Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Dodgers bullpen, more

by Tim Heaney on May 25, 2011 @ 12:57:38 PDT


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft?'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)


Los Angeles Dodgers

Closer: Jonathan Broxton (DL)

Understudy: Vicente Padilla (DL), Hong-Chih Kuo (DL)

Lurkers: Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Javy Guerra, Rubby De La Rosa

LA continued their sadistic carousel Tuesday. Meet Guerra, the sixth Dodger to post a save this season. He shut the door last night with an eight-pitch, eight-strike shutout frame. In post-game chatter, Don Mattingly acknowledged Guerra's saves experience on the farm (three at Double-A Chattanooga this year, 27 career). The 25-year-old has come into his own in the last three seasons; though he still battled walk issues, he has the capable fastball and K/9 to do the job.

Oakland Athletics RP Andrew Bailey
Bailey can't return soon enough

Caveat: Guerra was likely called upon chiefly because Guerrier and Jansen both pitched Monday night, so this is hardly a reason to go all-in on last night's savior.

Jansen's botched job Monday night might've had something to do with the Blue calling up highly regarded prospect Rubby De La Rosa yesterday; he didn't disappoint with a dominant 1-2-3 eighth-inning debut. Maybe RDLR's stuff forces him into the picture, but given their desire to use him in long relief, as well, it's hard to see the youngster getting a legit shot.

His long-term plan lines him up to start; if he spends 2011 in relief the 22-year-old could be this year's version of Jansen - a filthy K call-up that can stabilize your fantasy staff while maybe poaching a few saves.

Guerra and De La Rosa have live arms and are mysteries to major league teams - something the Blue need right now with their beleaguered relief corps and tightly bound purse strings. None of the other options have locked down the job while Broxton, Padilla and Kuo are sidelined, so there's a theoretical shot a member of the new duo can grab it.

If your league is deep enough or your need dire enough to test that, target Guerra first, but don't bet your mortgage. They're at minimum jeopardizing the short-term potential of Jansen, Guerrier and MacDougal. Despite his recent blunder, the former is the best option to stick with among the incumbent place fillers. See you on the next spin ... or committee meeting ... or whatever persistently pummeled joke goes here.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

  • His tirade probably didn't help. Oakland Athletics manager Bob Geren removed Brian Fuentes as his interim closer and is giving the role to the more skilled Grant Balfour, who's worth a pickup for the short term. Andrew Bailey (forearm) is due back in the near future, so Balfour might be able to log only one or two closures. It's worth a shot, though, if you're looking for something there. You should drop Fuentes in mixed leagues.
  • Already a tortured May pitcher, Matt Capps is suffering from forearm soreness and will be unavailable Wednesday for the Minnesota Twins. Expect skipper Ron Gardenhire to play the matchups here, but it's a good day to have Joe Nathan in your lineup if your league employs daily transactions. We'll keep you posted on Capps' condition, but Nathan could be thrust back into the role - ready or not - if the former has to miss extended time.
  • Following his two-run stumble in a blown save opp Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays' Frank Francisco now has a 9.95 ERA in his last eight games (6 1/3 innings). He has some rope, though; they remain invested in him.
    Besides, Jon Rauch, though he'd be the logical choice to step in again, is reliving his up-and-down 2010 and has less confidence as next in line. Octavio Dotel has a typical rough line despite his high-K output and isn't earning much cred for chances.
    But remember Jason Frasor? He wrapped up 11 saves for Toronto in 2009 and has by far been the best of these four. He could easily slide into the role down the road.
  • Joakim Soria held a 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances and innings heading into Tuesday, when he allowed three runs on three knocks - including a walk-off two-run jack - in a blown save. Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost shot down the idea of removing Soria from the role, citing his comfort with the current bullpen alignment.
  • Eduardo Sanchez recorded the St. Louis Cardinals' save Tuesday because top bird Fernando Salas needed the day off. With Mitchell Boggs now in the Triple-A starting rotation, Sanchez is worth hanging on to, especially in deep leagues, for the long run if you're clinging to saves hope.
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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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