2013 MLB Preview: Fantasy Baseball NL-Only Closer Rankings

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2013

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves warms up prior to the start of the inning  during the game against the Detroit Tigers on February 22, 2013 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Tigers defeted th Braves 2-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Here’s the 2013 LestersLegends Closer Rankings for NL-Only Leagues.

1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves

Craig Kimbrel is ridiculous. In 2011, he recorded 46 saves with a 2.10 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 127 strikeouts. His saves (42) and strikeouts (116) dipped, but his ERA (1.01) and WHIP (0.65) were off-the-charts good. He’s the best closer in baseball—period.

2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds

Aroldis Chapman could be the filthiest pitcher in baseball, and he’s certainly in the discussion. He picked up 38 saves and 122 strikeouts while posting a 1.51 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He has officially been named closer.

3. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals

Jason Motte nailed down 42 saves and struck out 86 batters. His 2.75 ERA and 0.92 WHIP put him right up with Kimbrel and Chapman. He’s the best of tier two in my book.

4. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies

Jonathan Papelbon got back on track last year with 38 saves, 92 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.

5. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants

Sergio Romo recorded 14 saves with 63 strikeouts, a 1.79 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He was nearly untouchable during the postseason with a 0.84 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP.

6. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals

The Nationals have great young pitching so the save opportunities should be there for Rafael Soriano. He had 42 saves, 69 strikeouts, a 2.26 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

7. J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks

J.J. Putz has 77 saves over the past two seasons while sporting a 2.48 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He’s a little bit of a slow starter, as evidenced by his 3.73 ERA first-half ERA over the past two years. He’s been untouchable after the break, posting a 0.91 mark.

8. Huston Street, San Diego Padres

Huston Street can flat out get the job done. He has a career 1.04 WHIP and a 9.2 K/9 ratio. He was great for San Diego last year, posting a 1.85 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. So why isn’t he a top-five closer? The simple answer is durability. He seems to get hurt every year.

9. John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers

John Axford has 81 saves over the past two seasons, but he struggled with his control last year, leading to a 4.67 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. He averages 11.39 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) to offset some of the damage he does to your WHIP category.

10. Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates

Jason Grilli only has five career saves and he’s 36, but he had 90 strikeouts in 58.2 innings last year. Plus, he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

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