Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Jonathan Broxton, Joe Nathan, Drew Storen

by Tim Heaney on April 12, 2012 @ 03:25:34 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)

Kansas City Royals

Closer: Jonathan Broxton
Understudy: Greg Holland, Aaron Crow
Lurkers: Kelvin Herrera, Louis Coleman

Texas Rangers RP Joe Nathan
Back-to-back bad back-to-backs

Yesterday's BS meltdown: two walks, a run-scoring groundout and two hit batsmen following a one-out error by Alcides Escobar. For starters: It's going to take more than that to strip Broxton of primary save duties anytime soon. Fantasy players know Holland's likelihood of being on deck for saves and that he's worth a stash.

Even with team-management patience in mind, you can't ignore issues that, if not corrected, could soon jeopardize Broxton's job security.

The Royals' broadcast team revealed that Broxton said he put his split-finger fastball, a former go-to offering, on the shelf because it put too much stress on his elbow; this probably was an effort to conserve his arm early on. The fact that he was frequently missing up and inside might signal that it's time for him to reinstate the splitter; the team aimed for him to slowly work back into full form and arsenal.

Though his velocity was potent throughout the disastrous inning - he hit 98 mph on the broadcast gun at one point - Brox wasn't following through on pitches after the Escobar error. He was a little tall on his delivery, which caused most of the post-gaffe pitches to stay up. Cripes, he was nibbling while facing Eric Sogard.

The mixed results from Broxton's March seem to be spilling over. His rattled demeanor after allowing a base runner doesn't speak well of the closer experience KC valued when they signed him. His once sturdy rep was enough to convince the Royals that once in their uni, his skills would come back.

A three-K perfect save this past Sunday shows a hint of the old Brox in there, but he needs to remain calm when the bags have occupants. He was pitching from the stretch the whole time on Wednesday, but is he changing his approach with runners on?

Maybe he'll get a brief break. He's still the leader but will need to work his way back into Ned Yost's good graces quickly.

Job security score: 4
Health score:

Mound meetings

  • Maybe Joe Nathan isn't quite ready to go on back-to-back days yet. Despite his assertions of feeling OK physically, both of his blown saves, including his three-run, four-hit Wednesday gaffe, have come on a second consecutive day of work. He thinks he hasn't been using his fastball enough; his slider was a weak spot, but he was deploying it often last night.
    The Texas Rangers aren't considering a change, but Mike Adams remains the replacement to target if you're speculating. His profile is already fantasy-relevant, and even if it's just a role for spelling Nathan more frequently, that increases the impetus to add him.
  • Drew Storen underwent elbow surgery to remove bone fragments from his throwing elbow Wednesday. The Washington Nationals expect the right-hander to be back before the All-Star break, but temper your expectations given the difficulties that can arise from an elbow procedure, even one the club classifies as minor.
    This extends the fantasy shelf life of the Brad Lidge-Henry Rodriguez saves tandem. Both are worth owning, and for now, even with his Thursday blown save, Lidge still sets the table in Davey Johnson's eyes.
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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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