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Here’s the 2013 LestersLegends Closer Rankings for NL-Only Leagues.
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1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Kimbrel is ridiculous. In 2011 he recorded 46 saves with a 2.10 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 127 strikeouts. His saves (42) and strikeouts (116) dipped, but his ERA (1.01) and WHIP (0.65) were off-the-charts good. He’s the best closer in baseball. Period.
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2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Chapman could be the filthiest pitcher in baseball. He’s certainly in the discussion. He picked up 38 saves and 122 strikeouts while posting a 1.51 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He could end up in the rotation, but no matter his role, he will be a force.
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3. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals
Motte nailed down 42 saves as well while striking out 86 batters. His 2.75 ERA and 0.92 WHIP put him right up with Kimbrel and Chapman. He’s the best of tier two in my book.
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4. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies
Papelbon got back on track last year with 38 saves, 92 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
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5. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants
Romo recorded 14 saves with 63 strikeouts, a 1.79 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He was nearly untouchable during the postseason with a 0.84 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP.
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6. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
The Nationals have great young pitching so the save opportunities should be there for Soriano. He had 42 saves, 69 strikeouts, a 2.26 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
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7. J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks
Putz has 77 saves over the past two seasons while sporting a 2.48 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He’s a little bit of a slow starter, as evidenced by his 3.73 ERA first half ERA over the past two years. He’s been untouchable after the break, posting a 0.91 mark.
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8. Huston Street, San Diego Padres
Street can flat out get the job done. He has a career 1.04 WHIP and a 9.2 K/9 ratio. He was great for San Diego last year, posting a 1.85 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. So why isn’t he a top five closer? The simple answer is durability. He seems to get hurt every year.
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9. John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers
Axford has 81 saves over the past two seasons, but he struggled with his control last year, leading to a 4.67 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. He averages 11.39 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) to offset some of the damage he does to your WHIP category.
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10. Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Grilli only has five career saves and he’s 36, but he had 90 strikeouts in 58-2/3 innings last yer. Plus, he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
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As you prepare for your fantasy baseball drafts, check out:

Joe Nathan Texas Rangers
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Here’s the 2013 LestersLegends Closer Rankings for AL-Only Leagues.
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1. Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers
Nathan returned to form with 37 saves, 78 strikeouts, a 2.80 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. Other than his 2011 hiccup, he’s been one of the steadiest closers over the past decade.
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2. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
Mo is a risk coming off a knee injury, but he should be able to bounce back. His cutter will still be troublesome for opposing batters. This could be his final season and I expect Mo to go out in style.
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3. Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
Johnson actually had more saves (51) than strikeouts (41) last year. His peripherals (2.49 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) were good so he should remain a top ten closer.
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4. Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
Rodney saved 48 games last year with 76 strikeouts. His 0.78 ERA and 0.60 WHIP were ridiculous, but his career marks are 3.75 and 1.36 respectively. His peripherals will go up, but he should be in line for a bunch of saves.
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5. Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians
Perez has 75 saves over the past two seasons. After averaging a 5.9 K/9 ratio in 2011 he bounced back with a 9.2 K/9 mark. His career ERA is 3.23 with a 1.18 WHIP.
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6. Tom Wilhelmsen, Seattle Mariners
Wilhelmsen is an under-the-radar option. He saved 29 games last year while posting a 2.50 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 79-1/3 innings (9.9 K/9).
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7. Joel Hanrahan, Boston Red Sox
Hanrahan has 76 saves over the past two seasons, and one would think that the move from the Pittsburgh Pirates to Boston will increase his save opportunities. That said, he will be facing more potent lineups.
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8. Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Holland converted 16 or his 18 save opportunities and posted a 1.98 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP when he took over the closer gig. The Royals have an improved rotation, which should provide more leads to protect.
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9. Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics
Balfour nailed down 24 saves last year, but posted a rock solid ERA (2.53) and WHIP (0.92). He records approximately a strikeout per inning and he’s nearly untouchable at home (1.06 ERA, 0.69 WHIP).
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10. Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox
Reed’s positives were his 29 saves and averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. His negatives where his ERA (4.75) and WHIP (1.36). He is only 24 and has good stuff. He should make strides in his second season at closer.
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As you prepare for your fantasy baseball drafts, check out:

