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TGIF: 2009 Closer Rankings

Oh the noble closer. The anchor to any bullpen, this man puts the weight on his shoulders in the ninth inning and makes it his duty to secure a victory for his team. Depending on what format your league is, the closer could be a valuable commodity on draft day or just a filler in your RP slot. Whatever the case, it is important to know who can get you those important saves and who will just blow up your team ERA.

Drumroll please…

  1. Jonathan Papelbon-Boston Red Sox
  2. Joe Nathan-Minnesota Twins
  3. Brad Lidge-Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Mariano Rivera-New York Yankees
  5. Joakim Soria-Kansas City Royals
  6. Francisco Rodriguez-New York Mets
  7. Bobby Jenks-Chicago White Sox
  8. B.J. Ryan-Toronto Blue Jays
  9. Carlos Marmol-Chicago Cubs
  10. Kerry Wood-Cleveland Indians
  11. Francisco Cordero-Cincinnati Reds
  12. Jose Valverde-Houston Astros
  13. Brian Fuentes-L.A. Angels
  14. Jonathan Broxton-L.A. Dodgers
  15. Matt Capps-Pittsburgh Pirates
  16. Brian Wilson-San Francisco Giants
  17. Brad Ziegler-Oakland A’s
  18. Frank Francisco-Texas Rangers
  19. Heath Bell-San Diego Padres
  20. Trevor Hoffman-Milwaukee Brewers
  21. Chad Qualls-Arizona Diamondbacks
  22. Huston Street-Colorado Rockies
  23. Matt Lindstrom-Florida Marlins
  24. Joel Hanrahan-Washington Nationals
  25. Mike Gonzalez-Atlanta Braves
  26. Ryan Franklin-St. Louis Cardinals
  27. Chris Ray-Baltimore Orioles
  28. Troy Percival-Tampa Bay Rays
  29. Joel Zumaya-Detroit Tigers
  30. Roy Corcoran-Seattle Mariners

Who Could Steal Saves?

Joey Devine-Oakland A’s

The Oakland closer situation was quite rocky last season with injuries to Huston Street and a carousel of relievers filling the role. Brad Ziegler eventually got the bulk of the work, but Joey Devine can’t be ignored. Devine was simply outstanding last season when he allowed only three earned runs in 45.1 IP (zero runs in August and September). If Oakland can’t fully commit to Ziegler then Devine is the obvious choice to share the closing duties.

George Sherrill-Baltimore Orioles

Ordinarily a guy who had 31 saves and made the All-Star team last season would be a no-brainer for the top closer list. However, Chris Ray looks to return to action after missing all of last season after having surgery on his right elbow. Ray was an excellent closer before his injury, but Baltimore may not want to rush him back/overwork his surgically repaired elbow. This clearly indicates some time in the ninth inning for Sherrill who has already proved in the past that he can handle the pressure.

Dan Wheeler/Grant Balfour-Tampa Bay Rays

It is no secret that Troy Percival is on the back nine. He may have had 28 saves last season, but he also had several DL stints and a less than stellar 4.53 ERA. Those are not numbers you want from a guy who is in charge of securing a win for your team. So, when Percival blows up again or gets injured (which ever comes first), Wheeler, who took over most of the closing duties in Percival’s absences, and Balfour (1.54 ERA, 12.70 K/9) would split closing duties.

Next Week: First Basemen
Past Rankings: Starting Pitchers, Catchers

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