Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL
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: Chad Qualls
Understudy: Juan Gutierrez
Gutierrez received a shot to close Friday with Chad Qualls combining for 49 pitches in the previous two nights. Safe to say Gut didn't take advantage. He worked around a leadoff walk to record two straight outs, but he then gave up an RBI double to blow the save and a three-run homer in absorbing the loss.
Gutierrez didn't make the D-backs forget about Qualls, who Arizona says is still their closer despite his early-season struggles. The righty has had trouble commanding his sinker and is leaving sliders high in the strike zone. Qualls also appears to be overexerting his delivery to make up for dipping velocity, per Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.
Bright side: Qualls' surgically repaired knee reportedly isn't an issue. Maybe the time off and the identification of his problems will help refresh him. Qualls is sustaining his heavy groundball rate, and 'Zona appears willing to let him ride out his corrections. You should remain just as loyal by keeping him in your lineup.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 3
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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