Some people prefer to wait until late in their draft to acquire their fantasy closers, figuring that you can take some risks while also finding saves on the waiver wire throughout the season. Others like to use early-to-mid round picks in order to get an elite closer or two, hopefully stabilizing their standing in saves. Which strategy is right is a debate for another day, but let’s look at how I currently rank the Top 15 closers heading into 2011:
- Heath Bell – San Diego Padres
- Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants
- Joakim Soria – Kansas City Royals
- Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers
- Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees
- Rafael Soriano – Free Agent
- Jonathan Broxton – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Andrew Bailey – Oakland Athletics
- Jonathan Papelbon – Boston Red Sox
- Francisco Rodriguez – New York Mets
- Carlos Marmol – Chicago Cubs
- Joe Nathan – Minnesota Twins
- Huston Street – Colorado Rockies
- Jose Valverde – Detroit Tigers
- J.J. Putz – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Joe Nathan is a real wild card, but we all know what he is capable of doing. If he proves that he is healthy in Spring Training, he could easily perform as a Top 10, and maybe even a Top 5 option. Since 2004 he has had one season with an ERA above 2.10 and one season with a WHIP above 0.98. To say that he has the potential to be one of the elite and a steal on draft day is an understatement.
- Will the Rangers move Feliz to the rotation? I can’t see it after his success, but time will tell at this point.
- J.J. Putz will get an opportunity to rediscover his glory as a closer in Arizona. As long as he keeps his control in under (as he did in 2010), he should be a solid option as a second closer for fantasy owners.
- Mariano Rivera is the best closer ever to play the game, we all know that. At this point, is anyone really waiting for him to finally regress due to his age? He’s one of the elite and he should be considered as such until he finally decides to hang up his spikes.
- If you draft Jonathan Papelbon, you may want to grab Daniel Bard for your bench, just in case. I know Bobby Jenks was brought in, but Bard is still the likely replacement should something happen.
- If it wasn’t for his strikeout potential, I wouldn’t go near Carlos Marmol. However, he could easily lead all relief pitchers in strikeouts, which certainly helps to offset any potential problems his walk rate brings with him.
What are your thoughts on these rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
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Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings:
- Top 15 Catchers
- Top 15 First Basemen
- Top 15 Second Basemen
- Top 15 Third Basemen
- Top 15 Shortstops
- Top 20 Starting Pitchers
- 2011 Fantasy Draft First Round Breakdown