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Fantasy baseball player profiles: Mixed - Relief pitchers

Fantasy baseball player profiles: Mixed - Relief pitchers

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Quick Jump: Fantasy Baseball Player Profiles

1 Jonathan Broxton, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2 Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees
3 Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Boston Red Sox
4 Heath Bell, RP, San Diego Padres
5 Andrew Bailey, RP, Oakland Athletics
6 Francisco Rodriguez, RP, New York Mets
7 Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers
8 Brian Wilson, RP, San Francisco Giants
9 Huston Street, RP, Colorado Rockies
10 Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City Royals
11 Francisco Cordero, RP, Cincinnati Reds
12 Carlos Marmol, RP, Chicago Cubs
13 Billy Wagner, RP, Atlanta Braves
14 Rafael Soriano, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
15 Kerry Wood, RP, Cleveland Indians
16 Trevor Hoffman, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
17 Mike Gonzalez, RP, Baltimore Orioles
18 Bobby Jenks, RP, Chicago White Sox
19 Ryan Franklin, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
20 Chad Qualls, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
21 David Aardsma, RP, Seattle Mariners
22 Kevin Gregg, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
23 Brad Lidge, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
24 Frank Francisco, RP, Texas Rangers
25 Octavio Dotel, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
26 Brian Fuentes, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
27 Matt Capps, RP, Washington Nationals
28 Jon Rauch, RP, Minnesota Twins
29 Matt Thornton, RP, Chicago White Sox
30 J.P. Howell, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
31 Matt Lindstrom, RP, Houston Astros
32 Brandon Lyon, RP, Houston Astros
33 Michael Wuertz, RP, Oakland Athletics
34 Rafael Betancourt, RP, Colorado Rockies
35 Neftali Feliz, RP, Texas Rangers
36 Leo Nunez, RP, Florida Marlins
37 Luke Gregerson, RP, San Diego Padres
38 Ryan Madson, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
39 Kevin Jepsen, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
40 Matt Guerrier, RP, Minnesota Twins
41 Chris Perez, RP, Cleveland Indians
42 C.J. Wilson, SP, Texas Rangers
43 Takashi Saito, RP, Atlanta Braves
44 Jason Frasor, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
45 Scott Downs, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
46 Jason Motte, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
47 Daniel Bard, RP, Boston Red Sox
48 Franklin Morales, RP, Colorado Rockies
49 Angel Guzman, RP, Chicago Cubs
50 Brandon League, RP, Seattle Mariners
51 John Grabow, RP, Chicago Cubs
52 Mike M. Adams, RP, San Diego Padres
53 Jose Mijares, RP, Minnesota Twins
54 Bob Howry, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
55 Jim Johnson, RP, Baltimore Orioles
56 Juan Gutierrez, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
57 Fernando Rodney, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
58 Manuel Corpas, RP, Colorado Rockies
59 J.J. Putz, RP, Chicago White Sox
60 Drew Storen, RP, Washington Nationals
61 Joe Nathan, RP, Minnesota Twins

Jonathan Broxton, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2144411816373.681.30

Oozes dominance, and his fastball velocity increased. Control has been shaky, but as a closer, Jonathan Broxton could easily improve on his strand rates. Groundball increase justifies ERA drop. Will toe injury pop up again? Seems fine, but injuries like that could linger. He'll be taken among, and often before, closers with longer track records. Broxton boasts the most upside, but he'll cost a bundle.


Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

This past year's bugaboo: his 0.95 HR/9. What could come crashing down: His 91.8 percent strand rate, which still isn't a big increase from '08. You know that year is coming, but even then, how big will Mariano Rivera's drop-off be? This physical wonder hardly differentiates one delivery from the next. He has the setup for the saves. If you don't overpay, grab him. It's a contract year, after all....


Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
43465622314633.181.17

Jonathan Papelbon's GB/FB has heavily fluctuated (on the wrong side last year), and his opponents are lining his offerings more. Does his re-incorporated slider actually help? Is all the talk of a trade that far-fetched? This all should only be in the back of your mind. Paps still dominated. His high strand rate looks like it's the norm. He should remain one of the top stoppers taken.


Heath Bell, RP, San Diego Padres
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3265602620693.601.23

In first year as closer Heath Bell increased dominance while improving his control. The righty also knocked his grounders back up. Bell's homer rate jumped in the second half. The other detriment to his roto value: trade winds involving his name. This might even cause him to fall. Draft him as a No. 1 closer.


