2013 Fantasy Baseball: NL Central Closers

By Brian Fischler
John Axford - Milwaukee Brewers
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The NL Central’s group of closers gives you the best bunch of closers to get lit up on any single day of the season. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals Jason Motte, the rest of the division is pretty pedestrian. Look for Motte to give you 38 saves, 70 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.65, with a WHIP of 1.11.

Is anyone else amazed that the Chicago Cubs Carlos Marmol is entering the 2013 fantasy baseball season still as the team’s closer? Marmol was sent down to Triple-A last year due to a lack of command. Don’t expect Marmol to get rid of his Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn ways in 2013. He’s the best shot of any closers to walk the bases loaded at least twice this season. Expect 28 saves, 76 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.70, and a WHIP of 1.48. Not exactly numbers you are looking for from your closer.

It seems like only yesterday, Jonathan Broxton was the future closer of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two teams later, and a very questionable move by the Cincinnati Reds to move lights out closer Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation, Broxton will get his shot as the Opening Day closer. Expect 33 saves, 53 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.41, and a WHIP of 1.29, and a few cheeseburgers along the way.

With Francisco Rodriguez no longer a Milwaukee Brewer, the job of blowing saves is all John Axford’s this season. In 2012 it seemed like Axford and Rodriguez were having a daily competition of who could lead the league in blown saves. Axford ended up with a whopping nine. So which Axford will we get in 2013? The one who was headed towards elite closer status in 2011 or the one who caused my hair to fall out last season? Since I don’t have much more hair to lose, I’m betting we get more of a 2011 version. Expect 33 saves, 83 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.22, and a WHIP of 1.28.

Then we have the Pittsburgh Pirates and Joel Hanrahan. Oh wait, they traded him because, well, they’re the Pirates. Handling the closing duties in Pittsburgh this season is Jason Grilli. Yes, the same Jason Grilli who was racking up those frequent flyer miles between different minor league franchises. Considering the Pirates are working on North America’s longest professional team consecutive losing season streak at 20, expect Grilli to get shipped out of Pittsburgh should he put a solid season together. Should he last the entire season as the Pirates closer, look for 29 saves, 68 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.38, and a WHIP of 1.27.

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