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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, May 31, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Updated 2011 pitcher rankings

If you needed further proof that closers should never be drafted early in fantasy baseball, look at Joakim Soria.

The 27-year-old saved 43 games in 46 chances with a 1.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP for the Royals last season. He struck out 71 batters in 65 2/3 innings.

This season, Soria seemed to lose it, blowing three consecutive saves to lose his job to rookie Aaron Crow. Soria entered Tuesday night 7-for-12 in save chances with a 6.55 ERA, 1.68 WHIP and three losses this season.

Those numbers are a far cry from 2009 and '10, when Soria saved a combined 73 games in 79 chances, had a 1.97 ERA and struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings.

Now he's a setup man to Crow, the Royals' first-round pick in 2009 (No. 12 overall) who has been very effective in 27 innings this season (2-0, 1.33 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 26 Ks).

Then there's this: In 29 games in the minor leagues, and in college at Missouri, Crow was a starting pitcher. In the minors, he had 5.73 ERA.

Just another reminder to step aside next spring when your fellow league owners go on a closer run. Select anyone but a relief pitcher.

Crow doesn't make the top 25 of the closer rankings that follow, but he should be considered a No. 3 reliever in a 10- or 12-team mixed league.

Without further delay, our starting pitcher and closer rankings through the first two months of the season. For our batter rankings, click here.

1. Roy Halladay, Phillies
2. Jered Weaver, Angels
3. Tim Lincecum, Giants
4. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
5. Cole Hamels, Phillies
6. Dan Haren, Angels
7. James Shields, Rays
8. Trevor Cahill, Athletics
9. Jon Lester, Red Sox
10. Justin Verlander, Tigers
11. Michael Pineda, Mariners
12. Tommy Hanson, Braves
13. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
14. Josh Beckett, Red Sox
15. David Price, Rays
16. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
17. Gio Gonzalez, Athletics
18. CC Sabathia, Yankees
19. Cliff Lee, Phillies
20. Alexi Ogando, Rangers
21. Jair Jurrjens, Braves
22. Max Scherzer, Tigers
23. C.J. Wilson, Rangers
24. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays
25. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
26. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks
27. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
28. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays
29. Shaun Marcum, Brewers
30. Brett Anderson, Athletics
31. Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
32. Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
33. Roy Oswalt, Phillies
34. Jonathan Sanchez, Giants
35. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins
36. Zack Greinke, Brewers
37. Kyle McClellan, Cardinals
38. Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks
39. Matt Cain, Giants
40. Zach Britton, Orioles
41. Justin Masterson, Indians
42. Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
43. Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies
44. Josh Tomlin, Indians
45. Jake Arrieta, Orioles
46. Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
47. Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers
48. Colby Lewis, Rangers
49. Gavin Floyd, White Sox
50. Ervin Santana, Angels
Last ones out: Tim Hudson, Braves; Randy Wolf, Brewers; Madison Bumgarner, Giants; Charlie Morton, Pirates; A.J. Burnett, Yankees; Aaron Harang, Padres

Disabled list: Josh Johnson, Marlins; Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies; Johan Santana, Mets; Wandy Rodriguez, Astros; Matt Garza, Cubs

1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
2. Brian Wilson, Giants
3. Heath Bell, Padres
4. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets
5. Craig Kimbrel, Braves
6. Leo Nunez, Marlins
7. Neftali Feliz, Rangers
8. Carlos Marmol, Cubs
9. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
10. J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks
11. Huston Street, Rockies
12. Jordan Walden, Angels
13. John Axford, Brewers
14. Fernando Salas, Cardinals
15. Chris Perez, Indians
16. Jose Valverde, Tigers
17. Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
18. Ryan Madson, Phillies
19. Kyle Farnsworth, Rays
20. Drew Storen, Nationals
21. Andrew Bailey, Athletics
22. Sergio Santos, White Sox
23. Francisco Cordero, Reds
24. Matt Capps, Twins
25. Mark Melancon, Astros
Last ones out: Aaron Crow, Royals; Kevin Gregg, Orioles; Brandon League, Mariners

Disabled list: Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers; David Aardsma, Mariners; Brad Lidge, Phillies; Joe Nathan, Twins; Vicente Padilla, Dodgers; Brandon Lyon, Astros



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