Well there’s Craig Kimbrel and then everyone else. Bear in mind, many of the top closers going into 2011 lost their jobs, and many undrafted free agents ended up as closers, so you can always wait longer on relievers.
Mariano Rivera is my #2 and Drew Storen is at #3. I will take the injury-risk Brian Wilson at #4 over the Phillies new closer Jonathan Papelbon who falls to #5. John Axford and Jose Valverde are safe closers to slot in at #6 and 7 followed by Joel Hanrahan (8), Heath Bell (9), Ryan Madson (10) and just for good measure Jordan Walden (11), JJ Putz (12), and Jason Motte (13) would be next with Andrew Bailey (14) close to that group.
I talked about relievers becoming starters in the starter rundown so I’m not going to double-up on them.
I like Brandon League, Joakim Soria, Jordan Walden, and Rafael Betancourt. All of them are probably going to be drafted outside the top 10 at RP, but could be 30+ save guys with helpful ERA/WHIP/K.
If Huston Street could stay healthy, he’d be interesting, as goes for the previously mentioned Bailey.
Two guys I will likely end up with as late middle round closer picks that I will love and both will be on my sleeper list… Kyle Farnsworth and Carlos Marmol. Kenley Jansen will also be mentioned as a sleeper because he’s got the stuff to be the Dodgers’ closer, but Javy Guerra could also be in the saves-conversation there.
Some setup men to know… Johnny Venters is worth owning even if he’s setting up for the best closer in baseball. Venters is the top setup man, and if Kimbrel got hurt or suddenly lost his already-shaky command, Venters could suddenly be a top closer. Sergio Romo is setting up for Wilson, who is coming off of injury, so Romo might get 10-15 saves if Wilson can’t stay healthy. Also know that Mike Adams is in Texas behind Joe Nathan, who isn’t a safe bet anymore.
Either Francisco Cordero or Sergio Santos will get saves in Toronto. If we knew which one, then they’d be in the top-20 at the position but we just don’t.
I promise you there are a few guys who will rack up 20-30 saves this season who aren’t remotely on the radar at this point.
Fredrick, Texas: With all the volatility, does it make the safe guys more valuable and worth drafting early?
Who are the safe guys? The top five in saves in 2011 were Valverde, Axford, Kimbrel, Putz, Rivera… the top five in 2010 were Wilson, Bell, Soriano, Soria, Capps… so considering you draft closers mainly for saves, you see my point? I probably won’t have any top-5 closers because I’d rather draft upside guys later. Too much bust potential.
Robert, Washington: Mark Melancon is behind the injury-prone Andrew Bailey on a winning team… thoughts?
I love Melcancon as a late pick in deep leagues. Bailey hasn’t reached 50 innings the last two years and has never topped 30 saves.
That’s all for positions. Stay tuned for sleepers and busts………