Last year, among all the messes that the Dodgers organization was dealing with, one of them was their closer. The Dodgers opened the season with Broxton who failed badly. Then they tried several replacements like Kenley Jansen and others. When Jansen hit the DL, they brought up Javy Guerra and the rest is history. While I feel that Kenley Jansen is the future closer for the Dodgers, right now he is unreliable because of injury issues related to an irregular heart beat. Jansen will be the setup man opening day. In fact, the Dodgers bullpen is deep with veteran relief pitchers who should do well and keep Guerra in line for plenty of saves.
Javy Guerra has limited experience as a closer. Last season he notched 21 saves in 23 opportunities. He pitched in 47 games for the Dodgers in 2011 and that is the total for his career. Jumping on the Javy Guerra from a fantasy perspective could be a bit dangerous since he has yet to face normal closer adversary or close for an entire season. That being said, the kid has good stuff.
While Guerra did close in the minors, he has starter stuff. He comes at hits with a 95 MPH fastball, slider, change-up, and curveball. His out pitches are the change-up and curveball. While all of his pitches are average, he got enough to get three outs in the ninth. His main problems will be control (3.47 BB/9) and being tested in stressful situations. Guerra walked 18 batters in under 47 innings in 2011. While that isn’t horrible, it’s not good either. Also, he isn’t battle tested and 2012 will be another crazy year for the Dodgers with the sale of the team yet completed.
The positives on Guerra are very good. He did a great job closing in 2011 and has secured the job for 2012. At 26, he is young and healthy and shouldn’t have any injury issues for the coming season. He’s got a great track record through the minors and into the majors. If Guerra can stay focused and healthy he will have a great season. If not, Mattingly can put Jansen in at any time.
Guerra will be a bargain no matter where he is drafted, so if you decide to draft him, make him a tier 3 closer for your team and have two suitable closers already drafted.
The Closer Report 2012 Projections: 35 Sv – 6 Wins – 2.78 ERA – 1.11 WHIP – 62 Ks
2012 Fantasy Draft Analysis:
Javy Guerra’s ADP is a staggering 283 (24th round). He is a steal at that point. I would start targeting Guerra around round 19 or 20. If he is the best player available that meets your needs, draft him. Beware that with the craziness of the Dodgers, he might not be the closer come seasons end, either he will get traded or lose the job outright.