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.
|Job security (JS) score
||1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
|Health (H) score
||1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)
Understudy: Juan Gutierrez, Chad Qualls
Gutierrez gave up a leadoff homer but retired the next three batters, striking out two, in closing out 'Zona's victory Tuesday for his second save in seven contests. The ding-dong sent a Gutierrez fastball over the wall, and the righty adjusted by going to his slider, which punctuated each of the final two outs.
Manager Kirk Gibson wouldn't commit to Guti getting more save chances, but Guti - despite being snakebitten by homers - looks like the best bet ... for now. As long as you have the antidote for this venomous situation, in the form of a rotating roster spot, you can try him out.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
Closer: Jonathan Broxton
J-Brox usage patterns a bit confusing
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a close one Tuesday, partly thanks to a rule violation by Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly, who was serving as acting manager due to ejections to manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer. Mattingly had just stepped off the mound after a pitching conference with Broxton when Mattingly turned around to answer a question from first baseman James Loney.
Mattingly was charged with a second visit to the mound, and by rule Broxton had to be removed. The bases were loaded with one out when Broxton exited. What followed? A two-RBI double and, later on, an RBI single, with George Sherrill blowing the lead and give Broxton the loss.
This has been pretty exemplary of Broxton's July: 9.95 ERA, 2.05 WHIP in 6 1/3 frames. Note that he has two outings of 44-plus pitches in his last eight games. A 44-pitch outing Sunday might start off another bad train. Brox still has his elite skills going, but Torre's use of Broxton could cause trouble over time. Maybe if they ease off him for a bit, he'll regain his stride.
Job security score: 5
Health score: 5
- With trade winds blowing in his face, Octavio Dotel found stable footing for a Pittsburgh Pirates save Tuesday. The New York Mets are reportedly interested in the righty, who worked around one hit to strike out the side and preserve Pittsburgh's two-run advantage.
Again, a pre-emptive strike on Evan Meek in deep leagues wouldn't hurt. He does enough to help your ERA and WHIP anyway. Joel Hanrahan also lurks as a Dotel replacement possibility, though, so keep posted on what they decide if they swap out Dotel.
- Lefty Jeremy Affeldt wrapped it up for the San Francisco Giants last night. Stopper Brian Wilson was likely unavailable, having appeared in each of the last four days while totaling 65 pitches. Affeldt gave up a one-out double but worked around it while recording two K's.
Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL
Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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