Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Mitchell Boggs, Joel Hanrahan, more

by Tim Heaney on April 16, 2013 @ 13:59:39 PDT

 

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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.

Job Security (JS):
1 (unstable)
to
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
to
5 (durable)
: Up
 
+: Added
 
INJ: Injured
: Down
 
M: Minors
 
DL: Disabled List

 

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
St. Louis Cardinals
5
2
Jason Motte DL Mitchell Boggs
Edward Mujica
Trevor Rosenthal
Fernando Salas
Maikel Cleto M

Yesterday, Nick's bird call outlined the chaos in the St. Louis Cardinals' roost. Mike Matheny chimed in Monday night with a "mild adjustment" to this saves picture. He's not yanking Boggs from the role yet, but he and pitching guru Derek Lilliquist will probably try giving Mujica and Rosenthal a whirl, as well.

Boggs is 2-for-4 in 2013 SVOs. An implosion in which he allowed six earned runs has skewed his ERA to 9.82, but he's been plagued by base runners throughout April. Matheny admits in a roundabout way that he may have rushed into giving Boggs the official closer designation when Motte (elbow) hit the DL. He's open to trying other options.

Chicago Cubs RP Carlos Marmol
Marmol? Are you serious???

A recipient of Matheny praise, Mujica prefers sinkers and two-seamers but owns the skills makeup to close, even if his K/9 has typically hovered "only" in the high 7.00s. His penchant of getting ahead in counts and consistently throwing strikes makes him a reliable, walk-suppressing arm.

Rosenthal, meanwhile, has maintained attractive peripherals but seems to be giving up just a few too many hits, especially homers. A few tweaks may put the fireballer back in the lead car.

All three warrant fantasy ownership, but those carrying either non-Boggs piece should feel more comfortable than players hoping the interim option holds on.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Boston Red Sox
3
4
Koji Uehara

Hanrahan was sent to the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Bailey will continue to serve as primary stopper in his absence. Pick him up.

He fell short in his first chance Monday, allowing a single, a stolen base, and a deep one-bagger to surrender a one-run lead. The righty held the tie with a pair of strikeouts, though, and the Boston Red Sox picked him up by winning it in the bottom of the ninth. It's not a blatantly positive performance, but the fact that Bailey hunkered down may please John Farrell, who must be losing patience with the nibbling Hanrahan.

To be fair, Hanny's leg problems reportedly have popped up since 2012 and presumably have hindered his delivery. Recent weather conditions in Beantown may have compounded the problem. Early reports suggest Hanrahan may only need another week or so to rest. A similar spell rejuvenated him last year in Pittsburgh.

Of course, we can't blindly swallow this explanation. Hanrahan was no stranger to walks during his healthy campaigns, and his velocity has been nearly a career best so far. Plus, someone of Hanrahan's plus-sized, Jonathan Broxton-ish figure puts a lot of strain on his legs, and since he's already broken the injury seal....

Whether via Hanrahan's health or performance, Bailey has a shot to hold this gig for a significant period.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Chicago Cubs
2
4
Kyuji Fujikawa DL James Russell
Shawn Camp
Carlos Marmol
Arodys Vizcaino DL

Fujikawa (strained forearm) reportedly had been nagged for a few days before his placement, which to some degree may have fueled his Friday BS. Camp had the first chance for Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum's committee on Sunday and promptly blew it by allowing a ninth-frame solo jack. He absorbed the loss in the 10th.

Russell isn't a LOOGY, which likely tips the short-term scales mildly in his favor, but he and Camp are only temporary solutions that lack true closer stuff. Neither will force the issue once Fujikawa is ready for activation, so if it's a quick rest for the import, that would mean wasted FAAB bucks on the likely also-rans.

They might not get the long-term chance even if Fujikawa misses extensive time. Sveum already has acknowledged Marmol's progress. Of course, non-pressure gigs carry a different tone, but since the change, the walk-laden righty has tossed four scoreless stanzas. Marmol's cleaner work convinced them to reinstate him last year, so we may see a repeat.

If deep leaguers can scoop and bench the WHIP killer to test things out while there's minimal buzz, that would beat a rush and prevent an expensive commitment while also proving cautious. It's the last thing you want to hear, but Marmol remains a better bet to regain primary duty -- or at least to challenge Fujikawa -- than Russell or Camp do to hold it.

As usual, if he gets another shot, assess the level of statistical pain you're willing to absorb from Marmol to stay in your saves race.

Mound meetings

Sergio Romo's early-season saves tear for the San Francisco Giants came crashing down with a Friday blown save, a possible sign that he's a bit gassed. Including that contest, he had appeared four times in five days.

The gaffe may be a blessing in disguise for the balance of his 2013. It's a jolting reminder of why the Giants have mentioned on numerous occasions a desire to conserve Romo with cameos from Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla (who successfully did the gig Saturday) and the rest of their solid crew.

***

Some teams will present more save chances than others, and the Miami Marlins aren't doing Steve Cishek any April favors. He slipped up in his only opportunity this year, in which he gave up two runs two Sundays ago. His last two games have been 1-2-3 - potentially the result of some extended bullpen work in which he's trying to rediscover his slider. The skilled righty has rope, but he'll have plenty of quiet stretches thanks to his squad.

***

Jim Henderson pitched in the eighth inning Sunday while his Milwaukee Brewers were trailing by one run. Ron Roenicke didn't save him for a closer spot since they were the visiting team and would've created one with a comeback. He instead cared about using his most trusted reliever in a tight spot and getting him work. Milwaukee wound up tying it in the ninth and winning in extras, with Burke Badenhop getting the save.

Don't rely on anyone else besides Henderson for a save in normal circumstances while John Axford is exiled.

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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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