Andrew Bailey, RP, Oakland Athletics
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Andrew Bailey should halt Oakland's tendency to shuffle saves. The righty has more heat and dominance than Brad Ziegler. Problems: His strand rate and BABIP are ripe for normalization, and he's experiencing elbow issues this spring, which he says might be workload-related. He's a risky No. 1, but if you grab him as a No. 2 mixed closer, you should be OK to handle his indicator corrections.


Francisco Rodriguez, RP, New York Mets
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3261522422633.541.21

This kind of fall-off from a 28-year-old reliever? Francisco Rodriguez's continued negative trends, with substantial slides, in K/9 and BB/9. Flyball rate spiked nervously. Rest of Mets' woes was a factor, but let's avoid guilt trip - unless it's for manager Jerry Manuel's poor handling. Moderate rebound is in store, but top-five mixed closer price is no longer warranted. Just, maybe, low-end No. 1.


Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2343382017344.191.28

A calf injury cut into his '09, but Jose Valverde dominated post-DL. The vet remains aggressive with his fastballs and, despite a year of swelling aerial attacks, has seen significant groundball jumps in the last two seasons. Few mid-draft options are better as a No. 1.


Brian Wilson, RP, San Francisco Giants
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
4263512228613.141.25

Hints of stability: Dominance growing, control improving, and homer rates returning toward career norms. More cutters aided rebound, gave Brian Wilson versatility. Fear comes in flyball growth, though, especially if he has another '08 HR/FB flareup. Risks remain, but his dominance makes him passable as a low-end mixed No. 1.


Huston Street, RP, Colorado Rockies
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
33054441915533.171.09

Coors Field still haunts Huston Street a bit, and some flyball concerns remain, but adjustments made last year appeared to help him with his control. Though his high command rate looks fluky, he displayed similar levels in the recent past. Though a bum shoulder starting him on the DL, Street remains an acceptable No. 2 closer in mixed that you can probably grab on the cheap. He can perform as a No. 1 when healthy.


Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City Royals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
43560482020683.001.13

Joakim Soria was often used for more than an inning just to get work in. He relied less on his fastball and upped his dominance as a result. Soria's high strand rates look to be normal. His climbing flyball and HR/FB percentages - and free-pass rate - should be red flags, but the dominant Soria has enough skills to compensate. He's a legit No. 1 mixed closer, arguably in the top five.


Francisco Cordero, RP, Cincinnati Reds
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Multiple corrections should put Francisco Cordero's ERA back in 3.00-plus territory. Decreasing K rate nosedived last year despite reported velocity improvement, and control remains an issue. Unexpectedly good 2009 didn't drive up draft placement - mixed low-end No. 1 range - much, though. Cordero may be one of safer options in that bin, but there's more downside than upside.


Carlos Marmol, RP, Chicago Cubs
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2053422532574.251.40

Carlos Marmol's nasty stuff and will boost any team's strikeout rate. It's his control that is the issue. He improved that significantly in the second half last year but stumbled a bit after assuming the closer role. Still, he's firmly in the second roto tier of stoppers, but Marmol could easily perform as a No. 1. His returned profit could be high given you won't have to invest a ton in him.


Billy Wagner, RP, Atlanta Braves
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Billy Wagner's health after short stint back from elbow surgery is only marginal concern because of clean sheet before 2008. Control may still elude, but that should dissipate. His dominance last year was outstanding but confined to a small sample. Still has the skills, though. Invest in him as one of best bets in No. 2 mixed closer tier. Be wary of overvaluation from anxious drafters or undervaluation from opposite crowd.


Rafael Soriano, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
33562602419533.481.27

Rafael Soriano will close for Tampa coming off a career year. J.P. Howell may steal some closure, though the lefty doesn't do well against his own kind. Soriano's career year hit a shoulder-related speed bump - he's no stranger to injuries - but he trusted his heat again and added a cutter. Making him your top stopper adds risk, though.


Kerry Wood, RP, Cleveland Indians
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Don't ignore Kerry Wood's improvements after July. He brought his cutter back and helped normalize his HR/FB. Flyball rise scary, but his grounders climbed for the second straight year. He'll be sidelined for six to eight weeks but is still a good stash commodity in deep leagues for when he comes back from the DL. It might be a long stay, but if you're afraid of your closer crop, you could do worse than grabbing him as insurance.


