Fantasy Baseball: Closers can help push your team over the hump

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    This is the longest week ever.

    Longer than the week before Christmas, your birthday or Easter if you have been good this Lent.

    It’s the final few days before the beginning of Major League Baseball’s regular season and I’m acting like a child on Christmas Eve who knows he is getting a shiny new bicycle because he just saw it in the garage last week.

    So since we are about to start, I am going to assume you have already done all the drafting you are going to do and are just making some final decisions on your roster spots like the major league clubs.

    Hopefully you make better decisions than the Rangers did by adding Andruw Jones to the 25-man roster. Don’t expect much from the former slugger that has fallen from grace. As the fifth outfielder, expect maybe 200 at bats a sub-.200 batting average and eight home runs.

    I hope I’m wrong because I love my Rangers, but I really don’t see this lotto ticket hitting the jackpot.

    The position I am going to focus on in this fantasy advice column is the one with the highest turnover rate in baseball. The closer.

    Because of the high turnover rate, it is hard to find any consistency in the position. If you happen to get a guy like the Twins’ Joe Nathan or the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez, relish them. They should both get 45 saves and have an ERA around 2.00 without bating an eyelash.

    But the goal when looking for closers is to find guys that might not be the closer right now, but have a shot of taking the role at some point during the season.

    Guys like that to look for are the Rockies’ Manny Corpas and the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol. Both of these guys were the closers for their respective teams last season, but both lost their jobs to new roster additions; Kevin Gregg was added to the Cubs and the Rockies added former Oakland A’s closer Huston Street to their roster.

    I like Street more than Gregg and I expect him to keep the closer’s role longer. I would guess Marmol is back closing for the Cubs by July. Expect 32 saves and a 3.20 ERA in a full season from Street. Expect Gregg and Marmol to combine for 45 saves and an ERA around 3.50 throughout the year.

    That’s all the advice I have for now, but when the season starts next week I’ll be back with more fantasy baseball wisdom to share.

    Billy Wessels is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Waxahachie.