Being a closer in the Major League can be very stressful for a pitcher, this week we have some of the finest players to ever play the position receiving unlikely grades. With a couple of “falling legends” taking control of the bottom, we have some youngsters making their presence felt at the top.
Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers): The only closer to record four saves (4-for-4) over the last week added four strikeouts while allowing just two to reach base in four IP. He looks to be right back on pace after a slow start, he has a 1.15 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 23 K’s over 15.2 IP.
Neftali Feliz (Rangers): I was almost getting worried that my man Ron Washington was going to shy away from making this kid his full-time closer. If Washington removes Feliz from the closer role after this past week (2-for-2 in SVO, five K’s, and one man allowed to reach base) there is no way Texas ownership will let him keep his job after his second failed drug test. Because he would have to be doing something to make that move! Feliz is tied for third in saves with 11.
Heath Bell (Padres): Heath Bell gave up four hits but also struckout four on his way to a perfect 2-for-2 last week. He gave up no runs and currently has a 1.00 ERA with 23 K’s in 18 IP. I would say if Heath Bell is your closer you are safe as the trade possibilities should completely halted by now with the Padres success this year.
Jon Rauch (Twins): Rauch has made it back to the A group yet again after being a mainstay here for the first few weeks. Rauch got just two chances last week but made good on both while striking out three in two IP. He is tied for six in saves and has blown just one this year while holding a 1.07 WHIP.
Joakim Soria (Royals): Soria did go perfect in SVO (three) but had a WHIP of 1.67 during the week. He walked three and allowed two hits without allowing a run. Soria’s WHIP for the season (1.31) is a little too high for where he is used to it being, look for him to gradually bring that down along with his 3.38 ERA.
Rafael Soriano (Rays): When you are on the team with the best record you better believe you will get your chances to finish the game as the closer. Soriano has been handling the closer role nicely and last week he added two saves with allowing just two batters to reach base.
Manny Corpas (Rockies): Corpas recorded two saves last week while pitching 3.2 innings for the Rockies. Shockingly, he didn’t give up a hit or a walk, not bad for the fill-in. Monitor this situation if you are looking for a closer.
Octavio Dotel (Pirates): If you have read this article before you know I reward closers for K’s. Dotel gives fantasy owners just that (6 K’s in 4 IP), unfortunately he only has a 6.61 ERA on the season. This is after he allowed just one run last week with a 2.25 ERA at weeks-end.
Francisco Cordero (Reds): Cordero is second in the MLB with 13 saves and a respectable 3.15 ERA. He pitched just 1.2 innings last week and gave up a run, he did however make good on both SVO.
Ryan Franklin (Cardinals): I said it before and I’ll say it again, Franklin is a GOOD closer! He has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He closed the door on both save chances and allowed just one run in 4 IP last week. If you are asking why I gave him a C if I am so high on him he had just one K (see Dotel).
Brian Wilson (Giants): Wilson didn’t have his best week while he allowed two earned in four IP, he still struckout six. He now has 24 strikeouts in 16.1 IP, to go with his 2.76 ERA. If you are in a league where K’s matter, Broxton might be the only closer who is more valuable than Wilson, or maybe the next guy…
Carlos Marmol (Cubs): Carlos Marmol blew a save and gave up two earned runs last week in five IP. But you know what? He is a STUD! He has 38 strikeouts in JUST 19.2 IP. He has given up just one run prior to last week and his ERA sits at just 1.37. If the Cubs can get him some more chances he may very well finish as the number one closer!
Leo Nunez (Marlins): Nunez was at the top of the closer report and after the past week he falls to the D group. I mentioned last week if you have him you may want to trade high…if you still have him you NEED to sell high while you still can. I don’t see him continuing to hold a sub-one WHIP and keeping his 1.56 ERA for much longer. He didn’t blow a save but finished with a 6.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP for the week.
Kevin Gregg (Blue Jays): Gregg is tied for third in saves and has been a pleasant surprise for the Jays this year. He didn’t blow a save last week (2-for-2) but looks like he is starting to pitch like…Kevin Gregg. He gave up four hits and two runs last week.
Trevor Hoffman (Brewers): I almost feel bad smashing Hoffman every week but until the Brewers can find another closer, I am afraid this is my job and I will continue to do so. He gave up six ER in 3 appearances while finishing just two innings. He did strikeout two so there are still hitters who don’t see volleyballs when he is on the mound.
Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox): Papelbon is pretty much here for what the Yankees did to him on Monday night. He took the loss and blew the save while allowing four runs against his rivals. I would say don’t worry it was just the line-up, he has a modest 3.15 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.
Mariano Rivera (Yankees): I don’t get too many chances to give Yankee players and F, so I certainly appreciate it. Mo, who is the best closer of all-time (no argument can be warranted), struggled last week after coming back from his injury. He blew a save and gave up four runs (two earned) while striking out just two in 3.1 IP. Unfortunately for everyone else in the AL, this won’t last long.