With the Giants Brian Wilson becoming the latest closer in this young season lost to injury, many fantasy owners are scrambling to find saves. Here’s a list of players that could help provide relief sooner rather than later:
Frank Francisco (NYM) – The Mets closer wasn’t drafted in nearly 50 percent of the leagues at ESPN.com, but has become quick waiver wire fodder after a hot start. He had three saves during the first 10 games and the though the Mets aren’t playoff contenders he should plenty of chances in close games.
Grant Balfour (OAK) – Balfour has already pitched seven scoreless innings scattering two hits and two walks while striking out five batters. However, he’s only had two save opportunities thus far for a struggling A’s team
Alfredo Aceves (BOS) – With Andrew Bailey (thumb) on the shelf until at least the All-Star break, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has turned to Aceves as his closer. After a shaky start to the season, the righty has been sharp his last three times out, recording a pair of saves and striking out four over three innings without allowing a base runner.
Hector Santiago (CWS) – White Sox manager Robin Ventura surprised everybody when he appointed Santiago as the closer out of Spring Training. The move allowed Matt Thornton, Addison Reed and Jesse Crain to stay in their setup roles. With three saves already under his belt the move is paying early dividends.
Brett Myers (HOU) – The former starter was moved into the closer’s role in Houston this offseason. The Astros struggle to win games making save opportunities tough to come by. There are reports that the team may already be shopping him though. If placed in the right situation Myers could prove to have some fantasy value.
Jim Johnson (BAL) – Johnson was named the closer just before the season started and has already gotten out of the gate with four saves and has not allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings of work. He should be viewed as a decent No. 2 fantasy reliever in deeper leagues.
Brad Lidge (WAS) – With Drew Storen out until later this summer the former Phillies’ closer has found himself in the mix to close out games for the Nats. However, he’s been less than impressive of late converting just one of his two save chances. He’ll continue to get looks though along with Henry Rodriguez as the team’s short-term closer.
Santiago Casilla (SF) – Though manager Bruce Bochy has indicated he’ll go with a closer-by-committee approach in the absence of Brian Wilson, Casilla is our bet to get the bulk of the saves. He’s worth taking a flyer on if roster space is available.