Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 11/7/11

Key Stats: Since 2004, Francisco Cordero has 302 saves. For a little perspective on that Mariano Rivera – the best closer of this or any generation – has 320 saves in that same time span (2 more saves per year).  Cordero’s numbers haven’t always been pretty in this time, but he’s one of those pitchers that will likely be in in the 9th inning wherever he winds up because of the old “he has closer experience” theory. And while there are more promising players as far as upside goes, Cordero has appeared in at least 66 games every year since 2003. That means he will end the year with at least 30 saves.

Skeptics Say: Cordero’s BABIP against was .214 (80 points lower than his career BABIP against) and his ERA was a run and a half lower than his xFIP and FIP. He won’t have as good a season as he did a year ago especially with the contract season behind him. Luck, motivation, and age aren’t on his side.

Peer Comparison: The greatest fear in drafting a closer at this time in the draft is that the closer won’t be closing the whole season. Here are some players that have higher upside and are better pitchers than Cordero, but ultimately can’t be as dependable when it comes to grabbing saves and staying healthy:

Andrew Bailey – Has not made 50 appearances in each of the last two seasons.

Brian Wilson – The end of the season is cause for concern.

Joe Nathan – One year removed from Tommy John, but an inconsistent 2011.

Team Outlook: The closer shuffle this offseason is definitely something worth watching. Cordero’s last contract was for 4 years and $45 million, so he better be ready for a pay cut wherever he winds up.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportstline: #23 Relief Pitcher; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #202 Overall and #23 Relief Pitcher

Projection: Cordero will be a closer somewhere and help a fantasy team as a safe pick at this time in the draft.

37 saves 3 wins 3.07 ERA 1.26 WHIP 58 K in 70 innings

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