Hello everyone. For those who don’t know me, I’m Viz, Razzball’s fantasy hockey editor. I’m going to be contributing to baseball throughout the season looking at keeper values of players who are already in the majors. For my first preseason piece, I’m going to take a look at closers, specifically how their values are affected by the amount of keepers you have, the size of your league and your ability to make moves throughout the season. I’ll also mention a couple guidelines into what I look for from my closers and what I look for in guys who currently don’t have the role but could get the opportunity.

Let’s get right to it!

How many players are you keeping?

In leagues were you are keeping 5 or less players, there isn’t anything to think about. You fall too far behind in every other category keeping a closer. As good as Aroldis Champan and Craig Kimbrel are, they don’t pitch enough innings to have a significant impact. Once you reach the point where you are keeping 8 or more guys, you can start thinking about keeping a closer if it’s a first tier guy. For example, I do a 10 man roto keeper league where you can keep up to 11 players. If I owned one of the top 5 guys, I would keep them in this format. Ideally, I would have 8 bats, 2 starters and then a wild card spot for the best player left on your roster. If it’s a closer, then I’d hold him instead of being desperate for saves in your draft.

How many people are in your league?

If you’re in an 8 team league, you should have no problems acquiring closers. In that case, steals ain’t got no face holds completely true. In standard 12 man leagues like the RCL’s, it’s a little more difficult but with unlimited moves (more on that later), if you stay on top of things you can grab setup guys who move into the role due to injury. I do an 18 team dynasty with player contracts, no benches, and adds only once a week with FAAB. Obviously in this league, it’s extremely difficult to get closers so SAGNOF doesn’t hold true. We can also keep up to 15 players and keeping a closer is a near must. Obviously it depends on their salary you can keep them at but your options are much more limited than in a standard draft. Same holds true in AL and NL only leagues where all of the closers are owned as well as the top setup men.

How many moves can you make and when can you make them?

This is a factor I consider when I decide who I’m keeping and a bigger factor in how many closers I want to leave the draft with. If you’re in a league where there are unlimited moves, then you can leave the draft a little behind in closers knowing that eventually, you’ll be able to pick up a guy who moves into the role or possibly even stream them. If you’re in a league where you have a cap on how many moves you can make a week, say 7, then I consider this the same as if you had unlimited moves. You’ll still be able to acquire closers, no problem.

The issue comes when you are in leagues with FAAB, be it with waivers that go off every day or once a week. In the 10 man league I mentioned before, we have a $75 budget for the season with waivers that go off every morning. You have to bid at least $1 meaning you get 75 moves max. Virtually all closers are owned and when a new player gets the closer role, they go for $5-10 in bidding. In a league like this, I am always looking to leave the draft with at least 3 closers, probably 4. I don’t want to end up wasting all of my free agent money on grabbing closers. Personally, I prefer leagues like this where you can’t make unlimited moves and all moves process at a certain time every day. It shouldn’t be a race to the computer every time somebody gets hurt to see who acquires the player who receives the boost. I like rewarding people who drafted well instead of people making 500 moves cycling their roster constantly, especially in head to head leagues.

What do I want from my closer?

There are two things I’m looking for, especially in 12 man or fewer roto leagues: a strong K/9 and lack of competition. As good as Brad Ziegler’s ERA and WHIP are, getting only 36 K’s in 68 innings is pretty rough. You can have one guy like him but a bunch of closers with weak K rates puts you behind the 8 ball. I’d much rather have guys like Jake McGee or Cody Allen who are striking out 50 more guys than Ziegler over a season. You also have to look at the people lurking behind your closer and the quality of his team. For example, you know Jonathan Papelbon is going to stay the closer because he will cry like a baby otherwise. The security there is obviously nice to have. On the other hand, Jason Grilli has a quality setup man behind him in Arodys Vizcaino and Grilli is sure to be moved at the trade deadline by a rebuilding Braves team if he is pitching well. It could be okay to start but you’d be smart selling high on Grilli if he has a quality first month.

What should I target from non-closers?

Just like closers, I’m looking for guys who have high K rates and their closer is either shaky or could be moved. Santiago Casilla was quite lucky last year so if he struggles, Sergio Romo should step in. Romo has had the role before and has an excellent K rate making him an ideal stash in deeper leagues. Trevor Rosenthal was also a mess in stretches last year so Kevin Siegrist, who had 90 K’s in 74.2 innings, could be placed into the role if Rosenthal struggles again.

How do I approach potential closer prospects?

