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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Saves On The Cheap

While the usual suspects are going for their inflated prices it is possible to build a stable of closers on the cheap. By targeting closers with fairly secure jobs you can earn the saves you need while having money to spend elsewhere in your lineup. Having Mariano Rivera for $20 may not be as profitable as having Joel Hanrahan for $4 and Jayson Werth at $18. The top closers such as Heath Bell and Brian Wilson strikeout a lot more than other closers but not enough to pay top dollar for. They are going to be above average in WHIP and ERA but their limited innings will limit their affect on those categories. Dan Haren will give you more strikeouts than those two combined with a similar whip in more than 50 extra innings.

With saves available late in a draft or auction who are the best players to target?

Leo Nunez - Nunez should hold onto the Marlins closer role for the season and could give you 35 saves as a result. He strikes out enough batters that you won't need many Ks from your starters to make up the gap between him and the elite closers.

Joel Hanrahan - Hanrahan is the leading candidate for the Pirates job and is a cheap option who could put up similar strikeout numbers to those pitchers in the upper tier. He has the job so far but will be on a short leash with Evan Meek in the mix.

Brandon Lyon - Not a sexy pick but he has the job and when you're looking for saves at a discount that's what matters most. He will give you a decent WHIP and ERA but is at risk of losing his job as the Astros closer at any moment. He doesn't strike out a lot of batters so he will be overlooked but if you're looking for your closer to win you the strikeout category you could be in some real trouble.

J.J. Putz - A former star closer has slipped from fantasy owners minds after a couple years of obscurity. He pitched very well last year and will be closing games for the Diamondbacks this year. He won't put up the mind blowing numbers he used to but he will do good for what you have to pay to get him.

Joel Peralta - The Rays don't have a clear cut closer but Peralta may fill that role this year. He showed dramatic improvements last year so there is risk of regression but if he maintains his improvements from last year he could be one of the better closers in fantasy.

Chris Perez - Pitching in Cleveland ensures your profile will remain low. The nice thing about closers though is it doesn't matter how good their team is just that they have the closing job. He is still working out the kinks in his game but he could breakout as a solid closer option.