2012 Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings

Mar 6, 2012

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Here are the 2012 Lester’s Legends fantasy baseball closer rankings.
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1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves: Recorded 46 saves last year with a 2.10 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and an absurd 127 strikeouts in 77 innings. With a top-notch pitching staff, he should see plenty of save opportunities once again.
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2.  John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers:  The Brew Crew will miss Prince Fielder, but they still have a rock solid rotation. Axford picked up 46 saves with a 1.95 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and 86 Ks in 73-2/3 innings. He more than proved that 2010 wasn’t a fluke.
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3.  Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies:  Talk about having a good starting rotation to pitch behind. Papelbon saved 31 games last year with a 2.94 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and 87 Ks in 64-1/3 innings. His only issue is that his starters often finish their games.
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4.  Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees:  I admittedly ranked Mo way too low last year. I figured Rafael Soriano’s presence would lead to less work. Until Mo hangs it up, he’s an elite option. Last year he had 44 saves, a 1.44 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and 60 Ks in 61-1/3 innings. With a better rotation he should easily be able to cruise to another banner year.
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5.  Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants:  Wilson’s health had a lot to with his struggles last year. Still he managed 36 saves with a 3.11 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP, and 54 Ks in 55.0 innings. I expect much more this year.
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6.  Heath Bell, Miami Marlins:  I don’t love the fact that he is no longer in PETCO, but Bell is still a top tier closer. He had 43 saves last year with a 2.44 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, and 51 Ks in 62-2/3 innings.
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7.  Drew Storen, Washington Nationals:  Certainly met his lofty expectations with 43 saves, a 2.75 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and 74 Ks in 75-1/3 innings.
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8.  J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks: Putz has a solid pitching staff to finish up for. Plus he had 45 saves, a 2.17 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and 61 Ks in 58.0 innings.
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9.  Andrew Bailey, Boston Red Sox:  Makes the move to Boston coming off a 24 save, 3.24 ERA, 1.10 ERA, and 41 Ks (41-2/3 IP) season. He has the ability, but is oft-injured.
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10. Huston Street, San Diego Padres: Speaking of oft-injured, Street also fits that bill. Escaping from Colorado to San Diego is about as dramatic an improvements as you can make. Plus, he stays within the division.
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11. Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels: Walden ran with his opportunity last year picking up 32 saves with a 2.98 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 67 Ks in 60-1/3 innings. He has a great rotation in front of him.
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12. Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers: Saved all 49 of his attempts last year with a 2.24 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, and 69 Ks in 72-1/3 innings. I can’t imagine that he can repeat that kind of success.
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13. Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers: Nathan has a new home as well, and it’s tougher on pitcher’s, but he has a solid staff in front of him, a great offense behind him, and an excellent track record.
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14. Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh Pirates: He collected 40 saves last year to go along with a 1.83 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and 61 Ks in 68-2/3 IP. Pitching for the Pirates keeps him out of my top 10, but he’s easily on the fringe.
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15. Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs: Picked up 34 saves and racked up 99 Ks in 74.0 IP, but his ERA was at 4.01 and his WHIP at 1.38.
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