Baseball is a long season and with long seasons comes streaks and bouts of good luck. In the end though, it all evens itself out. As we sit here in early June we notice several closers who are pitching well beyond what anybody expected. The question is, will it continue? Will those closers end up falling down on their faces and costing their fantasy owners big? I will examine five closers that I think pose the biggest risk for a mid-season collapse. PLease note, this collapse isn’t 100% the pitchers fault. In some cases, teams that are playing very well will cool off and that will cost a closer big time since he can’t get saves sitting on the bench in a losing streak.
Here are the top 5mMost overratedcClosers.
1. Chris Perez, CLE – Every closers on this list, but one is pitching out of their mind right now. Chris Perez is certainly doing that. Not only is Perez playing well, but the whole Indians team has been on fire this season and it has been a great season for all involved. Perez hasn’t blown a save since his first appearance and has a ERA of 2.70, which is below his career ERA of 3.40. Perez hasn’t slowed down much this season, but as the Indians cool off and allow the rest of the teams in the American League Central to pass them, Perez’s saves will natrually slow down. A real big worry for his fantasy owners will be where the Indians sit come the trade deadline. If they aren’t able to make a playoff run, the Indians will make trades and Perez, who is in the last year of his contract, will certainly be on the trading block. In April, Perez had seven saves. In May, he had a big month with ten saves. Since May 29th, Perez has only notched two saves. While Perez has pitched effectively, the main reason for the slow down in saves is the recent play of the Cleveland Indians, which has resulted in a 4-6 record over the last ten games. At 30-26, the Indians could be facing a prolonged slump and that would damage Perez’s value. Right now is a great time to unload him.
2. Jim Johnson, BAL – I don’t care what Jim Johnson owners think of their stud closer. He is definitely a candidate for a mid-season collapse if I ever saw one. His collapse will be helped by his faltering team, but it will have much to do with his own talents. Johnson is a closer living on the edge with a sinker ball. If you don’t belive me, go talk to Derek Lowe or any other inconsistent sinker ball pitcher. With the summer heat arriving, that means pitches will rise in the strike zone and in the air as they fly out of ball parks. While Johnson has been incredibly consistent this season, he has shown signs of weakness. Johnson has only given up four earned runs all season, and all of those runs are from home runs. Three to be exact. He also blew his first save of the season this week on a long home run in Fenway. Add in the fact that the Orioles will fade and already have begun to do so. Since May 23, Johnson has only notched two saves in three tries and the Orioles are 4-9 in that span. As the Orioles start their fade and Johnson’s magic fades, he will see his ERA rise and is over fantasy value decline. Trade him while you can.
3. Matt Capps, MIN – If you want to buy into Matt Capps this season, then go right ahead and do so. I’m not sold on Capps and nor do I trust him as a fantasy closer and I have my reasons. First, for being 14/15 in saves, his 3.22 ERA is a bit high and deceptive. His ERA should be lower, but if you look closely at his 0-3 record, then it will make more sense. Capps has benefited from some close games with the Twins, but will he even play for the Twins come August? If they were smart and the Twins management tends to be, expect them to unload Capps and promote Perkins upon a trade. If they don’t trade him by the deadline it’s likely because the real Matt Capps has awoken and his true 8.00 ERA talents have come back!
4. Alfredo Aceves, BOS – Aceves is a very good pitcher, no one debates that. He has a great curveball, a 95-96 MPH fastball, and a solid cutter. What Aceves isn’t is a closer, nor is he reliably consistent. He is better served as a seventh or eighth inning pitcher, and would even be a great fourth or fifth starter for the Red Sox. Either way, his ERA sits at 5.02 and that is the best it’s been since May 17th. I plan to write an article explaining the future of the Red Sox bullpen, but if I were a betting man, I’d say that Aceves will be a starter by July and no longer be a closer. He hasn’t been as effective as the Red Sox would have liked (14/17 Saves, 0-3 Record), so a change wouldn’t surprise me. No matter how you look at it, Aceves’s days as the Red Sox closer are numbered. Watch for my next article.
5. Brett Myers, HOU – Brett Myers has had a spring revival. The 32-year old converted started has performed very well as the Astros closer and the gamble the Astros took has paid off. Not only do they have a reliable closer in Myers, who is 14/15 in saves with a 2.25 ERA and batters hitting a paltry .194 against him, but they now have a blue chip trading piece come deadline time. The whole reason the Astros put Myers into the role was trade him. If he succeeded, the Astros will get value for the veteran in the last year of his contract. This isn’t a possibility, the Astros will trade Myers as long as some team wants him and I promise, teams will come calling. If you own Myers, I’d look to trade him by July.
Brian Fuentes, OAK
Fernando Rodney, TAM