StrategyJune 22, 2012


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Bottom of the 9th: Non-Walker, Texas Ranger

By R.J. White

Who’s been the best closer in the league thus far? One could certainly point to Chris Perez’s 22 saves, Jim Johnson’s 1.17 ERA and 0.65 WHIP or Kenley Jansen’s 51 strikeouts. But let’s not overlook the relatively quiet but still amazing season Joe Nathan has pieced together. He’s allowed just one run since April 11, which is the date of his only blown save this year. He owns an incredible 34/2 K/BB ratio this season in 28.2 innings of work. That control is prevalent throughout the entire Ranger bullpen.

The Chicago White Sox bullpen ranks second in the league in walks allowed with 60. The Rangers? Thirty-eight. Not only are the Rangers the best in the league at preventing free passes, but the Sox are over 57 percent worse than the league leaders. Amidst all the reasons the Rangers have the best record in the league, the bullpen’s non-walking ways shouldn’t be dismissed.

Safe

ARI J.J. Putz
ATL Craig Kimbrel
BAL Jim Johnson
BOS Alfredo Aceves
CHW Addison Reed
CLE Chris Perez
COL Rafael Betancourt
KC Jonathan Broxton
LAA Ernesto Frieri
LAD Kenley Jansen
MIA Heath Bell
MIN Matt Capps
NYM Frank Francisco
NYY Rafael Soriano
OAK Ryan Cook
PHI Jonathan Papelbon
PIT Joel Hanrahan
SD Huston Street
SEA Tom Wilhelmsen
SF Santiago Casilla
STL Jason Motte
TB Fernando Rodney
TEX Joe Nathan
TOR Casey Janssen
WAS Tyler Clippard

Safe … For Now

CIN Aroldis Chapman
After not giving up any earned runs through his first 24 appearances, which stretched into June, Chapman has been scored upon in four of his last six games. That stretch includes just two saves and three losses. Has he lost the magic? His overall numbers suggest he’s still the Reds’ best closing option. If the Reds remain in contention for a playoff spot all year, it’s conceivable they move Chapman to the rotation if their current starters falter. Still, there aren’t many better fantasy closers to own right now.

HOU Brett Myers
Myers was lit up for five runs on eight hits on June 18 after turning in an excellent first few months as Houston’s closer. He remains a likely trade candidate, and he’s unlikely to close for his new team if dealt. If you own him, you should definitely be looking to trade him soon, especially if he can rebound with a couple easy saves this weekend.

MIL John Axford
The Ax Man has just three scoreless outings in eight June appearances, saving two games while blowing three. With a 5.60 ERA on the year, he may be close to getting a “break” from closing duties. Francisco Rodriguez would step into closing during Axford’s potential recess. I’d make sure K-Rod is owned in all leagues; better closers than Axford have been yanked from the job, and it’s possible looking at the results that a hidden injury could be lurking.

Now Closing

CHC Carlos Marmol
Has Marmol rediscovered his swag? Not really, but it’s not like the Cubs have anybody else that has proven to be a serviceable closer, nor have they proven adept at delivering many save opportunities to the ninth-inning man this season. Manager Dale Sveum has decided to go back to Marmol as his closer, and he’s converted his last two save opportunities. He needs to be owned in all leagues, and you’ll just have to deal with the walks (one each in his last three games, 23 in 19.2 innings this year).

DET Joaquin Benoit
Have the Tigers come to their senses and installed Benoit as the full-time closer over Jose Valverde? One could only hope. Valverde is actually supposed to miss just a few days with a wrist injury, and he’s likely to be thrust right back into the ninth inning when he returns. There’s always the chance the injury could linger, and I have a feeling these won’t be Benoit’s last days as closer this year.

 
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
 
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