Since our last check up no games have been played, but there was movement on the closer rankings.  Was it February Grey getting bored and mixing things up?  Probably, but let’s pretend there’s some logic in my reasoning.  Next to the closers that moved, there’s a plus or minus.   Also, Dotel and Valverde weren’t closers a month ago, so they’ve been added.  I gave you some deets on Dotel.  I went over Valverde in the top 20 closers for 2010 fantasy baseball.  There’s also projections for the top 20 closers.  One other thing, someone in the comments yesterday mentioned how Capps and Dotel were not mock drafted at all.  Sure, mock drafts are wonky.  But I do see this in actual leagues.  All closers should be owned.  If I get to the last three rounds of a draft, I’ll take three more closers on top of the three I already own.  Closers’ value skyrockets once the season starts.  In a ‘pert league on May 1st of last year, I traded Heath Bell and Huston Street for Dan Haren and David Aardsma.  You know when I drafted Bell and Street?  Yeah, end rounds.  Anyway, here’s all of the closers for your fantasy baseball team, as of right now:

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Joe Nathan (Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch)
2. Jonathan Papelbon (Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard)
3. Mariano Rivera (Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Joba Hughesberlain)
4. Jonathan Broxton (George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo)


Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes his the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.

5. Heath Bell (+1) (Luke Gregerson)
6. Carlos Marmol (+1) (Angel Guzman, John Grabow)
7. Francisco Rodriguez (+1)(Kelvim Escobar, Eddie Kunz)
8. Joakim Soria (-3) (Kyle Farnsworth, Carlos Rosa)
9. David Aardsma (+1) (Mark Lowe, Chad Cordero)
10. Jose Valverde (Joel Zumaya, Ryan Perry)
11. Brian Wilson (Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo)
12. Francisco Cordero (+1) (Arthur Rhodes, Nick Masset, Jared Burton)
13. Huston Street (-1) (Franklin Morales, Rafael Betancourt)
14. Rafael Soriano (+1) (J.P. Howell, Dan Wheeler)
15. Billy Wagner (+1) (Takashi Saito)
16. Brian Fuentes (+1) (Fernando Rodney, Kevin Jepsen)
17. Andrew Bailey (-8) (Michael Wuertz, Brad Ziegler)
18. Ryan Franklin (-4) (Jason Motte, Kyle McClellan)
19. Octavio Dotel (Joel Hanrahan)
20. Leo Nunez (-2) (Dan Meyer)
21. Frank Francisco (-1) (C.J. Wilson, Chris Ray)
22. Mike Gonzalez (-3) (Jim Johnson)
23. Trevor Hoffman (-1) (LaTroy Hawkins)

Brain Freeze

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Kerry Wood– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Asdrubal in the head with a pickoff throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

24. Bobby Jenks (-1) (Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz)
25. Matt Capps (-1) (Brian Bruney, Drew Storen)
26. Chad Qualls (-1) (Juan Gutierrez, Bob Howry)
27. Brad Lidge (-1) (Ryan Madson, Danys Baez)
28. Kerry Wood (-1) (Chris Perez)
29. Brandon Lyon (-1) (Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Fulchino, Jeff Soydoubleshotchino)
30. Jason Frasor/Scott Downs/Kevin Gregg (-2) (Jeremy Accardo, J. Scovin Frasoggs the Third)

  1. Express34 says:

    If you need another organizer, you can count me in. Want to get into this league and will do whatever takes to make it happen.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Express34: You’re now an organizer, but please take RCL questions and comments to that post.


  3. Asdrubal Bastardo says:

    Any reason for the drop on Bailey? Is it because he is being over-valued? Because aside from that he seems legit.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Asdrubal Bastardo: He’s being overvalued for being a closer, so to combat that I’m being overly cautious with him. People lose sight that, in the end, he is just a closer on a bad team.

  5. Goose

    Goose says:

    Grey, just curious why you are down on Chad Qualls considering AZ may be improved and Qualls was pretty decent in 2009, especially when you look at his peripherals.