In dynasty leagues where you have minor leaguers, I rarely, if ever, own players who project to be relievers. One, injuries are quite prevalent with these flamethrowers. Two, rarely are prospects placed right into the closer role meaning you have to wait it out until they get there, if they ever do. Most importantly, they simply don’t make enough of an impact over their 60-80 innings. Load up on bats since they are more likely to make an impact and take a couple shots on starters if you do so desire. Just draft guys who already have the role; that’s 80% of the battle.
I hope this helps you guys out on how to approach closers in your leagues. Next week, I’ll going to look at outfielders that I like or dislike compared to their rankings at the “major” sites, especially from a keeper standpoint. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Take care everyone!

 
  1. I'mgettingsomeHeadley says:
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    Some good tips there. Thanks, and welcome to the baseball side.

  2. Luvdarooks says:
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    After Ziegler where do you peg S. Bracho in the closer pecking order for saves and also holds?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Luvdarooks: He’s probably far down the closing pecking order because I can’t see the Diamondbacks, an organization that thinks they can win now and are “old school,” turning to a 23 year old with little experience. I would imagine Clippard is the guy they go to if Ziegler fails and then it’s either Bracho or Hudson. He’s a decent sleeper for deep leagues. I would guess he gets holds right away.

  3. Blake Schmidt says:
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    Would you keep Chapman in a 12 team league have to keep 14 over Daniel Norris , Gausman or Osuna?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Blake Schmidt: Yes I’d still keep Chapman, his numbers will be great still, albeit in probably 15-20 less appearances.

  4. Chuck Webster says:
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    Would you keep a $15 Greinke with 1 year remaining for a $1 Wade Davis with 2 years remaining?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Chuck Webster: Without knowing the rest of your roster and the money situation, I would keep Davis. That’s an incredible value and Grienke is pretty scary this year moving to that ballpark. I’d let somebody overpay for him in the auction based on name value.

  5. J says:
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    Giles can be kept at the price of my 21st round pick in a 14 team league (next year for 19th, then 16th, then 1 round past prior years ADP round if I so choose). Worth it, since so many teams? I feel he is potentially elite and on a much better team now, but has struggled in spring training. I am typically against keeping a closer. Otherwise I have Trout, Pujols, Severino, Matz, Rodon, so there is some balance.

    Alternatively I could keep Moncada at the same price, but I worry I won’t get much value out of that this year and next. Then again, if he comes up like gangbusters in 2017, it may be worth the wait. What do you think?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @J: Yeah I think I’d play it save with Giles in that regard. That’s an incredible value for a guy who I think could end up being the #1 closer overall this season. I don’t put too much into spring training stats because it’s such a small sample and guys are usually trying some new things. I feel like you’ll be able to get Moncada around a similar spot this year, close enough that I would play it safe, throw him back, and get a closer who would normally go in the 6th-7th round in a 14’er in the 21st

  6. DoubleHeaders says:
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    Thanks for the input and welcome to the baseball side of life.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @DoubleHeaders: Thanks a lot, I appreciate it! Hopefully I’ll be of assistance to everyone.

  7. Randy says:
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    Welcome Viz, I look forward to reading your stuff over the upcoming months.
    Hey, about getting your two cents worth on this one. I’m in an AL only 4×4 keeper draft and have a chance to acquire Cron ($11) and Deshields ($9) in exchange for Kluber ($14). Are those two at that price enough to make you give up Kluber?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Randy: Thanks a lot, I appreciate it. Can you let me know what other players you have? I love DeShields this year, not on Grey’s level but I definitely see him breaking out, which is absurd, and Cron should get more at bats this year since they only have Daniel Nava competing for playing time. That price is outstanding for Kluber though. My first thought was to say no because you won’t get the runs (I assume that’s the category you don’t have? I have never done a 4×4) from DeShields but it’s really close and I think it depends on the rest of your roster. Let me know and I can get back to you.

  8. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    what tha! yr here. i’ll read this soon, nice to have you here as well.

  9. Jeff says:
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    Hi. I’m in a keeper league – we can keep 3 pitchers, 3 hitters, and one more of either. I’m thinking AJ Pollock ($2), Charlie Blackmon ($8), Mookie Betts ($16), and Travis d’Arnaud ($1) for hitters. For pitchers, Chris Sale ($28), David Price ($26), Stephen Strasburg ($28). Would you replace any of those with any of these: Todd Frazier ($20), Buster Posey ($25), Michael Conforto ($1), David Peralta ($1), Jose Bautista ($40), Billy Burns ($1), Zack Greinke ($20), Luis Severino ($1)? We’re also moving to a holds + saves stat this year. Anyone you can recommend to target for holds? Thanks!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Jeff: first off, as far as the pitchers go, I’m doing the same as you. I don’t trust Severino and I see him as a reliever sooner than later. For batters, I think the first 3 are locks but I’m keeping Frazier over D’Arnaud. The corners are so thin that having an elite guy is best, $20 is a very good price and I hate keeping a catcher in general. Conforto is kind of close being $1 but keeping 3 OF already, I would go with Frazier instead. Going into the redraft without having a 1B or 3B is gross

      • Jeff says:
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        @Viz: Thanks, Viz! I appreciate your time and insight.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Jeff: No problem at all! You are very welcome.

