Sunday, January 5, 2014


We finally reached the end of the line of our first look at the 2014 fantasy baseball position rankings by completing the closer report and studying who currently mans the ninth inning among the National League teams.

New York Mets (Bobby Parnell):  Parnell finally figured out how to harness his 100-mph fastball to very solid success last season as closer but he failed to finish the year due to a neck problem that required surgery.  Parnell has had a slow recovery from the procedure but GM Sandy Alderson has said all along he will be ready to go come April.  In that case Parnell is a very solid middle tier closer.

Philadelphia Phillies (Jonathan Papelbon):  There were rumblings Papelbon could be traded but we don't care where he goes as long as he continues to be a top three closer as he has been throughout his career.  Nothing to talk about here.  The guy remains as good as it gets.

Washington Nationals (Rafael Soriano):  Soriano has more than proven himself as a top ten closer who is capable of very dominant strikeout stretches.  The Nationals have some big arms under him though so his leash is not as long as one would think.

Miami Marlins (Steve Cishek):  After a rocky April, Cishek pitched great the rest of the way with no one watching given the team he plays for.  Same projection going forward for this season but there is always the threat he could be dealt by the trade deadline.  I usually hate investing in closer who could get moved.

Atlanta Braves (Craig Kimbrel):  Simply the best despite the fact Greg Holland statistically had a better overall season.  Kimbrel strikes out more batters than some starting pitchers just to put into perspective how dominant he is. 

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jason Grilli):  This was the guy I told you all to draft last season as a major bargain and Grilli lived up to my hype by pitching as well as any closer in the game.  The Pirates always play a lot of close games so 40 saves should come easy.

Cincinnati Reds (Aroldis Chapman):  We always here around this time of year rumblings about Chapman going into the Reds rotation but it is not happening.  The Cuban missile is as good a bet as anyone to come off the board as the first closer picked after Kimbrel.

Chicago Cubs (Jose Veras):  I am aiming to draft Veras as a very affordable closer who does a terrific job.  Veras has struck out a batter per inning in his career which is where you want your closer to be and the Cubs seem intent on building a team so he may not be traded at the deadline.

Milwaukee Brewers (Jim Henderson):  It was a joke that Henderson lost his job for a time last season when he got injured and came back to find Francisco Rodriguez manning the ninth inning.  He pitched very well when given the chance to close games and Henderson is set up for more success as he strikes out more than a batter per inning.  Great value here.  He will be on my roster.

St. Louis Cardinals (Trevor Rosenthal):  This will be the guy everyone wants this season.  Rosenthal looked like Craig Kimbrel when he ascended into the ninth inning towards the end of 2013 and into the playoffs.  Absolutely dominant kid who could challenged for the top spot.

San Diego Padres (Huston Street):  Same story for Street who is terrific when on the mound but who just can't ever stay healthy.  The team signed Joaquin Benoit as very good insurance.

San Francisco Giants (Sergio Romo):  Now that the kid gloves were finally taken off Romo by Bruce Bochy, the results were predictable very good last season in his first year as closer.  Romo was by far the best setup man in baseball for years so his success there was very predictable. 

Arizona Diamondbacks (Addison Reed):  The Diamondbacks were desperate to get some stability at closer after going through four guys last season and the got that with the young Reed.  While Reed seems to wear down as the season goes on, the kid has good stuff and is on the way up in his development.

Colorado Rockies (LaTroy Hawkins):  This has bust written all over it as the very old Hawkins will have to go from Citi Field to Coors Field to close games.  In addition Hawkins hasn't closed games for a whole season in years and he too is likely to get dealt at some point since the team won't likely be in contention the way things appear.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenley Jansen):  The fireballer is a strikeout monster who edges into the top five among closers.  Just has to stay healthy.

There you have it.  As always let us hear your thoughts.

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