Top 15 Closers For 2011: An Extremely Early Second Look

Closers are an unpredictable bunch, huh?  A month ago, would anyone have predicted that Jonathan Broxton would be out of a job?  You just never know what is going to happen, but it’s impossible to believe that he is not going to be viable fantasy closer in 2011.

Does that keep him atop our rankings?  It’s impossible to, but he still has to be towards the top.  Let’s take a look at how things currently stand (though these will likely look significantly differently once projections are done and player’s change teams in the offseason):

  1. Joakim Soria – Kansas City Royals
  2. Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees
  3. Jonathan Broxton – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Andrew Bailey – Oakland Athletics
  5. Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants
  6. Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers
  7. Jonathan Papelbon – Boston Red Sox
  8. Heath Bell – San Diego Padres
  9. Carlos Marmol – Chicago Cubs
  10. Francisco Rodriguez – New York Mets
  11. Rafael Soriano – Tampa Bay Rays
  12. Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers
  13. Francisco Cordero – Cincinnati Reds
  14. Matt Thornton – Chicago White Sox
  15. Daniel Bard – Boston Red Sox

Thoughts:

  • While it may appear odd to have the closer of one of the worst teams in the league atop the rankings, all you have to do is look at the numbers to justify it.  Since making his Major League debut in 2007 he has racked up 126 saves with a 2.00 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 273 Ks over 247.1 innings.  It’s hard to argue with results, isn’t it?  He’ll likely post his second 40+ save year in 2010 and easily could reach that mark again in 2011.
  • Will Rivera ever slow down?  Until he shows a chink in his armor, he belongs near the top of all closer rankings.
  • Bailey proved that his rookie campaign was no fluke, only being slowed by time on the DL.  While he’s not likely to replicate his 1.37 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, he’s going to continue to thrive.
  • Jonathan Papelbon’s time as the Red Sox closer will likely come to an end in 2010, but you have to think that there will be a team willing to install him in the roll.  I know he’s coming off a “down” year, but he still is among the Top 15 in the league.  If the switch is made, Daniel Bard is going to be among the top closers in the league.  That justifies his spot at the bottom of these rankings until this situation plays itself out.
  • For now, you have to imagine that Heath Bell will be closing games somewhere in 2011, if it is for the Padres or someone else.  The offseason will certainly help to solidify his spot on the rankings, but for now we will go by what we’ve seen.
  • Could the Rangers transition Feliz back to the rotation?  Until they say they will, he’s a borderline Top 5 option.
  • Marmol has electric stuff and can pile up the strikeouts, that’s a given.  If he could ever get his control in order, he’d be a borderline #1 option.  Until then, we have to downgrade him slightly.
  • Will Francisco Rodriguez be returned to the Mets closer’s role?  That’s one of the biggest offseason stories surrounding the position.  For now he’s a borderline Top 10 option, but he has the potential to fall completely out of our rankings depending on how the offseason unfolds.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who is being overvalued?  Who is being undervalued?

Make sure to check out our extremely early 2011 rankings:

3 comments

  1. Chief Aloique says:

    Agree with the choice of Soria.

    Although, overall, this review reminded me that if ever there was a year in Fantasy Baseball that justified punting saves, it was this one. Chaos in so many bullpens — subpar years from a lot of the old reliables, injuries and a guesswork/patchwork scramble for second-and-third-tier handcuffs — blew a lot of weekly ERAs and WHIPs to smithereens while offering relatively little in compensatory saves.

    I bailed early (mid-May) on that crazy chase for closers, preferring to beef up my bench with hitters and starting pitching, and have won the regular-season portion of a tough 12-team league, top to bottom, going away. Remains to be seen how that strategy will hold up in the playoffs, but it’s too late to do anything about it now.

    If somehow Wagner were to return, I’d have to consider moving him to the top of the list. But as things stand, that ranking is pretty much spot on.

  2. carlito says:

    Have had soria all year. Stud. If Marmol ever could figure out control… he would be top 3 imo.

  3. Brian Wilson says:

    I should be #3. Broxton is too shaky and Baily is not as proven. Soon I will be the best closer in baseball!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *