Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Addison Reed, Jason Motte, more

by Nicholas Minnix on September 10, 2012 @ 10:35:13 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.

Mound meetings

St. Louis Cardinals RP Jason Motte
Motte at his apex?

If you don't need the saves, you should consider benching Addison Reed. The right-hander has given up at least one run in six of his last seven appearances. He coughed up the lead to the Kansas City Royals on Friday by yielding two runs on three hits, including a dinger, and then gave up a pair of runs on three hits to KC on Saturday before buckling down to get his 26th save.

If the rookie closer was showing signs of turning it around, fantasy owners could be a little more patient, but nothing indicates that the rebound is imminent. A Chicago Sun-Times article noted that scouts have reported a dip in Reed's velocity.

Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura told the media that he doesn't believe his reliever has lost any confidence and that Reed will remain the closer. The 23-year-old has pitched 50 1/3 frames this year after logging approximately 85 last season. Judging from his 4.83 ERA in 2012, the MLB innings have been much more stressful.

Reed told the press on Friday that he feels fine, and Ventura said that he hasn't noticed any negative signs. Roto players don't have to take their word for it, though, and should play it safe if they have that luxury.


Huston Street (strained calf) is scheduled to pitch a sim game at PETCO Park on Monday. Multiple reports have indicated that, if the session goes well, he'll be pretty close to activation. He'll be the San Diego Padres' closer when he's back, of course.

Near the end of last week, Street seemed to be more than a week away from game action, so the implication of his impending return seems a little optimistic. The righty won't go on a rehab assignment because the minor league season is pretty much over, but he hasn't run or practiced fielding his position since his setback a week and a half ago. Running is how he suffered the setback.

Fantasy owners should give Street a week, conservatively. It could be longer, especially if the Friars don't slow the slow-healing reliever down a little. Luke Gregerson (five saves, including one this past weekend) will probably handle most save chances in the meantime, but Bud Black has already shown that he'll turn to another bullpen arm in the right circumstances.


Jason Motte had the Milwaukee Brewers down to their last strike on Sunday, but the St. Louis Cardinals' closer served up a two-run jack to Norichika Aoki to blow a save chance for the sixth time this season. The Cards went on to win the contest in the 10th, anyway.

The right-hander has given up nine home runs in his 62 stanzas in 2012. It's a good thing that he's maintained his control gains from 2011 and posted his best BABIP against (.231). Motte's homer-per-fly rate is an unexpectedly high 15.3 percent, quite a reversal from last season's insane 2.9 percent.

In 2013, Motte's projection will undoubtedly include some normalization of these figures, so his forecasted numbers may turn out to be pretty similar to his 2012 output. But it'll be interesting to see if the 30-year-old begins to put it all together, or if this is his peak. It's likely the latter.


The Houston Astros tagged Aroldis Chapman for four hits, including a round-tripper, and three runs on Friday night. Houston handed him a blown save chance, his fourth since becoming the Cincinnati Reds' closer but first in about two and a half months. He also took the loss to even his record at 5-5.

The appearance jacked up Chapman's ERA from 1.23 to 1.61. As John Fay and Cincy's iterated, nobody's perfect.


Near the beginning of this month, Peter Moylan finally returned to action for the Atlanta Braves after a length comeback from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. On Sunday, he picked up a save, his first of the season, when he pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th following his club's go-ahead tally in the top of the frame against the New York Mets.

Craig Kimbrel picked up the W because he'd pitched the ninth. The right-hander notched his 35th save on Friday and was unavailable on Saturday because he'd pitched on three straight days.

Other notable weekend saviors

Jim Johnson (42), Orioles In Sat. SV, gave up 1 run, 3 hits, but escaped with help from 1B ump
Chris Perez (35), Indians
Jonathan Papelbon (32), Phillies Also picked up W on Fri.
Joe Nathan (31), Rangers
J.J. Putz (29), Diamondbacks
John Axford 2 (27), Brewers Hasn't given up a run in 8 straight
Casey Janssen (20), Blue Jays
Carlos Marmol (18), Cubs
Ernesto Frieri (18), Angels Also picked up W on Fri.
Grant Balfour (16), Athletics
Greg Holland 2 (13), Royals Allowed 1 run on 1 hit, 2 walks in Sun. SV
Steve Cishek (13), Marlins 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 K's on Fri.
Glen Perkins (11), Twins
Brandon League (11), Dodgers Set up by W earner Ronald Belisario
Sergio Romo (10), Giants Pitched 1 1/3 innings for Fri. SV
Wilton Lopez (3), Astros
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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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