The least valuable and reliable position in all of fantasy baseball, the Closer. That is to say outside of leagues that reward style points. The mustaches are the best among the Relievers. These rankings are comprised using player projections, injury status/history and job security. Our number one Closer was almost a Starting Pitcher this season. Neftali Feliz and the rest of our furlipped heroes are after the jump.
I tried to talk Starbonell out of Brad Lidge, but he held strong. I paid $16 in FAAB for Contreras in the Million Dollar Challenge league. Very happy about it. I've been slacking on RP updates. Hoping to do that soon.
Lidge heading to the DL for 3-6 weeks with posterior rotator cuff strain. Contreras announced the closer, he's probably been snatched up in competitive leagues but if not you better pounce. I'm not liking anything I'm hearing about Lidge, here's a rundown:
Most people think "Tommy John" are the two worst words you can hear when talking about pitcher injuries, but let me tell you "rotator cuff" is probably worse. The "posterior" cuff muscles, meaning back side of the shoulder/scapula, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor, are the most commonly injured rotator cuff muscles (there's 4 total, the subscapularis is on the front side). They are responsible primarily for external rotation of the shoulder, i.e. the "cocking" or "backswing" phase of a throwing motion. These muscles supply the force to cock the arm back, then are subjected to a quick and violent stretch as the arm whip forwards to throw the ball. All of this is also done with the arm over the athletes head, which is an impingement position for the shoulder as well (that's why you always hear people say sidearm is better for your arm).
A strain is technically a tear, the severity of which varies. If the MRI showed a strain, then localized inflammation was shown but probably no evidence of full thickness tearing. These muscles could still be partially torn, it's hard to say without reading the radiology results personally. The timetable they've stated is 3-6 weeks, which is pretty standard for soft tissue injuries. If they rest and hit it with anti-inflammatories, the pain will subside. Hopefully that's all it takes and he's good to go...
The bigger issue is what's causing it and will it come back. He's had bicep tendonitis already, now the rotator cuff (they are often seen together). In my opinion, something is not right with his arm, maybe it's structural, maybe it's mechanical, but I've seen this pattern before and it often ends in exploratory surgery to decipher the problem. Let's not forget Lidge hasn't had a lot of time to get ready for the season either and will need time to get game ready.
Here's how I see it panning out: Lidge misses the next 6 weeks, pain subsides, he begins a throwing program and is sent on a rehab assignment, pain resurfaces, he's shut down, they decide to do an exploratory scope, he misses another 2-3 months, he returns around August, struggles to regain his command and isn't trusted in the 9th, where he finds that Contreras has solidified the closer's role and Lidge is relegated to righty setup duty.
Of course if you're reading this you probably already knew NOT to draft Brad Lidge, but seriously, don't draft Brad Lidge. Don't. Just don't.
Closers look to be dropping like flies MDS, what's your take? Bailey is seeing Dr. Andrews after injuring his throwing elbow again today, is that EVER good? Who's the fallback option there, Fuentes? Are Devine or Balfour in the mix or does Fuentes have the inside track to that job? Lidge has biceps tendonitis, he claims he gets it every spring and it's not a big deal, but Lidge isn't exactly Mr. Reliable anymore, hard to knock him down anymore than he already is but tread cautiously there. Storen has sucked so much this spring Riggleman has hinted at a committee to start the season, perhaps even the minors for Storen! Bluffing? So many question marks on so many closers this year, might be worth the 10th round pick to secure a top 12 guy and then grab the rest late...
Ha, guess that one won't be finding it's way into the fantasy guide. I'm sure the readers don't care what I have to say anyway. Just needed to get this saves rant off my chest.
I wanna say you can get away with punting them in a 5x5 draft as long as you don't f'up your SP. I don't have any math to back it up so it's just a hunch. I was looking back at my MDC auction last year and was shocked at how much I spent on closers. With the added categories it devalued closers even further.
I've asked this question before and I ussualy get a tounge lashing at how you need balance in roto. But do you sacrafice value in the name of balance? I feel if you get value and don't win a category by an extreme amount you should be set.
Closers are overvalued. I wouldn't dream of spending more than $10 on any Closer or wasting a pick on one before Rd 10-11. "One in the chamber" may be a decent option in a shallow h2h league, but you'll want two or three in a competitive roto league. 14 or more managers want the next free agent Closer, you're guaranteed nothing and will have ground to make up.
Excellent song choice. I've recently been questioning if closers are overvalued. While saves is a category the ERA and WHIP contributions aren't very signifcant considering thier IP. That being said I'm fully intent on jumping on the saves vulture bandwagon and stocking up on premium SP. I'll probably draft atleast one closer to show "I always keeps one in the chamber" and have some saves to build off of. I wake up in a cold sweat thinking it maybe possible that the Matt Berry aticles I've read for entertainment are rubbing off on me.
I'll let you guys play the guessing game with the TB Saves. Each save is worth 1 point when it comes to the TTI metric scoring. 20 Saves would push Kyle Farnsworth up to 51.9 points. Rafael Soriano had 45 last year so there should be plenty to go around between Farnsworth, McGee, Howell, Cruz and the other 13 candidates.
I'm going to do a Reliever post within the next couple days, but I have to do some stuff for the Draft Guide that should be available soon. Stay tuned for the Operation Fantasy Baseball Freedom: Your 2011 Draft Guide to Victory. The free draft guide put together by Charlie Saponara from FB365, Mark Schruender from FBHotStove and myself.