Hyatt's Fantasy Baseball Guide: RP... or not...

I'm not going to rate the RPs, because 10 teams started the season with the same closer that they finished with, and I'm stretching since Brad Lidge started the year on the DL.  And this off-season, 2 of those teams changed up their closer (Angels and Padres).  There are 4 guys worth a high draft pick, with Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathon, K-rod, and Jon Papelbon, but there's always risk there.  Just ask the guys that took JJ Putz high last year, or BJ Ryan the year before.  Look, you want to rate these guys, go ahead, but here's the thing.  You are going to need 3.  Thats right, 3.  Hyatt's first rule of Fantasy is NEVER PUNT A CATEGORY AT THE DRAFT.  Therefore, getting 3 closers will keep you at the top of your league at the top of your league for a long time.  But be ready to be fluid.  Anyway, you want Rankings, so here you go. 

Tier 1

1. Jonathan Papelbon- yes, his ERA has risen 2 years straight, but wrap your head around this one.  He gave up 8 walks last year.  8.  That's one reason he's the best closer in Fantasy, and in baseball

2. Joakim Soria-  I almost shat myself when a guy in one of my leagues dropped Soria before opening day.  I snapped him up faster than Oprah with Le Grand Chocolate Truffles.  Despite being on the Royals, he's definitely elite.

3. Joe Nathan- Nathan is coming off his best ERA season thus far, he also blew the most saves of his career, but if any guy is the safest closer to have, I'd go Nathan.

4. Mariano Rivera- Yeah he's old, but you know he's going to rack up the save for you.  Who cares if he's only got one pitch.

5. Joakim Soria- a former rule 5 guy, he's put up some amazing numbers the past two years.  Fact is, he's the new elite guy on the block, and if you are looking for a guy who's going to be around for the years to come, he's probably your guy.

6. Brad Lidge- He didn't blow one save opp last year, and returned to prominence.  However, he is only 2 years removed from a 5+ ERA, so of all the elite guys, he's the least safe bet.

Tier 2

7. Jose Valverde- He's lead the NL in saves the past two years, yet he's still letting a few too many runs in to be elite.

8. Francisco Cordero- He is still strinking out more than a guy an inning, and he had a few bad outings, but he's still a safe bet.

9. BJ Ryan- Coming off TJ surgery, he posted solid numbers across the board.  I'd take him as my #2 guy with #1 potential.

10. Kerry Wood- Yes he's injury prone, but man does he rack up the Ks, and now that he's no longer a Cub, i don't hate him with the fire of 1000 suns.

11. Brian Fuentes- The Angels new closer, but he's little more than a year removed from losing his job as the Rockies closer.

12. Bobby Jenks- Yeah he's a guy that's kept his job for a few years, but his K rate is way down, his walk rate is rising, and the only thing saving his ERA is his team's defense, especially in the 2nd half.

Tier 3

13. Jon Broxton- He just got the job, and he's been good for a couple years as a setup guy.  He's the best bet to be this year's Joakim Soria, but he could also be Turnbow.

14. Trevor Hoffman- He's old, but he's going into the year as the Brewers closer, which gives him some solid value.

15. Matt Capps- A forearm injury cost him 2 months, but the Pirates don't have any better options, so he should be a good option

16. Chad Qualls- He'posted a 1.21 ERA after the break, he could be a good bet to become an elite closer.

17. Heath Bell- The heir apparent in SD for the departed Hoffman. 

18. Carlos Marmol- He's been dominant as a set up guy, and is the favorite to take the closing job in Cub-land.

Others you should know: Jose Arrodondo, Matt Lindstrom, Manny Corpas, Brian Wilson, Hong Chih Kuo, Chris Perez, Frank Francisco, Troy Percival

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