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/Fill-in: James Russell, Shawn Camp
Lurkers: Manuel Corpas, Rafael Dolis M, Michael Bowden M
Cook's fire needs rest
Like almost every other MLB player, Marmol will probably hit waivers sometime this month. It's procedure this time of year. If a player clears waivers, it's open season again for shopping him. (For more on waiver trade rules, here's Matthew Leach.)
Of course, the first go-round didn't produce anything. Marmol is a free agent after the 2013 season and has $12.4 million left on his deal, which makes him less appealing in the eyes of Chicago Cubs barter partners.
NL-only stretch runners should be thinking about the possibility of the North Siders ditching the Marmolade. James Russell and Shawn Camp had quite the dissatisfying duel for the job when the erratic righty was booted earlier this year, but they'd probably be involved this time around, too. Dolis filled in for a stretch but eventually crumbled - too hittable. He's on the seven-day disabled list at Triple-A Iowa.
A dark horse is Bowden. The former SP prospect has been posting closer-like figures at Iowa, too: 10.16 K/9, 4.13 BB/9 with two saves in 20 games this year. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's familiarity with his skills helped when they brought him over from their old organization in Beantown. Bowden's stuff induces more empty hacks in relief.
Going deeper: Corpas posted seasons of 19 (2007) and 10 saves (2010) for the Colorado Rockies. He was never a true strikeout artist, and he hasn't pitched in many meaningful situations so far, but the Cubbies didn't care about that when they went with Dolis, who has a similar profile to Corpas but a better fastball. Outside of a four-run disaster July 21, Corpas holds a 1.52 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP and 12 K's in 23 2/3 innings this year.
If Marmol leaves, this will be a messy situation for both fantasy and reality purposes. A wavering recommendation goes to the Russell-Camp trio, which could resemble the Glen Perkins-Jared Burton sitch in Minnesota. That's in pencil, not Sharpie. Don't write off one of the outsiders as things wind down.
Job security score: 3
Health score: 5
Even in his stumbles, Tyler Clippard has been serviceable. Since June ended, he has a 5.40 ERA with seven walks in 15 innings, but he's fanned 22 and has gone 8-for-10 in save chances. His latest successful notch there came Thursday, when he allowed two free passes but escaped without allowing a tally.
His increasingly human performances haven't jeopardized him significantly, and they might not as long as he keeps the Washington Nationals afloat. Drew Storen, however, hasn't allowed a run in six of his seven appearances since returning to active duty, so he should remain on deep fantasy rosters and in the minds of shallow save seekers in case Clippard stumbles further. There's still time for Storen to contribute in his familiar column.
The Oakland Athletics entered last night's ninth with a four-run lead. Sean Doolittle went on to play it out but put two runners on. Ryan Cook came in after it became a save spot and allowed an inherited run, but he did so on a groundout - more important with a four-run advantage. He allowed another one-bagger before forcing another bouncer to end things.
Bob Melvin talked in the last few weeks about monitoring the workloads of Cook and Doolittle. Doolittle only became a pitcher last year, so they're watching him, as well. The former hasn't given up a run all year when he's on one to five days of taking a breather. When pitching without rest, he's allowed eight runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Cook insists it's a small sample size, but in conjunction with his ongoing statistical correction after a sizzling but fortunate first half, it's something to watch. This could lead to a save chance here and there for Grant Balfour, so scavengers could take a flier there.
Glen Perkins registered two perfect innings Thursday for the Minnesota Twins' closure. He fanned three. Since giving up three runs on four hits July 1, he boasts a 1.29 ERA with 14 K's in 14 frames. He'll continue sharing stopper reps with Jared Burton, but considering Burton's fragility, Perkins has the lead.
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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