Fantasy Team Advice

Lets take a look at all 30 closers in MLB.

As expected there has been a fair amount of volatility in the closer ranks this season in major league baseball.  Here are the updated closers for all 30 MLB teams heading into June fantasy baseball.  I will include a job security ranking on a scale from 1 to 10.  10 being the most secure job, and 1 a guy that is likely to lose his job before the end of the season.

American League

Team Player Security Rating Analysis
Yankees Mariano Rivera 10 The Yankees certainly won’t make a change at closer this season unless there is an injury.
Rangers Joe Nathan 10 Joe Nathan is back to his old dominant form and has the closer job locked up
White Sox Addison Reed 9 Reed has been terrific this season, and should be the closer of the White Sox for years to come
Mariners Tom Wilhelmsen 9 Wilhelmsen has been doing his part, maintaining an ERA under 1.00, Mariners have no need to make a change
Athletics Grant Balfour 8 While it is popular speculation that Ryan Cook is the closer in waiting for Oakland, Balfour is 11 for 11 in save opps with a 1.33 ERA, no move is imminent.
Royals Greg Holland 7 Fantasy owners haven’t been that happy with Holland, but his strikeout rate is elite (26 K/ 14 IP) and there is little reason for KC to consider a change at this time
Tigers Jose Valverde 6 The Tigers were hesitant to give Valverde the closer role back, and while he has looked good in the early going, you can bet he has a short leash with Jim Leyland and co.
Twins Glen Perkins 6 Perkins is one of the few bright spots for the Twins, but in a losing campaign he may be traded to a contender, thus the low job security ranking
Angels Ernesto Frieri 5 Frieri’s numbers look good on the surface (10/11 save opp., 2.91 ERA) but he has run into his fair share of problems recently, and with a guy like Ryan Madson coming back there could be a shakeup in the Angels bullpen later in the season
Blue Jays Casey Janssen 5 Janssen is 10 for 10 in save opportunities, with a nice 2.40 ERA and 15 K in 15 IP this season, so why the low ranking?  He has been experiencing shoulder discomfort of late, and for a guy that has a history of shoulder problems this is a HUGE red flag for fantasy owners.  The Jays could turn to Steve Delabar in the event that Janssen’s “discomfort” turns out to be something more, so keep an eye on that going forward
Astros Jose Veras 4 Veras is the owner of a 4.29 ERA and has closed out just 8 of 11 save opportunities. Obviously this isn’t a fantasy situation that most owners are watching, but if you are desperate for saves, keep an eye on the Astros closer situation, it is possible that a guy like Hector Ambriz ends up getting opportunities in the near future.
Red Sox Andrew Bailey 4 Bailey is back off the DL!!! For now… if he experiences any tweaks, cramps, aches or pains you can be sure the Sox will go to either Koji Uehara or Junichi Tazawa again in the 9th.
Orioles Jim Johnson 4 Pedro Strop‘s injury was about the best news that Jim Johnson has received this year.  Because of that injury, Johnson still has his job, but with an ERA standing at 5.25 and 4 blown saves already the Orioles have to be thinking about making a change.  Darren O’Day is about the best in house option at this point for the O’s if you are into prospecting.
Rays Fernando Rodney 3 Needless to say, when you have a 5.75 ERA your job as closer is on the line.  Fernando Rodney has managed to close the door on just 9 out of 14 save opportunities this season.  Joel Peralta is lurking, and with 1 or 2 more blown saves, the Rays will be forced to make a move
Indians Vinnie Pestano 2 Pestano has been named the closer with Chris Perez going down to injury.  There is little chance that Pestano keeps the closer job for the remainder of the season.

National League

Team Player Security Rating Analysis
Reds Aroldis Chapman 10 Chapman has blown a few saves (13 for 15) but unless he is injured, the fireballer is the closer in Cincy
Braves Craig Kimbrel 10 Kimbrel is just 15 for 18 in save opps, but he has struck out 29 batters in 19 innings, and the Braves have their closer for the next 5 years on autopilot.
Phillies Jonathan Papelbon 10 Papelbon has been terrific, now if the Phillies could just get him a few more opportunities…
Cardinals Edward Mujica 9 The Cardinals never cease to amaze, they lose Albert Pujols and don’t miss a beat heading to the playoffs, then they lose their closer Jason Motte, and in steps Mujica going 13 for 13 in save opps, while maintaining a 2.05 ERA and miniscule 0.64 WHIP.  With Motte out for the season, it looks like the Cards have found their closer for 2013
Pirates Jason Grilli 9 Grilli currently leads MLB with 20 saves in 20 opportunities.  Mark Melancon has shown the ability if an injury occurs, but it looks like Grilli has a handle on things.
Mets Bobby Parnell 9 This high rating assumes that Parnell is the closer of the future, and the Mets will not deal him in season.  Bobby is just 8 for 10 in save opps this season, but his ERA is a solid 1.93, and he should finish the season as closer for the Mets
Rockies Rafael Betancourt 8 Betancourt continues to struggle with a groin strain this season, and is the only reason he isn’t ranked a 10 in job security.  As long as he remains healthy, Betancourt will be closing games in Denver.
Nationals Rafael Soriano 8 Soriano has 3 blown saves in 2013 (14 for 17) but is often the case when a closer is signed to a big contract, he is unlikely to lose his job early in the season.  This is one of those “the job is his to lose” situations.
Giants Sergio Romo 7 Romo currently owns a 3.00 ERA while convertin 13 of 15 save opportunities.  No change appears to be on the horizon, but his job isn’t a sure thing.
Padres Huston Street 6 If the Padres continue to fall out of contention in the west, they may look into trading Street to a contender, opening up the closer job for Luke Gregerson.
Diamondbacks Heath Bell 5 Bell has been pretty solid for the Diamondbacks in the early going.  If he keeps it up there is little doubt that he keeps the job, but with David Hernandez setting up, Arizona has a ready made closer in waiting if Bell stumbles during the summer
Dodgers Brandon League 3 How’s that Bon Jovi song go… livin on a prayer?  Brandon League is hanging on to the job by his fingernails, but Kenley Jansen is ready to step in at a moment’s notice.  At this point it seems the only real question is who loses their job first, League or manager Don Mattingly?
Cubs Kevin Gregg 3 This bullpen has been one of the more erratic over the last few seasons.  With guys like Carlos Marmol, Kyuji Fujikawa and even James Russell hanging around, there is no telling who will be the closer on a month to month basis at Wrigley.
Brewers Francisco Rodriguez 3 John Axford looks like he will continue to set up for now, and Jim Henderson should be back in a few weeks to reclaim the closer job.  Rodriguez is simply a stop gap option at this time.
Marlins Committee 0 Mike Dunn, Steve Cishek and Chad Qualls are all being used at closer by the Marlins.  They have no apparent desire to name a closer, and in the season where they will only win about 60 games, this is a closer situation to avoid.

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Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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K J

K J

Lead Writer and Editor of FantasyTeamAdvice.com. Our website allows fantasy sports fans and writers the opportunity to dish out their own unique brand of fantasy advice to over 1,500,000 readers per year (and still growing!). You can find me in the forums on a regular basis interacting with one of the fastest growing fantasy sports communities on the web today.

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