Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on July 19, 2010 @ 14:30:00 PDT


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)


Cleveland Indians

Closer: Chris Perez

Disabled list: Kerry Wood (finger)

Minnesota Twins RP Jon Rauch
Rauch: Mountains or mole hills in MIN?

Wood landed on the DL with a blister on his right index finger. Will the Tribe be able to trade him? Will he regain his closer job back from Perez? Fantasy owners should stash Wood but be prepared for the fact he might become worthless, based on a possible change in role or address.

Perez, meanwhile, continued his sparkling season by recording his eighth save of the season Saturday. Perez hasn't given up a run in 11 of his last 12 outings, despite some rough walk totals in July. The Indians consider him the future stopper, and he's once again showing it in the present. Pick him up everywhere; he might hold the job for the rest of the season.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 5

Chicago White Sox

Closer: Bobby Jenks

Understudy: Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz

Lurkers: Sergio Santos

Cleveland Indians RP Chris Perez
Perez is back in saddle for Tribe

Jenks failed to record an out Sunday for the Chicago White Sox, taking the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) on two hits and two walks. Santos blew the save in replacing Jenks by allowing a walk and the game-losing hit.

After a brilliant pre-break stretch, Jenks has allowed four earned runs in his last two outings. He reportedly threw his breaking stuff too much yesterday. Jenks has blown only one save this year but proved shaky earlier in the season. This outing should hardly boot him from his role or team, given that the White Sox lead the division and Jenks had rebounded well as of late.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Kevin Gregg closed it out Friday for the Toronto Blue Jays but had issues Saturday, walking the bases loaded in the ninth inning. He was removed with two outs as Shawn Camp stole a save. Gregg was livid that manager Cito Gaston took the ball from him, but the two had a sit-down, and Gaston later told the media Gregg would remain in his role.
  • The Minnesota Twins' Jon Rauch gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in one-third of an inning Friday, creating a save chance after entering with a five-run lead in the ninth. Jesse Crain came on to clean up the mess for his first save of the year.
    Rauch didn't warm up the following night with Minny holding a one-run advantage, but Carl Pavano finished a complete game. The Twins didn't want to use Rauch unless he started a clean inning. Don't worry about his job security.
  • Brian Fuentes hasn't allowed a run in six July innings; he pitched three scoreless frames with two saves over the weekend. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim closer hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances and 14 of his last 15. Before this weekend, he had pitched only three times in July.
  • Despite allowing a solo jack Sunday, Neftali Feliz wrapped things up for the Texas Rangers for his 15th straight save conversion. It has been a rough July for the wunderkind (11.81 ERA in 5 1/3 innings), but the Rangers will need more convincing even to consider take him out of the role. It's hard to think they'll do so as long as they're making a play for the postseason.
  • David Aardsma made his first appearance in the second half Sunday, wrapping up a Seattle Mariners save with a scoreless inning by working around a hit and a walk. It was his first save chance since June 22.

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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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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