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.
The St. Louis Cardinals' Edward Mujica has been punished with a 7.11 ERA and two blown saves in his last seven appearances. (Bernie Miklasz points to an even worse sample.) The latest setback was a Thursday BS in which he allowed a solo jack to the retiring Todd Helton.
Strop on duty
When half of your unsuccessful conversion tries come within the span of a few weeks, that tends to hide the 1.73 ERA you held when August ended. The total of 62 games he's pitched this year isn't far off his norm, but fatigue may still be a factor.
Miklasz nails Mujica's predictable statistical drop-off. That 90.0 percent left-on-base percentage should fall a bit more before the regular season concludes. Despite his nearly career-high rate of inducing swinging strikes (a lofty 12.7 percent), he's experiencing the downside of a control-based arm that pitches ... "Chief"-ly, if you would, to contact. The notable downturn in his split-finger fastball's effectiveness has fueled the dip.
Mujica has accomplished plenty for his owners. Unfortunately, as many opponents have done to his pitches lately, the timing of his regression hits hard. This organization hasn't hesitated to make a drastic bullpen change for the postseason (Adam Wainwright, anyone?), yet logic says Mujica won't entirely be shut out of SVOs before October. Trevor Rosenthal may get a test run if necessary, though.
Pedro Strop will close for the Chicago Cubs until the end of 2013. Kevin Gregg drops to setup duty and warrants a dump in mixed leagues. Strop, who obviously should be added wherever possible, may sneak in one or two chances to help your squad. Strop me, Strop me.
His high-K, high-walk profile is the typical clay from which many closers are molded. Theo Epstein and co., however, have probably noticed the fact that Strop hasn't walked more than 3.38 per nine in any month since May, and the right-hander's 11.05 K/9 and 1.23 BB/9 for September give him the lead, albeit a marginal one, in the race for 2014 closures.
The Cubbies likely would prefer to promote the team-controlled Strop than pay Gregg, an impending free agent who doesn't fit their rebuilding plan.
"Mound meetings" also visits Athletics, Pirates, Angels and Astros.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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