What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? 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: Carlos Marmol
Understudy: Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood
Lurkers: Andrew Cashner (DL)
Marmol losing punch
Quade is concerned that Marmol's velocity is down this year. Fangraphs confirms this. The talented but erratic Chicago Cubs closer has a funky delivery, and Quade thinks that's breeding his mph fluctuation. This has been a year-long problem, but he wasn't helped by having to pitch on five of the seven days - four of them save chances - before his 32-pitch, four-run Tuesday meltdown.
The slider-dependent Marmol needs a complementary fastball to give his signature pitch its effect; he has often tried to guide the slider instead of just letting it rip. His physical wiring has at times been so crossed that he probably doesn't fully trust his pitch release.
If you don't need his save chances right now and are in a daily lineup league, it's probably best to keep Marmol parked on your pine until he shows signs of recovery. If there's a positive from this, it was that Marmol has only given up a run in two of his 10 August appearances. Maybe the Cubs will be more careful with how and when they use the righty, especially since they're not playing meaningful games.
Another Marmol break from closing would probably call on Marshall and Wood. Marshall is likelier because he stepped in during Marmol's last sabbatical, but Wood's hot pitching of late could make him the better option in Quade's eyes.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 5
Closer: Brian Wilson
Understudy: Sergio Romo (DL)
Lurkers: Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, Javier Lopez
Wilson, unavailable for at least the next few days, flew to Florida before Wednesday's contest to have his inflamed right elbow examined. With Romo also on the DL for the same reason, the Giants will probably turn to some matchup-based combination of the listed Lurkers for however long Wilson is dinged.
Lopez mows down left-handed opponents, but he has offered much less resistance to righty sticks and is best used in setup jams. Casilla has shown the skills to do the job in previous seasons, but his K's are down this year, and he hasn't been used to protect a late save-like lead often. Mota has enjoyed a K/9 revival thanks to an improved fastball, but he's one of the Giants' best multiple-innings 'pen men, which will limit his chances.
Though this reeks of a fluid backup plan, southpaw Affeldt probably is the majority option. He's slightly more palatable versus right-handed enemies and, along with Romo, has been used in seventh- and eighth-inning setup spots for most of the year. Affeldt, owner of three saves this year, allowed three unearned runs last night (two inherited, one his own), but he stopped the Giants from blowing a six-run lead in the ninth.
He's your first add if you're trying pluck the next stopper from here. Romo could be out a while, too, so there could be at least a handful of saves for the taking if Wilson hits the DL.
Job security score: 5
Health score: 4
- Make that 10 straight scoreless innings for Frank Francisco, who secured a 5-1 lead in the ninth Wednesday for the Toronto Blue Jays in his first appearance replacing Jon Rauch (appendectomy). If Frankie keeps this up in the three-plus weeks Toronto will be without Rauch, he'll probably hang on to the job.
- As Bobby Parnell performs his audition to close for the New York Mets in 2012, pitching coach Dan Warthen will restrict Parnell to throwing only a few fastballs in succession during an at-bat. They want the heat-first arm to develop an effective secondary pitch; he has a slider and changeup in his arsenal, but he often ignores them during games.
This could lead to some ugly outings as Parnell and the Metropolitans continue to tinker in a lost season. However, Parnell is still worth owning if you're grasping for any saves possible.
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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