Closers are an important part of fantasy baseball. If you don’t have a decent closer, chances are you’ll be very frustrated sifting through the waiver wire.
So, having an elite closer is essential to a team’s success. Here are the top 10 closers for the rest of 2011.
- Heath Bell, San Diego Padres – Bell is pretty much a sure thing for the Padres. So far this season, he’s accumulated 17 saves and has a 2.89 ERA. In his 28 innings pitched, he has also racked up 22 strikeouts. If the Padres offense could get him even more save chances, he’d surely make the most of them.
- Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants – Wilson has 18 saves for the Giants. But, with all the injuries the team is dealing with right now, his save opportunities will probably dwindle for a period of time. Every time he pitches though, he’s dynamite. He has 31 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA in 30 innings pitched this season.
- Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers – Feliz is talented enough to take over the No. 1 spot on this list if he can stay healthy. He’s battled through an injury this year, but has 13 saves, 12 strikeouts and a 1.21 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched. His strikeout numbers should improve as he continues to work his way back into a groove.
- Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees – This is probably Mo’s last hurrah, and he’s making it a good one. He has a microscopic 1.85 ERA and 16 saves this season. He has also amassed 19 strikeouts in his 24.1 innings pitched. If this is indeed his last year, he’ll certainly be going out on top of his game.
- Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati Reds – Cordero only has 12 saves so far this season. But, he’s been a great reliever regardless of the low save total, with a 1.48 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. When the Reds start playing in more close games, Cordero will be very valuable.
- Leo Nunez, Florida Marlins – Nunez has a pretty high ERA (3.41), but he’s still tied for the league lead in saves with 19. He also has 30 strikeouts in his 29 innings pitched. He’s shown dynamite stuff on the hill for the Marlins this year and could be a great closer in the future.
- Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves – Kimbrel has 18 saves so far this year and has been a strikeout king. He’s accumulated a whopping 48 strikeouts in just 32 innings pitched. If he can get his 3.37 ERA down a bit, he could be a dominant closer for the rest of this year and into the future.
- J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks – Putz has struggled the past couple years, but he’s putting those struggles behind him this year. He’s been a big factor in the resurgence of the Diamondbacks, with 17 saves and 27 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched. His ERA is also an outstanding 2.00. If he can keep up his strong play, the Diamondbacks should continue to surprise people.
- Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets – It looked like Rodriguez was on the decline after struggling the past couple years. But he’s having a nice bounce back season with the Mets this year. He has 18 saves, 34 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings pitched. He’s back to producing at a high level again.
- Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians – Perez has been a stable presence at the back end of the Indians bullpen, allowing the Indians to flourish so far this year. Perez has 15 saves, 13 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched. The Indians appear to be for real this season, and that means Perez should continue to have plenty of save opportunities.
Honorable Mentions: John Axford, Jose Valverde, Jordan Walden