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2011 Fantasy Baseball Closer Report, Week 7: Dodgers & Cardinals Keep Playing Hot Potato

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Some quick hitters from the past week in closer news as I get ready to bring you a new set of rankings next week in time for Memorial Day. Nothing says a good Memorial Day conversation like arguing over rankings…

Vicente Padilla went on the DL with forearm soreness as of May 19, opening the door for yet another closer in Los Angeles. The most likely candidates are Matt Guerrier and Kenley Jansen, with Guerrier having a slight edge for the job right now. Jansen’s ERA can be deceiving as most of the damage was done in a 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, and 5 ER appearance a month ago. Since that day, he has gone 8.2 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, and an excellent 16 K. Guerrier has been good in a setup role this season as well, giving up only 1 ER in his last 9 appearances. I believe Guerrier will keep the job for at least a few weeks, but with the volatile nature of their bullpen, you can never be sure of what you will be getting.

Brandon League’s ERA has ballooned with a stretch of 10 earned runs over 3 innings in 4 appearances that resulted in 3 blown saves and 4 losses last week. However, manager Eric Wedge gave him a weekend off and put him right back in the closer role Wednesday night, and it paid off with a hitless inning against the Angels. It seems as though he is safe for now in the closer role, and with further setbacks to David Aardsma’s elbow, the closer role may belong to League for the entire season.

Jordan Walden has gotten a few days off recently after a couple of blown saves against Oakland and the White Sox in 2 of his last 3 chances. He has a 3.26 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP for the year, both good numbers for a young closer. He's still available in some leagues and if you're lucky enough to find him on the waiver wire, scoop him up to bolster your pitching staff.

Fernando Salas has taken over the closer role in St. Louis as Tony LaRussa continues to go with the hot hand in the 9th. He's got 2 saves and a win this week alone and is available in about 40% of leagues and worth a pickup in all leagues, that is until Tony LaRussa changes his mind.

The #1 closer on ESPN's Player Rater is a man who didn't even begin the year in the role and his last 10 appearances have been sick: 11 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 10 K, 6 Saves, 2 Wins. That is the line of Washington's own Drew Storen, who currently is holding an 0.38 ERA and an 0.76 WHIP. I ranked him at 22 before his amazing May and he is sure to move up significantly in next week's rankings. If there's an owner in need of saves, ERA and WHIP, and you have other needs to improve, you may be able to get a couple nice pieces for him via trade.

Written by Jim Dingeman (@gentleman_jim) exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com

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(April 5, 2011 – Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

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Tags: The Fantasy Fix, Fantasy Baseball Tips, Fantasy Baseball Advice, Closers, Relief Pitchers, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen, Brandon League, David Aardsma, Jordan Walden, Fernando Salas, Drew Storen
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