Trevor Hoffman, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Vet knows how to pitch, but strand and homer rates ripe for normalization, even with increased groundball pattern and history of fastball-changeup brilliance. Must worry about Trevor Hoffman's location (bread and butter) slipping as he ages. Don't make him your top mixed closer - anything less will probably do the trick; you're safely acknowledging his drop-off potential that way.


Mike Gonzalez, RP, Baltimore Orioles
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

You know you're getting strikeouts here, even with Mike Gonzalez's shaky control. He regained his strand rate and stayed healthy. The O's aren't much for save chances, but they don't have any pressing competition; plus, they made a two-year commitment to the lefty. He's in line to be a fantasy steal late in the game.


Bobby Jenks, RP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Looks to be OK after late-season calf injury. Bobby Jenks' K rate climbed again, but he may be a better pitcher if he doesn't rear back as much. The team is concerned about his conditioning; they have the capable Matt Thornton in the sock drawer and also acquired J.J. Putz. Many will see Jenks as poison, meaning you can tab him as value.


Ryan Franklin, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Ryan Franklin's dominance increase probably came as the result of a cut fastball, which may or may not be his slider. Increase in grounders produced BABIP, strand rate and homer ratios that might be illusions; history doesn't support the late bloomer's growth. Helping him is the lack of alternatives (save maybe Jason Motte), so he'll probably keep the gig for the majority of the year, at least. He presents risk as a midrange stopper; don't go overboard.


Chad Qualls, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3460612419453.601.33

A dislocated kneecap ended Chad Qualls' 2009 season prematurely, but health looks fine for this season. No one to threaten his save opportunity dominance immediately. Qualls issues few free passes, although repeat of last year's K/BB is unrealistic. Still, this is prime spot for buying saves on the cheap.


David Aardsma, RP, Seattle Mariners
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

David Aardsma's innate strikeout ability finally translated to shutting doors. His control remained an issue. Fluke alert: His HR/FB, LOB and BABIP scream letdown. Aardsma boasts gas, but his sputtering at the end of the year forecasted his normalized 2010 value. Pegging him as a No. 3 closer would acknowledge enough risk; Brandon League is a threat to Aardsma's security.


Kevin Gregg, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2045442124404.201.51

Kevin Gregg will set up to start the season. His flyball rate led to blowup in Chicago last year. Opponents' homer success on those flies dictate poor luck for the righty. Rogers Centre not as friendly for dingers as Wrigley Field. Has more career saves than those he competed with; his ERA and WHIP aren't helpful, but his useful K/9 adds to his saves speculation value as a potential late-round mixed steal.


Brad Lidge, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Recovery from knee surgery will delay Brad Lidge's season debut for a brief period. Knee led to gopheritis and cavernous strand rate in '09. LOB might not fix itself right away; Lidge gets into plenty of jams when healthy and on. Skipper stuck with him, though. With some normalization - both positive and negative - he warrants a tempered bid as a No. 3 mixed closer. Not a safe NL No. 1, but a good gamble with one in tow.


Frank Francisco, RP, Texas Rangers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

DL stints clouded productive season. Frank Francisco's splits favor road performance, especially with flyball vulnerability. Another year with frequent splitter use might temper the latter. Most important: his decrease in walks. Bid with his fragility in mind, but doesn't strip his value as a No. 2 stopper; don't be afraid to lock up his high-end K skills.


Octavio Dotel, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Octavio Dotel RP Toronto Blue Jays

Hasn't closed frequently since '07, but Octavio Dotel has carried top-notch dominance throughout his career, even while fighting through control problems. That, age and his homer penchant should decrease your investment, but PNC Park might calm the third point. Even closers on poor teams record stats; don't discriminate - there's upside from his late-round draft-day value.


Brian Fuentes, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Remember, saves don't equal skills. Brian Fuentes used to have better versions of the latter, but his K's collapsed and his stuff became more hittable. The Angels were comfortable mixing in Kevin Jepsen to nudge a save situation in the right direction. Now they have a more skilled righty, Fernando Rodney, they could use for that. The Halos probably want to prevent Fuentes' 2011 option from vesting, so expect the saves to noticeably drop.


