Fantasy Baseball Closers 2012
Before I get into the top 5 closers I wanted to mention an injury to an All Star closer. Joakim Soria has elected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will likely miss 2012. This is bad news for the Royals who will be without Salvador Perez for about three months.
Let’s get into the top 5:
5. Drew Storen – Washington Nationals
Storen was very successful with the Nationals in 2011. He had 43 saves and 6 wins with a 2.75 ERA.
The Nationals are an improving team and Storen will be a major part of their success. If he wants to be higher in the rankings he’ll have to boost his strikeout total.
4. John Axford – Milwaukee Brewers
I’m not sure Axford can repeat his 46 saves from 2011 but I have a lot of faith in him. I think 40 is an accurate prediction for his save total this season but he gets a better ranking than Storen because of his strikeout ability.
3. Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees
When will this guy stop being good? I hope, as a Red Sox fan, that its really soon but I don’t think so.
I expect 40 saves and 60 Ks out of Rivera this season. That seems pretty average, by Rivera’s and current closer standards, but he earned a top 3 ranking because he is so consistent. Someone I already mentioned on this list or in Part 1 may have a better season but Rivera is such a safe and consistent option that I recommend him over someone who doesn’t have as great a reputation.
2. Jonathan Papelbon – Philadelphia Phillies
Papelbon gets a change of scenery and a move to the NL.
His save total and strikeouts shouldn’t be a concern but he’s susceptible to putting runners on base and allowing some to score.
He has great ability but Phillies phans will realize that Papelbon is a bit of a roller coaster to watch.
1. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
In many of my past articles I’ve ranked players lower because of inexperience. Kimbrel is the exception. The reason? In 2011, he had an astounding 14.84 K/9 ratio. ESPN fantasy analysts expect that number to increase too.
The NL ROY dominated hitters in 2011 with 46 saves, 127 strikeouts, 4 wins and a 2.10 ERA.He only walked 32 batters as well.
He’s set up for regression but in such a valuable fantasy position I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him.