Fantasy Baseball Closers 2012
I love drafting closers. In leagues with low maximum IP requirements I tend to stock up on them. I love closers because they hold so much value based on the type of league you’re in.
Every week closers can be counted on K’s, a good ERA, low WHIP and usually a great K/9 ratio. Even if a closer gets lit up or blows a save most owners have enough innings pitched that week that their stats don’t cause too much damage to their team. Closers also hold great trade value if you need to upgrade another position on your team.
I think every closer is draftable so instead of sleepers and assassins let’s jump right into the top 10:
10. Rafael Betancourt – Colorado Rockies
Betancourt is high on many analysts’ lists but not mine. Since he transitioned from set-up man to closer in August 2011 he has been incredible.
I can’t dispute his incredible numbers but I can worry about him closing for a full season and his home field. Coors Field is one of the top hitters’ parks in the majors and I don’t recommend rushing to draft a pitcher in a new role in a hitter’s park.
9. Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants
In 2010 everyone feared The Beard. Wilson then struggled in 2011 and is now surrounded by questions about his health.
Wilson remains one of the most marketable players in the MLB but the amount of commercials he’s in doesn’t translate to fantasy success. If he can return to 2010 form then this ranking is extremely low for him, but for now, this is where he belongs.
8. Joel Hanrahan – Pittsburgh Pirates
Hanrahan was incredible in 2011 and I don’t expect much change in 2012. The reason I have him so low on my list, though, is his team.
The Pirates were a nice story for part of 2011 and Hanrahan was a big part of their success. I don’t expect that again though. I have to drop Hanrahan in my rankings because I worry about how many save opportunities he will receive.
7. Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers
Valverde was literally perfect last season. Not “perfect game” perfect but he was 49-for-49 in save opportunities.
The problem with Valverde is his WHIP. It wasn’t terrible but his BB/9 has been increasing and if he keeps putting runners on base he’s eventually going to start blowing saves.
6. Ryan Madson – Cincinnati Reds
Madson was very successful as the Phillies 9th-inning man last season and now he gets the chance to close for another contender in the NL.
I talked about the Reds’ ballpark being great for Brandon Phillips because it is so small. I guess you can say that the small park would be a disadvantage for a pitcher but Madson closed in Citizens Bank Park which isn’t much bigger.
I have more faith in Madson than many other pitchers because of his success in a small park but I am a little worried about him.