Fantasy Baseball: The Volatility of NL Closers Continues

I am of the belief, as many are, that you cannot spend too much money on closers at an auction draft, or draft a closer before the 10th round in snake drafts, due to the volatility of NL Closers. Of the relievers who started the season as closer back in April, 50% have lost their job due to injury or ineffectiveness.

Let's take a look at the NL Closer picture now vs. back in April-seems like yesterday, doesn't it?

Team Apr-09 Sept. 2009
New York Rodriguez Rodriguez
Philadelphia Lidge Madson
Florida Lidstrom Nunez
Atlanta Gonzalez Soriano
Washington Hanrahan McDougal
Chicago Gregg Marmol
Milwaukee Hoffman Hoffman
Houston Valverde Valverde
St. Louis Motte Franklin
Pittsburgh Capps Capps
Cincinnatti Cordero Cordero
Arizona Qualls Gutierrez
Los Angeles Broxton Broxton
Colorado Corpas Street
San Diego Bell Bell
San Francisco Wilson Wilson

The NL East has had the most turnover with all but Francisco Rodriguez losing their job due to ineffectiveness for the most part, lead by the Phillies Brad "Lights Out" Lidge. He has been nothing short of awful this season, blowing 10 saves, while the current closer Ryan Madson has blown 6 games himself for a 57% save percentage.

Another closer who lost his job was the Cubs Kevin Gregg as he blew 6 games this season to go with his 23 saves and 4,70 ERA. Carlos Marmol is the Cubs current closer and he will open up the 2010 season as the team closer as well.

The Cardinals Ryan Franklin, who wasn't even in the team's closer picture during spring training has rewarded owners who dropped a buck or two on him by having his best year of his career with 37 saves, a 1.93 ERA, a 1.107 WHIP, but only a 1.90 K/BB ratio. His success can be attributed to an increase in his GB/FB ratio from 0.76 to 0.89, and lowering his HR/FB% from 8.90% to 2.6%. Franklin's career GB/FB ratio is 0.64 and his HR/FB% is 8.3%, so he may regress to his major league averages in 2010, so don't draft him too early or spend too much on him. Plus, his manager is Tony Larussa, who usually changes closers quite frequently.

As a result, there aren't too many reliable closers in the NL with the exception of the Dodgers Jonathan Broxton, the Giants Brian Wilson, the Padres Heath Bell and the Astros Jose Valverde.

I did not include the Mets Francisco Rodriguez, as his 2009 K/BB ratio and GB/FB ratio both dropped this season, and his HR/FB ratio almost doubled. All in all, this year was his worst year in the last five years in terms of K/BB, GB/FB and HR/FB ratios. This is something to monitor going into the 2010 season. I wouldn't want to waste a high draft pick or spend too much on him in 2010 drafts.

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