Matt Capps, RP, Washington Nationals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

First off, that BABIP is absurd. An improvement of that should start off your analysis of Matt Capps, who suffered through elbow injuries early on. He settled down as the season went on, but he has a bigger problem: flyballs. Control-based righty dialed up the velocity and lost his efficiency. Pulling back on the heat might bring him back to normal. Discount opportunity as a No. 3 mixed closer.


Jon Rauch, RP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Jon Rauch rebounded by increasing his groundball rate; his new cutter helped. Flyball issues lurk. Closer Joe Nathan will miss 2010 season; Minny is trying a committee approach for saves, barring a trade. Rauch has the most experience among non-Nathan Twins relievers. While Rauch won't be saving games every day at first, he's the best bet to emerge from this batch as the top option. He's a low-end No. 3 mixed closer but could be a value pick in AL setups. The word "committee" might scare off your competitors.


Matt Thornton, RP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2250512218373.961.38

Matt Thornton held down the fort when Bobby Jenks was out of action during two stints. The fastball-slider southpaw throws hard, which is reflected in his dominance. Fleeting Bobby Jenks trade rumors give Thornton supreme handcuff value. J.J. Putz still has to prove he's effective, but he'll probably cloud this picture, as well.


J.P. Howell, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

ABRHHRRBISBBAOBPSLGOPS
000000.000.000.000.000

After rising from the cluster of multiple options, J.P. Howell became the lead stopper. This year, he'll be the main understudy to Rafael Soriano; there's slight hope for Howell, because Soriano has an extensive history (including last year). Howell's K rate has climbed in every season despite his soft stuff, but he still has control problems. He'll also miss the first month or so of the season with shoulder fatigue. He might see the occasional chance here and there if Soriano is healthy, but without save chances, Howell is not much better than a waiver wire reliever. Don't overvalue him.


Matt Lindstrom, RP, Houston Astros
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3255541920443.111.35

Club would prefer Matt Lindstrom to keep closer's job. Velocity is tantalizing. Elbow problems contributed to overall struggles, particularly with control, in 2009. Elbow reports are clean. But BB/9 hasn't been conducive to success for two seasons. Hope: 18 1/3 IP, four walks allowed after return. Command was better in minors. It's based on faith for that to continue, translate, but rock-bottom mixed price (safer), midlevel NL price could yield 20-plus saves.


Brandon Lyon, RP, Houston Astros
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
10151786114.801.53

Astros brought him in to be steady, low-downside alternative to Matt Lindstrom. Indicators say Brandon Lyon is not all that safe, just pretty lucky. Sub-2.00 K/BB will bite harder than it did in 2009; hit rate against was impossibly good. A rude awakening seems in store. Good news: Few are particularly eager to buy. Not a very hopeful when-all-else-fails target, though.


Michael Wuertz, RP, Oakland Athletics
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Michael Wuertz's K/9 came back with authority, and he boasted control to boot by moving exclusively to a fastball-slider combo. Even if command comes back to earth, Wuertz showed he could be trusted in save situations last year and boasts the best non-Andrew Bailey skills for saves speculation.


Rafael Betancourt, RP, Colorado Rockies
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

A new home and increased velocity helped Rafael Betancourt return to his 2007 form. The righty is the best backup saves option behind closer Huston Street, but this situation is stable. Betancourt can be rented during mixed seasons but is a bigger help to NL-only drafters and leagues that value setup men.


Neftali Feliz, RP, Texas Rangers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3245351617453.201.16

Triple-digit velocity preps him for either starting or relief role; he could fill in at closer if needed. Rangers aren't rushing his top-end stuff. Warning: Neftali Feliz's velocity faltered late, and he might have been fatigued. He's worth drafting for his LIMA skills, but bumps in the road will hurt more if he isn't in line for many wins or saves.


Leo Nunez, RP, Florida Marlins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2045432115354.201.29

Leo Nunez's big rebound in K's is all first-half. Post-break, corrected control issues from same stretch, though. Homer rate inflated, but signs don't point to significant improvement - 2008 was a fluke. Nunez has been lowering his BABIP baseline, but .251 isn't happening again. Doesn't have long-term closer skills or makeup. He's keeping the seat warm; draft accordingly.


Luke Gregerson, RP, San Diego Padres
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
4365592319583.181.20

Luke Gregerson's closer-type skills became prominent part of 'pen last season. Possibility of a Heath Bell trade makes Gregerson an intriguing speculation. At base level, Gregerson is a valuable LIMA reliever in mixed leagues.


