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Fairly Valuing and Drafting Shaky Closers

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Fairly Valuing and Drafting Shaky Closers

Postby d18Mike » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:00 pm

Every year during the season I keep a small list of things to remember for the next year's draft. And every year for the past four years I've noted ... "don't overpay for low level closers."

Regardless, the fact of the matter is you have to draft them unless you punt on Opening Day.

But this year, more so than any in my memory, the number of closers who don't have an ironclad, slamdunk, insurmountable Lidge-like hold on the job seems high. About half have a fairly tenative hold on the role, regardless of what management may be saying publically. Based on past performance, many (if not most) of these guys will lose the job at least temporarily You can certainly argue with some of those listed, but you get my point:

Foulke, Keith (health?)
Wickman, Bob
Jenks, Bobby
MacDougal, Mike M.
Gonzalez, Mike
Dempster, Ryan
Jones, Todd
Fuentes, Brian
Reitsma, Chris
Ray, Chris
Orvella, Chad
Weathers, David
Borowski, Joe
(Gordon?)

Just wondering how you guys are dealing with this from a draft standpoint? Are you going for a stud early and 2 shaky arms late?

If you want to comment on the list above feel free. But more interested in the strategic approach to the issue. Thanks!
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Postby BigLebowski » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:21 pm

My strategy has always been to grab one of the "sure-thing" closers and try to fill in with 2 guys who will most likely hold a job, but are far from a sure thing. Then I make sure to stay on top of the waiver wire for the guys that pop up during the season. I won my NL only league last year due to the waiver wire. I drafted Benitez and Gonzalez and obviously lost Benitez early in the year. I then managed to pick up Fuentes, Reitsma, and Tyler Walker during the year and ride them as long as they had their jobs. I won saves when all was said and done.

On another note, I don't think Fuentes belongs on your list. He has good stuff and just being in Colorado scares a lot of people off. He can strike out guys and a great clip and has the skills to keep the job. I may be alone, but I think he is a top 10 closer by the end of the year. And I have been able to get him in every draft I have done so far.
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Postby TheYanks04 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:24 pm

There was a roughly 50% turnover in closers last season. Predicting how the non-elite ones are likely to do is a complete guessing game and anyone who says differently is simply kidding themselves. All you can do is make an informed guesstimate and hope for the best. Some are obviously much riskier than others.
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Postby j_d_mcnugent » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:26 pm

i look mainly at two things

1)ratios--primarily whip and k/9. focus on guys with good ratios. in this case ray, gonzalez and jenks. orvella was solid in the minors so i like him too. dempster could be trouble. great era but baaaaad whip.

2)contenders--study who the setup men are and if they are threats. in atlanta there is joey devine breathing down reitsma's neck. orvella doesnt seem to have any threats--mori? is a little banged up. ditto for jenks because hermanson is banged up.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:34 pm

I usually draft heavily on closers with established track records in roto. I never take the first closer unless there's huge value there but like to get guys like Isringhausen, Guardado, etc when they're a decent value. I'll then take a few of the underrated youngsters (Gonzalez, Fuentes, Valverde) a bit later when they're a good value as well. By taking 2 mid-tier relievers earlier on you can afford to only get one of the underrated guys later on in the draft...don't take them until there's only a couple of guys that you're targeting left so that you can put it off as long as possible.
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