Closer rankings

It was another relatively uneventful week in the realm of MLB closers, although it did mark Brad Lidge's first blown save since joining the Phillies (his last was Sept. 23, 2007 as an Astro). Lidge attributes his early-season struggles to his less-than-perfect fastball, which he said he's having a hard time spotting, and his slider, a pitch he's leaving up in the zone. I don't expect it be Lidge's last meltdown of the season, but I do expect him to be over 90 percent in save opportunities, the benchmark for a top-tier closer.

Dodgers door-slammer Jonathan Broxton appears to be a real closer, as I said in my intro piece. There was some speculation about his ability to go in the ninth because of his limited experience in that role, but his three-year K/9 average of 11.3 and solid K/BB ratio (3.3) over that same span bode well for his future as a closer. "The Ox" is off to a brilliant start, allowing just a .050 BAA and posting an insane 14.85 K/9. Oh, by the way, he hasn't walked anybody. Bonus.

Is Ryan Franklin for reals, yo? Maybe we need one of those cool pens they give to cashiers to test out hundreds? He's been a fall-back option for the Cards, who have struggled since Opening Day to find someone capable of holding down the job. But he's perfect thus far, has a K/BB ration of 6.0, and is stifling batters (.118 BAA). This won't continue for the 36-year-old journeyman. His three-year K/BB average is about 1.9, so if you snagged him off the wire and another team has expressed interest, it's good time to sell high.

There's a new closer in the rarified air of Denver, where Manny Corpas has taken over for the much-beleaguered Huston Street. Corpas has a rigor-mortis-like surname, but he's fearless -- he's got the chops to be a dependable fireman. Fairly effective at Coors Field (.265 BAA from 2006-08), he must keep the ball in the yard and strike out batters with more consistency. He's also got to show Clint Hurdle that he can be better on consecutive days -- something every manager needs from his closer once in awhile.

Even though I'm a tad superstitious (I guess I'm just plain "stitious"), I feel the need to tell y'all that Fernando Rodney has a no-no going. He's only walked one batter this season and has staved off a mad rush to get Joel Zumaya back in the pen and bring Ryan Perry up from the minors. I wasn't too keen on Rodney at season's start, but he's in a serious groove right now -- so I guess I'll just shut my trap and get to the pecking order. (Stats as of April 21, 2009.)

Trevor Hoffman, MIL Has Not Pitched Next in line: Todd Coffey/Carlos Villanueva Third in line: Seth McClung

Joel Hanrahan, WAS 2-for-4 (50%), 7 IP, 9 Ks, 6.43 ERA, 1.57 WHIP Next in line: Garrett Mock Third in line: Saul Rivera/Joe Beimel (DL)

Kevin Gregg, CHI (NL) 1-for-2 (50%), 6 IP, 8 Ks, 6.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP Next in line: Carlos Mármol Third in line: Aaron Heilman/Jeff Samardzija

B.J. Ryan, TOR 2-for-3 (66.7%), 4.2 IP, 3 K, 7.71 ERA, 2.36 WHIP Next in line: Scott Downs Third in line: Jesse Carlson/Jason Frasor

Brandon Morrow, SEA 4-for-4 (100%), 5.2 IP, 8 Ks, 4.76 ERA, 1.41 WHIP Next in line: David Aardsma Third in line: Mark Lowe /Roy Corcoran

Manny Corpas, COL 1-for-2 (50%), 6.1 IP, 3 Ks, 5.68 ERA, 1.42 WHIP Next in line: Huston Street Third in line: Alan Embree/Taylor Buchholz (elbow)

Brad Ziegler, OAK 3-for-4 (75%), 7 IP, 6 Ks, 2.57 ERA, 1.43 WHIP Next in line: Jerry Blevins/Russ Springer Third in line: Santiago Casilla

Troy Percival, TB 2-for-2 (100%), 3.2 IP, 2 Ks, 4.91 ERA, 2.18 WHIP Next in line: Dan Wheeler Third in line: Grant Balfour/Jason Isringhausen (rehab-minors)

