When looking at the closers in the AL East, there is still only one elite closer, Mariano Rivera. There are some other solid options, but none that will give you the all around numbers that Rivera will.
Sure Rivera is coming back from the most devastating injury of his career, but he will still be the top closer in the AL East. Expect his numbers to go down a little, as the New York Yankees will not be the power of the AL East. You can expect 35 saves, with 46 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.47, and a WHIP that will be over 1.00 for the first time since the 2007 season. Still his WHIP won’t approach his career high of 1.19 in 1997, which was his first season as a full time closer.
Only in fantasy baseball could being traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Boston Red Sox be a bad thing. Not only will Joel Hanrahan see his ERA and WHIP go up, but if he struggles with his transition to the American League, Andrew Bailey will be waiting in the wings to take his job as closer. Expect Hanrahan’s ERA to go up a full point to around 3.40, with around 33 saves, 66 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.83.
Where in the world did Fernando Rodney come from last season? Rodney didn’t just set career-lows in every pitching category last season, he shattered them. He had a .60 ERA and a WHIP of .78 in 2012. Don’t expect Rodney’s numbers to be anywhere near here in 2013, as the last time his ERA was below 4.00 was way back in 2006 with the Detroit Tigers. Expect around 37 saves, 50 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.35, and a WHIP of 1.30.
The trend of AL East closer numbers regressing in 2013 continues with the Baltimore Orioles Jim Johnson. Don’t expect the Orioles to sneak up on anyone this season, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to find the Orioles back in the cellar in the AL East. Expect around 33 saves, 44 strikeouts, 3.48 ERA, 1.25 WHIP.
Go figure the odds on favorite to win the AL East is the Toronto Blue Jays. However, they have the biggest question mark at closer of any team in the division. As of this writing, Casey Janssen is the Blue Jays closer, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is a middle reliever by opening day. I am not projecting any numbers for Janssen, as you should avoid him in most fantasy leagues. The Blue Jays are looking to win now, and will make a move to strengthen the closer job as soon as teams start falling out of the race. Sure you can expect him to get between five and 10 saves, but you can just as easily get more than that by paying attention to your waiver wire.
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