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Fantasy Baseball 2011: AL Closer Cheat Sheet To Help You Dominate Your Draft

As fantasy baseball drafts quickly approach, I thought it would be helpful to provide a quick reference cheat sheet for closers.

Remember, don’t take a closer too early, as there is value to be had late in drafts.


AL East


The addition of Rafael Soriano to the Yankee bullpen has some wondering if Mariano Rivera’s days in pinstripes are numbered. After all, the Hall of Fame closer is 41 years old and could be running out of gas.

The Tampa Bay Rays have yet to announce a replacement for Rafael Soriano; however, we anticipate that newly acquired Kyle Farnsworth will be given that role on opening day. Farnsworth is somewhat of a head case and may be a risky choice. Buyer beware.

The Blue Jays may also begin the year with a new closer, as Frank Francisco was acquired via trade from the Rangers. 

For those looking for a value pick this season, Kevin Gregg is a decent closer who will pitch for an improved Baltimore team in 2011.

The Orioles lack the starting pitching required to compete for the AL East crown; however, their offense should keep the team in games while giving Gregg a number of save opportunities.





AL West


There has been some speculation that Mike Maddux and Ron Washington want to move Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation. The trade of Frank Francisco to the Blue Jays limits the team’s depth in the pen, leading us to believe that Feliz will be the closer this season.

Although the A’s acquired veteran closer Brian Fuentes this off-season, the club will likely continue to use Andrew Bailey as their closer. Bailey had a superb 2010 season in which he posted 25 saves and a 1.47 ERA.

Fernando Rodney will likely be the Angels closer this season, despite a poor 2010 campaign where he had an ERA of 4.24 and a pedestrian strikeout per nine of only 7.0. To excel at closing, it is helpful to be able to strike out a batter when a tough out is needed.



AL Central


The top closer in the AL Central is on arguably the worst team. Joakim Soria has a career ERA of 2.01 and delivered three straight 30-plus save seasons for the lowly Royals. Draft him with confidence this season as he has been the model of consistency throughout his young career.

Matt Capps is currently listed as the closer on the Twins official website; however, we have a gut feeling that Joe Nathan will regain his role as the closer this season. Nathan was solid as the team’s closer prior to his injury last season.

Our sleeper closer for the AL Central is the 6-foot-6 Matt Thornton. He has excellent stuff, and will get numerous opportunities for an improved White Sox club. We are picking the White Sox to win the Central and believe Thornton will log 30 saves this season.


Check out my NL Closer List Here.


This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Forecast: Who to Target on the Cincinnati Reds

The 2010 season was full of numerous surprises, one of which was the breakout season of the Cincinnati Reds. As a team comprised of budding stars and a young pitching staff, few writers and media pendants believed the team had enough pitching to beat the Cardinals for the NL Central crown.
Prior to last season’s playoff push, the Reds were thought of as a pitcher’s wasteland, a place where promising young arms are pummeled to submission by a hitter’s ballpark that at times resembles a little league diamond.
Now the Reds appear to have one of the best young staffs in the National League with talented young starters Edison Volquez, Mike Leake, Travis Wood, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto, all of whom have the ability to blossom into a 20 game winner.
In addition to the collection of young arms, the Reds are positioned well for the future with a group of bookend young offensive studs like Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce. The team may be a year or two from winning it all, however, they certainly are on the right track to building a winning club.

Key Additions
Edgar Renteria (Free Agent)
Fred Lewis (Free Agent)
Jeremy Hermida (Free Agent)
Miguel Cairo (Free Agent)
Key Losses
Orlando Cabrerra
Aaron Harang


Who to Target

First baseman Joey Votto had a breakout season in 2010, setting career marks for home runs, runs scored, batting average and RBI’s on his way to earning the NL MVP award. Votto’s meteoric rise has landed him in the first round of most drafts as the third 1B taken behind Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrerra.

In addition to Votto, the Reds are packed with fantasy talent in both the infield and outfield. Brandon Phillips is ranked in the top five of second baseman, while Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce are two young outfielders that are poised for breakout campaigns in 2011.
Lastly, as I mentioned above, the Reds have five young arms that are viable fantasy starters in 2011. At this point, none of them should be viewed as a number one fantasy starter, however all of them are worthy of spot starts in mixed leagues. 


Drew Stubbs is our sleeper/breakout candidate for the 2011 Reds. As the team’s everyday center fielder last season, Stubbs hit 22 home runs and stole 30 bases on his way to becoming fantasy relevant in 2010.
Unfortunately for fantasy owners, his .255 batting average and 168 strike outs negated some of the value he delivered on the base paths. In 2011, I predict Stubbs will fair better at the plate and will deliver a more respectable .280 average, while approaching 30 home runs and 30 steals. 

This article was originally published on, the home of free fantasy news, rankings and advice.

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