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Closers: A Different Beast

In fantasy baseball, closers cannot be treated the same way as the other players.  That is, we cannot slap a dollar value on them and rank them with decent accuracy.  That's because a closer's value is significantly derived from his save total, which can vary wildly.

Take Mike Gonzalez of the Braves.  There's no specific reason he can't save 40 games this year.  If he does, I'd value him around $18.  But if he saves 30, also completely reasonable, he's closer to $12.

I can tell you that Joe Nathan's job is more secure and that his ERA and WHIP will be better than Gonzalez's.  If Nathan saves 40, he's worth $26.  But if he saves 30, he similarly loses about $6 of value.

So when we're ranking these guys, we can't have 37 saves projected for one and 33 saves for another and that be the deciding factor on who to draft or who's a bargain.

We need some kind of separate closer ranking system, one with four criteria:

  • Controllable stats: ERA, WHIP, Ks
  • Job security: Carlos Marmol has less than Brian Fuentes, even if he's a better pitcher.  We have to look at contracts, backup closers, and experience here.
  • Health: We have to dock Kerry Wood for his injury history while rewarding Nathan.
  • Team quality: It stands to reason that Matt Capps will not get as many save opportunities as Mariano Rivera, though it's far from a lock.  Derek Carty found the R Square between wins and save opps to be 0.15.  Team wins are hard to project, and they explain only a small portion of the variance in team save opps.

What are your thoughts?  I'd like to create some kind of RotoAuthority Closer Ranking System, which we can use to determine the best bargains without trying to predict the pitcher's number of save opps.


Full Story |  Comments (6) | Categories: Closers


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