Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Nicholas Minnix on August 5, 2009 @ 01:00:01 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for the entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which setup men are climbing the depth chart? Any lingering injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

Job Security (JS) score
Health (H) score
1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

New York Mets

Closer: Francisco Rodriguez

Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals handed Rodriguez his fourth blown save in 28 opportunities. The New York Mets' righty yielded two runs on three hits and faced juiced bases with two down before he induced a pop fly to end the threat of a go-ahead. K-Rod tossed 41 pitches (25 strikes) in that one and hasn't been sharp since the break (four earned runs in 6 1/3 frames).

Rodriguez had appeared in just one save situation in the three weeks prior to last night's disaster. Afterward, he lamented his ability to make the pitches he needed to make. Manager Jerry Manuel acknowledged the test he faces in trying to maintain his closer's vigilance.

Despite a vow to let loose on his heat a bit more this year (which he has done), his K/9 (9.18) has dipped for a fifth straight season - including significant declines last year and in this one. His BB/9 (4.96) has risen for the third straight season. Rodriguez is failing to get ahead on the first pitch more than half the time; it's a first, and the difference is dramatic.

In case keeper leaguers need further evidence to barter with him.... Or is it too late?

Job Security score: 5

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • The Chicago White Sox will be without Bobby Jenks (kidney stone) for a few more days. The ChiSox sent the pudgy punctuator to the hospital to have his problems with the painful pests alleviated. Manager Ozzie Guillen hoped Jenks would be back as early as Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It's probably more realistic to expect at least a couple of days of recovery. Opportunists can acquire lefty Matt Thornton (first) and Octavio Dotel (second) if they're looking to capitalize during Jenks' expected brief absence.
  • Mike MacDougal shut the door in three straight games from Sunday through Tuesday for the Washington Nationals. All told: 2 1/3 innings, one hit, two walks and no runs surrendered, one strikeout. After a review of the matchups, it appears the committee has been absolved since the departure of Joe Beimel (Colorado Rockies).
  • The Baltimore Orioles' Chris Ray, in two games since his activation from the disabled list: four frames, three hits, a walk and no runs allowed, two K's. Orioles connoisseur and prophet Roch Kubatko was thoroughly impressed. It's interesting that he went 2 2/3 innings last night against the Detroit Tigers. This year, Ray has teased in brief stints before, so he'll have to sustain this to enter the mix for saves with Jim Johnson by season's end. It's a good start to Ray's audition, at least for next year.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Hong-Chih Kuo since his return from the disabled list: 4 2/3 stanzas, two walks issued, six strikeouts. Oh, and no hits allowed. The acquisition of southpaw George Sherrill should shield Kuo from overuse by manager Joe Torre ... for now.
  • Guess it's too soon to be excited about Jensen Lewis' staggering stats from his minor league stint. In his second game back up with the Cleveland Indians, he gave up three hits, including a homer, and two earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. The homer yanked in two inherited runners, too - not an endearing outing.
  • Last night, the Indians called up Jess Todd, another player they received in the haul for infielder Mark DeRosa. Todd is yet another righty who profiles as a possible future closer. Unlike Cleveland's other arms with a similar label, he doesn't have a history of control issues or serving up meatballs. Todd's hard sinker makes him a groundball artist; his feel for pitching and the rest of his repertoire make him an efficient strikeout weapon.

Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

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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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