MLB — 15 May 2012

The common saying in fantasy baseball is that you never over pay for saves.

This year couldn’t be confirming that axiom any more clearly. Closers are dropping all over the place either because of injury or ineffectiveness. All kinds of jobs are changing hands, which is probably why these guys are universally owned. A couple of them aren’t great pitchers, but all you are looking for is saves.

The five closers are in the order that I would add them, but they are all worth the risk at this point.

(The number in parenthesis is the percentage a guy is owned in a standard Yahoo Sports league. Only guys owned in less than 50% of leagues will appear in the column.)

Dale Thayer, RP, Sand Diego Padres (28%)

If nothing else you have to root for Dale Thayer. He’s a 31-year-old career minor leaguer with a major league mustache. If it wasn’t for Huston Street’s injury, Thayer would still be chasing the minor league record for saves. With three saves in the past week, he’s a guy who will help you and make you feel good doing it.

Addison Reed, RP, Chicago White Sox (36%)

Sure Reed got blown up his last appearance, but sometimes that happens to releivers. It’s probably good news for you as he might be more available now. For my money, he will be the White Sox leader in saves by the end of the year.

Casey Jassen, RP, Toronto Blue Jays (29%)

Noticing the theme of today’s column yet? Jassen’s ERA is a little ugly, but he is a solid reliever that has only allowed one hit in his last five appearances. He doesn’t have a closer pedigree, but he has opportunity.

Rafeal Dolis, RP, Chicago Cubs (35%)

Yet another closer at less than 40 percent ownership, which is something I can’t quite understand. He isn’t dominant, but in fantasy a closer is a closer. You need saves, especially in a roto league, so grab one or more of these guys.

Brian Fuentes, RP, Oakland A’s (37%)

It definitely isn’t always pretty with Fuentes and he will probably end up hurting your WHIP and ERA a bit, but as Oakland’s closer he has clear value. The A’s haven’t produced a ton of save opportunities, but those are almost impossible to predict. If you need saves, Fuentes is one of a couple options right now.

Jake Westbrook, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (49%)

Westbrook is right on the threshold of the ownership limit, but he really shouldn’t be this close. He is the 59th rated player overall and is a classic every other year guy. There will be some regression clearly, but he has the backing of a good offense and at worst he is a guy who will get you some wins.

Bud Norris, SP, Houston Astros (44%)

Norris’ numbers are finally coming around after a slow start for the popular sleeper. He will probably never be a great WHIP guy, but he makes up for that with a strikeout an inning. The Astros aren’t terrible either, so he might end up with a few more wins than anticipaged.

Jason Vargas, SP, Seattle Mariners (42%)

Vargas is right on the border between a guy you can start all the time and a guy who you just use in favorable home matchups. He is a former second round pick who is a good strikeout pitch away from being a must-add. He is still off to a great start and someone you should be thinking about.

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Douglas Elish

Doug Elish is new to after spending four years as the Sports Editor of the LaPorte (IN) Herald-Argus and two years as a writer for the NWI Times. He has been a all-around fantasy sports addict for 12 years.

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