Our 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit is finally here, and although it's dirt cheap, 99 cents, we felt our fans would want a sneak peak at some of the great content that the guide boasts. Not only did our writers rank players at every position, the guide also contains a mock draft with round-by-round & team analysis, sleepers, busts, closer report and more!
Here's a sneak at the 2011 Closer Report from our fantasy prodigy, Tyler Becker...
Closers are always a concern for all sorts of drafts. Some people wait for the last rounds to grab their save guys, and others like to start the trend and get the elite ones. I’m more of a late-round person. Usually, there is still talent on the board and potential closers left.
For 2011, I won’t be taking a closer until my offensive starting roster slots are filled, and my main two starting pitchers are secured. Closers are the same this year: the elite, the average, the guys in line and the guys about to lose their job. This piece is for those closers who are making strides towards ninth inning work, as well as the closers whose numbers are weakening.
On the rise, in our eyes:
John Axford (Milwaukee Brewers)
Besides his kick-ass mustache, his fantasy production was terrific last season. Axford recorded 24 saves last season, while going 8-2 with 76 strikeouts in 56 IP.
Keep in mind the save-superstar, Trevor Hoffman, was with Milwaukee last season, and took away about 20 save opportunities from Axford.
In the second half of 2010, he pitched 32 innings with a 1.97 ERA and 44 strikeouts. Even though Takashi Saito is in the picture, Axford is the clear-cut closer and could see 35+ saves this year plus come close to 100 K’s.
Chris Perez (Cleveland Indians)
Friend of The Fix (read the interview), Chris Perez, is on the rise for 2011. His Post-All Star stats were ridiculous, going 28.2 innings strong, with a 0.63 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 16 saves. On the year, his K/9 ratio was 8.7, giving you a nice strikeout source at the closer spot.
Without Kerry Wood taking (blowing) saves for the Indians, Perez looks like he has a nice year coming up. If the Indians can get a lead in some games and give Perez the chance to close them out, we could expect a top-10 closer fantasy year.
Drew Storen (Washington Nationals)
The Nats’ 2009 first rounder didn’t see much action last season but expect that to change with Matt Capps out of Washington and Storen looking like the Opening Day closer. The Nationals are anxious for him to make an impact on the team, meaning Tyler Clippard should remain a middle reliever, taking less pressure off Storen and his fantasy owners.
As a reliever last season, he pitched 55.1 innings with 52 K’s and a 3.58 ERA. He should also be able to retake the closer role comfortably.
With only two blown saves last year (one was a walk-off home run to Jayson Werth, now his teammate), Storen will get his real first shot at becoming an elite closer in 2011.
Written exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com by Tyler Becker