Closer Report: Sleeper options emerging

Updated: January 15, 2013, 3:38 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
By mid-January, fantasy baseball owners should be thinking about their potential early-round draft picks, where they intend to get power and speed from, sleeper starting pitchers and, yes, to some degree, how they can build a reasonable bullpen without the likes of Craig Kimbrel and Mariano Rivera. Kimbrel has been amazing the past few seasons, and Rivera seemingly since the Eisenhower administration, and still, I'm far more likely to find the next Tom Wilhelmsen lurking on free agency than invest in saves before the 12th round.

More than a third of the closers from Opening Day last season failed to keep their role for the duration of the season, and quite a few of those pitchers couldn't even keep their jobs through April. Play the waiver-wire game in April/May and you'll find Wilhelmsen, Ernesto Frieri, Casey Janssen and, yes, even the fellow who finished first among all relief pitchers on the ESPN Player Rater, Dennis Eckersl- … um, I mean Fernando Rodney.