All closers give you is saves, that’s why you should wait until several are off the board before you think about picking one.
One-trick hitters — who get you “only steals” or “only homers” are still going to contribute some elsewhere. Maybe they hit .290. Maybe they drive in 60 runs.
Closers who get an inning or three a week aren’t going to contribute enough strikeouts or WHIP reducing innings to pull out a victory for you. However, anyone who had Brad Lidge last season knows that a bad week by a closer can demolish your decimals.
We deal because, y’know, saves. So, which pitchers are the best at getting you that one category they’re actually good for?
Elite saves closers — who are likely to get you 30 or more saves based on three different sets of expert projections — are listed with their team and average draft position:
Joe Nathan,Twins (74.05) — If we were going to tier up this list, it’d go from here to Rodriguez because these three closers are the only relievers projected for 40 or more saves on two of the three lists but for at least 30 on each list.
Mariano Rivera,Yankees (71.31) — When you only pitch one inning at a time, 40 — Rivera’s age and his likely save count — is just a number.
Francisco Rodriguez, Mets (86.32) — If the Mets are back, Rodriguez will get 40. As it is, he’s a lock for 30.
Brian Wilson, Giants (139.44) — Wilson is by far the best value on this list. Beat the crowd, pick him in the 12th round.
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox (69.08) — Like most of the closers on this list, Papelbon just racks up 30-save season after 30 save season.
Francisco Cordero, Reds (107.05) — Hasn’t had double-digit blown saves since 2006 and has 34 or more saves in five of the last six seasons.
There were seven players that just missed the elite cut, making two of the three lists:
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers; Heath Bell, Padres; Joakim Soria, Royals; Carlos Marmol, Cubs; David Aardsma, Mariners; Jose Valverde, Astros; Brian Fuentes, Angels
Broxton and Bell were only projected for 30 saves on two of the lists, but both had them pegged for 40 or more.
The Athletics’ Andrew Bailey and the Rockies’ Huston Street were only named on one list, but both were projected for 40+ saves.
In 2009, 16 players had 30 or more saves and four of them had 40 or more.
Fuentes; Nathan; Rivera; Bell
Cordero; Papelbon; Ryan Franklin, Cardinals; Aardsma; Wilson
Trevor Hoffman, Brewers; Fernando Rodney, Tigers; Broxton; Street; Rodriguez, Brad Lidge, Phillies; Soria