With the second pick of the 16th round of the snake draft I selected Ryan Franklin (STL). For those who fear that Franklin will pick up where he left last September I plan to get Jason Motte in the reserve portion of the draft as insurance, should he still be available.
Franklin was my third closer. On my team are Brain Wilson and Francisco Cordero. Wilson and Cordero were respectively 12th and 14th round selections. That being said, one should not delay picking the third closer. Anyways, that’s how I see it. Not everyone thinks the same.
Upon picking Franklin I was surprised by the diversity of strategy regarding closers. By early in the 16th round there were 4 teams, including mine, with three closers, 4 teams with two closers and 4 teams with one closer. Clearly, this year the experts are all over the board regarding the saves category. The only consensus seems to be that one can wait for later rounds.
Beyond Ryan Franklin, Mastersball projects a few reliable, fully entrenched closers who will get 30 or more saves. The way I see it, this is the situation in the K-BAD Experts league:
- The 4 teams including mine that have three solid closers value Saves and are not concerned about using early rounds for closers, although 12,14 and 16 rounds are not early by my estimation.
- The 4 teams that have two closers trust their ability to pick an unheralded gem in the later rounds.
- The 4 teams with one closer are likely counting on injuries and on their own ability to pick good free agents. I cannot blame them given the continued and extensive turn-over that has hit the pitchers the last few years. They probably feel that teams that picked three closers are weaker than theirs in other categories. Who knows, they may be right.
Only time will tell which strategy is the best. I suggest to implement in 2011 whatever the strategy used this year has most success. I cannot imagine that the situation with pitching will drastically change next year.
I wish that I could tell you with absolute certainty what’s the right plan so that you can use it this year. Last season I had learned that the best practice for 2010 is to wait to pick a closer. That was the right decision. You may say, "hey, after playing all these years don’t you know by now?" Things change, everything changes. Some of us remember when getting a closer in the first round or when paying $40+ for one was not unthinkable.
I will report on the situation at regular intervals. Check back from time to time. I must tell you, these differences in strategy are making me curious.