Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Luke Gregerson, Rafael Soriano, Alfredo Aceves

by Nicholas Minnix on August 28, 2012 @ 09:15:54 PDT'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)

San Diego Padres

Closer: Huston Street DL
Understudy/Fill-in: Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer

New York Yankees RP Rafael Soriano
Not Mo, but ... so?

On Monday, the Friars reinstated proud papa Thayer from the paternity leave list. They put him to work right away - in the eighth frame, where he issued a two-out walk but had little trouble otherwise in a scoreless frame.

The right-hander set up Gregerson, who notched his second save of the season, and second in two days, by pitching a scoreless ninth. He gave up a leadoff base knock, but a lineout and a double-play grounder quickly dispatched the Atlanta Braves' final hope to get on the scoreboard and sewed up a W for rookie Casey Kelly in his MLB debut.

It had been nearly a week since Thayer had appeared in a game, so Bud Black may have wanted to get his initial interim closer some action before calling on him in a save chance. Thayer had been knocked around a little in two of his last three games before the stork visited him and the missus, however. The guy is a journeyman, after all.

Gregerson is working on a streak of 23 shutout stanzas and has handled both of his substitute opps quite well. In fact, he's in the midst of his best season (2.28 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) in his four as a major leaguer.

Black should see no reason to go away from his best Street-less reliever; the man hasn't allowed a run since Independence Day. He should be almost universally owned. The skipper and his reliever both told the team's official site that Gregerson's slider has been devastating.

Street (strained calf) could go on a rehab assignment before he returns to action, but it's unclear where he is in his recovery since he played catch last Wednesday and reportedly was in tip-top shape. The minor league season ends next Monday. Either way, it seems unlikely that Street will be back sometime early in September.

Job security score: 3
Health score:

Mound meetings

On Monday night, Rafael Soriano gave up three runs to the Toronto Blue Jays to blow a save opportunity - and nearly absorb a loss - for the New York Yankees.

With two outs and two on, the righty served up a three-run bomb to Colby Rasmus. A Derek Jeter solo shot in the bottom of the frame saved Soriano from receiving the dreaded "L" (which Derek Lowe took instead, two frames later).

As all the papers pointed out, Soriano is 33 of 36 in save opportunities this year. Some of them pointed out that he's just not Mariano Rivera, either. Despite that fact, Soriano has plenty of job security.


Alfredo Aceves doesn't have a seat on the team flight to the West Coast this week, but Bobby Valentine expects his reliever to be out there when the series begins. The circumstances surrounding the significance of being unable to ride with the rest of the club may not be clear.

It's also unclear whether Aceves is still up for consideration to close games. Bobby V has been uncertain about that.

This manager rubs some players the wrong way, but if players do right by him, he tends to include them in the fun. If Aceves has a positive attitude when he joins the Boston Red Sox in California, he may demonstrate to Valentine that he's remorseful, and that could lead to more ninth-inning gigs.

It's no lock, of course, for a few reasons, at least. Aceves mustn't let his emotions get the better of him again. He must avoid fouling up save opps with regularity. And Valentine mustn't be already in love with using Andrew Bailey as his closer from here on out.

Odds are in Bailey's favor that he's primary man in save chances before too long. He should be owned everywhere.

Other Monday saviors

Jim Johnson (40), Orioles 1st man to that number in 2012
Aroldis Chapman (32), Reds  
Jason Motte (31), Cardinals Pitched 1 1/3 frames
Joe Nathan (26), Rangers  
Grant Balfour (15), Athletics Walked 1, but all 3 outs via K
Matt Belisle (2), Rockies Went 1 2/3 innings after 3-run lead became 10-run lead
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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.

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