2014 Fantasy Baseball Closer Report
In the fantasy baseball world, there is no position that spurs as much debate as that of the closers. On one side of the fence, you've got the naysayers who continuously assert that the position is too volatile and that closers are single-category contributors not worthy of a high draft pick or substantial auction dollars. On the other side, you've got the proponents of the position who like to invest in their closers and believe that the player does more for their team than just accumulate saves. The former will happily bypass closers on draft day and chase saves on the waiver wire throughout the year while the latter choose to spend their FAAB budget on everyone else. No matter on which side of the fence you reside, with a saves category in play for your scoring system, they are still a must-own.
Personally, I sit on the side with the proponents and happily laugh at those who waste big free agent dollars on some flavor of the week who won't be closing games for too long. While they're out spending money on guys like Pedro Strop or Heath Bell, I'm sitting pretty with Greg Holland and Glen Perkins and making it rain at Club FAAB when Byron Buxton finally gets his call-up. They might be ahead of me in wins (yawn...totally arbitrary) and possibly strikeouts, but my ratios sparkle and I'm picking up saves faster than a five-year-old kid can pick boogers. And actually, if I'm smart about drafting, the folks who live on the other side of the fence don't even have the edge in strikeouts.
The fact is, quality closers do so much more than help you in just saves. Not only can guys like Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel help you in strikeouts, but they, along with some of the other high-end closers, will go out there and throw you 60-70 innings with killer ratios. They may not throw as many innings as most starting pitchers, but I'd rather have a closer with a 1.80 ERA over 65 innings in my active lineup than a mid-level starter who has a 4.50 ERA over 175 innings.
Unless, of course, that mid-level starter is a high-strikeout pitcher. If that's the case, then I'll take both. And that's the best way to use your closers. You don't need to burn high draft picks or big bucks on a premium starter. You can grab that elite closer in the seventh or eighth round and pair him up with someone like Jeff Samardzija or Jered Weaver in the 13th round and kill it in all the categories.
Is the position volatile? Yes it is. But that's why you make the investment in the guys at the top of the food chain; the ones with the high level of job security. Grab Chapman in the eighth round and draft around that. Don't wait until the 22nd round to grab Jose Veras and think that you're going to succeed. Drafting closers is much like life -- you get what you pay for. When it comes to relievers, if you draft one in the 22nd round, you're getting 22nd round production. If you draft in the eighth, well that's more often your floor in value, not your ceiling. Last year I drafted Holland in the 10th and 11th rounds in many drafts and did you see what his numbers were? Come on.
But I'm not here to try and convince you that my way is the right way. My fantasy championships and your sixth-place finishes speak for themselves. You'll come over to the "dark side" when you've had enough. What I'm here to do is help inform you of, not only who the closers are for each team, but who the next in line for saves would be if a particular team's closer gets hurt or craps the bed bad enough to lose his job. To do that, I have created my own little table which I will share with you here. I'll update it throughout the spring while discussing some of the bullpen battles we'll see and then it will be updated each and every week during the season to keep you well-informed and in-the-know.
So without further ado, here is how the bullpens are stacking up as we head into spring training:
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- DeSean Jackson is officially active on Sunday
- A.J. Green is officially active on Sunday
- Allen is officially active for Chargers on Sunday
- Jordan Cameron is officially active on Sunday
- Arian Foster will not play on Sunday
- Pierce inactive for Ravens on Sunday
- DeSean Jackson will play Sunday vs the Eagles
- Jamaal Charles is not expected to play Sunday
- Jordan Cameron expected to play Sunday
- Vernon Davis is doubtful to play Sunday
@benjam227 Bell, Ball and Ellington for me this week. Like Bradshaw more in PPR and too much time share in NO for me for Robinson
@ranalli2195 No, keep West. To thin at RB. Miller sucks and you won't want to use him
@qcanelias no. Hes not a young kid. He's been around for a little while.
@qcanelias for final week? Sure. Im not protecting him for next year though