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Keeper Conundrum: Keeping Closers Starts with a K

In general keeping closers in Dyanasty/Keeper leagues is a bad idea. The position is consistently riddled with turnover, only truly provides one stat, and often provides the owner with a constant headache. But like any rule, even that one about swimming after eating, sometimes you just gotta break it to stay ahead. Now before you lose your marbles I’m definitely not advocating keeper closers, in fact just the opposite. To help make the selection process easier I’ve set up a few rules to help us decide who is worthy and who is not.

The only four rules I have when it comes to closers are as follows:

They must have a K/9 above 13.

Be under 30.

Been healthy all season.

Have held the closer position for the majority of the year.

These tight requirements whittle the pool down quite substantially, in fact we are left we only three closers.  After these guys I’m trading or dropping anyone else in favor of stronger contributing hitters or starting pitchers.

So who are we left with:

Aroldis Chapman, Cin, Age 25

When you’re the hardest throwing lefty on the planet the closer role apparently suits you just fine. Throw in the fact that at some point the Reds may try and make him a starter and you have one of the most valuable arms in all of baseball. His K/9 comes in at an absurd 15.58 which leads all of baseball (min 50 IPs) by 1.5 and he’s just coming into his prime. The only concern I have with Chapman is that he throws too hard, but really I’m nitpicking as that is what makes him so good.

Greg Holland, KC, Age 27

I’ve loved Holland since late last year and had him in all my preseason sleeper lists to start this year. He’s done nothing but impress me even more by posting career a high K/9 a career low BB/9 and a microscopic 1.35 ERA that is backed up by his peripherals. In fact his current season has even been better than the RP who would have led this list last year.

Which brings us to our final selection –

Craig Kimbrel, Atl, Age 25

Krimbel has now put up four straight insanely good seasons and as long as he stays healthy he will begin to challenge some of the great closers in the next decade. Armed with two plus-plus pitches Kimbrel’s main goal is to strike everyone out, which is exactly what we want from each and every one of our closers.

The only other person I would even consider keeping, though he doesn’t quite fit the requirements, is –

Kenley Jansen, LAD, Age 26

Jansen is just off the list because his K/9 came in at 12.81, however, with a career rate of 14 and a full vote of confidence in the closer role I can easily see how one might want to hold onto him.

And….thats it. Seriously, only those three maybe four guys. After that throw them back in the hat and see what happens. Koji Uehara is great but he is super old, same goes for Joe Nathan and Mariano. Jason Grilli and Sergio Romo have injury concerns and the list goes on and on with warts on every other closer.

Lastly, keep an eye out for a couple sleeper guys who have elite rates and could dominate if given the right chance.

Andrew Miller, Bos, Age 28

If Uehara gets injured, Miller looks like he’s finally figured it out in a relief role.

Danny Farquhar, Sea, Age 26

As the current closer Farquhar’s name may already be too well know but his ERA may throw other owners off the scent. Don’t let it fool you though as his 1.84 FIP is much more telling of his true talents then his 4.71 ERA.

I tweet about Baseball/Digital/Funny things @lukechatelain, feel free to hit me up with comments, questions or jabs about my lesser intellect.

The Author

Luke Chatelain

Luke Chatelain


  1. Brian
    September 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks – couple quick questions, if I may. It’s my first dynasty league experience, and I’m trying to prepare for the offseason maneuvering.

    In a 10 team NL-only roto dynasty league, I’ve got Kimbrel ($38) and Cishek ($16). The kicker is that it’s a 4×4 league (W/S/ERA/WHIP but no K’s), so saves play an even more important role. In a league without a strikeout category, would you adjust the K/9 filter at all?

    I hate to have that much tied up in closers (20% of my cap), as it naturally leaves less for the starting staff. OTOH, with two guys under 30, it leaves me in a nice position for that 1 stat category. I’m inclined to keep Kimbrel (since he’s the best), but certainly not cheap.

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

    • September 21, 2013 at 10:45 am

      In auction leagues it’s a bit different as what you are really looking for is savings versus what you could get him for in next years auction. What did elite closers go for over the past two years? I’d take a look at the draft results from prior years and determine if your savings for these closers is greater than what you could get from some of your hitters who are usually more stable and consistent from year to year.

  2. Troy
    September 21, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Dont save closers. If you like Kimbrel, drop him, save someone else, then go back and get him in the draft.

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