SAGNOF: Early Bird Closer Specials


A pleasant Friday to all you Razz-a-ma-tazzers!

Last week, I gave you all an overarching view of the landscape that is drafting closers in both NFBC and Yahoo right now. We are well underway in RazzSlam drafts and things have been no different on that front, even though the scoring system there — it follows the Cutline format, which is best ball points, not roto — does make things different. Were this roto, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have any closer at all on my team right now (and we’re in Round 25 as I’m typing this). So many potential saves are still on the board.

I will say I’ve already drafted Raisel Iglesias and Ryan Pressly since their jobs are secure, volume will be there, and Rudy’s War Room ranks them #51 and #52 overall, respectively. And I got them at what I think are good prices (Iglesias in the 9th and Pressly in the 11th), while some other schmucks in my league reached for Josh Hader and Liam Hendriks in Round 6.

Anyhoodles, I’m not here to brag about my Slam team. Instead, I wanted to piggyback off last week’s post and highlight a few bona fide targets of mine. I’ll go a little deeper than just pointing out ADPs and general strategies. Then it’ll be up to you either to follow my sage advice or to flip me the bird and do things your way. These aren’t my only targets of course, and I don’t want to imply I’m not looking at anyone being drafted before these guys either. These are just a few whom I think could pay off in a big way.

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Lucas Sims

Yahoo ADP 240.6 / NFBC ADP 254.64

I know Mr. Sims has injury problems and walks his fair share, but find me another serious red flag in his game? You might look at that 4.40 ERA and be a little turned off, but what if I told you it came with a 1.11 WHIP, 3.00 FIP, 3.03 xFIP, and 2.50 SIERA?? I’m gonna go with the newfangled metrics on this one — when all three point toward a better ERA in the future, I’m gonna pay attention. Sims sported a career-high 39 K% last year and a not-terrible-but-also-not-good 9.2 BB%. An even more newfangled metric, CSW%, or called+swinging strikes percent, was at a career-best 34.1. Of all RP who tossed at least 30 IP, Sims ranked #6 in K% and #9 in CSW%. And that comes with metrics that support a near-elite ERA. And who’s competing for that Reds closer gig with him right now? Absolutely no one at all. It’s his. Unless they sign someone, but why would they if they’ve got this guy? His ADP is an easy, easy, easy “HELL YES” from me. If it doesn’t work out, then paid a more-than-reasonable price. But if it does?? Well, you just might have an upper-echelon fantasy closer on your hands. Health is of course the real and serious concern here, but at that price it’s a risk we all should be willing to take.

Ken Giles

Yahoo ADP 248.9 / NFBC ADP 292.70

Two big question marks with Giles: 1). health and 2). will he even close. I think we have to assume he’s the primary closer if he’s healthy, and right now his price is so cheap that it doesn’t exactly matter if he is or not. If he is, bingo bango. If he isn’t, then stash him on your IL until he is. The Mariners pen is very deep and very good, but they didn’t sign Giles for two years knowing he’d miss all of one of those just to let him be a middle reliever or setup man. He’s gotta close when he’s ready, and there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be ready when games start. Giles has been an elite strikeout guy his entire career, putting up a 39.9 K% in his last full season. Straight up elite swing-and-miss stuff. We’ll just have to see if he’s still got all that after missing all this time. You aren’t risking hardly anything at all taking him that late and I’d argue his upside is the best of the guys on this list.

Corey Knebel

Yahoo ADP 186.8 / NFBC ADP 193.81

Here’s another good target with a pretty secure path to regular save duties. But like Sims, Knebel carries pretty significant injury risk. Let’s put injuries out of our brains, though, and take a look at some numbers. Knebel put together two very good years back in 2017 and 2018 with Milwaukee, but then he missed all of 2019 and most of 2020 and 2021. We got 25.2 great innings out of him last year: 4 W, 3 SV, 2.45 ERA, 0.97 WHIP. Not everyone likes to look at per-9 stats, but I do! Knebel posted 5.61 H/9, 3.16 BB/9, and 10.52 K/9. If I’m seeing an H/9 in the 5-range and a double-digit K/9 then I’m a very happy camper. Another strong point is his ability to keep the ball in the yard, with just a 0.70 HR/9 last year. From August on, he put up a pretty tasty line: 19.2 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 21 K, and 6 BB while holding opponents to a .186 BA.

