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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Aroldis Chapman, Frank Francisco, Joe Nathan

By Nicholas Minnix
Edited by Tim Heaney

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.

Mound meetings

New York Mets RP Frank Francisco
Was MIA anyway

On Wednesday, John Fay delivered more (mostly) good news for Aroldis Chapman owners: The lanky lefty threw a bullpen session yesterday, his first time throwing from a mound since the Cincinnati Reds announced that they were giving him a substantial break. He no longer feels any effects of fatigue.

Mostly? As roto managers will note, Chapman also stated that he thinks he needs another couple of side sessions before he regains his command. There's nothing to be alarmed about. Folks should have their dominant closer back sometime early next week, if all goes according to plan.

Jonathan Broxton's shelf life as Cincy closer doesn't expire for several more days either, though, of course. He picked up his fourth for the club and 27th overall last night.


Terry Collins disclosed - on Wednesday - that Frank Francisco has been dealing with tendonitis in his right elbow - since Sunday. It's unclear how long the injury will keep the right-hander sidelined.

Fortunately, TC didn't hurt fantasy owners too much in September. As the team's official site notes, the club hasn't given Francisco a save chance since the first of the month.

The New York Mets probably could've used him last night. They headed into the ninth with a 2-1 lead, but Ryan Howard took lefty Josh Edgin deep for the two-run bomb that gave the Philadelphia Phillies a lead they wouldn't relinquish in the bottom of the frame. A painful loss for Mets supporters, who'd love to play a part in keeping the Phils from the postseason.

Then again, Frank Frank isn't exactly automatic.

For as long as Francisco is sidelined, Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell and Edgin - that's how Anthony DiComo listed them, you undoubtedly noted - will step in when the Mets have a lead in need of protection. Parnell proved this year that he could handle the job at least as well as Francisco has, but he pitched the eighth inning of a game in which the team already knew its regular closer was unavailable. Rauch was set to finish things off.

Considering how awful the Mets have been, virtually all fantasy owners should avoid concerning themselves with the club's backup plans, anyway. Francisco would have to miss the final two weeks - possible, not certain - for the roto rabble to start experimenting with such mind-altering plugs.


Joe Nathan pitched in a game on Wednesday night for the first time in nearly a week. He tossed a perfect paragraph, plus a punch-out.

The Texas Rangers must be hoping that the appearance signals the end of the short dead-arm period Nathan was going through this month. He'd worked frequently in the first half of it.

Fantasy owners must be hoping that the time off served him well enough for him to avoid more outings like last Thursday's (four hits and three runs allowed without retiring a batter). Nathan's post-break pitching has been below-average, but he could be primed to finish strongly.

Other Wednesday saviors

Jim Johnson (45), Orioles Allowed 0 runs in 11th inning despite 2 hits, 1 walk
Rafael Soriano 2 (42), Yankees Nailed down both ends of DH with relative ease
Craig Kimbrel (38), Braves  
Jason Motte (37), Cardinals Called upon for 2 outs when setup men put 5-0 lead in remote jeopardy
Jonathan Papelbon (36), Phillies Edgin's foul-up works in Paps' favor
Tyler Clippard (32), Nationals Saved Game 1 of twin bill, took L in Game 2
John Axford (30), Brewers Gave up 1 run, but had 3 to work with
Greg Holland (14), Royals  
Glen Perkins (13), Twins  
Brandon League (12), Dodgers Back: Kenley Jansen, just not yet in 9th


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