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: Neftali Feliz
Understudy: Frank Francisco
Feliz took a step back. The righty threw just seven pitches Sunday in a non-save sitch, so with reliever Darren O'Day unavailable, Feliz pitched for the second consecutive night for the first time in his MLB career.
It showed: The 21-year-old fireballer gave up back-to-back homers on two fastballs in the heart of the plate Monday after entering a tied game. His velocity "only" sat in the mid-90s. Nitpicking? Perhaps.
The Rangers say Feliz is healthy, but the heat dip suggests he isn't ready for frequent back-to-back duty yet. He had similar velocity issues as he wore down near the end of last season. Safe bet says Texas will be careful with his young, promising limb if this pattern continues.
If Feliz needs frequent breaks, the Rangers may turn to Francisco, who has taken the reverse course; he has allowed just one hit in three shutout innings since April 20. Eleven of his 13 pitches Monday were strikes, and though he gave up two flyballs, he worked around a hit.
Deep leaguers shouldn't ignore Francisco if he's out there; maybe his chance will come tonight, since Texas probably won't add a third outing to Feliz's streak.
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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