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.
- Huston Street (ribcage) will likely be shut down for the last few regular season games. He had intended to pitch the rest of the season and undergo an MRI on Monday, but the Colorado Rockies weren't feeling that.
The Rox could go to Octavio Dotel, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt for save chances. Dotel has the most closing experience, but Belisle and Betancourt have much better skills. This is probably too risky to speculate on at this point, but Dotel would be the desperation guess.
- With Hong-Chih Kuo unavailable Tuesday for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenley Jansen recorded four outs on the way to his third save of the season. He walked two with two out in the eighth, but a K ended that inning. The then worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to wrap it up.
Jonathan Broxton is a free agent after the 2011 season, and the Blue's bullpen might be in flux next year if Brox can't fix his issues. Jansen has long-term saves potential and must be on your watch list.
John Axford blew a save Tuesday for the Milwaukee Brewers and took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. It was his first botched chance in 10 tries this year when trying to record a save of more than three outs. Manager Ken Macha said Ax was overthrowing. The righty said he left his fastball up in the strike zone often.
Where else would Street end 2010?
The Brew Crew hasn't given Trevor Hoffman another save chance since he logged No. 600 on Sept. 7, so the likelihood of that happening now isn't great. If you're pining for saves, maybe you could pick him up, but it's far from a safe wager.
- The Florida Marlins are considering placing Clay Hensley in the 2011 starting rotation. He almost won a spot in spring training. Leo Nunez's recent performance and potentially high cost next year might prompt Florida to discard Nunez and keep Hensley in the role (or at least in the running), however.
Hensley's stuff doesn't fit a stopper's profile, but his value is more secure as a closer. Keep an eye on the Marlins' offseason plans.
- It looks like Drew Storen has responded well since his recent bullpen session. The Washington Nationals' youngster has pitched three straight scoreless, one-inning outings and vultured a win Tuesday. He hasn't allowed a hit and has yielded just one walk while fanning five in his mini-run. It might still come down to a battle with Sean Burnett next year for the closer role, but Storen is the better bet for 2011.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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