If you wanted to compare apples to oranges because fantasy football season just ended, closers are more like team defenses than kickers.
Not every starting closer is going to get you 40 saves, only the ones at the top. However, there are going to be a couple that surprise and make a huge splash like the Saints defense did this year.
In 2009, Ryan Franklin was supposed to set-up Jason Motte. Franklin finished with 38 saves. Now Motte is setting him up. A couple closers will disappoint, like Motte did. But we’re not ready to tell you who will or won’t keep their job at this point.
This is an as-of-now list, meaning it’s freezing outside and they’re calling for six inches of snow next Saturday. What I mean is that lot will happen between now and Opening Day. However, this is a good starting point.
We’ve included the closers, according to www.mlb.com depth charts, their saves and attempts from 2009 and their competition/setup men. A *K* denotes they are likely to give you a better than 9.00 K/9 based on 2009 performance. They are ranked by 2009 save totals:
40 or more saves
- Brian Fuentes, Angels, 48/55 (Scot Shields, Fernando Rodney)
- Joe Nathan *K*, Twins, 47/52 (Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares)
- Mariano Rivera, Yankees, 44/46 (Phil Hughes *K*, Joba Chamberlain)
- Heath Bell, Padres, 42/48 (Edward Mujica, Luke Gregerson *K*)
- Francisco Cordero, Reds, 39/43 (Arthur Rhodes, Daniel Ray Herrera)
- Jonathan Papelbon *K*, Red Sox, 38/41 (Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen)
- David Aardsma, Mariners, 38/42 (Mark Lowe, Brandon League)
- Ryan Franklin, Cardinals, 38/43 (Jason Motte, Dennys Reyes)
- Brian Wilson *K*, Giants, 38/45 (Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo)
- Trevor Hoffman, Brewers, 37/41 (Todd Coffey, LaTroy Hawkins)
- Jonathan Broxton *K*, Dodgers, 36/42 (George Sherrill, Ramon Troncoso)
- Huston Street, Rockies, 35/37 (Franklin Morales, Matt Daley)
- Francisco Rodriguez, Mets, 35/42 (Kelvin Escobar, Sean Green)
- Brad Lidge *K*, Phillies, 31/42 (Danys Baez, Ryan Madson)
- Joakim Soria, Royals, 30/33 (Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz)
- Bobby Jenks, White Sox, 29/35 (Matt Thornton *K*, JJ Putz)
- Rafael Soriano *K*, Rays, 27/31 with Braves in 09 (Randy Choate, JP Howell *K*)
- Matt Capps, Nationals, 27/32 with Pirates in 09 (Brian Bruney, Jason Bergmann)
- Billy Wagner, Braves, 27/34 with Mets in 08* (Peter Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty)
- Andrew Bailey, As, 26/30 (Brad Zeigler, Michael Wuertz *K*)
- Leo Nunez, Marlins, 26/33 (Dan Meyer, Brian Sanches)
- Jose Valverde, Tigers, 25/29 with Astros in 09 (Joel Zumaya, Bobby Seay)
- Frank Francisco *K*, Rangers, 25/29 (CJ Wilson *K*, Darren Oliver)
- Chad Qualls, Diamondbacks, 24/29 (Bob Howry, Juan Gutierrez)
- Kerry Wood, Indians, 20/26 (Joe Smith, Chris Perez *K*)
Less than 20 saves
- Carlos Marmol *K*, Cubs, 15/19 (John Grabow, Angel Guzman)
- Jason Frasor, Blue Jays, 11/14 (Scott Downs, Jesse Carlson)
- Mike Gonzalez *K*, Orioles, 10/17 with Braves in 09 (Jim Johnson, Cla Meredith)
- Astros closer**: Matt Lindstrom, 15/17 with Marlins; Brandon Lyon 3/6 with tigers; Jeff Fulchino, 0/3 with Astros.
- Pirates closer**: Octavio Dotel *K*, 0/3 with White Sox; Joel Hanrahan, 5/10 with Nationals; Evan Meek, 0/1 with Pirates; Brendan Donnelly, 2/2 with Florida.
* Wagner appeared in only 17 games for two different eams in 2009 and did not get a save opportunity.
** www.mlb.com doesn’t denote a closer on either the Astros’ or Pirates’ rosters. The lists are written based on the bullpen depth chart.
Which of the closers will not keep their job in 2010? Who wins the Astros and Pirates competitions? Let us know in the comments.