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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Late Round Closer Options In AL/NL-Only Leagues

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In response to a request from a reader, this article will cover late round closer options in AL/NL-ony leagues and keeper leagues. This list will be the set-up guys who will have a decent chance for save opportunities should their closer lose the job or get injured.

Some names who could top the list are the following, and they are not necessarily in any order, so don't take these as rankings.

1. Craig Kimbrel/Jonny Venters, ATL-I think Kimbrel will win the job out of spring training, but Venters could earn some saves should Kimbrel struggle.

2. Kenley Jansen/Hong-Chi Kuo, LAD-with the price of relievers rising, Jonathan Broxton will more than likely test free agency in 2012, but he still has to prove that the second half of 2010 was a fluke. Jansen would probably get more save opps if Broxton struggles again this year, as Kuo's left elbow is quite brittle.

3. Bobby Parnell, NYM-Francisco Rodriguez is the Mets closer this year, and his contract states that his $17.5 million 2012 option vests should he finish 55 games in 2011 and 100 games in 2010-2011. I don't see that happening with Parnell in the bullpen.

4. Tanner Scheppers, TEX-should the Rangers decide to put Neftali Feliz in the starting rotation, Scheppers could get the call to close in Texas.

5. Daniel Bard/Bobby Jenks, BOS-the Sox will probably let Jonathan Papelbon test free agency after the 2011 season, and should Papelbon blow some games this season, the Sox may give Jenks and Bard chances for save opportunities in 2011.

6. Chris Sale, CHW-Matt Thornton may get the early call to close in Chicago, but Sale could get save chances as well. But pitching coach Don Cooper was recently quoted as saying he would prefer Sale's role to be defined in spring training, and that he not flip flop from the pen to the rotation, or vice versa.

7. Jason Motte, STL-with closer Ryan Franklin retiring after the 2011 season, Motte has a chance to be the closer of the future in St. Louis after his solid 2010 season.

8. Mike Adams/Luke Gregerson, SD-if Heath Bell is traded this season, I think Adams gets the first shot at closing in San Diego, but Gregerson isn't far behind Adams, and one could argue he is a better option than Adams after his excellent 2010 season.

9. Joel Peralta/Jake McGee, TB-with the Rays bullpen decimated this offseason, Peralta and McGee are probably the favorites to win the closer job in TB. This battles bears watching in spring training, as McGee is the younger of the two, but Peralta has more experience.

10. Brian Fuentes, OAK-Fuentes just signed with the A's and was recently quoted as saying he wants to closer in 2011. He might get that opportunity with Andrew Bailey coming offseason surgery.

11. Evan Meek/Joel Hanrahan, PIT-the Pirates recently stated that they will announce who will be their closer before spring training starts, so whoever does not get the job will be an excellent late round flier this year. I think Hanrahan gets the job.

12. Aroldis Chapman, CIN-Chapman will be in the bullpen in 2011, and with Francisco Cordero in his last year of his contract, Cincinnatti may decide to deal Cordero should they fall out of the race this year. Chapman is an excellent candidate to close in 2012, and should be drafted in keeper leagues.