As fantasy baseball drafts quickly approach, I thought it would be helpful to provide a quick reference cheat sheet for closers. Remember, don't take a closer too early as there is value to be had late in drafts.
The Atlanta Braves have yet to officially announce a replacement for the recently retired Billy Wagner, however we believe that Fredi Gonzalez will give Craig Kimbrel the reigns as the team's new closer.
The only other NL East team with a possible closer carousel is Washington, where second year player Drew Storen will likely start the season as the team's closer. Tyler Clippard or Sean Burnet would likely replace Storen if the youngster runs into trouble.
The two safest and most valuable closers to own from the NL West are Brian Wilson and Heath Bell. Both players are coming off excellent campaigns in 2010 in which they each represented their respective team in the All-Star Game.
Newly acquired J.J. Putz will likely begin 2011 as the Diamondbacks closer, while Jonathan Broxton will continue in his role as the closer for the Dodgers. Broxton was temporarily replaced by Hong-Chih Kuo last season after some sub-par performances, which is something that Broxton owners should be aware of this spring.
The top closer to own from the NL Central is Carlos Marmol, as he is a near-lock for 30-plus saves and has an impressive career K/9 ratio of 11.9.
The Pirates have yet to announce their closer for 2011, however the smart money is on Joel Hanrahan.
Keep an eye on both Aroldis Chapman and Kyle McClellan this season, as both players are young fireballers and the heir apparent to the starting closer.
Ryan Franklin was less than spectacular in 2010, posting a pedestrian 3.46 ERA with only 29 saves. Despite posting 40 saves last year, Cordero had a near 4.00 ERA and may lose the starting job to the fan-favorite Chapman.
This article was originally published on www.kramericasports.com, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.
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