NL FANTASY CLOSER REPORT

UPDATED AS OF 7/13/2011  As we discussed leading into the season, saves is the most unpredictable category to draft and this year has been no different.  I want to quickly list each team’s closer and the most likely backup should he falter.

Arizona – CLOSER David Hernandez, NEXT Aaron Heilman- With JJ Putz on the DL currently, Hernandez has filled in as the main guy in Arizona.  He has closed out 7 games and posted a decent ERA of 3.266.  The role is still Putz’s upon his return which should be soon after the break is over

Atlanta – CLOSER Craig Kimbrel, NEXT Jonny Venters - The best 1,2 combination  in any bullpen this season.  Kimbrell leads the NL in saves with 28 (5 blown saves) and has an ERA of 2.348 with 70 K’s in 46 innings.  Venters, also an All-star as a set-up man, has posted an ERA 1.464 in 55 innings while striking out 59.

Chicago – CLOSER Carlos Marmol, NEXT Sean Marshall- As secure of a closer as you can find despite his 6 blown saves. There is just no competition in Chicago.  Marmol has 19 saves with an ERA of 2.571 and 52 K’s.

Cincinnati – CLOSER Francisco Cordero, NEXT Aroldis Chapman- Cordero has been solid this season posting 17saves at the break.  His ERA is under 3 and his WHIP is sitting at a pretty 1.08.  The closer of the future is most likely the flame throwing Aroldis Chapman, but for now it is all Cordero.

Colorado – CLOSER Huston Street, NEXT Matt Lindstrom - Street has closed 26 of 28 chances so far and easily has a firm grasp on the role.  Lindstrom has been a decent set up man for the Rockies.

Florida – CLOSER Leo Nunez, NEXT Mike Dunn- Nunez, who lost the job late last season to Clay Henlsey, struggled for a 5 game stretch but has turned it back around and looks like a safe bet to finish the year as the Marlins closer. He has saved 25 of 28 chances despite his 3.51 ERA.

Houston – CLOSER Mark Melancon, NEXT Wilton Lopez-Can we say not good?  Melancon filled in for displaced closer, Brandon Lyon who post an ERA over 11 while blowing 4 saves in 8 chances.  Melancon has not had too many chances but he has blow 3 of his 9 chances.  Not sure if anyone will get the chances to save enough games to consider them a top closer on your fantasy roster.

  Los Angeles – CLOSER Javy Guerra, NEXT Hong-Chih Kuo- Broxton – OUT, Padilla – OUT.  In comes Javy Guerra who has looked pretty good in his brief stint closing out games for the Dodgers.  He is 4 for 4 so far and will get the chance to keep the role in the second half due to the injuries to the bullpen.

Milwaukee – CLOSER John Axford, NEXT Francisco Rodriguez- After the big move for K-Rod, the job still is in the hands of John Axford.  He has a couple of things going for him to keep the role.  He was nasty in the second half last year, he has been perfect at home saving all 16 chances to date, K-Rod will get an automatic $17million next year if he finishes out 21 more games.  Don’t think the Brewers are going to let that happen if Axford keeps pitching the way he has.  K-Rod will be the set up guy.

New York – CLOSER Bobby Parnell and Jason Isringhausen- K-Rod is going to the Brewers.  The role will most likely be Parnell’s in the long run and most likely immediately.  He hits 100MPH on the gun consistently and since being recalled from the minors, he has looked pretty solid. 

Phladephia – CLOSER Antonio Bastardo, NEXT ????- This went from Brad Lidge (returning soon) to Ryan Madson, to Jose Contreras and now to Bastardo.  You have to think that Lidge or Madson will regain the role upon returning and proving to be healthy, but for now Bastardo has it and has been nasty.5 for 5 in saves chances so far and on the season he has posted an ERA of 0.818  and a WHIP of 0.757 in 33 innings.

Pittsburgh – CLOSER Joel Hanrahan, NEXT Jose Veras- The most secure job in baseball at the closer position (except Mariano).  26 chances, 26 saves!  ERA 1.339 and WHIP 0.917.  Enough said.

St Louis – CLOSER Fernando Salas, NEXT Jason Motte- After using a committee early on after Ryan Franklin’s blow up, Salas has been the man for the Cardinals saving 16 of 18 with an ERA 2.250.

San Diego – CLOSER Heath Bell, NEXT Mike Adams – Bell has the job to himself until he gets traded away.  He has been his normal self to date with 26 saves in 27 chances.   Adams would be a solid closer in his own right should he get the chance.

San Francisco – CLOSER Brian Wilson, NEXT Jeremy Affeldt - As secure as it comes, Brian Wilson will have no problem hanging on to the job.  Mainly because he is really good, but also because there is no one else.  He has struggled a bit of late with 4 blown saves and a WHIP over 1.40.

Washington – CLOSER Drew Storen, NEXT Tyler Clippard- Storen has lived up to the hype and should be a solid closer in the future as well.  He has saved 23 of 26 chances while posting a WHIP under 1 and an ERA of 2.57

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