FANFOOD FB’13 – Relievers


When it comes to relief pitching it’s all about saves. Sure you may be in a league that counts HOLDS, and more power to you, however I think that is a lame stat. This article is about the guys who close out the games followed by a recipe for BBQ Whole Chicken that is butterflied and brined, perfect for your next outdoor cookout.





[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF]


The number of relievers that you draft and how early you draft them depends on how your league is set up. For example, you may be in a league that starts three RPs per day and allows only for weekly roster changes. You could grab three quality closers and start them every week or you could add a starter with RP eligibility in one of those spots. It’s up to you.


This article is all about closers and the saves category. That is what a true RP is used for. (that and a great K/9). Right now the one you want on your team is Craig Kimbrel. He is the undisputed #1 closer in baseball right now, and I have seen him go in the very early rounds of drafts. He ended 2012 with 41 saves, 116 strikeouts of 231 batters faced, walked only 14, with an ERA of 1.01. I’d say he deserves an early round pick.


Every year there is a lot of movement of closers, you really need to be up on all the developments. You can’t go off last year’s numbers, because many closers are on new teams and many teams have gone in new directions. Plus there is always that guy waiting in the wings in case one of them falters. This and injures play a major role in who will get the ball in the ninth, just ask Mo’. You can always find a closer on the waiver wire throughout the season, meaning you really don’t need to grad three of the top three.


Here are some new closers for their major league teams



Joel Hanrahan – Redsox

Andrew Bailey missed the first half with an injury and finished poorly with an ERA of 7.04 in his last 10 appearances. So the bean eaters brought in Joel Hanrahan who has proven to be a quality closer with 76 Saves in his last two seasons with Pittsburgh with only 8 blown saves. If he does falter, Koji Uehara is there. He is a great setup man, along with the aforementioned bailey once again.


Bruce Rondon – Tigers

As I mentioned in my catcher report, the Tigers are the team to beat in the American League, they got rid of Jose Valverde, leaving manager Jim Leyland to state, “I’m going to look at all my options, and hopefully I’ll make a decision. But I doubt anyone will be anointed the closer out of spring training. It might happen, but I doubt it. It’s a front-burner thing that is on the back-burner.” The Tigers would clearly prefer that Rondon run away with the job, but they are prepared to look at alternatives if the hard-throwing rookie struggles. Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque and Brayan Villarreal are among the other possibilities. You should track this situation carefully this spring.


Rafael Soriano – Nationals

When Mo’ went down last season, Rafael delivered with 42 Saves. The Yanks decided not to re-sign him and he took a big deal to become the closer in DC. Drew Storen’s collapse in the playoffs left a very bad taste in ownership’s mouth this winter, which they refreshed by signing the most expensive closer available.


Jonathan Broxton – Reds

Reds signed Broxton to a three-year, $21 million contract. It’s a pretty nice chunk of change for the 28-year-old right-hander, who made his way back from elbow problems to post a 2.48 ERA over 58 innings this past season between the Royals and Reds. While it’s a red flag that he’s not missing as many bats these days, the current plan is to use him in the closer role next season while Aroldis Chapman moves into the starting rotation.


Brandon League – Dodgers

League saved 37 Games in 2011 with Seattle and was shipped to the Dodgers in a 3 way trade last year. LA General manager Ned Colletti says they’re viewing him as their closer over Kenley Jansen. It’s surprising given that Jansen has clearly been a better pitcher over the last two-and-a-half seasons, but perhaps the Dodgers remain concerned about Jansen’s heart issue. League converted all six save chances for the Dodgers down the stretch this year while posting a 2.30 ERA and striking out a batter per inning. He’ll certainly carry fantasy value.


Jason Grilli – Pirates

Jason Grilli will take over as closer following the trade of Joel Hanrahan. Jason has quietly posted a 2.76 ERA and 127/37 K/BB ratio in 91 1/3 innings over the past two seasons.


Jose Veras – Astros

Last season Jose Veras had a chance to sneak up on a closer job with the Brewers. This year he will try to do it with the Astros. Manager Bo Porter said recently that Jose Veras is the “front-runner” to be the team’s closer. He added “If you’re going to take a chance on someone to be a first-time closer, that’s the type of guy you want,” Porter said. “We do have other pitchers that will get an opportunity to pitch late in the game, whether it’s Rhiner Cruz, who had a really good winter league, or Hector Ambriz. There are others who will get a look, but Veras has the experience right now and is the front-runner.” Veras has major control issues, but he gets plenty of swings and misses and is the best bet of lackluster group in the Houston bullpen. That said, his leash would be short and he’s on a team virtually assured of another 100-loss season, so his prospects in fantasy terms aren’t great.


