NL Closer Report: April 30

There are definitely some National League closers on the hot-seat this week.

Strong Performers

Carlos Marmol | Chicago Cubs
The Comments: When you look back to his 7.91 BB/9 rate in ’09, it’s hard to believe that Marmol is arguably the most dominating late-game reliever in the Majors right now. He has a 16.03 K9 rate and a 0.84 ERA (1.97 xFIP). He’s also allowed just six hits in 10.2 innings of work. He still has just three saves, though, and he’s had one opportunity since April 14 (which he blew). He’s allowed hits in just four games and three of his six hits came in one game (His only blown save). The saves will come.

Matt Capps | Washington Nationals
The Comments: Playing for a team that doesn’t score a lot of runs can really pay off for a closer. Capps leads the Majors with 10 saves and he currently has a 0.68 ERA. He has been a little lucky, though, with a 4.25 xFIP and his control has not been the sharpest at 4.05 BB/9. He made four appearances this past week without allowing a run and he went 3-for-3 in saves.

Francisco Rodriguez | New York Mets
The Comments: The Mets club has really turned its season around, but Rodriguez is still struggling in the overall saves department with just three. The goods is that his ERA is just 0.84 (4.02 xFIP, though) and he’s striking out a lot of batters. The saves will come and he’s had all three of his saves in the past eight days.

Leo Nunez | Florida Marlins
The Comments: Nunez’ ERA currently sits at zero and his strikeout rate is a career high 9.64 K/9. It remains to be seen if it will remain at that level over the course of the season, but his owners will take it right now, one way or the other. Nunez has allowed just one hit on the season (April 11) but he’s lacked save opportunities; he converted his only opp this past week.

Ryan Franklin | St. Louis Cardinals
The Comments: Franklin is a perfect example of the good things that can happen when you throw strikes. His strikeout rate is a baffling 2.70 K/9 but he has seven saves in as many tries. He was 2-for-2 over the past seven days. He hasn’t allowed a run since April 16.

Francisco Cordero | Cincinnati Reds
The Comments: Cordero has allowed a lot of base runners – 12 hits, seven walks in 12.0 innings – but he’s’ second in the NL in saves with eight. Although he’s struggled with his control, the Reds’ closer has a solid strikeout rate at 9.49 K/9. Over the past week he’s been worked hard (surprise) and was 2-for-2 in save opportunities.

Jonathan Broxton | Los Angeles Dodgers
The Comments: Broxton is currently bringing the pain to National League hitters: He’s striking them out (13.50 K/9), he’s not issuing walks (1.13 BB/9), and he’s not allowing runs (0.00 ERA). Although he has yet to allow a runner to cross home plate, Broxton did blow a save this week and he gave up three hits in two appearances.

Steady Performers

Matt Lindstrom | Houston Astros
The Comments: Lindstrom has been surprisingly effective so far this season. He’s a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities and he hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past four outings, including three during the last week. Unfortunately, his control has slipped recently and he’s walked three batters in his last two appearances, so monitor him closely for regression.

Heath Bell | San Diego Padres
The Comments: On the year, Bell has allowed 10 hits in 9.1 innings but he’s 6-for-7 in save opportunities. He’s also striking out batters at a clip of 13.00 K/9. He appeared in three games this week (April 26-28) and went 2-for-2 in saves. He allowed three hits but struck out six.

Brian Wilson | San Francisco Giants
The Comments: It’s been a frustrating year for Wilson owners. The closer has a 2.25 ERA, a strikeout rate of 10.13 K/9 and a ground-ball rate of 70%, but he has just four saves in five tries. The rate of save opportunities picked up this past week and he went 2-for-3. He’s given up runs in just one outing all season (April 28).

Billy Wagner | Atlanta Braves
The Comments: One save. That’s all Wagner has managed this season despite a respectable ERA at 2.57 and a strikeout rate of 16.71 K/9. Overall, the veteran has had just two save opportunities all year and his last one came on April 9. Talk about bad luck… but it might be a good time to try and grab him in a trade.

Franklin Morales | Colorado Rockies
The Comments: At first glance, the ERA is OK at 3.72 but it gets much worse if you look at the xFIP of 5.99. Morales also has a strikeout rate of just 5.59 and he’s allowed nine hits in 9.2 innings. The young right-hander appeared in two games this past week but did not have a save opportunity.

Chad Qualls | Arizona Diamondbacks
The Comments: The 9.00 ERA is not pretty but the xFIP is just 3.28 and Qualls has produced a large number of strikeouts (10.00 K/9). He gave up a run in his last outing, but he was a perfect 3-for-3 in saves this past week. Perhaps he’s turning things around?

Fallen on Hard Times

Ryan Madson | Philadelphia Phillies
The Comments: With Brad Lidge close to activation, Madson’s save opportunities are about to diminish, although the club has said that it will ease the veteran back into the job. It’s about time to cut bait on Madson (at least move him to the bench), at least for now. It’s not a great loss, as he was just 4-for-6 in save opportunities with a 7.00 ERA (but 2.79 xFIP).

Octavio Dotel | Pittsburgh Pirates
The Comments: Despite a strikeout rate of 11.57 K/9 on the season, it’s been a rough month for Dotel, who has a 10.61 ERA. This past week has been particularly ugly and he allowed nine runs (seven earned) over a three game stretch between April 22 and 28. Eno recently looked at the situation with a little more depth.

Trevor Hoffman | Milwaukee Brewers
The Comments: Like Dotel, Hoffman has had a rough year, and the past week hasn’t been a picnic, either. His ERA currently sits at 13.00 and he’s allowed 15 hits in 9.0 innings or work. He got into three games in the last seven days and allowed six runs while blowing both of his save opportunities. Again, Eno looked more in-depth at the Milwaukee situation.

We hoped you liked reading NL Closer Report: April 30 by Marc Hulet!

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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I don’t think Capps is really having control issues this year. Two out of the six walks that Capps has given out have been intentional. If you take those out, his unintentional BB/9 is only 2.70, which is about what he had last year.