Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Bryce McRae on May 24, 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?'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)


Milwaukee Brewers

Closer: Trevor Hoffman

Understudy: Carlos Villanueva

Lurkers: John Axford, Todd Coffey, Zach Braddock

Disabled list: LaTroy Hawkins (shoulder)

Hoffman returned to game action Sunday. He worked a perfect eighth, throwing nine of his 10 pitches for strikes, and noted his pitches were more deceptive. He had worked with pitching coach Rick Peterson the previous few days to adjust his arm slot, hoping to add more downward movement.

Milwaukee Brewers RP Carlos Villanueva
The Hoff hooked on a better feeling

It's hasty to remove the closer's title just yet, even though he worked in setup. Manager Ken Macha still hasn't stated the Hoff's final destination. The Brewers don't have a ready replacement. Hoffman is just four saves shy of 600. He's their best bet, as long as he's right, though fantasy owners will probably have to wait a bit to see him close the door again.

Villanueva had another save chance Saturday. He blew it and threw 44 pitches over the two innings. The next day, Axford earned the save, partially because of Villy's workload.

Axford gave up three hits, one walk and one run in his inning of work. He struck out three batters. He has nasty stuff but has iffy control. NL-only leaguers can speculate.

Coffey's value might have dampened a bit since Friday. Braddock, a hard-throwing lefty, could be a closer down the line but is only deep dynasty league spec.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Philadelphia Phillies

Closer: Jose Contreras

Understudy: J.C. Romero

Disabled list: Brad Lidge (elbow)

Manager Charlie Manuel opted for the left-handed Romero with two runners on and one out in the ninth Friday with a 5-1 lead. A lefty (the Boston Red Sox's J.D. Drew) was due up, followed by a hitter (Adrian Beltre) that has hit worse against southpaws. The left-handed David Ortiz was also available (and used) for the Boston Red Sox as a pinch hitter. Romero worked out of the Danys Baez-induced trouble and earned a save.

Contreras is still the first option on most nights. In this case, Manuel played the matchups, like he did May 16 when two lefties and a switch hitter were due up in the ninth. Romero earned the save that game and could probably offer one or two additional closures to desperate deep owners.

Lidge, their injured stopper, will throw bullpens Tuesday and Thursday this week. He could then start a rehab assignment on the weekend and return next week, if all goes according to plan.

Philly has been scouting relievers, too; reportedly, the Chicago White Sox' Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz are on their radar.

Job security score: 2

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • The Washington Nationals' Matt Capps blew his first save in 17 chances yesterday. He gave up two runs on three hits in one inning. Capps' form through April and most of May has earned him a long leash. However, note that he has allowed at least one run in three of his last four appearances. Is Drew Storen's presence making Capps nervous?
    Storen, the Nats' closer of the future, has changed his delivery to give him a higher leg kick. This should, in turn, help his control. Storen's first appearance with the adjustment saw him give up a run Friday, but he came back yesterday and threw 1 2/3 innings to earn his first hold.
  • Chad Qualls enjoyed another scoreless save Saturday, his third in a row, for the Arizona Diamondbacks. This month, Qualls has only blown up in one save chance (May 14). Well, on May 8, he gave up four unearned runs, but it was in a 17-3 loss. In his seven other appearances (5 2/3 innings), he has allowed just two hits. A decent bridge would give him a bit more stability.
  • The Colorado Rockies' Huston Street (groin, shoulder) will throw a bullpen session in the middle of this week. After that, Colorado will determine whether he's ready for a rehab assignment. Manuel Corpas, meanwhile, picked up his third save in a week with a scoreless inning Saturday.

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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