Closer is one of the most unpredictable positions for fantasy owners.  Injuries and inabilities cause the options to shuffle.  Regardless, here’s an extremely early look at how I’d rank the Top 15 Closers for 2011 for those looking to build for next season:

1. Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals

3. Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox

4. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

5. Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics

6. Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

7. Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants

8. Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers

9. Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs

10. Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers

11. Heath Bell, San Diego Padres

12. Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay Rays

13. Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati Reds

14. Ryan Franklin,  St. Louis Cardinals

15. Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins



While he had a poor game on Sunday against the Yankees, Jonathan Broxton continues to excel as the Dodgers’ closer.  He’s allowed runs in just three outings this season (out of 34) while striking out 49 over 33.2 innings.  With tremendous control (1.9 BB/9), is there any closer you’d rather have?

Every season we wonder if this will be the year that Mariano Rivera finally slows down, and every year he just continues getting the job done.  A 0.92 ERA and 0.61 WHIP?  It’s unbelievable, but it’s impossible to pick against him right now.

Andrew Bailey has quickly proven that his rookie campaign was no fluke.  He’s currently 14-for-17 in save opportunities with a 1.74 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.  If he played for a better team there would be a chance to push him even further, but top five isn’t bad.

If Carlos Marmol could ever get his control in order he could be the most dominant closer in the game.  While he’s struck out 63 over 34 innings (16.7 K/9), he’s walked 25 (6.6 BB/9).  He’s still a tremendous option, but top three is within reach.

Neftali Feliz has proven that he could excel at the back end of the bullpen, with a 2.70 ERA and 0.96 WHIP en route to 20 saves in 22 opportunities.  For now he’s got a spot on this list, but it is possible the Rangers opt to move him back to the rotation in 2011.  It’s hard to imagine, given his success, but you really never know.

Despite the Padres’ success early on this season, rumors persist that Heath Bell may be traded.  That threat suppresses his value, but only slightly.  The truth is, even if he was guaranteed to remain a closer, he doesn’t have much upward mobility.

There has been talk of 2010 being Billy Wagner’s final major league season.  Until we know for sure, I’ll leave him off the list.

Matt Capps has been tremendous, but there is no guarantee that he’s the closer in 2011.  The Nationals are playing for the future, and we all know that Drew Storen will be closing, sooner or later.

Joe Nathan should slide right back into the Twins closers spot in 2011.  We all know he’s capable of being a top three option, so he’ll be worth the gamble in the middle of the pack of closers on draft day.  Of course, that all depends on his health.  As we move closer to the offseason, hopefully we’ll know a bit more.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who is being overvalued?  Who is being undervalued?

Make sure to check out our other extremely early 2011 rankings:

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