Ryan Franklin, STL 3-for-3 (100%), 6.2 IP, 6 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP Next in line: Jason Motte Third in line: Chris Pérez

Mike González, ATL 1-for-2 (50%), 6 IP, 10 Ks, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP Next in line: Rafael Soriano Third in line: Buddy Carlyle

Mariano Rivera, NYY 4-for-4 (100%), 6 IP, 8 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP Next in line: Damaso Marte Third in line: Edwar Ramirez/Brian Bruney

Jonathan Papelbon, BOS 4-for-4 (100%), 5.1 IP, 4 Ks, 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP Next in line: Hideki Okajima Third in line: Takashi Saito/Manny Delcarmen

Joe Nathan, MIN 3-for-3 (100%), 5 IP, 5 Ks, 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP Next in line: Jesse Crain Third in line: Craig Breslow, Luis Ayala

Joakim Soria, KC 4-for-4 (100%), 4 IP, 7 Ks, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP Next in line: Juan Cruz Third in line: Kyle Farnsworth/Ron Mahay

Francisco Rodríguez, NYM 3-for-3 (100%), 5.2 IP, 9 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP Next in line: J.J. Putz Third in line: Pedro Feliciano

Brad Lidge, PHI 3-for-4 (75%), 6.2 IP, 8 Ks, 9.45 ERA, 1.80 WHIP Next in line: Ryan Madson Third in line: Chad Durbin

Jonathan Broxton, LAD 4-for-4 (100%), 6.2 IP, 11 Ks, 1.35 ERA, 0.15 WHIP Next in line: Hong-Chih Kuo Third in line: Cory Wade/Guillermo Mota

Bobby Jenks, CWS 3-for-3 (100%), 4 IP, 3 Ks, 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP Next in line: Matt Thornton Third in line: Octavio Dotel/Scott Linebrink

José Valverde, HOU 1-for-2 (50%), 6 IP, 8 Ks, 4.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP Next in line: LaTroy Hawkins Third in line: Doug Brocail (DL)

Kerry Wood, CLE 2-for-2 (100%), 4.1 IP, 9 Ks, 6.23 ERA, 1.15 WHIP Next in line: Rafael Perez Third in line: Rafael Betancourt/Jensen Lewis

Heath Bell, SD 7-for-7 (100%), 6.2 IP, 8 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP Next in line: Cla Meredith Third in line: Duaner Sanchez

Matt Capps, PIT 4-for-4 (100%), 4.2 IP, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP Next in line: John Grabow Third in line: Sean Burnett/Tyler Yates

Francisco Cordero, CIN 5-for-5 (100%), 6 IP, 5 Ks, 1.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP Next in line: David Weathers Third in line: Jared Burton

Brian Wilson, SF 2-for-2 (100%), 4.2 IP, 6 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP Next in line: Jeremy Affeldt Third in line: Bob Howry

Chad Qualls, ARI 3-for-4 (75%), 5 IP, 8 Ks, 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP Next in line: Tony Peña Third in line: Jon Rauch

Brian Fuentes, LAA 3-for-4 (75%), 5 IP, 6 Ks, 7.20 ERA, 2.00 WHIP Next in line: Scot Shields Third in line: Jose Arredondo

George Sherrill, BAL 3-for-3 (100%), 5.1 IP, 5 Ks, 5.06 ERA, 1.88 WHIP Next in line: Chris Ray Third in line: Jamie Walker

Frank Francisco, TEX 2-for-2 (100%), 7 IP, 7 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP Next in line: C.J. Wilson/Eddie Guardado Third in line: Jason Jennings

Fernando Rodney, DET 3-for-3 (100%), 5 IP, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.20 WHIP Next in line: Brandon Lyon Third in line: Joel Zumaya /Ryan Perry

Matt Lindstrom, FLA 3-for-4 (75%), 6 IP, 5 Ks, 1.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP Next in line: Leo Nunez Third in line: Reynel Pinto/Scott Proctor

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