by Bryce McRae
on July 7, 2010 @ 12:45:00
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.
Interim manager Kirk Gibson hasn't defined any roles in this bullpen. Asked if he would, Gibson replied, "we're just not there yet. ... And frankly they've got to earn that."
So, who is close to earning it? Well, Qualls has thrown four straight scoreless innings. He has struck out two in each of his last two appearances. Perhaps most importantly, Qualls' confidence in his sinker, his strongest pitch, is returning.
Heilman's line last night was similar to his July 4 outing: two hits, two runs, one HR, one walk. Only difference was two K's last night. He was used in the eighth when Arizona was down 4-2. There were questions about Heilman's long-term prospects for this job. He's answering them now, as expected.
Qualls hasn't been named closer. He might not get that official tag for a little bit, but it's tough to see Gibson not going to him if a save situation comes up. Make sure he's owned in all leagues.
Job security score: N/A
Health score: 4
Closer: Ryan Franklin
Understudy: Jason Motte
Franklin endured a night to forget yesterday. His final line: six hits, six runs, two homers in only one-third of an inning. The Cards' closer entered with two on and one out in the ninth. He promptly gave up a three-run jack to Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta. Then it went double, groundout, single, single, single and three-run homer for the loss.
The 37-year-old righty relies on pitching to contact. Problem was last night, the Rox were making solid contact against him. That can be deadly, especially at Coors Field.
Motte worked a clean inning earlier in the game and has the electric stuff more typical of closers. He's deep mixed material, if you have room for a ratio reliever, but saves won't be coming down the pipeline anytime soon unless Franklin shows more signs of trouble.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 5
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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