As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”
It is no different than with a majority of major league closers. Sure some are like violent roller coasters (Armando Benitez) and some are like the teacups (Mariano Rivera), but most are in the muddy middle. Thus introduces your weekly reliever-up.
Relievers you should be jumping on (in order):
Texas Rangers – is Neftali Feliz the next Jonathan Papelbon? While both pitchers profiled to be plus starters (given their ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes), both were tabbed for relief roles early in their careers. In addition, both profiled to be eighth inning guys until veterans got hurt/crapped the bed. At the moment, Feliz is only the temporary closer for the Rangers. According to Ron Washington, Feliz is “our closer until I get Frankie back there…Frankie will be the closer of the Texas Rangers.” However, don’t be surprised if Feliz takes the job and runs with it (so far he is 1/1). He has exceptional talent and it will be hard to remove him if he fires off several save conversions in a row. He probably isn’t available, but if he is, grab him.
Cleveland Indians – Shockingly, Chris Perez was asked to do the unthinkable over the weekend: get a four-out save. Unfortunately, Perez was not up to the task, as he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks. In addition, on Monday, Perez allowed a hit and a walk before recording an out. He was pulled for Tony Sipp. These outings are perfect examples of the problems Perez has had over his career: walking batters. Nevertheless, Perez is owned in only 53% of Yahoo! leagues for some reason. He should be owned in 100%. His job is safe until Kerry Wood returns, at which point the Indians will do all they can to extract value from Wood. The ultimate goal would be to trade Wood for anything, which would give the closing duties back to Perez.
Philadelphia Phillies – The Twitter world was tripping over itself to make fun of the reports of Brad Lidge’s recent rehab outing (three doubles and a walk against single-A players). Ryan Madson, interim closer, has had a decent start to the season: walking no one, striking out three and allowing four hits. No one really has a strong idea of what to expect from Lidge this season, so Madson could be a sneaky 30+ save candidate – if the Phillies ever have a close game, that is.
Colorado Rockies – Enjoy Franklin Morales while it lasts (and if he isn’t owned, own him). Huston Street has been rehabbing and will begin throwing in a few days. Still, Morales is the closer to own for the duration of April. I also wouldn’t cut Morales once Street comes back – it’s not like Street is exactly Cal Ripken.
Baltimore Orioles – According to Britt Ghiroli, Mike Gonzalez has left the team for a family manner. Clearly he is not the closer at the moment. The Orioles turned to Jim Johnson last year and should do so again. However, they are incredibly committed to Gonzalez ($12 million, plus they gave up a second rounder to sign him), so they will do whatever it takes to get value out of him. Johnson will not have a long leash. Furthermore, even if Johnson performs well, Gonzalez will get multiple cracks at the closer role. Johnson is a good short-term add and someone every Gonzalez owner should own, but not much more. Yes, this order indicates I’d rather have Chris Perez and Franklin Morales than Jim Johnson.
Milwaukee Brewers – At some point, Trevor Hoffman’s success has to stop, right? He blew two saves over the weekend and allowed three HRs (he allowed two all of last year). Still, it’s not like Edgar Renteria took him deep, as Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday did a bulk of the damage. Further, even if Hoffman puts up Joe Borowski-like numbers, he’ll still pile up a good amount of saves. There is no reason to be adding Latroy Hawkins, except in super deep leagues.
If there is a fluke injury to a closer, please refer to the handy dandy closer chart below.
All stats as of April 12.
FB101’s 411: Stay on top of close news: grab Neftali Feliz, Chris Perez, Ryan Madson, Jim Johnson, and Franklin Morales.
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