Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Ranking the new closers

by Todd Zola, on April 9, 2014 @ 11:32:41 PDT


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Lawr Michaels

Matt Lindstrom, RP, Chicago White Sox
No longevity for Lindstrom?

I pretty much agree with Rob here.

On one hand, if you are desperate for saves, this is a big deal. If not, owners are probably chuckling a tad watching the save coveters scramble for the services of these guys (ha, while we watch Jonathan Papelbon, Jim Johnson, and the rest of the closers who have been getting clobbered early this year struggle).

I would bet on Lindstrom first among the troika myself, then Rodriguez, and then, gulp Valverde, were it left to me. Fortunately, my team flaws, aside from having Papelbon and Glen Perkins in a couple of leagues, are elsewhere.

Perry Van Hook

I think the Mixed Auction Tout league got the order right with

1) K-Rod -- no reason he can't keep pitching that well which keeps Henderson at bay

2) Valverde -- certainly not as much confidence in Papa Grande, BUT there is nothing to really threaten him waiting in the Mets bullpen

3) Lindstrom -- I think when Nate Jones gets healthy he will get the job back BUT that is an IF just like Lindstrom's effectiveness ... I like the dark horse in the White Sox pen, Daniel Webb, but only if Jones can't reclaim the job

Ryan Carey

I agree with Perry's ranking and with his assessment on Jones. Of course that could be since I am holding him in a bunch of leagues.

I pretty much whiffed anyplace I was forced to bid on them over the weekend since there always seemed to be someone who liked them more than I did.

I of course backed my bids up with some other speculations and did come away with Josh Fields or Pedro Strop in a couple places. As the bids on these emerging closers show, if you have a roster spot to play with, you can save a nice chunk of change dedicating it to finding the next guy who might fall into the roll.

Zach Steinhorn

I agree with the Mixed Tout Auction rankings, and I did bid rather aggressively on K-Rod. I think that he could legitimately hold onto the closer job for a good chunk of the season given his track record and Jim Henderson's struggles. But after Henderson demonstrated much improved velocity in his most recent outing, I'm starting to feel a little better about losing out on K-Rod. Valverde vs. Lindstrom is close as both are blow-up-prone, but I'll give Valverde the edge since he has more experience in the stopper role.

The much cheaper speculative closer game can pay off, as Strop went for a reasonable four bucks in my Tout league, but one thing to keep in mind is the Tout rule that you have to start your FAAB acquisitions for at least one week after adding them, so starting a non-elite middle reliever for a week at the expense of an extra starting pitcher could cost you in wins and strikeouts without really helping your ratios.

Lord Zola's Wrap-up

First off, I promise, this is the last we'll talk about saves. OK, maybe it's better if I promise we'll move on to some other topics, never say never.

While it is important to some, the ranking of these three closers is secondary to the larger point. The times, they are a-changin'. It's worth investing some draft or auction assets on the better, more reliable closers. No, they won't all perform as expected. But contrary to what some believe, acquiring the asset after the fact is not an efficient means of competing in the category.

OK, enough of the "I told you so."

For what it's worth, I'd rather pay what it took to get Valverde then speculate on candidates like Strop, Daniel Webb, and I'll toss another name in the ring: Evan Meek.

When it comes to closers, opportunity is paramount, and of the three, Valverde has the best chance to hold the job for an extended period of time. Unless Vic Black can get his act together in Triple-A.

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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