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Fantasy Impact of Joakim Soria’s Injury: Fan’s Take
Joakim Soria has been one of the best closers in Major League Baseball during the past four seasons. He has made 160 saves in 180 chances, compiling a 2.40 career ERA. From 2008-10, he was one of the top fantasy closers in the league, saving 115 games out of 124 chances. His success made him one of the first closers off the board a year ago, but Soria failed to continue his previous success and was considered a bust by many.
In 2011, Soria went 5-5, setting a career-worst mark for blown saves (seven), ERA (4.03), WHIP (1.28) and batting average against (.259). Something didn't seem right when he was throwing and it was revealed this spring that there was damage in his arm. The damage was revealed to be injured ligament. The only way to heal the injury is Tommy John Surgery, which is the second time Soria will have undergone the surgery.
If Soria didn't leave the mound last week with pain, revealing the damage, he may have been one of the first closers to come off the draft board this year. Despite having a terrible performance a year ago, his previous history would make him a sure bet for fantasy GMs.
The man who is most likely to take the ninth inning spot is Jonathan Broxton. The former closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers is coming off back-to-back rough seasons. In 2010, he was just 22-29 in save chances and compiled a 4.04 ERA. A year ago, he pitched in just 14 games with a 5.68 ERA. The Royals will be expecting Broxton to return to his 2009 form when he made 36 saves, but after two straight years of struggles, that might be too much to ask for.
For most fantasy GMs, Soria wouldn't be the first option at closer, but he would be a reliable option as the second or third choice. His greatest asset would have been for rotisserie league players relying on his normally stout ERA, high save totals and strikeout figures. While Broxton may not be able to fill-in all those needs, he could worth a look with a late-round pick.
For a look at Fantasy Projections for the 2012 season, go here.
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