This is it gentlemen (and ladies). It's put up or shut up time. Which closer are you gonna take this season? I can never think of Closers without recalling that irreverent scene in the film, Glengarry Glenn Ross. Perhaps Alec Baldwin's finest acting moment. "Coffee is for closers!" What does it have to do with fantasy baseball? Not a thing. Because in that movie, Closers are everything, while in fantasy baseball, they are next to nothing, yet you gotta have a couple.
So what does that mean for us? Since my initial pre-season closer rankings, things have changed around the league in the course of one short month. Joe Nathan, you're fired. Kerry Wood, you suck. Huston Street, put that rosin bag down, rosin is for Closers! Brad Lidge, Andrew Bailey, and Bobby Jenks, all hurting...no coffee for you!
No matter who you grab come draft day, you will spend the entire season "Closing." All season long there will be injuries, and a closer carousel around baseball. New faces, new names, sleepers and surprises; so good managers, even those with a Jonathan Broxton or Mariano Rivera will be keeping tabs on the guys who start to emerge out of nowhere this season who will be next year's Andrew Bailey.
There is still a battle in Houston between Lyon and Lidstrom, as well as Toronto between Gregg and Frasor. Keep an eye on them this last week before the games count.
So as we get down to the last week of fantasy drafts let's look at the current value of the most volatile position in fantasy baseball.
JS = Job Security – Good, Fair, Poor
In Bold = Guys I’m high on in 2010
|Tier 1||Team||JS||Successor in Waiting||One Liners|
|1||Jonathan Broxton||LAD||G||George Sherrill||Safe a bet as it gets|
|2||Mariano Rivera||NYY||G||Phil Hughes||Lowest WHIP of all 2009 closers|
|3||Jonathan Papelbon||BOS||G||Daniel Bard||Flyballs and walk stats rising|
|4||Joakim Soria||KCC||G||Kyle Farnsworth||Similar line to Papelbon at a better price|
|5||Billy Wagner||ATL||G||Takashi Saito||My leap of faith in his ability and recovery|
|6||Francisco Rodriguez||NYM||G||Kelvim Escobar||3.71 ERA in ‘09. Ouch|
|7||Heath Bell||SD||F||Edward Mujica||Likely to be traded by all-star break|
|8||Andrew Bailey||OAK||F||Brad Zeigler||Can he avoid a sophomore slump?|
|9||Francisco Cordero||CIN||G||Nick Massett||Not flashy, but safe. Watch the WHIP|
|10||Brian Wilson||SF||G||Jeremy Affeldt||Somehow gets it done each year|
|11||Brian Fuentes||ANA||F||Fernando Rodney||Lots of saves, but he’ll give you a stroke|
|12||Jose Valverde||DET||F||Joel Zumaya||Could be a nice surprise comeback|
|13||Trevor Hoffman||MIL||G||LaTroy Hawkins||Old reliable, emphasis on old|
|14||Huston Street||COL||F||Franklin Morales||Morales gets the nod opening day|
|16||Rafael Soriano||TB||F||J.P. Howell||Injury concern, but great stuff|
|17||Carlos Marmol||CHC||F||Angel Guzman||Cardiac kid can throw the heat|
|18||David Aardsma||SEA||F||Mark Lowe||I don’t like this guy, but he'll get chances|
|19||Mike Gonzalez||BAL||P||Jim Johnson||Can he stay healthy?|
|19||Bobby Jenks||CHW||F||Matt Thornton||He’s not getting much love this season|
|20||Ryan Franklin||STL||F||Jason Motte||Franklin's struggled, Motte has not|
|21||Chad Qualls||ARI||F||Juan Gutierrez||Should be ready by opening day|
|22||Jon Rauch||MIN||P||Matt Guerrier||Rauch will have a short leash to start|
|23||Brad Lidge||PHI||P||Ryan Madson||Plays better in even years, risk/reward|
|24||Frank Francisco||TEX||P||Neftali Perez||He still has the job…somehow|
|25||Octavio Dotel||PIT||F||Joel Hanrahan||Could be a steal this season|
|26||Matt Capps||WAS||P||Brian Bruney||Closer on a bad team = opportunity|
|27||Kerry Wood||CLE||F||Chris Perez||Perez will take over sometime this season|
|28||Matt Lindstrom||HOU||P||Brandon Lyon||Handcuff these two|
|29||Leo Nunez||FLA||P||Dan Meyer||He walks too damn many batters|
|30||Jason Frasor||TOR||P||Kevin Gregg||If Frasor can keep Gregg at bay…|
|31||Franklin Morales||COL||X||Betancourt||He's lethal and Huston Street is hurt|
|32||Matt Thornton||CHW||X||N/A||If Jenks faulters...|
Here's a look at our Closer Breakouts, Busts and Sleepers.
For those interested in the infamous Coffee is For Closers scene, you can find it here.