Ah, closers, the bane of fantasy baseball's existence. Hero one day, goat the next. Yet there might be more fantasy analysis bandwidth dedicated to saves than every other stat combined.
By now, you know this common recommendation: Wait on closers. Heck, some are even proponents of punting saves altogether. Truth be told, all advice, not just that concerning closers, is completely contextual. There is no one-size-fits-all stratagem, regardless of the topic. It all depends on your league format, number of teams and scoring system, not to mention the league dynamics and your personal strengths and weaknesses as an evaluator. It's just that saves are such a specialized position that they garner more attention.
Today, saves are going under the microscope in an effort to get a leg up on the competition for next season, laying the groundwork for you to formulate the most efficient means of attacking the category next spring. I'll start by taking a peak at saves in the League of Alternative Baseball Reality and Tout Wars, look at reliever skills and unveil some data that some owners might not even realize exists, data that could go against what is conventionally accepted in the sabermetric community. Those revelations will be applied to upper-tier closers to demonstrate how the top guys do more than just get saves. Finally, I'll dissect a few surprisingly effective closers and talk about their chances of success in 2013, along with analyzing some disappointing relievers to determine whether 2013 could be a bounce-back campaign.