Steve Cishek – Marlins

Heath Bell moved from San Diego to Miami, and while it looked like he’d be stable there, he ended up being bumped more often than not by young Steve Cishek. With Bell sold off on short notice, Cishek still looks like the best of a mixed lot for the longer term. An older man with a new name, Juan Oviedo (a.k.a. Leo Nunez) is one of the next-best choices, assuming he sticks on the roster. The Marlins’ ballpark is definitely a good place to hide out and be unnoticed.


Greg Holland – Royals

Without ‘real’ closers like Broxton or Soria on the payroll, the job in KC seems a little shakier than in years gone by, though the team is flush with Plan B choices. Converted starter Aaron Crow, young righthander Greg Holland and tiny Tim Collins all stepped up in a big way to help the depleted Royals in 2012, for example. The offseason additions of veteran help in the form of George Sherrill and Dan Wheeler could also provide some cushion for a team trying to push itself into playoff contention.


Glen Perkins – Twins

The Twins haven’t had a name-brand closer since Joe Nathan, but they have a bevy of competent hands to tide them over for the short term. While aging minor league closer Anthony Slama would seem to be the obvious long-term choice to take over in Minnesota, there are other options available in the Twin Cities, including ex-Tiger Casey Fien and Jared Burton, both of whom have closer stuff in reserve. Ex-starter Glen Perkins has been capable when called upon, despite his lack of classic closer stuff, and might be the most-trusted hand at the table. Lefthander Mason Melotakis, himself a closer in college, is probably the nastiest 2014 possibility still on the farm, though the more traditionally dextrous Mike Tonkin might get the chance first.


Ryan Madson – Angels

Madson closed out for the Phillies last year after Brad Lidge was a Blown Save ready to happen each apperance. Now gets to close out for the much improved Angels. Ryan has had his reconditioning program slowed due to recurring elbow soreness, leaving Ernesto Frieri the great setup man, to be the preferred choice of fantasy teams.





Top 25 RP (Closers)

Craig Kimbrel
Jason Motte
Jonathan Papelbon
Mariano Rivera
Fernando Rodney
Joe Nathan
Greg Holland
Rafael Soriano
Jim Johnson
Joel Hanrahan
Jonathan Broxton
J.J. Putz
Ryan Cook
Sergio Romo
Tom Wilhelmsen
Chris Perez
Huston Street
Jason Grilli
Rafael Betancourt
Addison Reed
Glen Perkins
Ernesto Frieri
Bruce Rondon
Steve Cishek
Brandon League

Others Receiving Votes: Ryan Madson,Jose Veras,Carlos Marmol,Frank Francisco,Koji Uehara,Drew Storen,Vinnie Pestano,Joakim Soria,Octavio Dotel,Bobby Parnell,Juan Oviedo,Phil Coke,Heath Bell,Andrew Bailey,Aaron Crow



[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF]





BBQ Whole Chicken (Butterflied)


(2) 3 ½ – 4 pound chickens, butterflied



¼ Kosher Salt
1 Tbs. ground pepper, freshly ground
10 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbs. Fresh Rosemary Leaves
2 Tbs. Fresh Oregano Leaves
2 Tbs. Fresh Thyme Leaves
6 cups Water, cold
2 Tbs. Canola oil


4 Tbs. Olive Oil
5 Garlic Cloves Crushed
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup honey
2 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp water


Combine all brine ingredients in a large bowl or large freezer bag. Mix well.

Take half the brine to a separate bag, put 1 chicken in each and brine for atleast 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking. The temperature should be 300°F.

Drain the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towels. Glisten with canola oil.

Put the chickens skin side up on the well oiled preheated grill grates, covered with the addition of wood (any fruit wood will do). 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for baste/glaze.

Baste the chicken and continue to cook, covered, baste every 15 minutes.

The chicken will be done when juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is atleast 165°F.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, skin side up and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting in 6 pieces each (2 Breasts, 2 Thighs, 2 Drumsticks).


here is a quick video on how to butterfly a whole chicken:






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