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, MILHas Not PitchedNext in line: Todd Coffey/Carlos VillanuevaThird in line: Seth McClung

Joel Hanrahan, WAS2-for-4 (50%), 7 IP, 9 Ks, 6.43 ERA, 1.57 WHIPNext in line: Garrett MockThird in line: Saul Rivera/Joe Beimel (DL)

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

B.J. Ryan, TOR2-for-3 (66.7%), 4.2 IP, 3 K, 7.71 ERA, 2.36 WHIPNext in line: Scott DownsThird in line: Jesse Carlson/Jason Frasor

Brandon Morrow, SEA4-for-4 (100%), 5.2 IP, 8 Ks, 4.76 ERA, 1.41 WHIPNext 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 StreetThird in line: Alan Embree/Taylor Buchholz (elbow)

Brad Ziegler, OAK3-for-4 (75%), 7 IP, 6 Ks, 2.57 ERA, 1.43WHIPNext in line: Jerry Blevins/Russ SpringerThird in line: Santiago Casilla

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

Ryan Franklin, STL3-for-3 (100%), 6.2 IP, 6 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP Next in line: Jason MotteThird in line: Chris Pérez

Mike González, ATL1-for-2 (50%), 6 IP, 10 Ks, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIPNext in line: Rafael SorianoThird in line: Buddy Carlyle

Mariano Rivera, NYY4-for-4 (100%), 6 IP, 8 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIPNext in line: Damaso MarteThird in line: Edwar Ramirez/Brian Bruney

Jonathan Papelbon, BOS4-for-4 (100%), 5.1 IP, 4 Ks, 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP Next in line: Hideki OkajimaThird in line: Takashi Saito/Manny Delcarmen

Joe Nathan, MIN3-for-3 (100%), 5 IP, 5 Ks, 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP Next in line: Jesse CrainThird in line: Craig Breslow, Luis Ayala

Joakim Soria, KC4-for-4 (100%), 4 IP, 7 Ks, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIPNext in line: Juan CruzThird in line: Kyle Farnsworth/Ron Mahay

Francisco Rodríguez, NYM3-for-3 (100%), 5.2 IP, 9 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIPNext in line: J.J. Putz Third in line: Pedro Feliciano

Brad Lidge, PHI3-for-4 (75%), 6.2 IP, 8 Ks, 9.45 ERA, 1.80 WHIP Next in line: Ryan MadsonThird in line: Chad Durbin

Jonathan Broxton, LAD4-for-4 (100%), 6.2 IP, 11 Ks, 1.35 ERA, 0.15 WHIPNext in line: Hong-Chih KuoThird in line: Cory Wade/Guillermo Mota

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

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

Kerry Wood, CLE2-for-2 (100%), 4.1 IP, 9 Ks, 6.23 ERA, 1.15 WHIPNext in line: Rafael PerezThird in line: Rafael Betancourt/Jensen Lewis

Heath Bell, SD7-for-7 (100%), 6.2 IP, 8 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIPNext in line: Cla MeredithThird in line: Duaner Sanchez

Matt Capps, PIT4-for-4 (100%), 4.2 IP, 3 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP Next in line: John GrabowThird in line: Sean Burnett/Tyler Yates

Francisco Cordero, CIN5-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, SF2-for-2 (100%), 4.2 IP, 6 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP Next in line: Jeremy AffeldtThird in line: Bob Howry

Chad Qualls, ARI3-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, LAA3-for-4 (75%), 5 IP, 6 Ks, 7.20 ERA, 2.00 WHIPNext in line: Scot ShieldsThird in line: Jose Arredondo

George Sherrill, BAL3-for-3 (100%), 5.1 IP, 5 Ks, 5.06 ERA, 1.88 WHIPNext in line: Chris RayThird in line: Jamie Walker

Frank Francisco, TEX2-for-2 (100%), 7 IP, 7 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIPNext in line: C.J. Wilson/Eddie GuardadoThird in line: Jason Jennings

Fernando Rodney, DET3-for-3 (100%), 5 IP, 4 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.20 WHIPNext in line: Brandon LyonThird in line: Joel Zumaya /Ryan Perry

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

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