The NL East gives us the best division of closers. Just as Dr. Richard Kimble was the most wanted man in The Fugitive, Craig Kimbrel is the most wanted man among closers. Yeah, I know the last names aren’t that similar, but hey, it’s all I got.
The Atlanta Braves closer is in a class all by himself. No other closer will give you the numbers across the board that Kimbrel will. He is a five-tool pitcher. Let’s just look at Kimbrel’s k/9 for the past three seasons, which are an astronomical 17.42, 14.84, and 16.66. Should you really want Kimbrel on your fantasy baseball team, you will have to draft him as early as the fourth round. Expect 40 saves, 105 strikeouts, an ERA of 1.84, and a WHIP of 1.04.
The Philadelphia Phillies‘ Jonathan Papelbon would be the best closer in any other division that didn’t have Kimbrel in it. The only thing that separates the two is that Papelbon will have a few games where he can’t even river dance out of the inning, resulting in less strikeouts, a higher ERA and WHIP. Expect 37 saves, 79 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.49, and a WHIP of 1.10.
The all around best bullpen in MLB goes to the Washington Nationals. Anchoring it this season will be Rafael Soriano, and he will be set up by two of the games best in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Expect 36 saves, 68 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.80, and a WHIP of 1.20.
For years I have been hearing this is Bobby Parnell’s year to take over as the New York Mets closer. So is it finally here? I question how much the Mets really believe in him when they keep signing Frank Francisco. Francisco will most likely start the season on the DL, and Parnell has already been announced as the opening day closer, but how long will it last? Expect 24 saves, 63 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.50, and a WHIP of 1.30.
Ugh, I hate writing about the Miami Marlins. After their third fire sale in the team’s brief history, I think it is time for MLB to start looking for yet another new owner for the franchise. Hey, I make such little money that the Marlins could even afford my salary! Steve Cishek will handle the closing duties. Expect 23 saves, 61 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.40, and a WHIP of 1.34. Of course, this depends on whether or not the Marlins will be able to field a team.
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