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2011 Fantasy Baseball Closer’s Corner: Who Will Replace Jonathan Broxton as Dodgers’ Closer?

Tue, Apr 26, 2011

Closer's Corner

Los Angeles Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti indicated on Tuesday that the team will install a closer-by-committee until Jonathan Broxton can right himself. Manager Don Mattingly will roll with the best ninth-inning matchup each night.

The two most likely candidates to close are Hong-Chih Kuo (who’s currently on the DL with a sore back, but is eligible to return on Sunday) and Vicente Padilla (who just returned from the DL after elbow surgery). Kuo (28 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues) is worth picking up and stashing on your DL, while Padilla (two percent owned) is a must-add.

This announcement stems from Broxton’s first blown save of the season last night, when he allowed two unearned runs thanks to a Jamey Carrol error. The blame obviously cannot be placed solely on Broxton, but he’s been flirting with disaster for a while.

Through 10 1/3 innings this season, Broxton sports a 4.35 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 6.97 K/9 and 6.10 BB/9.

Small sample size you say? Consider this, via Rob Neyer last Wednesday:

Since that 48-pitch outing last June 27– and yes, thank you very much, Joe Torre — Broxton has pitched 36 innings and given up 27 runs, while walking 24 batters and striking out 29.

The only number there that’s even remotely encouraging is the strikeouts, but he’s clearly had to work harder to get those strikeouts, and anyway the strikeout rate, while high, pales compared to what Broxton did earlier in his career. Statistically, he simply has become a completely different pitcher.

Furthermore, Broxton’s average fastball velocity has decreased significantly after peaking in 2009:

  • 2009: 97.8 mph
  • 2010: 95.3 mph
  • 2011: 94.5 mph

Bottom line? Broxton hasn’t been right for a while, so this move may be more than temporary.

Image courtesy of: Dirk Hansen

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