Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Kenley Jansen, Andrew Bailey, more

by Nicholas Minnix on August 30, 2012 @ 11:35:43 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)

Los Angeles Dodgers

Closer: Kenley Jansen INJ
Understudy/Fill-in: Ronald Belisario
Lurkers: Brandon League, Javy Guerra M, Randy Choate

Belisario recorded five outs to save the Blue's 10-8 victory in Colorado on Wednesday. That's because Jansen was unavailable; he'd been hospitalized on Tuesday night with a recurrence of an irregular heartbeat.

Boston Red Sox RP Andrew Bailey
One thing certain: Bailey closes

Don Mattingly told the media that his closer is out indefinitely. The condition caused Jansen to miss approximately four weeks last season. It's poor timing for the playoff-hungry Dodgers, but they won't put their reliever's health at risk until they know he's in the clear.

When that will be is far from certain, but it could be for the rest of the 2012 campaign. Fantasy owners who are also playoff-hungry (or starving for saves, or protecting roto points in the category) have a new target: Belisario, who has been quite good this season with a 2.75 ERA, an 8.08 K/9, a 1.01 WHIP and a 3.61 BB/9, in addition to his single save.

Donnie Baseball may have to lean on others to get his staff through the next five weeks. Belisario has probably been Hollywood's second-best reliever all season, but he can pitch more than one inning, as witnesses have already seen and his eight such appearances attest.

League has good ol' closing experience. He's been unreliable since arriving from the Seattle Mariners in a deadline, but he told the media earlier this week that he believes he's fixed a mechanical flaw. He hasn't been scored upon in four straight appearances (four innings).

Guerra has been pretty solid since he lost the closer's role to Jansen, although he won't be back up until rosters expand, this Saturday. Walks remain a possible pitfall, of course, like they have been for League, and he's not as dominant as Jansen or Belisario.

And then there's Choate, everybody's favorite LOOGY.

Belisario would seem to be Mattingly's choice whenever possible, but only time will tell. Los Angeles still has some hope that time will tell them to keep hope alive for Jansen's return, too.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Boston Red Sox

Closer: Andrew Bailey
Understudy/Fill-in: Vicente Padilla, Mark Melancon
Lurkers: Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard

The drama in Beantown never ends. Bobby Valentine and friends, in a nutshell (not necessarily in order of importance to roto managers; in case of fantasy interest only, skip straight to No. 4):

  1. Aceves wasn't a very good teammate this past Friday. He hasn't been a very good closer this year, especially lately. According to Bobby V, the right-hander was simply the only man available to handle the ninth inning in a tight ballgame on Tuesday night (and failed miserably).
  2. Aceves is not the club's closer anymore. That is clear only because of Valentine's actions, which include his hearty endorsement of his faith in Aceves in the first link and his alleged failure to communicate anything about his reliever's role to his reliever.
  3. Valentine is (not just allegedly) a bad manager.
  4. Bailey is the BoSox's closer.

Boston is recalling Bard today. Welcome back!

Job security score: 3
Health score:

Mound meetings

The San Diego Padres should get to activate Huston Street (strained calf) from the disabled list on Sunday. He's expected to make one rehab appearance, on Friday, and then rejoin the club.


Ryan Cook retired the last batter in the bottom of the eighth inning before his Oakland Athletics tacked on two more runs to double their lead against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Bob Melvin probably saw little reason not to let Cook finish it off. Cook did, for his 13th save.

It kind of became official recently that Grant Balfour has reclaimed the closer's role, but last night's affair resulted in a save situation for no one but Cook. The right-handed rookie hadn't given up a run in nearly three weeks, and this was a good chance to see if he'd regained his confidence since he reportedly fixed a mechanical flaw.

Cook and Sean Doolittle both seem to be pitching at close to optimum level now that they've altered some things. Balfour isn't in imminent danger, and he probably won't be for most of the rest of the season. The A's will probably have little reservation about using either of their bullpen freshmen in tight spots from now on, however. They're still AL-only assets.


The San Francisco Giants placed right-hander Clay Hensley on the disabled list because he strained his right groin. If Santiago Casilla wasn't the second right-hander up in this committee yet, he probably will be for the next few weeks, at least, and warrants NL ownership.

San Fran also activated southpaw Jeremy Affeldt from the paternity leave list. A new baby doesn't move a guy up the hierarchy, so Affeldt remains No. 2 lefty in this committee. That role, being behind Javier Lopez (who on Wednesday nabbed his fifth save), just isn't as fantasy attractive, as Casilla's, for now.

Other Wednesday saviors

John Axford (22), Brewers Converted opps on back-to-back days, no problem
Frank Francisco (22), Mets Protected a 1-run lead - for real
Casey Janssen (17), Blue Jays
Greg Holland (9), Royals
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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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