There are some fantasy draft experts that believe a good strategy for drafting closers is to pay very little on draft day, or even to completely abandon the idea of drafting closers altogether, in the hopes of picking a few up via free agency during the first weeks and months of the season. An alternative to this strategy is to at least buy or select one very good closer with the expectations of collecting other options off the waiver wire. For either strategy to be successful, the team owner must pay close enough attention to the goings on around the league to snag the correct player at the right moment. My draft strategy is a slightly different approach: I typically select cheaper options that might have some question marks but come with the higher upside. A word of warning, though: this strategy has not worked for me the last two seasons, but it will at some point. I really wanted Jason Grilli (Cheese Sandwich) this year, but I didn't have the budget at the time he was drafted. Meanwhile, Grilli is tied for the league lead in saves so far this year and he only went for $14 in my league. D'oh! If you are in the same type of situation as I am, with zero or not enough closers, then I hope my articles can help you to find some legitimate closers-in-waiting. Despite the fact that I hate the saves statistic, what I hate even worse is not having a closer to get that stat, because right now, I'm over the line-- mark it zero, dude!
Andrew Bailey: On Thursday night, Boston’s closer suffered his third blown save in his last five chances. John Farrell stated after the game that Bailey is no longer his team’s closer, following his second consecutive blown save. Farrell, will most likely give Junichi Tazawa the first opportunity to man the ninth inning. Since Farrell has not specifically named Bailey’s replacement, it's worth noting that the other two possibilities are likely Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller. We hope that Farrell doesn't go with a closer-by-committee, since it's the worst solution for both fantasy purposes and real bullpens, because relievers in today's game need a well-defined role. Without that, they tend to be less effective, evidently because they have no idea when they will next pitch. My feeling is that Uehara is the best option to finish out games, but since he's been so effective in a setup role, it's unclear that the Sox will want to remove him from the 8th inning. The sneaky choice or sleeper of this bunch would be Andrew Miller. I already know what you are thinking, "But Bix, he's a lefty." Yeah, he's a lefty, with an upper-90s fastball and a nasty slider which helps him achieve elite strikeout rates. In the early part of the season Miller struggled with his command and issued many bases on balls, but he has been able to tame those walks over the last two months. I am going to assume that most people will pick up either Tazawa or Uehara but since I am in a deep league, I am going to speculate and grab Miller for free while the other teams overpay for the aforementioned players.
Kenley Jansen: Someone please tell me why this guy has not been closing from day one. Oh, wait-- it's because Brandon League is getting paid the big bucks to nail down the ninth. Here we go again with that monetary consideration-- let’s all just completely ignore the minuscule strikeout rate, the high ERA and all those baserunners allowed, and we'll focus on the dollars. I said this when he was in Seattle and I said it when the Dodgers signed him to be their closer: BRANDON LEAGUE is NOT a closer, full stop. While League is receiving over $5 million dollars to suck, Jansen is getting paid the league minimum to be dope. Pay this man to be your closer. Kenley Jansen is the closer of the future and the closer of the present, and I do not see any other immediate threats other than the thoroughly mediocre League.
Heath "I'm Shaped Like a" Bell: I'm sorry but this needs to be said. Picture me yelling: Heath Bell is finished as a closer! The only reason he is closing right now-- besides the fact of Putz being disabled-- is his salary. I find that silly, since the team still has to pay him regardless of what role he is given. When J.J. Putz went down with the elbow injury, everyone (including myself) assumed that David Hernandez would get the first crack, but obviously that did not happen. It seems like that was the right decision for Arizona, because Hernandez has been horrible as of late. Putz is out on a rehab assignment and will be back soon to reclaim his job as the finisher. With both Bell and Hernandez struggling, Putz is the man to own, as I see zero sleepers in this pen.
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