Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on August 9, 2010 @ 15:30:00 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? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

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

 

Chicago White Sox

Closer: J.J. Putz

Understudy: Bobby Jenks (back), Matt Thornton

Jenks was held out of action Saturday with back issues that had reportedly been bothering him for a few days when he complained of stiffness after a long-toss session. Putz slammed the door with a scoreless inning for his third save of the season.

Baltimore Orioles RP Alfredo Simon
Simon in Showalter's secret garden

Jenks was tossing in the outfield on Monday but appeared to be hampered. Manager Ozzie Guillen said Jenks will have to prove he's healthy and effective enough in non-save work before the righty can return to saves duty. That's the ultimate goal, though, so it's another wait-and-see period for Jenks.

Putz has earned temporary placement atop the depth chart. As long as Jenks recovers, it won't be long before he reclaims the apex. Thornton comes in second place for the non-Jenks speculation race.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Baltimore Orioles

Closer: Alfredo Simon

Understudy: Mike Gonzalez

New Orioles manager Buck Showalter used his more sensitive side when asked to evaluate Simon. "Never overlook an orchid while searching for a rose," Showalter said. In other words, Simon has done a solid job but needs further examination.

The right-hander pitched two innings for the bonos cantos victory but yielded an eventful two runs Sunday. Even though he picked up the save in the latter event, Showalter wasn't entirely pleased.

"Sometimes guys like that without a whole lot of experience try to finish it too quickly instead of making a pitch at a time," Showalter said. "Next thing you know, they're making it more difficult than it should be."

Showalter is looking toward the future of the O's. He's unsure if Simon is the stopper he wants. Gonzalez should be a speculative addition wherever possible. Simon owners might want to handcuff this situation if they still can.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Michael Wuertz continued his interim run of Oakland Athletics saves with a Sunday closure.
    Andrew Bailey (rib), meanwhile, played catch Sunday for the first time since Wednesday. There's no timetable for the righty's return, and he'll throw from a longer distance on Monday. He'll probably need a few bullpen sessions and a simulated game before he can return an in-game mound.
  • Chris Perez, who has had a dominant run for the Cleveland Indians, blew up Friday, giving up two runs on three hits to blow the save. At least he backed into the win, though. This won't jeopardize his standing as the Tribe's stopper.
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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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