Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Closer Situations - Toronto, Baltimore, Texas and Atlanta *Updated 3/18

Toronto Bluejays


B.J. Ryan had a successful workout on Tuesday, throwing a scoreless inning in a "B" game. Ryan reported no soreness and is on target to get in some more work Friday in an actual Grapefruit league game. Depending on what happens from there Ryan looks to have a good chance at starting the season on the Major League roster.

FANTASY IMPACT

Draft Ryan as you normally would in your fantasy league. In fact you can get him later than you normally would be able to. Do not, however, expect him to pitch in back to back games for the first month or so, which may cost him 5-6 saves at most. As the season wears on Ryan proves he is more durable ad withstand the daily rigors off the MLB season he will get the cal more and more on back to back days.

Keep An Eye On...

Jeremy Accardo- He filled in more than admirably last year when Ryan went down, and will be in line to get saves when Ryan is unavailable, or being rested.

Baltimore Orioles

Early indication from manager Dave Trembley has George Sherrill tabbed as the team's closer to start the season. While he has not yet made an official announcement, the fact that Sherrill hasn't walked a batter all spring, probably does not hurt his chances to land the closers gig.

*UPDATE: On 3/18 Baltimore Manager Dave Trembley officially named George Sherrill the closer for the 2008 season.

FANTASY IMPACT

Take a flier on Sherrill in your fantasy league when the top closers and second tier closers go. He will be around near the end of the closers run, as he does not yet technically have the gig. He will be decent and barring injury, should be the closer all season. Do not forget Sherrill was apart of the Erik Bedard trade, and you can guarantee, Baltimore management wants to show all the value that they were able to acquire for their former ace.

Keep An Eye On...

Jamie Walker- Signed after the 2006 season away from Detroit as a guy to come out of the bullpen to get lefties out, Walker stumbled into the closers role late season. After Chris Ray and Danys Baez went down with injuries, Walker was the last man standing and did a decent job saving 7 games down the stretch last year for the O's. He would probably get calls if Sherrill gets hurt, or is ineffective.

Texas Rangers

C.J. Wilson threw a pain free bullpen session on Monday and is still the favorite to land the closers job out of spring training.

FANTASY IMPACT

Part of the reason Wilson is the favorite is that he was so successful at the end of last season and Texas did not make bringing in an experienced closer an off season priority, showing they were comfortable with what they had. The other reason is that his main competition is Joaquin Benoit who has yet to throw in a spring training game because of arm fatigue. When he last threw on Monday, he did no show good velocity or look ready to pitch in real game. The lack of game action has more or less ended Benoit's chances of being the team's closer out of spring training. So long as Wilson can keep his progress going consistently through the rest of spring training, he should be a safe bet to start the season as the team's closer. He will be one of the last closers taken in your draft, so wait till that well is almost barren before trying to get him.

Keep An Eye On...

Eddie Guardado?!?!- Can't believe I am saying this, but if Wilson can't get healthy enough to start the season Guardado might be the only guy left to get saves. Once again we see the last man standing syndrome here. Its still not worth it to draft him, as he still needs to 1) make the team and 2) hope for someone else to get hurt in order for him to have a job.

Atlanta Braves

Rafael Soriano threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and reported no pain or discomfort. The Atlanta closer had been sidelined with a sore elbow, an injury that has occured chronically throughout Soriano's career. Soriano is set to make his Grapefruit league debut later this week, and is penciled in to be ready for opening day.

FANTASY IMPACT

Good news for all those fantasy owners who took Soriano in their earlier drafts. It now appears he is a safe bet for owners going forward. Soriano has the type of stuff that can dominate a line up and has the potential to save upwards of 30 games, if he can stay healthy.

Keep An Eye On...

Peter Moylan- Soriano will be dominant when he is healthy. But it would be delusional to think that Soriano can make it through an entire season without havig to take some time off, or landing on the DL for a small stint. Moylan would be in line to be the first guy out of the pen if/when Soriano goes down.

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