Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Closers are the most overrated players in fantasy baseball. The good ones deliver strong contributions to one category, but generally pitch less than five innings per week. For this reason, I tend to shy away from them until the later rounds. (Click here to see why adding closers is better than drafting them.)
The one (and only) exception to the rule is Mariano Rivera, who has averaged 40 saves per over the last 14 years, and hasn’t recorded less than 28 in a season since becoming the Yankees’ closer in ’97. He’s posted an ERA under 2.00 in seven of the last eight years, and is perhaps the only closer without risk as he enters his age-41 season.
Despite a sharp decrease in his strikeout rate last season (6.75), Rivera posted a 8.62 punch-out rate from 2001—2009. His walk rate (1.65 in ’10, 1.59 since ’01) remains low, and his cutter (16.7 runs above average) was third-best in the majors last season.
Showing no signs of slowing down, Rivera tops my list of closers in 2011. Given that nearly half of MLB’s 30 teams will have a different closer this season, Rivera’s consistency and job security yield him the top spot over Carlos Marmol (who walked over six batters per nine in ’10) and Brian Wilson (whose value is currently at it’s absolute highest). Rivera’s strikeout total won’t blow you away, but he’s a near-lock for 30-plus saves and a sub-2.00 ERA.
Check out the Closer’s Corner for up-to-date information on each team’s closer situation!
|2011 FBI Forecast||60||35||7.75||1.60||1.95||0.95|
Image courtesy of: Keith Allison
Fantasy Baseball Insiders’ 2011 Big Board:
- Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Projections
- Nos. 51-60: Jimenez, Verlander, Carpenter or Sabathia?
- Nos. 61-70: Weaver, Haren or Latos?
- Nos. 71-80: Young, McGehee or Ramirez?
- No. 81: Yovani Gallardo
- No. 82: Billy Butler
- No. 83: Aaron Hill
Latest from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
- 2011 MLB Team-By-Team Spring Training Injury Report
- Adam Wainwright to Undergo Tommy John Surgery: Updated Pitcher Rankings
- Keeper Conundrum: Bryce Harper or Mike Trout?
30 Teams in 30 Days Fantasy Preview:
MLB Trades: Fantasy Impact:
- Frank Francisco Traded to the Blue Jays, Who Will Be The Team’s Closer?
- Mike Napoli Traded to the Texas Rangers: Fantasy Impact
- Vernon Wells Traded to the Los Angeles Angels: Fantasy Impact
Tags: Mariano Rivera