Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Bryce McRae on May 17, 2010 @ 17:00:00 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?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.


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


Arizona Diamondbacks

Closer: Chad Qualls

Understudy: Juan Gutierrez

Lurkers: Aaron Heilman

It sounds like D-backs manager A.J. Hinch has reached a breaking point with his bullpen. Hinch declared that "all bets are off" when it comes to any roles. "You reach the point to where you've got to go with the hot hand ... I'm trying to figure out who the hot hand is at this point."

Qualls' latest outing was a blown save Friday night. It was his third in nine chances. Qualls' BABIP is an atrocious .458 and his strand rate just 49.6 percent; however, helping him most is that no other reliever stands out.

Gutierrez also blew a lead Friday night, in the seventh frame. He has a 9.20 ERA. Heilman has probably been the best reliever of late; his ERA is 3.45, but he hasn't allowed a run since April 23.

Arizona Diamondbacks RP Chad Qualls
Fewer 9th-inning Qualls to the bullpen?

Hang on to Qualls; he should still be the first option to close for now. Gutierrez could be added in deep mixed and probably should be in NL-only. Heilman is your third choice; he's for desperate owners in deep mixed. Add him in NL-only.

A long-term option might be Carlos Rosa. He was acquired last Wednesday from the Kansas City Royals. Rosa exhibited some dominance in the minors (10.1 K/9 in '09) and saved seven games for Triple-A Omaha last year. Add him to your NL-only watch list.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Philadelphia Phillies

Closer: Jose Contreras

Understudy: J.C. Romero

Disabled list: Brad Lidge (elbow), Ryan Madson (toe)

The Phillies placed Lidge on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 10. He'll be eligible to return May 25, though whether he makes it back then is up in the air. Philly were to decide today what Lidge's next step will be; his options include a cortisone shot, joint lubricant injection or rest. Owners should retain Lidge on a DL spot in all fantasy leagues.

Romero nailed one down last night, but Contreras had pitched in five of Philly's last six contests. Contreras will close for now. He earned the first save of his career Saturday. In 13 1/3 innings this year, Contreras has a 0.68 ERA, a 0.68 WHIP and 18 K's. He's a priority add in all leagues.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street (groin, shoulder) strained his right groin Saturday and is returning to Denver for evaluation. However, it's not believed to be serious, and he hoped to play catch today. It was hoped he would be able to return May 25, but his return likely will be pushed back into June after the latest setback.
    Manuel Corpas threw three perfect innings over the weekend; he recorded his first two saves of 2010. Corpas should be owned in all leagues. His availability for Monday is in doubt, though, given his weekend workload.
  • The Washington Nationals are bringing up one of their '09 first-round picks: Drew Storen. Manager Jim Riggleman hopes Storen can work as one of their late-inning relievers. Closer Matt Capps and setup man Tyler Clippard have been the bright spots in the Nats' bullpen.
    Storen is NL-only and deep mixed speculation if you're desperate; save chances probably won't come right away, but he has been pegged as the future closer for Washington.

Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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