Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL
In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.
Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
Closer: Kevin Gregg
Understudy: Jason Frasor
Lurkers: Scott Downs
Gregg was given the closer's job by manager Cito Gaston Wednesday and should be added in all fantasy leagues immediately. Frasor becomes riskier as fantasy help if he doesn't have save chances; Frasor's velocity has reportedly dropped, and the righty has struggled to retire the leadoff hitter this year.However, Frasor can still be kept in deep leagues, especially since Gaston probably doesn't want Gregg working back-to-back nights if possible. Maybe you can time when to put Frasor in your lineup based on Gregg's workload, but in many leagues it isn't worth the hassle to keep a sometimes-closer on roster.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
Closer: Fernando Rodney
Understudy: Kevin Jepsen
Lurkers: Scot Shields
Disabled list: Brian Fuentes
Fuentes (back) hit the 15-day DL with a muscle strain in the middle of his back; he tweaked it while lifting weights during the first week of the season. The placement is retroactive to April 6, and the lefty will be eligible for activation Wednesday, April 21.
It doesn't sound like he'll be out much beyond that, if at all; the Halos are being cautious. Those in weekly leagues should keep posted on Fuentes' status to make sure he's OK to be in Week 3 lineups.
Rodney will fill in at closer and is a pickup in all leagues, but weekly leaguers with a free-agent budget should keep in mind that he might not close for long.
Jepsen is an alternative for those who miss out, but he's unlikely to serve in the role unless Rodney is atrocious; he isn't worth a big speculative investment for likely a brief non-Fuentes period.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 4
Closer: Jim Johnson
Understudy: Cla Meredith
Disabled list: Mike Gonzalez
The Orioles reiterated reports that Gonzalez would not serve as closer while he worked on his mechanics. Baltimore wanted to use him at some point in their Tuesday loss, but Gonzalez couldn't get loose in the 'pen. The lefty was in the trainers' room with an ice pack on his left shoulder Wednesday, per skipper Dave Trembley. Not surprisingly, he's now on the DL.
They did not name a replacement, but Johnson should remain your first target, despite his rough outing Tuesday. The O's bullpen overall had a tough Tuesday; Baltimore used Johnson, Albers, Meredith, Will Ohman and Jason Berken. For what it's worth, Johnson threw only eight pitches in his appearance, the least of any reliever used. No other reliever is worth a roto investment yet.
If Mickolio gets a call-up, it's unlikely he'll receive a shot at save opps unless Gonzalez is out for an extended period of time. That's not out of the question, so the right-hander is a decent deep AL stash.
Job security score: 2
Health score: 4
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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