Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Huston Street, Heath Bell, more

by Nicholas Minnix on June 25, 2013 @ 13:45:00 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.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
San Diego Padres
5
3
Huston Street Luke Gregerson
Dale Thayer
Brad Brach
Brad Boxberger M

On Sunday, Street served up a pair of ding dongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the ninth of a tied game. The appearance merely continued a string of disturbing results.

Arizona Diamondbacks RP J.J. Putz
Putz: back soon, but for how long?

In "26 1/3 innings this season, Street has served up 10 home runs. Eleven of the 14 total runs charged to Street have come on homers." He's been particularly bad in save situations, as the U-T piece notes, and he blames his struggles on poor execution. Street hasn't had the same kind of command of, not to mention velocity on, his stuff that he did in previous seasons.

The San Diego Padres' bullpen has struggled lately, in general, as the U-T also reveals. Although that backdrop isn't good news for the Friars, it's a positive for Street owners, in the short term. Gregerson and Thayer have been more reliable than Street for most of the campaign, however.

It's not clear what's affecting the club's closer, whether it's a concealed injury (given his history, wouldn't be surprising), disrupted mechanics, a decline in ability that he has yet to accept or some combination of those.

It does seem like Street is quite a distance from finding the corrections, however, so fantasy owners in deep leagues would be wise to develop a long-term solution of their own, starting with Gregerson and then Thayer. Don't view change as imminent, but don't be surprised if Street eventually reveals a source of pain and the Fathers decide to play it safe, as it goes, by sending him to the DL and trying to figure out what's really wrong.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Arizona Diamondbacks
4
3
J.J. Putz DL Heath Bell David Hernandez
Brad Ziegler +

Speaking of declining relievers who pitched for the Padres: Bell still sucks. He hasn't made his April and May improvements stick in June. The right-hander has given up a long ball in each of his last five games, one of which resulted in an L, another in a blown save chance (although the Arizona Diamondbacks emerged from that one, on Saturday, victorious).

By the sound of it, Kirk Gibson is (sort of) standing by his fill-in man; the skipper leaves open the possibility that he'll use Hernandez or Ziegler in the future, if he deems Bell unavailable. Besides, the Snakes turned Bell around once, so why shouldn't they believe that they'll do so again? Gibson thinks the problems that haunted Bell in early April have troubled him again lately.

The debate is irrelevant once J.J. Putz (right elbow ligament sprain) returns, according to the team's official site. The injured closer is scheduled to make the second of back-to-back appearances on Tuesday, after which he'll be re-evaluated. He could be back by the end of this week.

If you believe that'll be the end of the discussion, then Closer Hot Seat has a lovely overpass to sell you. Fantasy owners invested in the Snakes' situation will be crossing their fingers for a while. The good news, for saves chasers, is that Gibson has been a loyal man for a while, so Putz should retain the rights as long as his arm holds up. Oh boy. ...

Hernandez looks like the safest long-term bet, and he hasn't been quite as reliable as he was in 2011 or 2012. Besides, he's also about to be two places removed from SVOs. Ziegler and buds hardly seem worth the trouble.

Red Sox, Angels, others with bullpen news you can use

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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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