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With the top 20 closers, I have now recapped yo’ ass on top 20 catchers, top 20 1st basemen, top 20 2nd basemen, top 20 shortstops, top 20 3rd basemen, top 20 outfielders for 2008,the 21 – 40 outfielders for 2008, top 20 starters and the top 40 starters. I ranked twenty closers back in January of 2008, then I updated that list about four times before the season started. My point, closers are constantly changing and, if you’ve read Razzball at all, you know I’m one of the biggest save vultures around. I rarely pay for saves. That’s not to say I don’t end up with decent closers. I had Lidge, Soria and Valverde on some teams. They all had great closer seasons, but they weren’t top ranked closers coming into the season. Closers are saves. SAGNOF. Period. That’s it. Once you wrap your head around the fact that Joe Nathan and Salomon Torres are the same player, the better off you’ll be. Rudy and I disagree on this point. Whatever. We agree on plenty other things, including his fantasy baseball player rater. (Instructions on use of the player rater.) Anyway, here’s the top 20 Closers for 2008 in fantasy baseball and how they compared to where we originally ranked them:

1. Mariano Rivera – I said 40 saves and he got 39. Now bow! Preseason Rank #5, Preseason Predictions:  5-2/2.75/1.10/70, 40 Saves, Final Numbers: 6-5/1.40/.67/77, 39 Saves

2. Francisco Rodriguez – I said he’d get 45 saves and he got 62. Zoinks! Preseason Rank #4, Preseason Predictions:  6-2/3.00/1.25/90, 45 Saves, Final Numbers:  2-3/2.24/1.29/77, 62 Save

3. Joakim Soria – Just because I didn’t rank him doesn’t mean he wasn’t on any of my teams or that I didn’t like him. I just saw no reason to rank him in the top twenty back in January of 2008. In March, when I did one of my closer posts, I did move him into the top 20. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  2-3/1.60/.86/66, 42 Saves

4. Jonathan Papelbon – If I were the type to grab a top closer, and I’m not, I would take Papelbon. Not for his dancing. Preseason Rank #1, Preseason Predictions:  5-0/1.10/.75/90, 45 Saves, Final Numbers:  5-4/2.34/.95/77, 41 Saves

5. Joe Nathan – Lots consider this dooode the number one closer. I could see that. I’ve only had him on one team ever, when he was a middle reliever on the Giants. I’ll probably have him on another team in a couple of years when the shine is off of him. Preseason Rank #2, Preseason Predictions:  6-1/1.90/1.00/80, 40 Saves, Final Numbers:  1-2/1.33/.90/74, 39 Saves

6. Jose Valverde – I didn’t trust him much coming into the year, but many didn’t so I still ended up with him and he proved to be fine. I won’t trust him much going into 2009 either, but at certain prices he’s a buy. Preseason Rank #14, Preseason Predictions:  2-6/4.00/1.25/65, 30 Saves, Final Numbers: 6-3/3.38/1.18/83, 44 Saves

7. Brad Lidge – I liked him coming into the year as a solid bounce back candidate. (Notice how I said bounce back and not Comeback. WTF? How does he win the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Kerry Wood? Yeah, I can see that. Cantu? That makes sense. Lidge? In 2007, he had a 3.36 ERA. Do the reporters who vote for this shizz even bother to look at stats? Let me guess, Lidge blew a save in the postseason in 2005 so he’s the Comeback Player this year. Moving on before I stick my head in the oven.) Preseason Rank #10, Preseason Predictions:  3-3/3.25/1.20/90, 40 Saves, Final Numbers:  2-0/1.95/1.23/92, 41 Saves

8. Kerry Wood – I couldn’t have been any more down on Wood coming into the season, but I still had him on three different teams. Am I not practicing what I’m preaching? Nah, fool. A) Wood’s stock was way down according to everyone so I got him at a discounted rate. B) There is no B, don’t you hate that? (Note: Back in January of 2008, I ranked the “Cubs Closer” 20th and my preseason predictions were Nice stats/Boatload of saves.) Final Numbers:  5-4/3.26/1.09/84, 34 Saves