  6. Probable Party Starter says:

    @Grey: Not to mention he doesn’t have a very long ML resume.

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Goose: He’ll probably move up once spring training begins and he shows his knee is fine.

    @Probable Party Starter: Yes, and Beane would go to Wuertz or Ziegler without much hesitation.

  8. Mikey boy324 says:

    Grey who’s your biggest sleeper out of all the closers?

  9. peter says:

    Giving the nod to Kerry Wood in the “Brain Freeze” blurb is nice; but no one can replace Troy Percival. No one.

  10. Russell says:

    It’s my experience mock drafters ignore the iffy closer situations. In a yahoo mock draft l took part in recently I used my last few spots to draft the best closers available (and there were still a few crappy ones undrafted). I ended out with 7 closers (and the first 4 are solid, although not $12 salads).

    I really can’t see that happening in a real league (if it does, then you’re in a league probably not worth being in)

  11. tourinct says:

    Any fear SD dumps Bell at the trade deadline?

  12. royce! says:

    @Russell: I have had the same experience in every yahoo mock draft I’ve done. I think it also might be a product of the fact that so many managers leave drafts in the later rounds, and Yahoo ranks many of the decent closers above 300.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Mikey boy324: Dotel

    @peter: Probably not.

    @Russell: Yeah, there is something to be said about mock’s having some odd picks.

    @tourinct: Could happen, but I’m not worried about it now.

  14. airlifting says:

    you realize how bad brian fuentes was last year, right? you also realize the angels signed fernando rodney, right?

  15. Russell says:

    here’s the info from what I was talking about before:

    15. Billy Wagner (Atl – RP)
    16. David Aardsma (Sea – RP)

    18. Frank Francisco (Tex – RP)

    20. Octavio Dotel (Pit – RP)
    21. Ryan Franklin (StL – RP)
    22. Brad Lidge (Phi – RP)
    23. Kerry Wood (Cle – RP)

    Capps, both Blue Jay options, and both Astros options, went undrafted.

    If you’re in a real league where this happens, is the league even worth your time?

  16. Grey

    Grey says:

    @airlifting: Yeah, Fuentes is around a mid-pack donkeycorn. In the top 20 closers post, I went over some reservations with him.

    @Russell: I don’t understand leagues where all closers aren’t drafted, but there’s some shallow ten team leagues out there that might not have room for all closers.

  17. eltoo says:

    just wanted to say hi. this morning’s post is up to almost 200 comments, looked like this post could use some love. i like Bwags this year where he’s being drafted. i was very impressed with his late season showing with the sox and i’m not overly worried about his wonky elbow. can wonky describe anything other than a beat-up elbow (or other joint)?

  18. Spellchecker says:

    It is almost a 100% certainty that Heath Bell will get traded, so you still think he is the #5 Closer if he only gets saves for max 75% of the season. I agree he is very solid, but people drafting need to be practical here. This is only a gripe with were you are ranking him not to do with his actual skill set.

  19. danimal35 says:

    @eltoo: wonky ladder?

  20. Grey

    Grey says:

    @eltoo: Wonky haircut.

    @Spellchecker: I don’t doubt people will talk him up as being trade bait, but every year dozens of players are rumored to get traded. Not that many do. Then if he gets traded somewhere, he could end up the closer. If you’re not feeling it, by all means pass him by.

  21. Mark says:

    totally agree that a closers value increases once the season starts. Totally disagree that closers are like $12 salads. First of all, I eat those sometimes. What? A guy can’t eat healthy? Second, what players have been more consistent than Mo, Joe and Paps over the last four years?

  22. Spellchecker says:

    Buster Olney on January 15th, 2010 blog “Heath Bell agreed to terms, for $4 million. Odds that he’ll finish the 2010 season as a member of the Padres: 1 in 100.”

  23. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Spellchecker: Olney also said in May of last year Crawford will steal 100 bases. I know the rumors out there and as we get into the season, if they persist, I’ll start to lower Bell, but as of right now, I don’t think Bell moves down.

