Shortly after creating MLBDepthCharts.com, I quickly realized just how important it was for fantasy baseball players to find the guy who was “next in line” for saves. Even if it’s just to give the regular closer a break after a few consecutive days of work, saves are valuable for fantasy geeks.
A closer’s job is rarely on solid ground from one game to the next. Despite what else happens throughout the game, a blown save is not something that’s taken lightly in the media or by fans because it’s almost always directly correlated with the final result of the game.
Even the best closers in the game will be scrutinized if they blow three or four saves in a month. If you’re not the best closer in the game and you blow a save or two over the span of a few games, the pressure builds as the next unsuccessful opportunity could be the last.
Take a look at the Washington Nationals’ 2012 season. Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez shared the closer's gig to the start the season with Drew Storen on the disabled list. The hard-throwing Rodriguez took over the job on his own after Lidge landed on the disabled list in late April.
Less than a month later, Rodriguez was removed from the role after a string of shaky outings and manager Davey Johnson said he would go with a closer-by-committee, which never happened. Tyler Clippard got the first shot and then didn’t relinquish the role until Drew Storen returned from the disabled list and shared saves with him the rest of the way.
Injuries and ineffectiveness will occur, as I've shown with one extreme example from 2012. So it’s important to have the right guy on your team at the right time. Here are several relievers not projected to close that could either “vulture” some saves throughout the year or eventually take over the closer’s role if the opportunity presented itself …