  10. Longbeachyo says:
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    Good stuff Viz! Quick question. What do you think about my options…? I’m in a ten team keeper league where you can only keep 4 players up to a maximum of 20 dollars. It’s head to head 7×7 w/ QS, K/9 and H, OBP. Here are my options:
    José Abreu ?$9
    Nolan Arenado ?$3
    Michael Brantley $4
    A.J. Pollock $7
    Miguel Sano $2
    Kyle Schwarber $2
    Jake Arrieta ?$4
    Danny Salazar $2
    Noah Syndergaard $4

    What do you think? Pick four for a maximum of $20. There is also a four year max of eligibility for the same team. I took this team over last year, so all of these players are in their second year.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Longbeachyo: Arenado and Arrieta are locks for me at those prices so we are looking at $13 for the other two. Abreu and Syndergaard fits perfectly then and I’d go with it. I’d like to have 3 batters and 1 pitchers but I’d rather have a 1B locked up, especially Abreu who is super consistent, and then Thor over Brantley and any of the other guys. This gives you 2 starters so you can wait on starters now (both are incredible and crush all of the categories) and then you have 1B and 3B locked up with elite guys. Get some good outfielders in the draft and you’re set.

  11. Mel

    littlecf24 says:
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    Was offered Familia for Trea Turner in a dynasty league. My only closer right now is Ken Giles and my 2B is Kendrick so was hoping Turner would be my future 2B.

    Would you trade a top prospect for a young closer like Familia?

    Thanks

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @littlecf24: I would say it depends on how many teams are in your league and if you’re a real contender this year or not. I would lean towards no because you already have a top closer and I like turner going forward but if you really want to push for this year, you can make the deal.

  12. Polka

    Polka says:
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    Unless Viz knows your scoring parameter asking him which keeper to keep is like me asking him how your car drives.

  13. Polka

    Polka says:
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    Speaking of drafts, I dismantled my RCL League draft last night, and I thought I hated he #1 pick-
    Destroyed!!!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Polka: haha excellent. I have my first draft tomorrow.

  14. Saints says:
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    Hay Viz i have another question about Baseball do you have some other possible “Soon-to-be-Closer” names than Romo and Siegrist ? I really need some possible Closers. But our league is a really deep 16 Team league (with Minors). If you can throw some more names out there it would be really nice :)

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Saints: Are you looking for guys who are currently in the minors for the future or guys who are in the majors now who can become closers? Or both?

      • Saints says:
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        If you have some good names for the minors as well i will really like to know them. But primarily i like to know some Relievers in the Majors

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Saints: Somebody really deep that I could see getting a closer job is Tony Zych in Seattle because I think Cishek is horrible. I could see Hunter Strickland eventually getting the job for the Giants. I also think Yhonathan Berrios has a shot to close for the Brewers at some point this season because the Brewers aren’t playing for anything.

  15. Gander Gossage says:
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    Thanks for the article and welcome to the baseball side!

    I have an upcoming keeper decision, and wanted to seek out some second opinions. I’m in a 5×5 league that switched to OBP (from AVG) this year. Also counting HR, RBI, Runs and SBs.

    Should I keep Jose Abreu or Joey Votto?

    Votto’s OBP is obviously prolific – projected around .420-.440 this season. But Abreu is younger and is projected for 8-15 more HRs and 15-40 more RBIs, with a respectable .340-.370 OBP.

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Gander Gossage: No problem, thanks! I think that I would go with Abreu; he’s kind of boring but you know you’re going to get very good numbers and you get the bonus of being younger. Who else are you keeping? There could some scenarios I could see considering Votto but in a vacuum, I’d go with Abreu.

      • Gander Gossage says:
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        Thanks dude.

        On offense I’m thinking about keeping Abreu, Donaldson, and Corey Seager
        (with Chris Archer, Keuchel, and Jake Arrieta as my SPs)

        We use a keeper system based on point values; player price depends on prior year’s draft position/free agent/keeper status. Abreu and Votto are the same price.

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Gander Gossage: gotcha, then yeah, all things equal I’ll go with abreu. As nice as Votto is in OBP leagues, I still like abreu slightly more

  16. Nate Gold says:
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    What about the scenario where you have potentially good closer value in an NL-only, 12-team, 5×5 roto auction league that keeps 6 players? I have Grilli at $4 and Ziegler at $5 and can keep either one or both. Good article and thanks for your time!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Nate Gold: thanks! I’d lean towards no for both because with 6 keepers, you dig yourself a big hole off the bat besides in saves which are easier to get in 12 man. That said, if you let me know your other options I can give you a clearer answer.