  24. Rabbit (Hasenmensch on the forums) says:

    Under the zig when everyone is zagging rule, do you think it might be time to re-think closer strategy, at least for competitive leagues? It seems that it has become de rigeur (<-- French! though I'm not sure I spelled it right) for mainstream commentators like Berry et al. (<--Latin! each only two letters long so I am pretty sure I spelled them right) to proclaim that owners should not pay for saves, you can always pick up saves off the waiver wire, etc. etc. This is usually accompanied by stats showing a list of pitchers who were generally undrafted the previous year but ended up providing X amount of saves. That theory, however, works best when only one or two owners are trolling the waiver wire looking for cheap saves; when almost every owner is doing that (like in my main league, an auction money league), it's pretty hard to get that new closer first, or be the high bidder in a FAAB process. A consequence of the burgeoning popularity of the Don't Pay for Saves Theory is that top tier closers are cheaper than they used to be in an auction (or you can get them later than you used to be able to in drafts). It's simple supply and demand theory: the Don't Pay for Saves owners lessen demand for the top tier closers, deflating their price. For my league at least, and I bet this is true of other leagues with more savvy owners (RCL leagues, I'm looking at you), I tend to think a strategy of taking one top-tier or near-top-tier, un-sexy closer who is going somewhat cheaper than you expect, may be the way to go. So you buy/draft Mo Rivera, e.g., or maybe Nathan (Minnesota ain't sexy, no matter what Prince does), and fill in the rest of your closer needs with a Donkey Corn or two. If that Donkey Corn don't sing, you troll the waiver wire--but you have hedged your risk with a less risky top-tier closer so you are not entirely dependent on the now-more-competitive-than-ever new-closer waiver wire. The idea behid this shift in strategy is not only the zig when others are zagging precept, but also that the shift in demand away from paying for top-tier closers and toward trolling the waiver wire for cheap, new closers has modified the risk landscape so that paying the now more-moderate price for a higher-end closer may make sense. What do you think?

  25. Andy says:

    Francisco was a mess last year while being in and out with injuries. The Rangers are toying with the idea of Neftali Feliz being a starter this season but that can’t possibly work. I think he has a great opportunity to close sometime this season. Your thoughts?

  26. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Rabbit (Hasenmensch on the forums): Dinner’s on so I shuddered when I first saw the length of your comment, but that was very well-written and funny. Anyway, the problem with going the zag on this zig is there is four top closers, right? So you draft a top outfielder in the 6th round and they’re all still there. Then four are taken before you draft again and what? You’re now drafting Heath Bell in the 7th round?

    Okay, say they’re all there for the taking, Nathan’s around for pick 85. I have him at 89, so that’s not exactly that big of a reach, I say go for it. At a certain point, there is value to them.

    Do I think the landscape’s changed that much? Not really. K-Rod was a top closer last year, he’s not now. At least one of those top closers will disappoint and at least five closers who are drafted way late will end up giving a lot of value. Bell, Franklin, Aardsma, Hoffman, Soriano etc. were all drafted late and gave decent value.

    @Andy: I don’t think the Rangers are going to want to mess with Feliz going on a reliever’s schedule longer than they have to.

  27. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Alright, got the keeper list and a dilemna,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    I can keep 6, these are the candidates…………

    Michael Bourn- 5
    Butler- 6
    Cruz- 10
    Hamels- 20
    Adam Jones- 7
    Wandy- 5
    Jered Weaver- 6
    Randy Wells- 5

    Assuming I decide to go cheap I would end up with this…….

    Bourn, Butler, Cruz, Jones, Wandy, Weaver for a total of 39 (I did the math so you won’t have to cause that’s how I roll).

    Stay the course or is there any of these guys you would ditch for a high maintenance bitch, say Bills or Hamels?????????

  28. hey grey how many closers or predicted saves do you draft for your team

  29. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: I’d go with Weaver, Bourn, Butler, Cruz, Jones and Wandy. Bring home some winners!

