Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton Become Great Sleeper Picks in Fantasy Baseball: A Fan’s Take

Fantasy baseball owners are scrambling with the news that Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria are out for the rest of the year. What it has done though, is create opportunities for great fantasy baseball sleeper picks like Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton to really step up. The Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals may struggle to find the right replacement and it once again shows the value of waiting to draft a closer for fantasy owners.

Soria went down first, with the Royals revealing that he has to go through reconstructive elbow surgery. He is lost for the season, forcing the team to look in another direction for their ninth inning pitcher. The Royals made a very intelligent decision when they signed Broxton during the offseason, giving the team an inexpensive weapon that could soon become their closer.

CBS Sports stated that Broxton, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland are all in the mix as possibilities to close for the Royals now. Crow was an All-Star last year as a set-up man, but Broxton was a very good closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers before, posting 36 saves in the 2009 season. The Dodgers gave up on him, though, which could serve to the advantage of the Royals now.

The Reds announced over the weekend that Madson's elbow ligament had torn off the bone, resulting in a need for him to also go through season-ending Tommy John surgery. This is a huge blow for the team, especially after forking over a lot of money in the offseason to bring him in as the new closer. Enter Marshall, who originally was penciled in as a set-up guy, as one of the primary candidates to take over as the Reds' closer.

Not many fantasy baseball owners drafted Marshall or Broxton to begin with, but they are turning into very nice surprises for those who did. Last season, Marshall had a career-high of 5 saves with the Chicago Cubs, but could quickly surpass that number in the 2012 MLB season if he gets handed the ball. If you need saves and he is available on the waiver wire in your league, take the risk on him. The Reds are likely to win a lot of games this year, giving him ample opportunities to rack up saves.

For leagues that drafted earlier in June, Broxton and Marshall are players that could still get picked up by savvy owners.

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*Ryan Christopher DeVault has participated in fantasy baseball leagues for many years, often winning through unorthodox strategy that leaves opponents befuddled. He seeks to provide his expertise to other owners that want to win their respective leagues.

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Updated Monday, Mar 26, 2012