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)
Understudy: Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo
Lurkers: Clay Hensley, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Heath Hembree
Santos on the shelf
It didn't take long for this carousel to induce vomiting: During a Friday chance, with San Fran holding a one-run lead, he was yanked after a leadoff single in the ninth. Two lefty bats were due up. Bruce Bochy called on Lopez, the southpaw ace, so to speak, of this arrangement. He retired one but threw a wild pitch, issued a walk and gave up the game-tying single. Romo came in and got out of the jam; despite giving up two singles to lead off the 10th, he wound up with the win when Hensley closed it out by sitting down the next three.
On Saturday, Hensley took the loss, but Affeldt and San Fran's defense had a hand in it.
After all that, Casilla probably still stands at the front of this increasingly chaotic line, with Romo hovering not far behind him. Bochy might be trigger-happy depending on the order and number of left-handed bats the Giants face, and the one-run lead probably prompted him to play it safer with matchups, on which Lopez unfortunately dropped the ball. If it's a three-run advantage entering the ninth, Casilla could receive more leeway.
Unfortunately, that's often the way the committee cookie crumbles.
Still, the grounder-heavy Hensley is worth an addition in NL-onlys and perhaps some deep mixers thanks to his brief saves experience in 2010 and increasing importance in this 'pen. He's in line to earn a few more closures over the course of 2012.
Job security score: N/A
Health score: 5
Closer: Andrew Bailey DL
Understudy: Alfredo Aceves
Lurkers: Vicente Padilla, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard
Bard moved to the bullpen ... until his scheduled start Friday. It's a temporary adjustment after their Sunday night rainout, in which Bard was supposed to take the rubber.
Maybe, within this limited relief window, he'll convince the BoSox brass he should remain there. In some deep leagues, that could warrant a flier. But even on the heels of Aceves' eighth-inning Saturday blowup and apparent discomfort with closing, cementing Bard in RP duty is a stretch, considering the organization's steadfastness about his future in the rotation.
When you remove Aceves' two blowups, he has yielded just one hit while striking out four in three scoreless innings (four appearances). Given the inability of Melancon, Padilla, Morales or anyone else to take advantage, expect his hold (tenuous as it is) to continue, with Junichi Tazawa possibly earning setup candidacy down the road.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 5
Sergio Santos hit the disabled list over the weekend with right shoulder inflammation. If Francisco Cordero is somehow still available, add him immediately; he'll fill in for the Toronto Blue Jays. Santos' injury isn't believed to be serious, but he's visiting with Dr. Lewis Yocum in the near future. We'll know more soon.
Good news, on the other hand, for Joel Hanrahan this weekend. He returned to log the Pittsburgh Pirates' save Saturday after a day-to-day stretch due to a tight hamstring. Hanny walked two but escaped with a shutout frame and two K's. Juan Cruz has ascended to the backup role if you need to address this situation in the future.
The New York Mets backed Frank Francisco after his rough stretch last week, which was punctuated by a rough Saturday that only lasted one-third of a frame (three runs on two hits and a walk). Jon Rauch, who's off to a hot start, remains the speculative grab.
Lidge on the ledge?
Brad Lidge's high-wire act continued Saturday, and this time he fell off while allowing two runs on a homer and three walks in a blown save. His Washington Nationals partner, Henry Rodriguez, has allowed one hit all season. The six walks, naturally, speak to his weakness, but his mid- to high-90s stuff is among the toughest to hit in the game.
Lidge is 2-for-4 on save opps this year; H-Rod has converted all four of his. Though Davey Johnson gave Lidge a vote of confidence after the gaffe, Rodriguez is the better pitcher, even with his control snafus, and the suddenly competitive Nats might stop catering to the veteran if he's struggling. Plan accordingly while waiting for the return of Drew Storen (elbow) sometime before the All-Star break.
Even while giving up a solo homer during his fifth save of the season Sunday, J.J. Putz somewhat eased early-season concerns. He has given up at least one run in three of his seven outings, but a lot of Putz's roughness might have stemmed from his introduction of a cutter and the Arizona Diamondbacks' unusually ample save chances early on. He's still working through things. Give him time.
After a four-day layoff, Joe Nathan converted a save opp Sunday, surviving a single and a fly ball that almost wound up as the game-winning tater. The Texas Rangers will continue to monitor the 37-year-old's workload, probably limiting him to, say, two days of work in a row by mixing in Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando. But with nearly 1 mph back on his four-seamer and a more frequent inclusion of his two-seamer, Nathan is making positive adjustments and has a firm hold on the driver's seat.
With Greg Holland (left rib stress reaction) probably on the DL for about three weeks, Jonathan Broxton has a slightly stronger grip on the Kansas City Royals' gig. In two non-save outings since his infamous collapse on April 11, he hasn't allowed a run and has given up just one hit. In fact, the only two walks he has yielded came in that blowup; he hasn't been that bad otherwise, especially with his fastball velo back up to past levels.
Hector Santiago worked a scoreless ninth Sunday to preserve a Chicago White Sox win with his fourth save in five tries. He's not bulletproof, but Robin Ventura's choice has some pull with skip and doesn't look to be in much danger at the moment.
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.