m a self inflicting Red Sox fan. Bailey is one of the more talented closers in baseball WHEN HEALTHY. He consistently saves games, only blowing 9 in 84 career chances. He also touts a rare rookie of the year award for closers, but that isn’t Bailey’s greatest accomplishment. His absolute domination of American League hitters is just that. In three seasons, 174 innings to be exact, Bailey has posted a .188 BAA and has struck out 174 batters. His Career WHIP is below 1.00 and his ERA is just a notch above 2.07.
Moving toBostoninstantly places Andrew Bailey into the spotlight and into the lions den of American League East hitters. Some may look at Bailey losing the protection of the Coliseum inOaklandand the soft AL West hitters and moving to the AL East and Fenway as a negative, I don’t. Bailey feeds on challenge and he is the real deal. He’s not the type of closer that gets lucky or depends on a ballpark or defense to bail him out. He is a straight fastball, cutter, curveball pitcher, which is rare these days for a closer. His fastball is so dominating because he throws a great cutter and sneaky curveball. Al East hitters are very aggressive and numbers show, not very good against a strong cutter pitch. He should have few problems managing aggressive hitters in the 9th inning.
Bailey will be backed up by one of the best offenses in the league, a great pitching staff and a very goodBostonbullpen. His setup man Mark Melancon is a future closer himself.
The sky is the limit for Bailey inBoston, and the only thing that could hamper him is his health. He hasn’t pitched in more than 47 games since his rookie season. The great thing aboutBostonis they know how to care for their closers. They kept Jonathan Papelbon on an innings limit and had all sorts of rules for how much he could pitch. With Melancon backing him up, there will be no need to over pitch the young closer either. Bailey will break 70 innings in 2012, a feat not even Jonathan Papelbon could do in his tenure with the Red Sox. That is exactly why the Red Sox went for Bailey and let Paps go.
The Closer Report 2012 Projections: 44 Sv - 5 Wins - 2.01 ERA – 0.97 WHIP – 95 Ks
2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis:
Bailey will be one of the best values in 2012 drafts. Many fantasy managers will look at his numbers last season and wait on him. Others will be concerned about injury or the team change. That will likely allow him to fall to the 9th round at the earliest. He is a steal after the 7th round. This would be the first closer I’d jump on as early as the 6th round. He would be the #1 overall closer if it wasn’t for his number of injuries. Draft him early and with confidence. He will give you 40+ saves and 90+ Ks in a revival year.