Are you the type of fantasy baseball player that doesn’t worry much about closers, figuring if you’re aggressive on the waiver wire you can get your share of saves? After all, John Axford had 24 saves last year, Chris Perez had 23, Alfredo Simon had 17, Juan Gutierrez had 15, and the list goes on.
If you are the type that employs this strategy, don’t overlook Jon Rauch as he’s the first temporary closer that can get you short-term saves. You remember him as the 6’11″ tattooed relief pitcher that saved 21 games for the Twins last year. He is with Toronto now, and thanks to injuries to Frank Francisco (pectoral) and Octavio Dotel (hamstring) he could start the season as the Blue Jays closer. Neither injury is considered serious so don’t expect a ton of saves from Rauch, bu the could be a nice late round addition that can give you a good short-term saves boost. If you have already drafted, he’s worth adding off the waiver wire.

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Usually when I draft a closer I would hope he has topped 16 saves more than once in his career. If he doesn’t have a long track record as a closer, at least he’s the primary setup man. Strike two. Dotel has just two years of 30+ holds, and they date back to 2002 & 2003. If neither of those are the case, I hope he’s on a good team.  Foul tip. The Pirates are not good, but quality closers can come from bad teams. If those aren’t true, I hope he is full of potential. Strike three, you’re out. Dotel is 36 years old. You know who he is and what you’re going to get from him.

He struck out, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want him. Certainly not as a top 15 closer (Click to see Closer Rankings), but he’s a decent #2 and a solid #3.

Why you ask? Because of his strikeout potential. He’s been a beast the past two years with the White Sox with 167 strikeouts in 129.3 innings (11.6 K/9). That’s nothing new for Dotel. In fact, he has 940 strikeouts in 770.3 career innings (11.0 K/9).

While I don’t expect a gaudy save total from Dotel given the circumstances, but he should have a fair share with a decent ERA and WHIP. His biggest plus will be those strikeouts. That and the value he’ll come with as he goes in the latter stages of your fantasy draft.

Prediction:  27 saves, 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 85 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
Minnesota Twins: Joe Nathan
New York Mets: Jason Bay
New York Yankees: Robinson Cano
Oakland A’s: Kevin Kouzmanoff
Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins

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