Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 4/10/13
Today we are unveiling our 2013 closer depth chart to the site where we will be updating every closer situation daily. This way you will know who is getting the saves, who’s next in line, and who you can stash in deep leagues. Now let’s cover some of this year’s already shaky closer situations.If you’re in a league that counts facial hair as a category, John Axford is arguably the best reliever in the game and a top 30 player overall. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a single league that does, and the owners who drafted Axford this year are likely kicking themselves because of it.In the four games he’s appeared in, Axford has tossed 3.1 innings and is sporting a horrendous 24.30 ERA and 3.30 WHIP with a blown save and two losses under his belt. He already has been removed from the closer role by Brewer’s manager Ron Roenicke, and setup man Jim Henderson picked up his first save on Monday.While Axford did save 35 games with a nifty 12.07 K/9 last year, that doesn’t tell the full story. He led the league with nine blown saves and his eight losses were the most by any pitcher with at least 30 saves. His 5.06 BB/9 also ranked 129th out of 136 qualified relievers last year. It’s hard to say that you couldn’t see this coming.To make matters worse, Axford’s velocity has dropped significantly this year. In 2012 his fastball averaged almost 97 MPH, but this year his fastball is averaging only 94.4 MPH (small sample size aside). The decline in velocity continued last night, as Axford averaged only 92.7 MPH, with his fastball topping out at only 93.8 MPH. Even though Axford says that he feels fine, the drop in velocity is still very worrisome.While Roenicke has stated that he wants Axford to eventually return to the closer role, Henderson is the ninth inning guy right now, and if he continues to pitch well (0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K in 4 IP) he could run away with the job. Henderson is still available in 46% of Yahoo! Leagues and 37% of ESPN leagues, so go grab him if you can.Kansas City Royals — Current closer: Greg Holland | Looming: Kelvin HerreraGreg Holland has been awful so far this year (12.00 ERA, 3.67 WHIP), although Royals manager Ned Yost has said that he is sticking with Holland as his closer. Holland did convert his second save of the season yesterday, although it wasn’t pretty as he barely escaped a bases loaded jam. Make sure you own Kelvin Herrera because he has the skill set to be an elite closer if given the chance.Chicago Cubs — Current closer: Kyuji Fujikawa | Looming: Carlos MarmolWe all knew it would happen, but we didn’t think it would be this soon. Carlos Marmol has already lost the closer job, and Kyuji Fujikawa has replaced him. Even though the Cubs want Marmol to return to the closer role eventually, I think Fujikawa will run away with the job (he nailed down another save last night), so pick him up immediately if he is still available.St. Louis Cardinals — Current closer: Mitchell Boggs | Looming: Trevor RosenthalAfter starting out well, Mitchell Boggs was torched on Monday for 7 runs (six earned) in only a third of an inning. With Jason Motte possibly out for the season, Boggs will continue to close, although he doesn’t have a very long leash. Stash Trevor Rosenthal as he is next in line and is likely to steal the job sooner or later.Detroit Tigers — Current closer: Joaquin Benoit? | Looming: Jose Valverde, Phil Coke, Bruce RondonEven though the Tiger’s bullpen situation is still very foggy, Joaquin Benoit did pitch the ninth in yesterday’s game, and was warming up for a save situation before the Tiger’s scored two runs in the bottom of the 8th. Jim Leyland had mentioned that he wants Benoit to be the guy, so grab him if you can.Miami Marlins — Current closer: Steve Cishek | Looming: Jon RauchSteve Cishek has been horrible so far this year (15.43 ERA, 2.14 WHIP), although he has a longer leash due to the fact that the Marlins don’t many other options. Jon Rauch is likely next in line if Cishek continues to struggle, and those in deeper leagues might want to consider stashing him.
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