Ryan Madson, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
203028129303.601.23

Dominance bloomed in '09, when Ryan Madson also proved he could save games frequently. Two-year pattern shows control growth settling in. Vet probably doesn't have much more upside skill-wise, but with Brad Lidge battling knee problems, Madson stands as a top-flight saves speculation commodity.


Kevin Jepsen, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2045462017424.001.40

Brian Fuentes and Fernando Rodney stand in his way for saves, but Kevin Jepsen's skills could be the best of the three if he can improve his control. Developing a slider/cutter last year helped the groundball-friendly righty, making him useful in deep leagues last year. Jepsen boasts the skills that will warrant speculation in AL-only leagues; you can probably wait until after mixed drafts for him, but don't ignore his upside.


Matt Guerrier, RP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Matt Guerrier dazzled in '09, chiefly via BABIP help. Closer Joe Nathan's likely season-long absence opens up saves, but Guerrier doesn't overpower bats and is better employed eating setup innings. He's reliable and will probably receive a few opps, but Guerrier is a secondary plan for Twins speculators.


Chris Perez, RP, Cleveland Indians
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3156532221553.541.32

Chris Perezhit stride in middle of the season when he harnessed the potential in his dangerous slider. Fixed his control issues before late-season blowup. Flyballs still a problem. He'll start 2010 as closer with Kerry Wood on the DL. Perez is a No. 3 mixed closer and should be kept on deep rosters even if/when Wood returns.


C.J. Wilson, SP, Texas Rangers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
14020518879821763.471.32

C.J. Wilson will move to the rotation after being a successful backup closer to Frank Francisco. It's typically hard to trust a reliever becoming a starter: Will Wilson's decent dominance hold up over five or six innings instead of one or two? Control improvement would be serviceable as a starter if he sustains it, though. He's worth a pick in AL-only setups as a No. 5 or 6 starter. There isn't much risk at that price.


Takashi Saito, RP, Atlanta Braves
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Takashi Saito might be good for spot save chances and is (sort of) insurance for Billy Wagner. But Saito returned from his own elbow issues. Control wasn't a problem before but didn't improve afterward. Moved toward old groundball rate as year progressed, but flyball jump is concerning. Upside mostly because of potential for opportunity. Don't acquire banking on LIMA contributions.


Jason Frasor, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3050441922483.421.32

Jason Frasor will close to start the season. He added a splitter-changeup hybrid that transformed his game. High strand rate first red flag. Odd that flyball rate spikes with incorporation of downward-moving pitch. Has dominance to remain valuable even if ratios bite him this year, though. A mixed No. 3 stopper whose saves might be pilfered throughout the season. If he's your No. 1 AL closer, the return probably won't justify his price.


Scott Downs, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3245431518343.001.36

Lower-body injuries forced Scott Downs to vacate closer role; was cruising beforehand. Decently dominant, grounder-heavy southpaw works in high strand rates, too. He'll be a setup man to start, but it wouldn't hurt to test whether Downs will earn some closures if his two competitors are already taken in deep leagues. He can help you without save chances.


Jason Motte, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2343351615443.351.16

Jason Motte RP St. Louis Cardinals

Former catcher realized he couldn't just throw 100 mph heat every launch. Tinkering with breaking stuff produced late-season improvements and hope heading into second MLB season. Learning curve a little steeper considering his recent position switch, so Jason Motte might still be working things through. Elite dominance potential makes him best saves speculation candidate on Cards roster and arguably one of the best in roto.


Daniel Bard, RP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Hints of rumors that Boston will trade Jonathan Papelbon give Daniel Bard's roto stock more life. The dominant Bard made a rapidly effective jump to the bigs. He'll be one of the top speculative saves picks and can help even if he isn't shutting the door.


Franklin Morales, RP, Colorado Rockies
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
8014012962581263.991.34

Franklin Morales, a southpaw, is the likely first choice for saves with Huston Street likely on the DL to start the season. He has decent strikeout potential. Showed no improvement in BB/9, though, and grounder trend bothersome. Skills don't suggest Morales can be successful for long stretches. Only worth a low- to no-risk bid.


