This season has been a year full of injuries for closers and it’s time to look at who may be creeping onto the list.
Drew Storen – Washington Nationals
I listed Storen as my #5 overall closer but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in 2012. He had a minor elbow surgery last week and is expected to return before the All Star break.
Without their young righty, the Nationals have turned to Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez to close out their victories. Both have been effective and have neither has pulled too far ahead in the race to be named closer. Only 1/3 of an inning separates their total innings this season although Rodriguez has appeared in one more game.
Currently, Rodriguez leads the team with three saves while Lidge has only two. Rodriguez has only given up one hit, four walks and struck out nine hitters. He still has not given up a run.
Lidge’s stats are very good but he trails Rodriguez in most statistical categories. The Nationals seem to like him, though, because he is still getting save opportunities. I expect him to lose the closer title to Rodriguez sooner rather than later.
Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants
There is no need to Fear the Beard this season because Wilson will miss the 2012 season after he undergoes Tommy John surgery.
The Giants will use the Closer By Committee approach with Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt but I believe the job will soon be Casilla’s. Manager Bruce Bochy recently said that Casilla will receive the “lion’s share” of save opportunities.
Casilla converted his first save opportunity while only allowing one single. It should be interesting to see if he succeeds or crumbles under the pressure of replacing the beard.
Andrew Bailey – Boston Red Sox
This one is a little easier to understand. Bailey is on the 60-day DL and Bobby Valentine quickly named Alfredo Aceves the new closer. Aceves has been shaky and has allowed three runs in his three innings pitched this season. Rumors continue to swirl about Daniel Bard returning to the bullpen to close for the Sox but rumors always swirl in Boston and I don’t take them seriously. It is safe to say that Mark Melancon will not challenge Aceves for his role.
Kyle Farnsworth – Tampa Bay Ray
On April 6, Farnsworth was given a timetable of 4-6 weeks to return to the mound but the Rays aren’t missing a beat without him.Fernando Rodney has stepped in and closed 4 games for the Rays. He hasn’t allowed a hit yet and has only walked one batter with three strikeouts.
Ryan Madson – Cincinnati Reds
Madson is the last closer I’ll mention tonight and he ranked 6th on my preseason closer list. He is currently on the 60-day DL list and has absolutely no fantasy value in standard leagues.
Reds’ manager Dusty Baker put Sean Marshall in charge of closing games for the NL Central contenders. Marshall has the team’s only save this season but he hasn’t looked great. He has only given up one run but has allowed six baserunners in 3.1 innings so far.
Marshall has time to settle into his new role and will keep it as long as he keeps runners from scoring but I’m sure Reds fans can do without seeing two baserunners every 9th inning.
I’ll be back soon with injury updates to some of the top hitters in the majors and the best free agent options available.