The AL Closer Report

There was a quick hook for one closer, who lost his job in Week 1 – and another stopper is not far from losing his gig, as well. Our Closer of the Week is a surprising name and someone who entered spring training without the title of closer.

Strong Performers

Jon Rauch | Minnesota Twins
The Comments: The Closer of the Week has Minnesota fans saying: “Joe Nathan, who?” Rauch was a perfect 4-for-4, but he allowed five hits in 4.0 innings of work. He’ll certainly be tested against the Red Sox before moving on to the Royals.

Mariano Rivera | New York Yankees
The Comments: Mr. Automatic continues to delivery with two saves in as many tries. He allowed two hits and one walk in 3.0 innings. His ERA is still perfect. The Angels and Rangers teams will offer some stiff competition in the week ahead.

David Aardsma | Seattle Mariners
The Comments: Aardsma was a perfect 2-for-2 and he did not allow a hit or a walk in 2.0 innings. He also struck out four batters.

Steady Performers

Jason Frasor | Toronto Blue Jays
The Comments: There were so many save opportunities to be had for the Jays this past week that Frasor received three saves and back-up closer Kevin Gregg also recorded two. Frasor was not perfect, though, as he blew another opportunity (He took the loss) and allowed six hits and three walks in 3.1 innings of work.

Joakim Soria | Kansas City Royals
The Comments: Soria was 1-for-2 in save opps but he did not allow a walk and struck out four batters. It was a ‘Meh’ week.

Andrew Bailey | Oakland Athletics
The Comments: Bailey made three appearances without allowing an earned run, but he gave up three hits and struck out just one batter. No save opportunities were to be had in the first week of the season. Tyson Ross ended up with a three-inning save on Sunday, but Bailey’s job is safe.

Brian Fuentes | Los Angeles Angels
The Comments: Fuentes made just one appearance this week and saved the game without allowing a hit or a walk in one inning. The Angels are in tough this week against the Yankees and red-hot Blue Jays.

Rafael Soriano | Tampa Bay Rays
The Comments: Soriano got the job done with one save and a win in two appearances. However, he allowed four hits and one walk (and did not record a strikeout) in 2.0 innings.

Jose Valverde | Detroit Tigers
The Comments: Valverde went 1-for-2 in save opps, while also taking a loss. He allowed four hits and one walk in 3.0 innings. Ryan Perry also recorded a save during this past week. The club will face the Royals and Mariners this week, so it should mean a good number of save opportunities.

Bobby Jenks | Chicago White Sox
The Comments: Jenks saved the game during his only opportunity for the week and he also struck out five batters in 3.0 innings of work.

Jonathan Papelbon | Boston Red Sox
The Comments: Papelbon had a bit of a rough week with a loss and an ERA of 5.40 in 3.1 innings. He gave up two runs, including a homer. As well, his control was off with two walks allowed. He did, though, still record two saves. Papelbon will face the Twins and Rays this week.

Fallen on Hard Times

Chris Perez | Cleveland Indians
The Comments: The young closer, who is filling in for the injured Kerry Wood, was 2-for-3 in saves and allowed three runs in three innings on three hits and four walks. He struck out just one batter and took the loss on Sunday. The Rangers and White Sox are on tap, which means two pretty good offenses.


Frank Francisco | Texas Rangers
The Comments: It’s Neftali Feliz time already. Francisco was on a pretty short leash, although he did blow both of his save opportunities. The right-hander allowed eight hits and six runs in 2.0 innings. Don’t be too quick to jump on Feliz, though. The youngster could have some growing pains, but he’ll ease into his new position by facing the Royals… and then the Yankees.

Mike Gonzalez | Baltimore Orioles
The Comments: Gonzalez isn’t officially unemployed quite yet but it was an ugly week for the O’s new closer. He has an 18.00 ERA after three games and has blown two saves (with one converted). Five hits and four walks in 2.0 innings is definitely not going to get the job done. Unless things improve quickly, Jim Johnson could be in line for some saves soon.

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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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White Sox don’t have a good offense. Pierre is their leadoff hitter. Even more admning is that Kotsay is their 5-hitter. Enough said. They have some decent bats (Quentin, Konerko, Beckham, Rios) but so does just about every other AL team. This offense is going to be bad.


This article is neither about the White Sox nor offense…


Clearly the White Sox comment relates to the Chris Perez blurb’s assertion that they are a *pretty good offense*.