On-Base Perception

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Closer carousel already in rapid motion

Before a pitch was even thrown this season, the closer carousel was already in full motion. Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria suffered season-ending injuries and Andrew Bailey had thumb surgery that will sideline him for a few months.

At first it appeared Drew Storen’s injury wasn’t serious, but news emerged today that it could be more serious. Storen’s elbow felt sore after throwing in a simulated game over the weekend and he will visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Usually that doesn't result in good things. Storen was one of the top closers selected in drafts after an outstanding season in 2011.

Manager Davey Johnson has already said he would alternate between Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez at closer with Storen out. Both picked up saves over the weekend and should be owned in all leagues. Many managers tend to go with experienced closers, so it’s a little surprising that Rodriguez is in the mix.

Rodriguez might be unowned in some leagues and he was in one of mine and I just added him. He can reach triple-digits on the radar gun and I saw him in person in the Futures Game a few years ago at Yankee Stadium and his fastball is electric.

The issue has been control, but he was much better this spring. He had a 12/2 K/BB ratio in 12 innings this spring. He had a 70/45 K/BB ratio in 65 2/3 innings last season with the Nationals. I’d add him in all leagues.

How about the surprise with the White Sox at closer? Most speculated it would be Matt Thornton, Addison Reed or Jesse Crain. Instead, first-year manager Robin Ventura has gone with Hector Santiago, who hasn’t pitched above Double-A before this season. He made 15 starts at Double-A last season with solid numbers. The lefty has a screwball that can get righthanders out, too.

In the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) leagues, people went very high on bids. You get a $1,000 FAAB budget and I went $203 and didn’t think it was good enough to win and surprisingly he went for just $217. In other leagues, people used 40-60 percent of their budgets. I didn’t feel comfortable going that high. I’d add him in all leagues, but not sure he keeps the job all season with solid arms behind him.

In Kansas City, Jonathan Broxton has looked good so far. It’s all about health for Broxton, who was an elite closer a few years ago. He averaged 94 M.P.H. on his fastball over the weekend.

The Red Sox situation is a mess. Alfredo Aceves was installed as the closer and he wasn’t good. Mark Melancon wasn’t any better, but he’s more equipped to be the closer. It seems like the Red Sox don’t have much confidence in him. Daniel Bard should be the closer, yet he is going to start and the team said today they intend to keep it that way. Franklin Morales and Vicente Padilla could be in the mix soon.

With Kyle Farnsworth out due to an injury, most thought Joel Peralta was the favorite to close. Fernando Rodney picked up two saves over the weekend and while he has experience as a closer, he’s not a very good reliever. Walks always have been a problem, including a 7.88 BB/9 last season in 32 innings and his career average is 4.86. Don’t rule Peralta out of the mix.

Jim Johnson doesn’t have typical closer stuff since he doesn’t blow hitters away. He has good control and induces grounders and will be solid for the Orioles.

We’re not even a full week into the season and the closer landscape has already seen a seismic shift and you know it’s only the beginning.

Tags: fantasy , fantasy baseball , closers , Kyle Farnsworth , Drew Storen , Henry Rodriguez , Jonathan Broxton , Brad Lidge , Jim Johnson , Alfredo Aceves , Mark Melancon , Brad Lidge , Vicente Padilla , Franklin Morales , Addison Reed , Matt Thornton , Hector Santiago , Jesse Crain

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