KFFL.com'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.
What is Addison Reed's first act as the Chicago White Sox's closer? In his first appearance since his coronation, the right-hander opened the ninth inning of Thursday's tilt versus the Minnesota Twins with an 11-6 lead. He finished the game and struck out a pair, but Minnesota picked up two runs on two hits, the second a two-run jobby from Justin Morneau.
What is it with the ChiSox's closing role? Maybe that's the title is the kryptonite, here?
OK, let's open with the overused "in fairness": Reed, 23, hadn't pitched in four days, and both knocks came off the bats of the Twins' two best hitters, Joe Mauer and the aforementioned slugger, both of which have heated up.
Reed has also been a closer for approximately half of his past four and a half years of competitive ball, encapsulating his college, minor league and major league days. The South Siders drafted him in 2010 with some belief that he was bred to be a closer. Many ninth-inning specialists are at their best when the stakes are highest and sometimes lack focus when little is on the line.
In a small sample size, it appears that Reed's results support the notion that he fits the profile. But he still needs consistent work. He's been nearly perfect when he's on for a save, so don't worry too much about the nasty hurler.
Fantasy owners might've begun to wonder just a bit if Joel Hanrahan, who was off to a somewhat wild start, had suckered them with his 2011 breakthrough and in fact he was just another untamed reliever. Those folks might have a legit explanation for a bumpy ride, however, and reason to believe that he's in for more good times.
The right-hander told Bill Brink that he tweaked his hamstring in mid-April and it affected his performance for a good month. The piece notes that Hanrahan rarely used his breaking balls while he was less than 100 percent but has been feeling like he's at full strength for about a week or two.
His PITCHf/x data at BrooksBaseball.net seems to back up the claims regarding his velocity, to some degree, although not so much his pitch selection. The implication may simply be that he has more confidence in his sliders now. Whatever the case, his outcomes lately have been better, both in the batted-ball department and in the earned-run column. We'll roll with it.
Dusty Baker wishes to limit the wear and tear on his gangly closer, Aroldis Chapman. It was no surprise that the left-hander wasn't called upon in a save situation on Thursday against the Atlanta Braves since he'd pitched on each of the previous two days and has appeared frequently in the past two weeks.
With a three-run lead, righty Logan Ondrusek took the ball to begin the ninth, after Sean Marshall set him up with a quality frame. Ondrusek gave up a couple of hits but eventually slammed the door with the aid of a double-play grounder.
When he stays away from Chapman, Baker seems content with playing matchups, and not necessarily those dictated by handedness. In the eighth, Marshall faced the toughest hitters in Atlanta's lineup. Granted, two of the first three were left-handed, which likely made the manager's decision that much easier.
Other Thursday saviors
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
Don't miss these great reports....