Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold

Saturday night was the deadline for teams to tender players with less than six years service time contracts. There were a lot of quality players who were non-tendered contracts that night.

One of those players who was non-tendered a contract was Mike MacDougal of the Washington Nationals. MacDougal, by default became the Nationals’ closer last year after original closer Joel Hanrahan was ineffective.

Bruney could be the Nats closer in 2010

MacDougal picked up 20 saves and had a respectable 3.60 ERA in 50 games for the Nationals in 2009. However, his one-to-one strike out to walk ratio and hip surgery in October was probably the reason he was not tendered a contract.

Now that MacDougal is gone for now (the Nationals could still bring him back), the Nationals need a closer for 2010. Enter recently acquired Brian Bruney.

Bruney was acquired from the New York Yankees for a Player To Be Named Later (Jamie Hoffmann) and now stands to be the Nationals’ closer in 2010. As scary as that seems, there is nobody else in Washington right now who even remotely looks capable of closing games.

Bruney needs to limit his walks and of course, stay healthy in order to be effective for the Nationals. For a guy with decent stuff, Bruney walks way, way to many batters.

Bruney for his career has averaged 6.2 walks/9 innings. It’s hard to rely on a guy who goes to a 3-2 count on every batter and almost walks as many as he strikes out (8.9 K’s/9 for his career).

However, that is what the Nationals might have to do in 2010.

The Nationals gave their bullpen 58 save opportunities last year, which ranked towards the bottom of baseball. I don’t think the Nationals will rush Drew Storen to the majors, so Bruney should have the opportunity to save between 25 and 30 games in 2010.

Bruney went from afterthought with the Yankees, to a fantasy option in 2010. Draft Bruney as a low-end, number two closer in most fantasy formats.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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