Fantasy Watch

March 13, 2006
March 13, 2006

Table of Contents
March 13, 2006

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
Barry Bonds
High School Basketball

Fantasy Watch

CLOSERS ARE justas indispensable to a fantasy squad as they are to a major league team, so thebig-name firemen are always in demand. Here are a couple of new closers whomight be a little easier to acquire.

This is an article from the March 13, 2006 issue Original Layout

LHP, Pirates
Gonzalez (right) has saved only four games in three seasons, but with thedeparture of last year's closer, Jose Mesa, he'll get plenty of opportunitiesto use his low-90s fastball and wicked slider to finish games. He'll also gethelp from an expert: Roberto Hernandez. The righty with 324 career saves willserve as Gonzalez's setup man as well as his mentor.

Chris Ray
RHP, Orioles
The hard-throwing 24-year-old was 18 for 18 in save chances with a 0.64 WHIPand a 0.96 ERA for Double A Bowie (Md.). He then showed poise--and impressivestuff--during a stint with Baltimore (2.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 43 strikeouts in 402/3 innings). With B.J. Ryan and Jorge Julio gone, the Orioles have few otheroptions, which gives Ray (right) a fair amount of job security.

Others toWatch
The Reds are again going with a closer-by-committee approach, meaning neitherDavid Weathers nor Todd Coffey (or Ryan Wagner or Kent Mercker, for thatmatter) will have much fantasy value.... Last year Bob Wickman tied for the ALlead with 45 saves, but few of them came easy. Should you draft him, also grabRafael Betancourt, Cleveland's heir apparent, just to be safe.