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Why Drafters Should Wait on Closers

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This is a very volatile position, and there is tons of turn over in the closer department from year to year.  I am going to assume that you play in a league where the owners actually have some intelligence, and say that you will not come out of the draft with the perfect team.  Nor will you be able to leave the draft being able to cover every category.  Saves is the area where you can hang back, and wait until after the draft to obtain these stats.  Certain statistics come into the league, and you can gain via the waiver wire, and certain ones do not.  Saves is the category with the most waiver wire depth.  

Only three of the drafted closers last year managed to return a 30% or more profit. (Brian Wilson, Trevor Hoffman, and Heath Bell)  Only eight closers, 29% returned any profit at all.  In all, 20 of the 28 pitchers drafted last year for saves 71% realized a loss on their purchase price.

 For people doing snake drafts this just means that these players underperformed for the round they were normally drafted in.  The following list shows the nine closers who returned less then 50% of their value; this list does not include other who lost their job but returned half their value. (Mike Gonzalez, George Sherrill, Bobby Jenks, Chad Qualls)

2009 Closer Failures:
Capps
Devine
Hanrahan
Lidge
Lindstrom
Marmol
Motte
Chris Perez
BJ Ryan
Wood




2009 New Sources of Saves:
Aardsma (38)
Bailey (26)
Franklin (38)
Frasor (11)
Hawkins (11)
Howell (17)
Johnson (10)
MacDougal (20)
Madson (10)
Nunez (26)
Soriano (27)
Wilson (14)

Now, not paying for saves does not mean you are going to punt the save category entirely.  Most people are going to know their league best.  If there are waiver hawks out there, and you may not be able to grab the next Aardsma and Andrew Bailey, then you can pay a little more for saves on draft day.  However, do not break the bank on an elite closer like Joe Nathan.  I repeat.  Do not break the bank on saves!