NL Closer Watch 

March, 17, 2006
Someone asked the question on last Sunday morning's Fantasy Focus radio show, about why Chris Reitsma just isn't getting any respect as the Braves closer. Well, the answer is because few people expect he'll be the Atlanta closer long.

A year ago the Braves had moved John Smoltz out of the closer role, despite his obvious thriving in the position, and given Dan Kolb the job. Well, fantasy owners were buying. I wonder how many of them even bothered to look deeper at Kolb's odd numbers as Milwaukee's 2004 closer. I wonder if Atlanta did! Really, when one considers the profound success this franchise has had on the mound the last 15 years, how could Kolb's minimal strikeout rate have escaped them? I think that's why I trusted the Braves, over the obvious tell-tale signs in Kolb's stats.

Kolb got saves in the second, third and fourth games of the season, but things weren't rosy for long. Pitchers who don't strike hitters out generally have troubles at some point. He was the right-handed Kirk Reuter. Jesse Crain of the Twins had a decent strikeout rate in the past, and I think he gets back to that. Kolb did it with mirrors in 2004. It didn't work in 2005, and by the end of April he had a 7.20 ERA and two losses. Good buy low candidate? Not really.