After looking at this past week’s success and failures, I think you will find that using an early pick on a “stud” closer could have been a waste. The “other” closers seem to be the ones picking up the slack this year. It is still early in the season, but if you look at the top saves guys I think you would be surprised.

Grade A

Leo Nunez (Marlins): With another below-average week from closers, Nunez was hands down the best. He went a perfect 3-for-3 in SVO (save opportunities) and struck out five. Nunez only let one batter on base in three innings pitched. He has a 0.63 WHIP this year.

Octavio Dotel (Pirates): The Pirates closer struck out four while recording two saves and blowing none. He allowed just two people on base with one walk and one HBP. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh fans (if there are any), he is not one of the aforementioned late-round picks who are performing at a high level this year. He has a 7.43 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.

Jose Valverde (Tigers): Valverde struck out four in the two innings of work in which he made good on both SVO last week. The Tigers closer is making Detroit management and fantasy owners look brilliant with his 0.57 ERA in just over 15 innings.

Grade B

Brian Wilson (Giants): Wilson gave up one ER (earned run) last week or he would have certainly received an A. Wilson is entering elite closer territory, mostly because his team plays in close games and because he can strike out the side any time he enters the game. He had eight K’s last week in just three IP (innings pitched).

Jonathon Papelbon (Red Sox): Papelbon may be the only early-pick closer that is showing his value. He is perfect in SVO this year with nine and was 2-for-2 last week. The Sox closer had just one strikeout last week but didn’t allow anyone to reach base safely.

Matt Capps (Nationals): Capps gave up one ER and two hits last week but was still perfect in SVO. Capps, who was certainly one of the last closers taken, leads the league with 14 saves and has yet to blow one. Throw that little tidbit in with the fact he has an ERA below one and a 1.03 WHIP. Wish you waited for him? Me too!

Billy Wagner (Braves): Wagner had a modest week with a bunch of deuces. 2-for-2 in SVO, two strikeouts and two IP. He did, however, allow just one hit. The Braves closer has blown just one save and has given up just two ER. Not a bad late-round addition.

Grade C

Francisco Cordero (Reds): Cordero blew a save, walked two, gave up one ER and two hits. Still he is a C because he was able to close the door on two saves. He has a 2.95 ERA in 19 games while blowing just two saves in 13 SVO. Again, you could do much worse.

Neftali Feliz (Rangers): Feliz, one of just three closers with more than two saves last week, is receiving a C this week because he gave up four hits and blew a save with striking out just two last week. Oh yeah, he gave up another run too. Still, he has the fourth most SVO and his 4.15 should begin to fall as he continues to learn his role. If you have read this article before, you know I like Feliz a lot and consider him a sleeper from the draft.

Andrew Bailey (Athletics): Sure enough, after I had mentioned in last week’s article that Bailey was one of just three closers to not allow a run, he gave up a run! Just one though, and he did record two of his three SVO, although he didn’t K one batter.

Grade D

Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers): Forget that Broxton, one of the first three closers chosen in most leagues, has two blown saves already this year and finished last week with a 6.00 ERA, but consider the fact that he has had just FIVE SVO this year. The same as Tyler Clippard of the Nationals, who, in case you haven’t read, is the setup-man for Matt Capps.

Chris Perez (Indians): Perez is going to be decent closer this year as he has just a 2.61 ERA and five saves to date. Unfortunately, he plays for the Indians who will not get too many wins, and last week he allowed three runs. Although not earned, he still allowed the runners to cross the plate and blew the save.

Francisco Rodriguez (Mets): The Queens closer has a 2.05 ERA in 17.2 IP this year. With all of those innings he has had just seven SVO and blew two of them. He isn’t producing like a top-end closer but I think he will still have a solid year. Rodriguez was 1-for-2 in SVO last week while giving up three hits.

Grade F

Bobby Jenks (White Sox): As a White Sox fan, it pains me to have to put Jenks here almost every week. But I have to. He has a 6.23 ERA, and even worse, a 2.08 WHIP. It is astonishing he has blown just one save with basically making every single opportunity a fiasco. Last week was his worst while allowing nine hits, five runs, and striking out just one in three IP.

Brian Fuentes (Angels): Fuentes is in the same boat as Jenks; his ERA is awful (7.04) and he has another reputable reliever in the pen right behind him (Fernando Rodney). In four IP, Fuentes was able to give up four hits and four runs. He recorded one save while blowing another while finishing with a 12.00 ERA.

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