The Closer Carousel v.2 – Another cooked bird.

The Oriole’s George Sherrill helped people win fantasy leagues last year. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Sherrill’s production from April to June (26 saves, 37 strikeouts, 3.68 ERA) was remarkable considering how late he was drafted, if at all, in leagues. Over the next three months of the season, his stats dropped dramatically, however, as he was able to amass only five more saves while seeing his ERA rise to 4.73.

With his solid performance last year, many expected Sherrill to be a lock for the Oriole’s closer role in 2009 despite the return of RHP Chris Ray. That couldn’t be farther from the case.

Sherrill is 64 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues. Ray is 28 percent owned. If you’re in the 72 percent that doesn’t own Ray yet, grab him. Here’s why:

1) Ray was the closer before the injury. Sherrill is merely keeping the seat warm for his return.

2) Through 11.1 IP during Spring Training, Ray’s ERA sits at 0.00. Sherrill’s, through only 7.1 innings, sits at 4.91. Say what you want about ST stats, but if I’m Dave Trembley, I’m trotting Ray out there for that first save situation.

3) Ray is made for the closer role. He has an above average fastball and a good slider and splitter. Sherrill relies more on his deceptive delivery than pure stuff, something that may become evident in his second season in the American League East.

Sherrill’s poor spring is going to open the door for Ray’s return. Get him while you can and reap the benefits.

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