If you have yet to draft your fantasy baseball team and are still doing some late prep for one of your drafts, one big question remains.
Where should I draft Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman?
Prior to him getting hit in the head by a line drive that resulted in Chapman suffering fractures above his nose and left eye, it was fine that Chapman was one of the top closers to come off the board.
If you are like me, you don’t value closers very high to begin with, so it is doubtful that I would have reached for Chapman in the early rounds to begin with.
But now is a different story as you could probably get some decent value out of Chapman as he is going much later in drafts.
The Reds are saying he is expected to make a full recovery but will miss six-to-eight weeks, which would have him out until sometime in mid-May or early June.
As one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball since entering the majors in 2011, and has been an elite closer each of the last two seasons. Chapman has a 2.40 ERA, 2.27 FIP, 1.04 WHIP and 324 strikeouts in 198.2 innings.
Assuming he returns to the mound this season, he’s still going to be a very valuable fantasy closer.
Guys that have more than 15 strikeouts per nine innings in 2012 and 2013, don’t exactly grow on trees.
However the fact that that he’s going to miss at least a quarter of the season means that his overall numbers won’t necessarily be there.
Right now I have him anywhere between the No.12 and No. 15 closer off the board.
If you can get Chapman in that range then you will get great value out of him.
But do yourself two favors.
Don’t reach on Chapman before that and make sure you handcuff him with a guy like J.J. Hoover. While Jonathan Broxton will also get some save opportunities in Cincinnati, I like the upside of Hoover a lot better.
When it comes to auction drafts I can’t recommend pay more than $15 for Chapman in mixed league formats.
In actuality that number may be a bit high as $11-12 seems more reasonable, but the same thing applies here. If you get Chapman, make sure you get Hoover as well.
Following this strategy ensures a couple of things.
For one you won’t be overpaying for a closer like Chapman and can address other needs on your team early on. Secondly by waiting to grab him you should get great value in the four months that you do have him healthy.
But by grabbing a guy like Hoover in the process you can still grab an elite closer like Chapman later than usual and your team shouldn’t suffer in the process.