Fantasy Baseball Profile: Will No Dome Spell Doom for Joe Nathan?

Feb 14, 2010

Happy Sweet 16 Emily!

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Few players have been as consistently dominant as Twins closer Joe Nathan the past six seasons. His ERA has never been above 2.70, and last year’s 2.10 was the second highest of the stretch. His WHIP has never been above 1.02. Only once was his BAA above .187. Only once did he record fewer than 77 strikeouts. He has had at least 36 saves every year. He’s just consistently been one of the best closers in the league.

The only thing that concerns me is the move to Target Field. The past two years he has pitched better when he plays indoors.

26 saves, 2 blown saves, 1.59 ERA, 0.86 WHIP indoors
21 saves, 3 blown saves,  2.79 ERA, 1.03 WHIP outdoors

26 saves, 2 blown saves, 1.01 ERA, 0.74 WHIP
13 saves, 4 blown saves, 1.96 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

From 2005-2007 though he pitched better outdoors. 2004 was a virtual wash.

He’s also been worse after the All-Star Break the past two years.

23 saves, 2 blown saves, 1.31 ERA, 0.73 WHIP Before
24 saves, 3 blown saves, 2.88 ERA, 1.14 WHIP After

27 saves, 2 blown saves, 1.13 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
12 saves, 4 blown saves, 1.61 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

The splits from the past two years are a little alarming for a pitcher that will be moving to a park where weather could play a key role at the beginning and the end of the year. Especially one that’s 35. Of course, Mariano Rivera is five years his senior and still getting it done. 

So does the move to Target Field end Joe Nathan’s fantasy reign? Hardly. I still have him as my 4th ranked fantasy closer (click to see rankings). I just think his numbers will take a slight dip.

Prediction:  38 saves, 2.20 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 75 Ks

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin
Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
Kansas City Royals: Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Howie Kendrick
Los Angeles Dodgers: James Loney
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart

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