Angel Guzman, RP, Chicago Cubs
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Angel Guzman's career is in jeopardy. He has a torn shoulder ligament that will keep him out indefinitely. He was slated to be one of the options manager Lou Piniella would go to if Carlos Marmol falters as closer. Guzman has posted decent skills worth for a rental, but avoid him on draft day. You can wait to see if he can pitch this season.


Brandon League, RP, Seattle Mariners
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3061592622413.841.33

Second-half growth and changeup love gave fireballer diversity. His high groundball levels double his closer potential. BABIP normalization might be negated by strand rate recovery. There are some cracks in David Aardsma. Bold Brandon League's name on your saves speculation lists.


John Grabow, RP, Chicago Cubs
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

John Grabow will mainly serve as a setup man to Carlos Marmol. He's a lefty, so even if Marmol falters, manager Lou Piniella may opt to keep him in a matchup role, although he'd still likely see save chances. However, his ratios aren't strong enough, and the path isn't clear enough, to warrant drafting him.


Mike M. Adams, RP, San Diego Padres
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2141361618363.511.32

Too bad Mike M. Adams can't stay healthy. Since he added a cutter in '08, he has been lights out with outstanding jumps in dominance. His low strand rate from last year says even lower ratios possible, but that isn't likely. A LIMA rental in deeps. 


Jose Mijares, RP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

With Joe Nathan done for 2010, lefty-heavy save opps are for Jose Mijares' taking in Minnesota's committee. His strand rate explosion could be for real but likely will come down a bit. Still, he's a cheap option in deep leagues who'll probably earn a few closures. Don't make him your top option in ALs, but he's a solid No. 2 mono reliever.


Bob Howry, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Bob Howry, snakes' new setup man, rebounded with San Francisco Giants after a terrible 2008 with Chicago Cubs. In 2009, he was masking his decline, though. Trends in command and flyball rate are negative, which is big negative in Arizona. All downside here.


Jim Johnson, RP, Baltimore Orioles
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
53570652116462.701.16

The righty stood as the least of the O's bullpen evils for awhile last year. Despite boasting gas, Jim Johnson doesn't strike out many. He's probably the best understudy for the injury-prone Mike Gonzalez for saves, but Kam Mickolio will challenge that status, too. Mixed selectors need not bother here.


Juan Gutierrez, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Juan Gutierrez's dominance advancement, particularly in the first half, and improved velocity (from move to bullpen, likely) raise intrigue. Minor improvement in control post-break is key, though. Flyball percentage says, in Phoenix, low home run rate is a fluke. Can go either way, but lean toward regression.


Fernando Rodney, RP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
43665502231713.051.25

Early reports hint they'll use Fernando Rodney in the seventh. Right. Skipper Mike Scioscia wasn't afraid to throw a righty in to spell Brian Fuentes, and this could become a split situation. Rodney worked around a ton of trouble last year, but his peripherals weren't outrageous. His ERA will bring him down.


Manuel Corpas, RP, Colorado Rockies
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

It'd be a mistake to view Manuel Corpas' 2009 as part of negative trend. Corpas remains a dark horse for saves at some point because of great BB/9. Handicapped arsenal likely contributed to increased frequency of hits allowed. Surgery removed bone chips from elbow, offseason velocity reportedly back to normal. Worthwhile NL end-gamer.


J.J. Putz, RP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3248401718483.191.21

Injuries - mainly with his pitching elbow - have pushed this righty closer toward reflecting his surname. Either way, the Sox are willing to see what he has; the team reports he's healthy. His dominance rate was double-digit percent when he was first nicked in '08. Putz's control remains risky. Matt Thornton is the safer saves speculation.


Drew Storen, RP, Washington Nationals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3151461915493.351.20

Many considered closer-type ready for the bigs right after he graduated college. Skill set profiles well for future role, but they probably won't rush him unless it's a dire situation at the back end. Matt Cappswill shut the door to start. If you stash Drew Storen in deep leagues, you'll have dead weight on your roster for awhile; he'll start in the minors. However, deep mixed and NL-only drafters can still stash him for a midseason saves lottery ticket.


Joe Nathan, RP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
44060461819682.701.08

Tommy John surgery will force Joe Nathan to miss 2010. Already admitted he pitched last year through bone chips, which helps partially explain collapse; had cleanup surgery in offseason, but as we had noted, there was still some hint of risk for his long-term stock. His walk rate took another step backward, and his flyball rate threatened, too. Be wary in keeper leagues.