Fantasy Baseball 2011: Weekly Closer Report (May 1 to May 8)
Welcome back to another installment of the Fantasy Baseball Weekly Closer Report. Every week you will be able to look over the past week’s list of fantasy baseball closers to see who is on their way up and who is in a slump.
You can check the fantasy baseball closer chart at the bottom of each article to see the exact stats for the previous week to help with your waiver-wire pickups.
Each week’s installment will also list the fantasy baseball closers in waiting, and even detail repeat performers that can be considered fantasy baseball closer sleepers. You can also keep up with all your fantasy baseball closer rankings by checking where each closer was ranked the previous week.
Every week we will list some of the fantasy baseball closer news below with varying headlines. The "Best of the Best" and "Worst of the Worst" should be self-explanatory, so look to quickly pick up or drop these players while their streaks continue.
The pitchers that brought the most help in the strikeout category will be listed as "Kings of Ks." Your quality closers that picked up a good amount of saves without blowing us away with other stats are the "Saviors." If you have a closer that had trouble keeping men off base and caused your WHIP to skyrocket, they’ll certainly be "Out of Control."
Lastly, there will be guys who may have just been in bad situations but gave up too many runs, or in other words are "Takin’ a Hurtin’."
Best of the Best
Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants
Wilson was unstoppable this week, and could have single-handedly won last week’s matchup for any of his owners. Wilson tallied three saves and struck out seven batters in five innings of work.
Perhaps Wilson’s biggest contribution to his fantasy team this week was the two extra wins he picked up.
Drew Storen, Washington Nationals
Last year, Matt Capps started off on fire for the Washington Nationals. Storen may not be leading the majors in saves, but his NL-leading 0.48 ERA and 0.86 WHIP are going to keep him at the top of the fantasy baseball closer rankings.
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Kimbrel has been making it easy for Braves fans to forget about Billy Wagner, at least for now. Kimbrel struck out nearly two of the batters in each of his four innings of work this past weekend while picking up two saves.
Kimbrel is starting to look like he will have similar, if not better, value than Joakim Soria.
Kings of Ks
Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers
So far, it hasn’t been a terrible year for Valverde. Currently, Valverde is sitting as a top-10 closer and is on pace for about 60 strikeouts by year's end, just about on par with his previous three seasons.
Any hopes of Valverde returning to his 2008 form aren’t going to be warranted but if he keeps leading closers in strikeouts each week, he could be good trade bait to someone in your league that still holds those hopes.
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox
Papelbon has quietly struggled compared to his numbers from year's past, continuing a downward trend which began last season. But Papelbon hasn’t had the same amount of save opportunities his owners have become accustomed to.
This past week, Pap was able to blow through his competition picking up seven strikeouts and a win. So far, Papelbon has looked much like the rest of his team: so-so, but the jury is still out.
Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians
No one had more saves this past week than Perez, who tallied four in four attempts. Perez made his real team and fantasy team sweat this past week, allowing a few hits, a walk and an earned run in games against the Tigers and the Athletics.
However, he was still able to hold things together and get his owners a good amount of saves last week.
Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets
Rodriguez spent more time on the mound than any other closer this week and tallied quality numbers for his owners. There are concerns as to how much K-Rod will be used in New York but Rodriguez hasn’t exactly been missing in action. K-Rod threw 42 pitches on Thursday and then threw 24 more the rest of the week.
This upcoming week could be short for K-Rod, so keep an eye on some waiver-wire pickups for this week if you own Rodriguez.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
He is the best closer in fantasy baseball so far in 2011, and Rivera had another perfect week for his owners. Rivera posted a solid three saves this week without allowing an earned run, hit or walk. However, he recorded only three strikeouts this week.
Rivera owners worrying about a decrease in production could be onto something. Right now, Rivera is set to strike out only 54 batters this season (about 10 fewer than his average over the past five seasons). Last season, Rivera recorded 45 strikeouts, his lowest since 2002.
