1. Philadelphia Phillies
Near Locks: Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, Danys Baez, JC Romero, Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick.
Backups: David Herndon, Scott Mathieson, Dan Meyer, Eddie Bonine, Vance Worley, Mike Zagurski.
When healthy Lidge is an upper echelon closer, and he seemed pretty damn healthy in the 2nd half last season (2.10 ERA, 21 SV). Ryan Madson, aka Mini-Mariano, is one of the top setup men in the game and his partner in crime, 53 year old
2. Atlanta Braves
Near Locks: Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Scott Linebrink, Peter Moylan, George Sherrill, Erik O'Flaherty, Scott Proctor.
Backups: Christian Martinez, Juan Abreu, Anthony Varvaro, Jairo Asencio.
Kimbrel and Venters were rookies last season, but damn they were good (combined 1.65 ERA in 103.2 IP with 133 K)...real friggin' good! The rest of the cast is nothing to brag about, but with those two holding down the 8th and 9th, nothing much more needs to be worried about.
3. Florida Marlins
Near Locks: Leo Nunez, Clay Hensley, Ryan Webb, Randy Choate, Mike Dunn, Brian Sanches, Edward Mujica.
Backups: Burke Badenhop, Jose Ceda, Steve Cishek, Dustin Richardson.
Nunez and Hensley are decent, Choate shuts down lefties, and Dunn has mucho upside, but for now this group remains middle-of-the-road.
4. New York Mets
Near Locks: Francisco Rodriguez, DJ Carrasco, Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta, Pat Misch, Taylor Buchholz, Oliver Perez.
Backups: Chris Capuano, Jenrry Mejia, Boof Bonser, Taylor Tankersley, Tim Byrdak, Ryota Igarashi, Blaine Boyer.
K-Rod likes to point to the heavens and beat up girlfriend's fathers, while the rest of the group is mediocre. Well, Ollie Perez actually sucks, but he's the exception.
5. Washington Nationals
Near Locks: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Doug Slaten, Henry Rodriguez, Todd Coffey, Craig Stammen.
Backups: Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang, Collin Balester, Garrett Mock, Cla Meredith, Chad Gaudin.
The Nats might warrant a 4th place ranking here, but they're the Nats...nuff said.