      • Nate Gold says:
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        @Viz: Thanks for your reply! The options I’m considering are:
        Nick Hundley $2
        Javier Baez $5
        Adam Duvall $1
        David Peralta $16
        Nick Markakis $12
        Wil Myers $20
        Brandon Drury $5
        My pitching options are:
        Jake Peavy $12
        Tanner Roark $11
        Jeremy Hellickson $8
        Chris Heston $5
        Adam Morgan $5
        Zack Godley $5
        Matt Wisler $5
        Brad Ziegler $5
        Jason Grilli $4

        Overall, slim pickings and you can see why I’m considering both Grilli and Ziegler. I want to keep Wisler because I have him under a farm contract and can keep him at $5 for the next few seasons. So, right now I’m leaning towards keeping Hundley $2, Baez $5, Duvall $1, and Wisler $5, which leaves two open keepers. Thanks again for your input!

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Nate Gold: No problem! Those four all make sense to me. I would do Ziegler with the options you have. I don’t trust Grilli to keep the role over Vizcaino and even if he does, the Braves will move him by the deadline. As for the 6th, I kind of lean Peralta. It’s a good value based on Rudy’s chart, you have a bunch of bargains so you can afford it and he’s the best player there.

          • Nate Gold says:
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            @Viz: This is where I was also leaning. Thanks again for your time. Your articles definitely have helped my fantasy hockey team and I’m glad to see you’ll be writing about baseball too!

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              @Nate Gold: Not a problem at all, thanks a lot, I really appreciate that.

  17. matt says:
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    Hi, I am in a keeper league wher eyou can only keep one player and you lose the pick of the round you drafted him in. I can either keep goldy and lose my first round pick, or keep Sano and lose my last pick in the draft. Anyone have any advise? I feel like the value of getting sano and keeping my 1st rounder for another valuable player would be best but I am open for opinions.

    Thanks!

    • matt says:
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      I should prolly also add the categories… R,RBI,HR,SB,AVG,OPS

      • Viz

        Viz says:
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        @matt: Wow, that’s an interesting decision. Sano scares me a bit this year but at the same time, a last round pick for him is pretty amazing. Do you have any idea what number overall your first pick will be or is that random? I think ‘d keep Sano but it’s really close.

        • matt says:
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          I would be picking 5th in the 1st round. And I know ive been driving myself crazy debating this for the past week. I only have 2 more days to decide!

          • Viz

            Viz says:
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            @matt: Yeah, it’s very tough since you’re passing up a top 3 player in Goldy. I would still lean Sano since you will get a top end player in the 5 spot.

  18. Jeff says:
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    Hey Viz –

    I wrote a few weeks ago for some draft advice – you were very helpful. The draft t is over and I wanted to see if you think some of the players still on waivers would be upgrades from what I have.

    PITCHERS – categories: QS, IP, K/9, ERA, WHIP, Saves + Holds
    MY staff
    Starters: Sale, Price, Strasburg, Hendricks, Taijuan Walker, DeSclafani
    Relievers: Papelbon, Jepsen, Vizcaino
    Here are some guys who intrigue me who are available. Would you keep any of theses for anyone I already have?
    Matt Moore, Juan NIcasio, Rick Porcello, Adam Conley, Jerad Eickhoff, Joakim Soria, Brad Ziegler (his low K rate scares me)

    BATTERS
    C – Martin 1B – Texeira 2B – B Lawrie SS – Andrus MI – Story CI – Trumbo

  19. Jeff says:
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    Sorry – I got cut off . . .

    Batters categories: R, HR, RBI, OBP, OPS, SB

    C – R Martin
    1B – Texeira
    2b – B Lawrie
    SS – Andrus
    3B – Frazier
    MI – T Story
    CI – Trumbo
    OF – Pollock, Betts, Blackmon, Fowler, Domingo Santana
    UTIL – Eugenio Suarez, Marcell Ozuna

    Any of these worth a look in place of those above?

    Tyler White, Avisail Garcia, Travis Shaw, Keon Broxton, Tyler Goeddel, Socrates Brito, Trevor Plouffe?

    I forgot, re pitchers – I also have Collin mcHugh
    And I have a couple of bench stashes: AJ Reed, Blake Snell, Jose Berrios

    Thanks again!

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Jeff: Thanks a lot, I appreciate it. To be honest, I think I would just hold. The only guy I would consider is Ziegler but you don’t have a clear guy to cut with holds being a category.

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