2011 Fantasy Baseball: 10 Closers To Avoid Drafting

Todd Farino@truegurufarinoCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2011

As it is every year, closers come and go throughout the season. Whether it's performance-based or injury, they will be replaced.

Here are 10 closers that, despite their ADP, career numbers or Closer Report Draft Kit ranking, I’d avoid at all costs.


Ryan Franklin, STL

Okay, weren’t his 15 minutes up two years ago?

Credit where it’s due to the steroid survivor that he’s lasted this long. He'll likely open as the Cardinals closer—but with no future contract and Jason Motte spreading his wings, circling above, Franklin won’t close for long.

I expect Motte to be the closer no later than May 15th, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he won the job in spring training in time for opening day.


Brandon Lyon, HOU

How many times has this guy had the closer job and then lost it? Had it, lost it again.

It shouldn’t surprise you that he'll likely be on a short leash for the up and coming Houston Astros.

Wilton Lopez and Jeff Fulchino both can close just as good as Lyon and both have shown more consistency in their young careers.

Lyon could hold the job for two to three months at best, but either mediocre pitching or injury will do him in.


Kevin Gregg, BAL

Good ol’ 3G is back closing for yet another team in a third consecutive season. This time, it’s for the Orioles, who have proven throughout the years that they aren’t the best team for a closer.

Still, with an improved offense, the Orioles are likely to make a little noise this year and that bodes well for Gregg, Koji Uehara or the Gunslinger himself, Alfredo Simon. Kevin Gregg had a great start to last season, finishing 37/43 with a 3.51 ERA.

I don’t see him breaking 25 saves since his knee is due to give-out in June, nor do I see him keeping the job all year on a team with nothing to lose.


Matt Capps, MIN

So many people are drafting Matt Capps.

I think those people forget that Joe Nathan is due to come back this year and planning to be ready by the start of the season.

Capps may have one month as the closer, then bye-bye!


Kyle Farnsworth, TAM

Was this not the funniest closer deal of the offseason?

I understand MLB and Yahoo have to designate someone as the closer, but Farnsworth doesn't excite me in the least. Besides facing Red Sox and Yankee hitters 38 times, he just stinks.

He’s a great seventh inning man (okay, eighth inning man), but the ninth is not his cup of tea.

Look for Joel Peralta or J.P. Howell to take the job from Farnsworth quite quickly, even in spring training.


Joel Hanrahan, PIT

If there's one thing the Pirates have, it’s depth in their bullpen. Hanrahan is solid, but his capacity to control his pitches gets him into trouble.

Enter Evan Meek. He was not only a strikeout machine last season, but an All-Star. Meek has closer stuff and the bulldog mentality to get the job done.

That’s right, I see some Mike Fetters in him. Hanrahan should also watch out for José Ascanio.


Brad Lidge, PHI

I’ll say more because I just need to.

Okay, if you want to draft Brad Lidge to hold your fantasy bullpen together, then go right ahead. Besides having a sensitive ego, he also has knee and elbow issues. He’s a train wreck, heading on a collision course at a futile rate.

Yeah, I bet you get what I’m saying.

Whether or not Lidge is capable of keeping his closer job all season isn’t enough reason for me to draft him. He is far too inconsistent and I’d rather not see that 7+ ERA destroying my fantasy ERA again.

Ryan Madson and the always-aging Jose Contreras are waiting like hungry vultures.


Octavio Dotel, TOR

Don’t-Tel me he’s going to close for the Blue Jays?

Not only do the Blue Jays have three qualified closers in their bullpen, but they have one of the best bullpen’s on paper in the league. So to think that between Rauch, Francisco or even the hit TV show Frasor, that Dotel will end up closer is just plain crazy.

I’ll refer to it as Melnick Crazy!


David Aardsma, SEA

Aardsma is coming off hip surgery and that means he’s 60. Kidding!

Still, he’s not likely to be ready to start the season and waiting in the wings is by far the best slider in relief pitching, Brandon League.

Granted, he has bouts of inconsistency, but League clearly has what it takes to be an elite closer if given the chance.

If all goes well, League will open the season as the Mariners closer, not David “Achy Breaky” Aardsma.


Mariano Rivera, NYY

Oh my gosh! How dare I say it. It’s Farino crazy I tell you. I just said it—avoid Mariano Rivera. I say this for three reasons. 

  1. He’s 41+ (likely older)
  2. He’s coming off a season where he showed decline and dealt with two injuries.
  3. The Yankees signed Rafael Soriano to back him up.
  4. The Yankees just don’t provide a lot of saves chances.

Was that three? How about the fifth and most important one? If you do want Rivera, look to the fifth or sixth round to draft him.

There's no way I’m spending a fifth draft pick on a 41 year old closer on a team that regularly wins 11-3. Last year, the Yankees ranked 18th in saves and that likely won’t change much.

Rivera should have a fine season, but counting on him to perform with numbers that justify a fifth round pick is just crazy and a poison for your bullpen.


By Todd Farino, The Closer Report 


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