Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Joakim Soria, more

by Tim Heaney on June 7, 2011 @ 11:42:32 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.

Mound meetings

  • Baltimore Orioles RP Kevin Gregg
    Gregg rediscovers strike zone
    Following his perfect two-inning stint that produced a victory Monday, Joakim Soria was dubbed closer once again by Kansas City Royals skipper Ned Yost. The right-hander had only one K in his non-stopper proceedings, so maybe it's smart not to expect previous Sorian levels in this renewed era. Still, his return to the gig means he should be owned everywhere.
    Crow, meanwhile, can still be a valuable non-saves reliever in many leagues, and it'd be wise to hang on to him at least in the early going to see if Soria gives more evidence that he's returning to form.
  • It wasn't a save situation Monday, but Frank Francisco gave up an 11th-inning, walk-off single in a tied game. He has now allowed seven runs in his last six outings (4 1/3 frames). The Toronto Blue Jays' closer situation has had little production - they haven't had a traditional save chance since Francisco blew a May 28 appearance. Jon Rauch converted one the previous day - the last time a Toronto arm did so.
    This is hardly solidified, but you should expect John Farrell to continue leaning toward Francisco and Rauch. Maybe Octavio Dotel (if facing all righty sticks) or Jason Frasor will get a shot soon, but they remain secondary fantasy targets - more appropriate as a stab at a potential saves piece.
  • In the inconsistent and injury-stricken Minnesota Twins' bullpen, Matt Capps has often been asked to pitch more than one frame. A recent bout with elbow and forearm balkiness might've been a result of extra work. However, in each of his last four outings, including a Monday save (one inning, one walk), the closer has thrown a shutout frame.
    Two May blowup outings make his stats look much worse than Capps has thrown this season. With Joe Nathan (elbow) on the DL in another post-Tommy John setback, Capps will have plenty of time to accrue more saves. If they limit his multiple-inning appearances, he should be fine.
  • Counting his Monday save (scoreless inning, two K's), Kevin Gregg hasn't allowed a walk in his three June outings - his longest stretch without walking a batter all season. The Baltimore Orioles' stopper hasn't yielded a run in his last six appearances.
    Even with his BB/9 and his early-season left-on-base fortune, at least he's on a career-best pace in first-strike percentage (63.5). This renewed zone pounding could help temper his free passes from here on out. The Koji Uehara rearview watch continues, but Gregg is holding him off.
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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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