During the regular season, the Closer Hot Seat will be your go-to guide for Major League Baseball's bullpen chatter. During spring training, KFFL's Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Session will get you tuned up for the fantasy baseball saves chase. Camp happenings don't always impact closer battles, but if there's MLB news you should know for your fantasy baseball draft, you'll find it here.
Wilson back in business?
Carlos Marmol and the Chicago Cubs hope eliminating his cutter will improve his control. The work he's doing to clean up his fastball approach, however, produced a gag-inducing line last Thursday: two-thirds of an inning, two K's, four hits, four earned runs.
Drawing from his tenure with the Milwaukee Brewers last year, Cubs skipper Dale Sveum wants Marmol to emulate another reliever who cut down on his nibbling:
"He needs to get back in counts, get ahead with his fastball, stay away from the walks. People are a little more onto the slider now that he's gotten older and people can sit on it.
I witnessed K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez) doing it last year when we got him (in Milwaukee). He started using his fastball a heck of a lot more. You can tell people were sitting on his slow stuff and – bam! – here's a strike fastball. A couple years ago it was pretty much 80, 90 percent all breaking balls."
Inconsistent counseling and usage, especially in a frantic August stretch, moved Marmol two steps back after he took one forward last season. Sveum's knowledge of the situation and seemingly clear approach on what needs to be done could be what Marmol needs to streamline his tantalizing abilities.
Marmol was the original Craig Kimbrel. A few successful tweaks could give sharp drafters the vintage Marmol at the price of a midrange No. 2 mixed stopper. Sure, his foundation still presents the risk he could repeat his 2011 stumbles, making him a frustrating player to own, but the diminished investment makes recapturing his elite output a more attractive chance to take.
- Brian Wilson (elbow) threw nine pitches in his spring debut on Sunday. The San Francisco Giants were planning on allowing him to throw 25, so this is a positive sign that he can regain his Beardness. He's working toward a reported goal of around 10 spring frames. So far, so good, but expecting him to automatically jump back into the top closer tier and remain healthy remains a risky strategy.
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
Don't miss these great reports....