KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.
A day after saying Wilhelmsen might be getting back into save work soon, Eric Wedge called upon that very reliever in that very situation Wednesday. He was rewarded when the formerly deposed door-slammer disposed of three dangerous righty-hitting Texas Rangers (Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz) in spotless, 13-pitch duty.
He hasn't recorded a punch-out in three of the five outings in his recent shutout streak, but he has four over those 4 2/3 innings. From this window, we gather that he's focusing on his pair of a four-seam fastball and curveball while ignoring his sinker and changeup. This change might not stick, but it could point him in the right direction to padlock this gig once again.
Remember that his appearance doesn't mean he's regained full trust from management. Wedge said the "due up" matchups, Capps' illness and Danny Farquhar's lack of bow-tying experience made the decision to bring in Wilhelmsen much easier. Perez and Medina still might pick off cameo spots, notably the former because of his left-handedness.
That being said, it's relatively safe to surmise that, given how much time passed since his demotion and the fact that no one else staked a claim, Wilhelmsen will at least receive the most immediate opportunity to erase any doubt over who mans the ninth.
Mujica continued a spotty stretch by yielding a two-run homer during a four-hit meltdown Thursday and suffering the loss via his first blown chance of 2013. The Cardinals' savior has allowed at least one run in four of his last six appearances, over which he's coughed up three bleacher-reachers.
Mujica's grounder rate (41.8 percent) has dipped to its lowest recorded level since 2009 (39.0). In a starkly scary indicator per Fangraphs, he hasn't allowed an infield fly ball yet this season. Limiting walks has helped him throughout his career, but the homer problems that typically accompanied that directive have revisited him. It's also the likely start of a correction on an inflated left-on-base rate that, even after his turmoil, stands at a ridiculous (even for a reliever) 85.7 percent.
If Rosenthal remains unclaimed in your league, give him a try if you're trying to predict a potential change. Any hint at a change at the back end will require further contribution from the negative side of Mujica, as he's established ample rope for himself. Still, enjoying Rosenthal's RP dominance won't hurt while hopeful fantasy lotto winners wait.
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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