Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Is Brian Wilson healthy? Plus, bye, Leo Nunez

by Tim Heaney on September 22, 2011 @ 12:45:35 PDT


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.


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


Florida Marlins

Closer: Steve Cishek, Edward Mujica

Understudy: Mike Dunn

Lurkers: Jose Ceda

Kansas City Royals RP Joakim Soria
So long, Soria, for 2011?

Leo Nunez has been placed on MLB's restricted list and suspended, presumably for the rest of the season. He's heading back to the Dominican Republic. No reason was immediately given. Obviously, this clouds his 2012 standing with Florida, making this a closer picture to watch in the offseason.

Follow the Marlins' suit and drop Nunez from your single-year fantasy squads. The choice for his replacement isn't as clear. USA Today reports, possibly speculates, that Cishek will do the job - makes sense, because the righty recorded two closures while filling in during Nunez's forced sabbatical in late August. Mujica is 1A. Despite his recent workload being that of a setup man, his ability to eat multiple innings probably puts him behind the younger arm. Of course, Dunn remains in the picture as a possible lefty-situation option.

Target Cishek first. Florida probably thinks Mujica's flexibility would do them better in setup and long relief. Don't rule him out, though, if you miss out on Cishek and remain desperate for saves.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 5

San Francisco Giants

Closer: Brian Wilson

Understudy: Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez

Lurkers: Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez

San Jose Mercury News reporter Andrew Baggarly observed Wilson displaying different mechanics and appearing to be less than 100 percent healthy during his Wednesday save: "He wasn't quite as hunched over as he came to the set position. And he seemed to stand with his left foot slightly in front of his right one. It looked like Wilson was shaking his right arm a little between pitches, too." Gamecast said his fastball topped out at 93, which is below his average. The San Francisco Giants are back in the Wild Card race; they need Wilson. Maybe it's just rust, but this, on top of his season-long Carlos Marmol-esque BB/9, doesn't project comfort.

Did he return too soon? If SF is eliminated, he'll probably be shut down, giving Casilla and Co. the cluttered keys again. If Wilson shows iffy off- and preseason signs.... Keep a close long-term eye here.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Joakim Soria (strained right hamstring) threw off flat ground Wednesday for the second straight day. He'll need to make it through a bullpen session before returning to game action. His fantasy usefulness for 2011 is running out; stay tuned through the weekend to see if he'll appear again this season. Until then, Greg Holland is the Kansas City Royals target.
  • Having saved both games of Tuesday's doubleheader, Drew Storen rested Wednesday, with Henry Rodriguez closing out the Washington Nationals' victory. If Storen didn't have a tight grip on Washington's job, and if Tyler Clippard wasn't a 'pen ace, Rodriguez would be a stronger watch candidate.
    His control still needs improvement, but he touches triple digits on his heat and has a complementary K/9. He's talented enough to serve NL-only and holds-league owners well next season if he inherits a more important role.
  • A stay of execution for Jason Motte: He recorded the Wednesday save despite giving up a solo jack. He'll be the best (only?) candidate for St. Louis Cardinals saves entering 2012.
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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