NL Central Closer Report

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Articles

By David Kerr

NL Central Closer Report

Pittsburgh Pirates

As a side note, it feel great to list Pittsburgh first. As a lifelong Pirates fan it’s been miserable the past 18 years. Thank God I just love the game of baseball! That being said, it’s been a great summer so far in Western Pennsylvania. Let’s go Bucs!

As for the closer situation, Joel Hanrahan has an ERA of 1.34 and a WHIP of .92. He hasn’t blown a save. There is no issue here, he is the closer without question.

Current Closer: Joel Hanrahan

St. Louis Cardinals

If there is one team year in and year out whose closer I do NOT want to own it is St. Louis. That being said, Fernando Salas has grabbed the reigns and produced well. He has 13 saves on the season and 2.62 ERA. There have been rumblings of Heath Bell to St. Louis. If he landed there, I would think he would definitely assume the closer’s role. Unless a trade is made, hang on to Salas and enjoy his production.

Current Closer: Fernando Salas

Other options: Outside source (Heath Bell)

Milwaukee Brewers

John Axford is Milwaukee’s closer and he has been very good this year. Taking away an Opening Day meltdown, he has only blown one save. He only has one questionable fantasy statistic which is his WHIP which sits at 1.35. That tells me he is in good shape to record another 16-18 saves and have no problem continuing as the “main man” in Milwaukee. Mark my words though, if for any reason Axford begins to flounder, he will be yanked. K-Rod has been one of the better closer’s in baseball over the past few years. Sure they want him to lock down the 8th inning, but they won’t hesitate to change closer’s if need be. Keep a strong eye on K-Rod and if Axford blows a few games, pick him up. They will use him.

Current Closer: John Axford

Other options: Francisco Rodriguez

Cincinnati Reds

Francisco Cordero has struggled in the month of July, already blowing three saves. My opinion is that it is a bump in the road. The Reds need Cordero to be good and with that being said, he has a good track record. I think he will right the ship and lock down the ninth inning like he did before July 6, when his struggles started. If he does continue to struggle though, I see his replacements as Logan Ondrusek, Bill Bray, or an outside source (Heath Bell).

Current Closer: Francisco Cordero

Other options: Logan Ondrusek, Bill Bray, outside source (Heath Bell)

Chicago Cubs

Boy, has Carlos Marmol looked terrible lately. His ERA before the All-Star break? 2.57. Two games after the break, he is sitting at 3.80. He has been removed from the closer’ss role for the time being. It is certainly possible he could be moved back to the role, but as of now look to Sean Marshall or Kerry Wood. My hunch is that Marmol will move back into the closer’s role, but it will take a few outings to get back into a groove.

Current Closers: Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood

Other options: Carlos Marmol

Houston Astros

With Brandon Lyon out for the season, Mark Melancon has no real competition. He should be Houston’s closer the rest of the season unless he gets injured. With that being said, Houson is a bad baseball team. He won’t get many chances to close. If you are debating between Melancon a closer that could assume a role if a current closer gets traded, take the risk.

Mark Melancon

Other options: Wilton Lopez

Be sure to follow me on twitter by hitting the follow button below. I will answer any and all fantasy baseball questions you have. Also, you can e-mail me at for any long form question’s. If you need an answer quick though, definitely use twitter!


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