9. Brian Fuentes – With closers you have to know your strengths, my strength is I grab fill-in closers before most people. This helps when you don’t draft any “good” ones. With that said, I had Fuentes on almost all of my teams. (Note: I predicted this for Corpas, 3-3/70/2.50/1.15/25 saves and Fuentes picks up 15 saves.) Corpas Ranked #18, Final Numbers:  1-5/2.73/1.10/82, 30 Saves

10. Francisco Cordero – His WHIP says he got a bit lucky. 78 Ks says he was doing something right. Preseason Rank #6, Preseason Predictions:  2-5/3.50/1.20/65, 35 Saves, Final Numbers:  5-4/3.33/1.41/78, 34 Saves

11. Kevin Gregg – Here’s one closer I actually steered clear of because of his walks in 2007. He ended up being fine this year, but he wouldn’t be this high if it wasn’t for some vulture wins. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  7-8/3.41/1.28/58, 29 Saves

12. Bobby Jenks – Not a big fan of Jenks so I didn’t have him on any teams. As they taught me to say in the Fantasy Baseball College of Charleston, his lack of strikeouts are a concern. Preseason Rank #9, Preseason Predictions:  5-2/3.00/1.00/65, 40 Saves, Final Numbers:  3-1/3.63/1.10/38, 30 Saves

13. Carlos Marmol – This hombre’s gonna be great. ¿Ya que si es verdad? I ain’t no Mentirosa. Final Numbers:  2-4/2.68/0.93/114, 7 Saves

14. Billy Wagner – I warned you four months before the season that Wagner’s end was near. And that’s me paraphrasing me! Preseason Rank #11, Preseason Predictions:  2-3/3.75/1.35/70, 25 Saves, Final Numbers:  0-1/2.30/0.89/52, 27 Saves

15. B.J. Ryan – He went unranked in January because he hadn’t even thrown from 40 feet yet. Get over yourself. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  2-4/2.95/1.28/58, 32 Saves

16. Salomon Torres – I will simply point out that I didn’t rank Gagne either. Put that in your sucky pipe and smoke it. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  7-5/3.49/1.35/51, 28 saves

17. Brian Wilson – Wilson ended up notching way more saves than I thought he would and he was also way more erratic in his ratios. Preseason Rank #19, Preseason Predictions:  2-6/2.50/1.05/65, 20 saves, Final Numbers:  3-2/4.62/1.44/67, 41 saves

18. Trevor Hoffman – My grandpappy told me about this time that Trevor Hoffman struckout “Castor Oil” Boyd to win the Governor’s Trophy and single-handedly stop The Crimean War. Our grandparents sure knew who to close games. Preseason Rank #7, Preseason Predictions:  3-2/3.50/1.15/40, 40 saves, Final Numbers:  3-6/3.77/1.04/46, 30 saves

19. Grant Balfour – Good for Balfour for ranking this high and but let’s not forget all of the other middle relievers who forfeited their spot so Balfour could have some glamour — Shields, Wheeler, Dotel, Okajima, Qualls and “Waking” Joey Devine. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  6-2/1.54/.89/82, 4 Saves

20. J.P. Howell – If only Thurston and Lovey lived long enough to see their son make the top 20 closer list. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  6-1/2.22/1.13/92, 3 Saves

5 Responses

  1. Shogun says:
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    What do you think of Chris Perez? He seems like a reasonably good buy low candidate for the upcoming year. Much better than, say, Jensen Lewis (ick).

  2. Freak says:
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    I wish I could be a saves vulture. Alas, leagues with holds make that difficult.

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Shogun: Much, much better than Jensen Lewis. Actually, I doubt we get to April and Lewis is the closer. On the other hand, Perez has about a 60/40 shot at being the closer. It’s still early too early to say he has it for sure. Motte or a free agent could be the closer in 2009 for the Cards.

    @Freak: More difficult, but not impossible.

  4. ShootyBabbit says:
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    Will Saito be closing in 09′? Did he play out his contract in LA or does he still have one more year?

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @ShootyBabbit: Broxton is the best bet right now to be the closer in ’09. re: contracts — Saito just played out his one-year contract.

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