Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on July 22, 2010 @ 12:47:00 PDT

 


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.

Key

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Closer: Jonathan Broxton

Arizona Diamondbacks RP Juan Gutierrez
Arizona's pen problems improving?

More on Brox: He was throwing a 91 mph fastball Tuesday, well below his mid- to upper-90s flames. As discussed yesterday, the 44-pitch count from Sunday might be taking its toll. Manager Joe Torre said Broxton is healthy and that his struggles are mechanical. The righty's velocity is down in general from '09, but sometimes throwing motion restricts pitch speed.

Be patient with Brox. He's elite when he's right, and he has fixed numerous issues like this in recent years and returned to form. The righty still induces grounders at a top-notch rate. There's no way Torre would remove him long term if all is physically right. Now, maybe if Torre kept a calendar on how and when to use him....

Job security score: 5

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen pitched a stellar eight innings last night as the Snakes won it in 14. Aaron Heilman had two scoreless innings with three K's. Juan Gutierrez - Tuesday's savior - and Sam Demel each threw in a scoreless canto.
    This could mean Chad Qualls, who didn't enter Wednesday action, could be used for a save chance tonight. It isn't worth banking on, but depending on what happens in tonight's action, this 'pen could get even more frustrating for fantasy owners.
    If you're a desperate deep leaguer and Guti is already owned, you should think about tucking Qualls away, as long as you keep your ties loose. Good luck; you'll need it with this saves crop.
  • After a scoreless four-out save Wednesday, Matt Capps (Washington Nationals) has a 1.08 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP in July. Maybe he's increasing his trade value.
    Drew Storen's rough July (4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 frames) might mean Storen isn't ready to close yet, but the Nats might be more willing to try out their future now and snag a package for Capps. Shallow leaguers in desperate saves shape should consider Storen for their roster.
  • Matt Lindstrom needed 32 pitches to log 1 2/3 frames of scoreless non-save work Wednesday for the Houston Astros; he allowed three hits and fanned one. It was his first work since Friday.
    Gustavo Chacin
    recorded the save despite a rough 12th inning effort. Since the Astros are off today, Lindstrom should be back closing Friday if needed.
  • Ryan Franklin has converted 11 straight save chances since May 7, his last gaffe. Six of the St. Louis Cardinals stopper's seven appearances this month have been shutout affairs; a six-run blowup July 6 has ballooned his July ERA to 9.00.
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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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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