Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL
by Bryce McRae
on May 24, 2010 @ 12:00:00
In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.
Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
Closer: Trevor Hoffman
Understudy: Carlos Villanueva
Disabled list: LaTroy Hawkins (shoulder)
Hoffman returned to game action Sunday. He worked a perfect eighth, throwing nine of his 10 pitches for strikes, and noted his pitches were more deceptive. He had worked with pitching coach Rick Peterson the previous few days to adjust his arm slot, hoping to add more downward movement.
It's hasty to remove the closer's title just yet, even though he worked in setup. Manager Ken Macha still hasn't stated the Hoff's final destination. The Brewers don't have a ready replacement. Hoffman is just four saves shy of 600. He's their best bet, as long as he's right, though fantasy owners will probably have to wait a bit to see him close the door again.
Villanueva had another save chance Saturday. He blew it and threw 44 pitches over the two innings. The next day, Axford earned the save, partially because of Villy's workload.
Coffey's value might have dampened a bit since Friday. Braddock, a hard-throwing lefty, could be a closer down the line but is only deep dynasty league spec.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
Closer: Jose Contreras
Understudy: J.C. Romero
Disabled list: Brad Lidge (elbow)
Manager Charlie Manuel opted for the left-handed Romero with two runners on and one out in the ninth Friday with a 5-1 lead. A lefty (the Boston Red Sox's J.D. Drew) was due up, followed by a hitter (Adrian Beltre) that has hit worse against southpaws. The left-handed David Ortiz was also available (and used) for the Boston Red Sox as a pinch hitter. Romero worked out of the Danys Baez-induced trouble and earned a save.
Contreras is still the first option on most nights. In this case, Manuel played the matchups, like he did May 16 when two lefties and a switch hitter were due up in the ninth. Romero earned the save that game and could probably offer one or two additional closures to desperate deep owners.
Lidge, their injured stopper, will throw bullpens Tuesday and Thursday this week. He could then start a rehab assignment on the weekend and return next week, if all goes according to plan.
Job security score: 2
Health score: 4
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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