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.
|Job security (JS) score
||1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
|Health (H) score
||1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)
Closer: Aroldis Chapman
Understudy/Fill-in: Jonathan Broxton
Lurkers: Sean Marshall
Step in right direction?
Following his Sunday stumble, Chapman didn't cough up a run when appearing in the top of the 10th Monday night, but it wasn't pretty. He walked the first two batters, punched out the next, induced a liner and gave out another free pass to load the bases before finally escaping with a groundout. Only seven of his 22 pitches were strikes.
What concerns Dusty Baker the most was Chapman's velocity, which, according to Mark Sheldon, registered a high of 97 mph and settled in at 93-94. For anyone else, that'll do. For the lefty launcher whose fastball defines his approach as one of the most overpowering in the game ... not so much. Though Fangraphs and MLB.com register his lower heat as changeups, and he's been known to have such speedy off-speed stuff, Baker's concerns likely mean Chapman wasn't trying to pull the string. In cases like this, better to err on the side of real life.
Chapman wasn't feeling pain, but per skip, a doctor assessed Chapman's shoulder and determined it's fatigued. Cincy might have to turn to Broxton or Marshall in the next few days if a spot comes up. If you're OK in saves and K's, Chapman might be better off on your bench until he gets right, if that happens. Broxton should be your first speculative choice for closures, but Marshall shouldn't be ignored as a secondary option.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 4
The Chicago White Sox tacked on two runs in the bottom of the eighth to build a 6-1 lead heading into the ninth on Monday. Since Addison Reed was warming anyway - a good sign that he was due to work in a closing role - he entered in a non-save spot and logged a much-needed scoreless frame to wrap it up. It broke a streak of 18 appearances in which he'd allowed a base runner.
He threw only 10 offerings (eight strikes) while facing the minimum, including a one-pitch out. While sitting between 93 and 95 mph with his four-seamer, Reed attacked the zone effectively, showing a vital building block in overcoming his recent woes. Of course, pitching with a five-run lead helped. Will he challenge hitters as often in tighter affairs?
Though it didn't produce that all-important (overrated) fantasy statistic, the outing extended Reed's rope for now.
Other Monday saviors
|Rafael Betancourt (28), Rockies
|John Axford (28), Brewers
||Perfect last 10 SVO, 9 straight scoreless G
|Carlos Marmol (19), Cubs
||1 H, 2 K, 0 R; last 18 IP: 1.50 ERA, 23 K, 8 SV
|Grant Balfour (17), Athletics
|Antonio Bastardo (1), Phillies
||Jonathan Papelbon: SV, W in Sun. twin bill, needed rest
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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