Chris Perez
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We already looked at the LestersLegends’ top 10 fantasy baseball closers for 2013, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t additional options if you choose to wait on filling your relief pitcher slots to address other positions.
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John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers
Axford has 81 saves over the past two seasons, but he struggled with his control last year, leading to a 4.67 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. He averages 11.39 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) to offset some of the damage he does to your WHIP category.
.
Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics
Balfour nailed down 24 saves last year, but posted a rock solid ERA (2.53) and WHIP (0.92). He records approximately a strikeout per inning and he’s nearly untouchable at home (1.06 ERA, 0.69 WHIP).
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Joel Hanrahan, Boston Red Sox
Hanrahan has 76 saves over the past two seasons, and one would think that the move from the Pittsburgh Pirates to Boston will increase his save opportunities. That said, he will be facing more potent lineups.
.
Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Holland converted 16 or his 18 save opportunities and posted a 1.98 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP when he took over the closer gig. The Royals have an improved rotation, which should provide more leads to protect.
.
Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians
Perez has 75 saves over the past two seasons. After averaging a 5.9 K/9 ratio in 2011 he bounced back with a 9.2 K/9 mark. His career ERA is 3.23 with a 1.18 WHIP. He could easily finish among the top ten fantasy closers.
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J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks
Putz is another closer that could finish among the top ten. He has 77 saves over the past two seasons while sporting a 2.48 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He’s a little bit of a slow starter, as evidenced by his 3.73 ERA first half ERA over the past two years. He’s been untouchable after the break, posting a 0.91 mark.
.
Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox
Reed’s positives were his 29 saves and averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. His negatives where his ERA (4.75) and WHIP (1.36). He is only 24 and has good stuff. He should make strides in his second season at closer.
.
Huston Street, San Diego Padres
Street can flat out get the job done. He has a career 1.04 WHIP and a 9.2 K/9 ratio. He was great for San Diego last year, posting a 1.85 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP. So why isn’t he a top ten closer? The simple answer is durability. He seems to get hurt every year.
.
Tom Wilhelmsen, Seattle Mariners
Wilhelmsen is an under-the-radar option. He saved 29 games last year while posting a 2.50 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 79-1/3 innings (9.9 K/9).
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Also check out:


.
Here are the 2013 Lester’s Legends fantasy baseball closer rankings.
.
1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Kimbrel is ridiculous. In 2011 he recorded 46 saves with a 2.10 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 127 strikeouts. His saves (42) and strikeouts (116) dipped, but his ERA (1.01) and WHIP (0.65) were off-the-charts good. He’s the best closer in baseball. Period.
.
2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Chapman could be the filthiest pitcher in baseball. He’s certainly in the discussion. He picked up 38 saves and 122 strikeouts while posting a 1.51 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He could end up in the rotation, but no matter his role, he will be a force.
.
3. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals
Motte nailed down 42 saves as well while striking out 86 batters. His 2.75 ERA and 0.92 WHIP put him right up with Kimbrel and Chapman. He’s the best of tier two in my book.
.
4. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies
Papelbon got back on track last year with 38 saves, 92 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
.
5. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants
Romo recorded 14 saves with 63 strikeouts, a 1.79 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He was nearly untouchable during the postseason with a 0.84 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP.
.
6. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
The Nationals have great young pitching so the save opportunities should be there for Soriano. He had 42 saves, 69 strikeouts, a 2.26 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
.
7. Joe Nathan, Texas Rangers
Nathan returned to form with 37 saves, 78 strikeouts, a 2.80 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. Other than his 2011 hiccup, he’s been one of the steadiest closers over the past decade.
.
8. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
Mo is a risk coming off a knee injury, but he should be able to bounce back. His cutter will still be troublesome for opposing batters. This could be his final season and I expect Mo to go out in style.
.
9. Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles
Johnson actually had more saves (51) than strikeouts (41) last year. His peripherals (2.49 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) were good so he should remain a top ten closer.
.
10. Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
Rodney saved 48 games last year with 76 strikeouts. His 0.78 ERA and 0.60 WHIP were ridiculous, but his career marks are 3.75 and 1.36 respectively. His peripherals will go up, but he should be in line for a bunch of saves.
.
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As you prepare for your fantasy baseball drafts, check out:


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