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Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT PRIMER: CLOSERS

We are up to the pitchers now as we finish up our 2016 fantasy baseball Draft Primer's where we look at those players we will target in drafts and those we will avoid.  Let's see which closers make the grade:

DRAFT PLAN:  As always, let the top closers go off the board early to your league mates who foolishly use early round picks on these one category specialists and instead look for value stoppers you can tab in the middle to late rounds. 

CLOSERS WE WILL TARGET

Jake McGee:  The recent trade that send the hard-throwing Jake McGee from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Colorado Rockies is big for the reliever who goes from a setup role in Florida to a closing gig in Colorado.  McGee strikes out batters at a very high clip and has posted ERA's of 1.89 and 2.41 the last two season as he leaps over Jason Motte and Chad Qualls.

Will Smith:  With Francisco Rodriguez now in Detroit, the closer chair is welcoming lefty Will Smith.  Smith has been a monster strikeout setup man the last two seasons, with an insane 91 in just 63.1 innings in 2015.  Smith could be the closing steal of the season and his lack of name brand and awful team should enable him to come cheap enough at the draft table. 

J.J. Hoover:  Yet another new closer enters the gig due to a trade of the incumbent, this time being J.J. Hoover in Cincinnati over the dealt Aroldis Chapman.  Hoover had a nice setup season in 2015 and like the guys listed above him, has strikeout stuff to succeed in the ninth inning.

Steve Cishek:  Yeah Cishek was horrible last season but he pitched well with the St. Louis Cardinals in the second half of the season and am willing to give him another look due to his expected dirt cheap rate. 

Arodys Vizcaino:  Jason Grilli is still around in Atlanta but Vizcaino is the type of young and hard-throwing arm who looks like a decent closing option.  Again very cheap price here given the lack of flash and the terrible roster. 

Carter Capps:  A.J. Ramos has some fierce competition on his hand by the quirky but massive strikeout arm of Carter Capps.  Even if Ramos holds him off in spring training, I would keep Capps around for his crazy K rate and tiny ratios. 

Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances:  Yes they are setup men right now but in those leagues that use a capped amount of innings, both guys can help improve your K/IP ratio in a major way. 

Kevin Quackenbush:  You are seeing a theme here as we continue to go heavy on middle to late round closers who have upside and who are relatively new to the ninth inning.  Quackenbush has the inside track to be the San Diego Padres' closer after Craig Kimbrel was dealt to Boston.  Good strikeout ability here but lack of control is an issue. 

CLOSERS WE WILL AVOID

Basically these guys are too pricey for our liking as they are too limited in category impact to be worth their draft price. 

Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Craig Kimbrel, Cody Allen, Wade Davis, Francisco Rodriguez, Jeurys Familia, Zack Britton, Jonathan Papelbon, Mark Melancon, Trevor Rosenthal, Kenley Jansen

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