Lyon Named Closer in Arizona

by Tim Piotrowski on February 6, 2008 @ 06:42:50 PDT


Jack Magruder, of the East Valley Tribune, reports Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin has named reliever Brandon Lyon as the team's closer for the 2008 season.

Lyon was a prominent member of the team's bullpen last season. He appeared in 73 games and had a record of 6-4. He had an earned run average of 2.68, compiled 40 strikeouts and walked only 22 batters in 74 innings pitched. However, he had five save opportunities last season and was only able to convert two of them. He also has 15 career blown saves and 10 in the last two seasons.

Lyon takes over for closer Jose Valverde, who was traded to the Houston Astros during the offseason. He had a tremendous year, saving 47 games and striking out 78 batters in only 64.1 innings. Opposing hitters only had a .196 batting average against Valverde. However, he too had a problem closing out games as he ended the season with seven blown saves. Lyon had a good run as the temporary closer in 2005 when he saved 14 of 15 opportunities, but he had a 6.44 ERA.

Lyon's job is far from secure; relievers Tony Pena and Chad Qualls were reported to be in the closer discussion during the offseason. Hitters mustered a .207 average against Pena last year, and Qualls tossed 82 2/3 innings last season for the Houston Astros.

From a fantasy perspective, Lyon should be considered a high No. 3 closer option because it is not known if he will keep the job for the entire season. There are many other closers with secure jobs to select before Lyon, but he could be a bargain later in a draft.

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About Tim Piotrowski

Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.

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