Lou Trivino

Yahoo ADP 205.9 / NFBC ADP 279.13

That’s a stark difference in ADP right there. So obvs Trivino is a better bargain on NFBC right now, but of course there’s a good amount of risk baked into that price. For one, he kinda sucks? For two, the A’s could always sign someone to leapfrog him for saves. Still, it’s a price I’m willing to pay since it’d be money I’d be comfortable losing if things go south. Fun fact: his current min pick on NFBC is 107 while has max is 514. Lol. The market’s split on this guy. As boring — and at times, straight up bad — as Trivino was in 2021, he still got you 22 SV and a nice 3.18 ERA. However, both his xFIP and SIERA were pushing 4.50. The K-BB% is also pretty ugly since he’s got a low 21.6 K% paired with an 11 BB%. If you jump over to his Statcast page, you see a lot of blue, but I do like his 85th percentile mark in HardHit%. If you set yourself up for K upside with your other arms, then Trivino is a fine target for saves.

Dylan Floro

Yahoo ADP 234.2 / NFBC ADP 245.45

Floro’s ADP would be a lot higher if he had had the closer gig all year last year. That Yimi Garcia guy stole the show early in the year, but it was Floro who finished out 2021 on a high note and who has an opportunity to be a big fantasy bargain in 2022. In the second half, Mr. Floro tallied 4 W and 13 SV, with a  2.57 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 29 K across 28 IP. September was an especially good month: 1 W, 8 SV, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 15 K in 13 IP. So to close out 2022, few RP were better in fantasy. I don’t see much competition coming his way, at least to start the season. Worth noting that despite his identical ERA and FIP of 2.81, xFIP and SIERA both were just a hair under 4.00 (so still not bad!). Like Trivino, Floro doesn’t generate many swings and misses and could stand to drop a few points off his BB%. Still, very nice upside here for the price.

Scott Barlow

Yahoo ADP 171.9 / NFBC ADP 179.74

Barlow’s got the goods to be a great fantasy RP, he just happens to pitch for the Kansas City Royals. I say this all the time, though: bad teams still have closers! And, when you think about it, in a way they’re likelier to play in games that afford save opportunities since they aren’t blowing anyone out most nights. Barlow is one of the better swing-and-miss guys out there: 15.6 SwStr% and 35.7 O-Swing%. Little bit surprising his K% is only 29.7 with that kind of stuff. But anyway, point is he’s good. Very good. Other than BB% and Barrel%, it’s all some shade of red on Statcast. I’m no insider but I imagine he’ll be a hot trade commodity come July. That could either skyrocket his value or tank it if he goes somewhere to be a setup guy instead. What you could always do is draft the guy then sell high a few months in. What you should not be doing is letting this guy slip through your fingers just cuz he’s got “KC” on his hat.

Taylor Rogers

Yahoo ADP 192.3 / NFBC 216.75

Just as is the case with Trivino, the current market is split on Taylor Rogers. On NFBC since Jan 1, his min pick is 100 but his max is 447. That 477 guy/gal got a B.A.R.G.A.I.N. Listen, folks: Taylor Rogers is good. He’s had a K% north of 26% and a BB% south of 5% for three straight seasons. Set a career mark with a stellar 35.5 K% last year. His 30.7 K-BB% ranked #5 among all RP (min. 30 IP) *eyeballs emoji*. He even was a bit of a BABIP victim (.358), which suggests maybe even better ratios than his 3.35 ERA and 1.14 WHIP could be in store. No more Alex Colome in Minnesota to inexplicably vulture his save chances, either.

Robert Suarez

Yahoo ADP — / NFBC ADP 499.62

Boom or bust pick that carries zero risk. The Padres quietly signed one of the best closers not in the MLB in Suarez, who’s been tearing it up over in Japan the last few years. With Melancon out of the picture, the closer gig in Slam Diego is wide open for the taking. Popular belief seems to be Suarez has a real shot to get it and run with it. He’s entirely free, so take a late flier! As for those Japan stats, Suarez picked up 42 SV last year while posting a 1.16 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP with 58 K in 62.1 IP. I know it ain’t MLB-level competition, but damn those are some nice numbers. The year before that, he had 25 SV with a 2.24 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Not looking like strikeouts are gonna be his forte, but he’s only allowed two home runs in the past two years and doesn’t walk hardly anyone. Again, he’s free! Yahoo folks are beyond sleeping on this guy; they’re straight up comatose.


I do some fantasy baseball as well as some fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.





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