In fantasy baseball, saves are one of the tricky stats to keep up with. Many pitchers receive extended looks at closer, and for many teams, the position is very fluid.
The 2011 season is no different. Already, there have been several shake-ups to teams’ closing situations.
As of right now, there are five pitchers who have just recently inherited the closer position or are about to become the ninth inning man.
Here are five new or soon-to-be MLB closers to target for more saves.
The Cardinals are using a closer by committee strategy, meaning more than one guy is getting a chance to close out the game.
However, Fernando Salas seems to be the pitcher most likely to receive the bulk of the save chances.
Both Salas and Eduardo Sanchez have recorded three saves during the past two weeks, but Salas has outperformed Sanchez. Sanchez has a blown save during that time frame, and on Sunday, Salas had to relieve Sanchez who could not get out of the ninth.
Though this is probably the most fluid closer situation in the league, Salas is the guy you should target.
With Brandon Lyon on the disabled list, the Astros now turn to Mark Melancon to finish games for them.
Melancon, thus far, has only been called on to close one game. He pitched a perfect ninth against the Reds on Friday to record the save.
Manager Brad Mills has stated that there is no reason not to consider Melancon the closer, so it appears he will get all of the save chances while Lyon is on the shelf.
Vicente Padilla has filled in nicely since Jonathan Broxton went on the disabled list.
Padilla has two saves in that time and sports a 1.00 WHIP.
Even when Broxton returns, it’s possible that Padilla will remain the Dodgers closer. This greatly increases his value, seeing as he may not just be a quick fix for Los Angeles.
After initially being second fiddle to Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco has become the Blue Jays’ primary closer.
Francisco started the season on the DL, and once he returned, he pitched in a couple non-save situations to get back into form. After Jon Rauch’s implosion against the Rays last week, Francisco has taken over.
Though Francisco will be on a somewhat short leash with Rauch right behind him, the job is his for however long he continues to perform.
Andrew Bailey is the best buy-low option at closer right now in fantasy baseball.
Bailey has been sidelined with a forearm injury the entire season thus far, and current Athletics closer, Brian Fuentes, has pitched well in Bailey’s absence.
However, it appears Bailey will return in a about a week, and when he does, he will reprise his usual role as Oakland’s closer.
In two seasons, Bailey has 51 career saves and a 1.70 ERA, so his track record speaks for itself.
When healthy, Bailey is a top 10 closer, and the window to buy low is rapidly approaching.