Out of Control
Eduardo Sanchez, St. Louis
St. Louis continue to use a closer-by-committee approach, making no Cardinal reliever a viable option, but Sanchez has shown some glimpses of being a decent closer. Sanchez didn’t display that ability this week, however.
When hitting his location, Sanchez is known for striking batters out on a swing-through. This past week, he walked seven batters in only three innings of work.
Leo Nunez, Florida Marlins
It hasn’t been a poor start for Nunez so far in 2011, although that was also the case in 2010. Nunez struggled with his accuracy near the end of the season and lost his spot as the team’s closer on occasion.
So far, he is a top-10 closer, but had a WHIP over 1.80 this past week, one of the worst of the week. Nunez will be worth monitoring as he will try and bounce back and again become one of fantasy’s best closers.
Takin’ a Hurtin’
Huston Street, Colorado Rockies
Street has finally secured himself the closer spot in Colorado and already has almost half as many saves as he did last season. But Street's already allowed four homers, one less than he allowed in the entire 2010 season.
This past week, Street only saw 1.1 innings but allowed four hits and ended his week with a 3.64 ERA.
Frank Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays
Francisco did not help his owners with an 8.18 ERA this past week, and the blame can be put on his control. Francisco walked two batters and allowed two runs to score despite being on the mound for a limited amount of time this past week.
Jordan Walden, Anaheim Angels
Walden owners have been surprised with their likely waiver-wire pickup and his now six saves on the season. The past two weeks haven’t been exactly peaches for Walden either.
In his last 10 appearances, Walden has picked up five of his six saves but has also blown a save and recorded a loss in that span. Walden’s season 2.20 ERA isn’t terrible, but this past week’s 6.75 ERA is.
Worst of the Worst
Mitchell Boggs, St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals may have thought Boggs was going to be a viable option as a starter when he went 3-3 in opportunities two weeks ago. Now it is looking like Boggs is last in the running after recording two losses and a blown save in his last six appearances.
This past week, Boggs' owners were hit with a 9.00 ERA.
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers
Axford will join Boggs with a 9.00 ERA this past week despite only making two appearances, his rough outing against the Braves have Axford remaining at the bottom of the Closer Rankings.
Arthur Rhodes, Texas Rangers
Neftali Feliz was only able to make one appearance this past week, making Rhodes the team’s closer. His first attempt to pick up a save this past week blew up in his face—literally.
Rhodes followed up that poor performance with a two-strikeout save against the Yankees, giving the team some confidence. Rhodes then followed up that outing with a three-hit, two-run inning against the Yankees, giving Rhodes his second loss of the season.
Jon Rauch, Toronto Blue Jays
If you had Rauch in your lineup this week, you probably didn’t fare too well in the pitching statistics. Rauch was only credited with one inning of work this past week but was on the mound on two separate occasions. His first attempt was against the hot Tampa Bay Rays who took Rauch for two runs and a come-from-behind victory.
Cody Eppley, Texas Rangers
Rangers fans really, really want Feliz to be 100 percent and quickly. In 1.1 innings of work this past week, Eppley picked up an ERA over 25, allowing six earned runs on five hits and three walks.
Keep An Eye On
Brandon League, Seattle Mariners
League is the Mariners closer until David Aardsma returns from the DL, which is still unclear. Aardsma was having his own troubles before being shut down, however.
League recently was beaten up by the White Sox and took his first loss of the season, but has been fairly consistent this season. It is still too early in the season to speculate on Leagues’ long-term value but it’s worth keeping your eye on.
Brian Fuentes, Oakland Athletics
Andrew Bailey owners must be sick after watching Fuentes on the mound for over five innings this past week. Despite being on the mound more than most closers this past week, Fuentes was only able to record two saves and even picked up a loss.
If you are short on closer help, you may be able to buy low on Bailey who was a top-10 closer last season and should be healthy soon.
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