Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Dodgers, Kelvin Herrera, John Axford, more

by Tim Heaney on August 31, 2012 @ 10:45:53 PDT'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.

Mound meetings

Don Mattingly cleared things up. Ronald Belisario and Brandon League will share Los Angeles Dodgers save duties with Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) out indefinitely. League boasts closer experience and might have clicked on the light bulb with his recent tinkering, but Belisario has been the better reliever and should be your first target.


Chicago Cubs RP Carlos Marmol
Hot Marmolade

Greg Holland had worked on each of the previous two days, so Kelvin Herrera took the ball in the ninth Thursday, allowing a leadoff walk and a soft one-out one-bagger before inducing a Miguel Cabrera GIDP.

The pitch that closed it out? A 101 mph four-seamer. He hit triple digits three other times and sat in the high 90s, as per ush.

Consider Herrera the Kansas City Royals' backup to Holland, and he might earn more chances down the stretch. Even if he doesn't, he can aid your K and ratio chases in deep leagues.


John Axford had pitched on Tuesday and Wednesday, so Francisco Rodriguez stepped in for the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday. This substitution ... not as successful as Kansas City's: K-Rod punched out the leadoff bat but spiraled out of control from there, allowing a double, a walk, a run-scoring single, a one-run double and a liner to plate the winner.

Kameron Loe looks like the best alternative to Axford, who isn't really strangling the job but, with his relative success, looks better than those around him right now.


Bobby Valentine told reporters about his plans to stretch out Alfredo Aceves in September. They don't necessarily want to make him a starter, but it's probably just playing more toward Aceves' strengths as an innings eater, along with his starting pitcher capabilities. Andrew Bailey has the closer gig back.


No, your screen is fine: Carlos Marmol has only three - three - walks in nine August frames, compared to 11 strikeouts to go along with his 1.00 ERA and three saves (come on, it's the Cubs, nothing he can do about that). Looks like he's embracing what the Chicago Cubs have preached: Pound the strike zone. His perfect ninth last night set him up for the win when the Milwaukee Brewers allowed walk-off magic.

Marmol has restored most of the velocity he lost last year on his four-seamer, and that must've gone a long way into recharging him. He's allowing more contact than ever in a full season (77.4 percent), but he's also netting more grounders than ever (42.7 percent).

He's requiting himself nicely for the 2013 closer role and could be an attractive bargain in fantasy drafts, as long as you consider his longer track record of WHIPlash and don't go crazy spending on him.

Other Thursday saviors

Jim Johnson (41), Orioles  
Jonathan Papelbon (30), Phillies 0.68 ERA, 14 K, 8 SV in 13 1/3 August IP
J.J. Putz (27), Diamondbacks  
Tom Wilhelmsen (21), Mariners Worked around 2 BB; has allowed at least one free pass in each of last 5 G
Casey Janssen (18), Blue Jays  
Ernesto Frieri (16), Angels  
Sergio Romo (8), Giants Javier Lopez went 1 2/3 before the RHP notched the game's final matchup-oriented out.
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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