    @mrbaseball: I try to get 3 to 4 and 120 saves.

  30. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Thanks!

    Great minds think alike. Bring on the Kiwi and the Lush, I’m ready to get my Razz on!

  31. Rabbit says:

    @Grey: I think my re-thinking of the closer strategy may work best in an auction league–unlike a snake draft, where choosing a player is an all-or-nothing endeavor (a 1 or 0, for you computer types), auctions allow you to gauge how the entire league is valuing a player and act accordingly. So in an auction there’s no chance that you can simply miss out on a top-tier closer run and find yourself left with only donkey-corns. (By the way, for your fantasy baseball doctoral thesis you may want to think about an analytical comparison of closer runs to late-19th century bank runs–the similarities are chilling. It’s like comparing the Lincoln assasination to the Kennedy assasination. I scoff at those fools who think Booth acted alone.)

    Thanks for the props on the writing–8 years of grad school are finally paying off.

  32. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Rabbit: Yeah, I have a Master’s too, kinda scary what misguided passion can get you. Booth acted alone about as much as any base stealer acts alone when facing Chris Young. I agree that it would be much easier to gauge the field when dealing with auction values.

  33. Rhymenoceros says:

    @rabbit: You’re not so far down the rabbit hole. I have been picking up what you’re putting down for about two years. Last year was murder trying to get saves off of waivers. FAAB wasn’t so bad. I noticed that Grey made the same concession–that getting saves last year was rough–in a post a couple of weeks ago. So, I like the idea of taking some closers earlier in snake drafts. My reasoning is that I’ll have a player in that slot while other people are drafting them late, allowing me to find some offense value later.

    @grey: What is a reasonable projection for Dotel’s K’s? He was a bat-whiffer-extraordinaire last year. How much of that success follows him to Pittsburgh?

  34. matthole says:

    @Grey: If one of those closers (broxton, mo, pap, and nathan fall) to the 7th/8th rd. Would you rather grab one of those guys or lock up potential steals in guys like hamilton/quentin/jones that might have fallen or even your potential SP1/SP2.

    Do you go with the flow of the draft and take whats best available or do you try to fill MIs out first then OFs, or vice versa, or do you try to keep it balanced like the BRAN strategy too

  35. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Rhymenoceros: Dotel’s always been a good K man when healthy. That’s why I like him. His projections are in the top 300.

    @matthole: I try to take best available for the first 8 rounds or so. MI’s usually one of the last things I fill in. But I’d gladly take a Phillips, Utley or Cano…

  36. Pirate Jesus says:

    @Grey: Got a 5×5 standard positions (3 OF, 2 Util) H2H 12 keeper league I’m struggling with. Made it to the championship last season partly on the back of your excellent advice over the years. I think I’ve got the first 10 figured out with:

    Teixeira, Utley, A-Rod, B.J. Upton, Ichiro, Chris Davis, Lincecum, Felix, Kershaw, Broxton.

    Then I have to pick 2 of Hunter, Ludwick, Heyward, Rajai Davis, Scherzer, Jered Weaver

    I feel like in a keeper, I have to hold onto Heyward. But I’m not sure what to do with the final pick. What do you think?

  37. Tom Reale says:

    I was the “someone from comments yesterday.” Yes. I’ve made it Mom!

  38. Tom Reale says:

    Also. It will be interesting to see in an all Razzer Fantasy Baseballer league if guys that are not highly Razzer regarded will actually fall and have value. While the Fav’s might all get reached for earlier and therefore reduce their inherent value. Not unlike your cab driver recommending tech stocks to you during the “bubble years,” sure IPad’s are great but what did you spend on that? But i digress…

  39. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Tom Reale: Yeah, you’re pretty likely to get certain guys at a discount.

  40. Tom Reale says:

    @Grey: I’m going for a $12 salad tonight…hopefully she brings the nice Whip!

  41. Tom Reale says:


  42. Rhymenoceros says:

    @Grey: Thanks! I missed him in there.

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