Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on April 26, 2010 @ 12:00:00 PDT

 


Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | 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.

Key

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

 

Mound meetings

  • David Aardsma soiled his clean record with a disastrous (L,BS) Saturday, during which he allowed three runs on two homers, including a walkoff.
    Though his dominance remains high, the same warning signs have carried over from last season: The righty's control is still an issue; his groundball percentage in the early stages (21.4 percent) is even lower than it was last year; his strand rate is an absurd 93.8 percent; and Aardsma's BAABIP is .085. A harsh correction could arrive sooner than it did in '09.
  • The Texas Rangers' Neftali Feliz blew his first save chance of the season Friday but rebounded with a solid scoreless non-save appearance Sunday. More newsworthy was Frank Francisco's pair of scoreless outings over the weekend.
    The unseated former closer needed only 18 combined pitches; Francisco didn't allow a hit or walk and induced three groundballs, compared to two flyballs - a fleeting sign of improvement over his usual aerial struggles. Deep leaguers: Keep him on your watch list - sustained improvement will probably give manager Ron Washington more confidence in at least using Frank Squared as a fill-in.
  • Seattle Mariners RP David Aardsma
    Aardsma: First in program, last in BB/9
    After tossing a side session of 20-plus pitches before the Cleveland Indians' Sunday contest, stopper Kerry Wood said he "felt good," per skipper Manny Acta. It was considered an improvement on his shaky Friday outing in which he struggled with his command.
    There's no target date for Wood to return; he'll throw another session Wednesday and will likely go on a rehab assignment before returning. Don't put him in your Week 4 lineup, but keep tabs this week to make sure he's a go for Week 5, although it doesn't sound likely.
  • Baltimore Orioles interim closer Jim Johnson hasn't had frequent work but has thrown two innings in two of his last three outings, which have encompassed eight days. He threw a one-out appearance Friday but carried a two-inning load Sunday.
    Johnson entered with one out in the eighth in a tied affair and held the Boston Red Sox scoreless until the 10th. The O's had a three-run lead when Johnson gave up two runs. Cla Meredith recorded two outs for the closure, leaving Johnson the W.
    Don't take this as a changing of the guard; Baltimore rode Johnson for 36 pitches in a knotted game, and he ran out of gas. The O's have Monday off, too, so they were probably comfortable sticking with their interim stopper for a while.
  • Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals) probably won't pitch Monday after throwing three innings in the last two days. The best guess for a fill-in save would be Kyle Farnsworth if they don't use a situational play.
  • Bobby Jenks recorded his fourth save Sunday after backing into a win Saturday during a rough non-save cameo. The Chicago White Sox's stopper has fanned at least one batter in all eight of his appearances this year for a 12.38 K/9. He can thank conserving his mid-90s heat, increased use of his slider and an embracing of his changeup.

Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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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, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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