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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fantasy baseball: The Angels have a new closer

It wouldn't be a new week in fantasy baseball if at least one team didn't change closers.

Tuesday, we had the Angels, who will turn to second-year reliever Jordan Walden after Fernando Rodney blew one of two save chances, had a 4.50 WHIP and a 13.50 ERA in 1 1/3 innings in Los Angeles' first four games.

If you're in a deep 5x5 category league, Walden is an intriguing option.

He throws hard (as high as 100 mph) and should be a decent source of strikeouts (he has 28 in 17 2/3 innings in the big leagues). He has a 2.04 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in two seasons, but can be a little wild (4.1 walks per nine innings in his brief major-league career and 3.4 walks per nine in the minors).

The 23-year-old was a 12th-round pick by the Angels in 2006 and entered 2011 as a top-five prospect in the organization. He struck out 302 batters in 330 innings down on the farm, and he will be the Angels' closer as Rodney, according to Manager Mike Scioscia, "gets back in touch with some things."

The guess here is Walden will hold the job for the season, barring injury. If he is effective, he could be a top-15 closer (the Angels aren't World Series contenders, but they have averaged 92 wins the last seven seasons).

Another guess: There will be another new closer somewhere by the end of the week. And somewhere, Tim McCarver is talking -- a lot.

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