Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Mariners, J.J. Putz, David Robertson, more

by Tim Heaney on May 31, 2012 @ 13:56:14 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

Arizona Diamondbacks RP J.J. Putz
What a ...

A sore neck kept J.J. Putz out of a Wednesday save chance. No, it wasn't from the whiplash he has endured thanks to his bloated homer allowance. He apparently tweaked it in his sleep. Thankfully, the Arizona Diamondbacks are off Thursday, and the righty said he would probably go if they weren't. He expects to return Friday to continue his attempt at a rebound.

David Hernandez, meanwhile, wrapped it up in his place, registering four outs and working around two singles, including a leadoff jobber in the ninth. He was already worthy of speculation in deep leagues before Putz's ding.


The Seattle Mariners sent Steve Delabar to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up fireballer Stephen Pryor, who'll be 23 in July and is earning some props as a future stopper. He has 39 K's, 12 walks and a 0.64 ERA in 28 frames across Tacoma and Double-A Jackson this season. The right-hander's fastball touches triple digits.

With Brandon League's recent demotion, pegged as temporary by Eric Wedge, maybe Pryor will get a shot along with likely fill-in Tom Wilhelmsen. Of course, League is a free agent after this season and has been the subject of trade rumblings; Seattle is an organization that can create pitching from what they have and sell off goods that'll net a return. Pryor is the future, and it wouldn't surprise if he got a shot if League goes and Seattle is out of the running.

Until more is determined on this situation - Seattle hasn't had a save chance since League was stripped of the role - Pryor is merely an AL-only speculation who could easily help even without SVOs. Prepare to act quickly, though, if he shows signs of joining the saves fray.


The New York Yankees will be without David Robertson (oblique) until mid-June at the earliest, per Brian Cashman's estimation. D-Rob has thrown on flat ground several times over the last few days without discomfort. He hasn't thrown a bullpen outing, though.

Rafael Soriano has locked down all six of his chances after last night's and is cruising in terms of job security. It wouldn't surprise if he keeps this up he'd keep the gig even when Robertson resurfaces.


Heath Bell registered his third save in as many days, though in Wednesday's he had to work around a leadoff double and a two-out walk to seal the two-run victory. His four-seam fastball sat at 94 and 95 mph, per Gameday, so he's meeting Ozzie Guillen's demands and being more assertive with his cheese.

The Miami Marlins' stopper still has flaws that will likely pop up throughout the season, but he's headed in the right direction in terms of job security.


The Chicago Cubs entered the ninth inning Wednesday in a tie with the San Diego Padres, and they started the final frame with James Russell, the way in which teams traditionally use closers in such home-game situations. He finished with a scoreless frame after a single, GIDP, double and strikeout, and he received the win after the Cubbies tagged Dale Thayer.

This backs up Nick's assertion from yesterday that Russell leads the Cubmittee for now.

As for Thayer, he isn't in jeopardy of losing the interim role, aside of course from Huston Street's return from a strained lat.


Jonny Venters has endured trouble in May (0-2, 6.75 ERA, three HR yielded in 11 innings), chiefly due to problems with his sinker. Eric O'Flaherty pitched the eighth after Venters worked the seventh Tuesday, a rare occurrence with the Atlanta Braves holding a late lead.

This arrangement is probably only temporary until Venters shows progress. He's still the secondary saves option to stalwart Craig Kimbrel.

Other Wednesday saviors

Joel Hanrahan (13), Pirates
Alfredo Aceves (13), Red Sox
Jonathan Broxton (11), Royals
John Axford (10), Brewers
Addison Reed (6), White Sox
Casey Janssen (5), Blue Jays
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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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