Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on July 21, 2010 @ 12:30:00 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)


Baltimore Orioles

Closer: Alfredo Simon

Understudy: Mike Gonzalez

Gonzalez was activated from the DL and will be eased back into pressure situations. Simon, on the other hand, probably needs a break after 2 2/3 innings and 44 pitches last night. He finally relented in his third inning of work, giving up the go-ahead run in the 10th. The O's ended up pulling it out in the bottom of the 13th.

Baltimore Orioles RPs Alfredo Simon and Mike Gonzalez
Who's looking over whose shoulder?

Simon had his longest outing of the season. This is probably an example of leaving your best pitcher in for as long as possible to give yourself a good chance to win. That probably destroys his chances of coming in today if needed, though he threw only eight pitches Monday.

Gonzo, meanwhile, will probably need to work his way back into closing. Despite making things interesting, Simon has been solid otherwise this year (3.31 ERA, seven of eight save chances converted since his return from the DL).

Gonzalez is worth owning in deeps on the chance he works his way back, but his return to saves might not come as soon as many think. Maybe Gonzo's contract could force Baltimore's hand in making him closer again, but Simon's success might override that, since ... well, the O's need all the success they can get.

Job security score: 2

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Jon Rauch (ankle) was available last night if needed, but Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire didn't want to use him. Rauch's left ankle was feeling better Tuesday; he was walking around the clubhouse without any problems. There's a chance he might be available Wednesday.
    The Twins didn't encounter a save chance last night, and Gardy wouldn't hint at who would receive a save chance in Rauch's place. At this point, with Rauch possibly returning soon, it probably isn't worth any speculation fantasy-wise.
  • After a Tuesday save, Chris Perez hasn't allowed a run in his last nine games (8 1/3 innings), while fanning eight, walking seven and allowing two hits. That middle number is shaky, but he's getting the job done for the Tribe right now, more than they could say about the DLed Kerry Wood (finger). Perez is worth ownership in all deep leagues and save-thirsty shallows, where he's still a good stash when Wood returns.
  • Rafael Soriano coughed one up for the Tampa Bay Rays last night in his first second-half appearance, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. The righty has given up at least one hit in five of his last six outings. Job security? No worries. Just a bump.
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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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