Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Neftali Feliz, Huston Street, Jon Rauch

by Tim Heaney on August 8, 2011 @ 12:05:32 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.


Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)


Texas Rangers

Closer: Neftali Feliz

Understudy: Mike Adams, Koji Uehara

With Feliz unavailable Sunday after pitching on three consecutive days, Adams registered the save with a 1-2-3 inning. On the end engagement of his recent trio, Feliz registered a BS by allowing three runs on three hits in two-thirds of a frame. Seventeen of his 25 pitches hit the zone, but he's still being mashed. This space has detailed Feliz's issues with relying on his only trustworthy pitch: his fastball.

Colorado Rockies RP Huston Street
Rough road for Street?

Washington said Feliz remains the closer and that he still has confidence in him, but it's waning. He said the righty shouldn't have been affected much by the workloads of his first pair of consecutive outings. Feliz threw just 16 pitches Thursday and 11 pitches Friday before struggling through 25 Saturday; sure, those first two counts aren't overwhelming, but warming up three straight days could throw a wrench into your game by itself.

Quite the conundrum: Feliz's approach has been too predictable for him to avoid these stumbles as a closer, but the fact that he only has one reliable offering in his arsenal jeopardizes his chance at entering the rotation in the future.

Given the solid options behind him and this recent disaster, Feliz will probably lose more save opportunities when he works on back-to-back days; you have to wonder if Wash will let him pitch in three straight again. More performances like Saturday's could push this to a committee-type setup, or even push Feliz out of the role altogether. The latter isn't a given, but with a postseason berth likely coming only to the winner of a tight AL West race, the Rangers will probably make whatever switch is necessary to keep pace.

The fact that Adams was used Sunday makes him the backup to target, with Uehara being his backup.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • John Farrell noted Friday that Jon Rauch would remain the stopper for the Toronto Blue Jays. The righty backed him up by saving that night's contest in a one-inning effort (one run, two hits yielded) after his four-out, three-run BS Thursday.
    However, Rauch emerged from Friday's closure with right knee irritation and sat out the weekend. The Jays didn't need a savior, though. He should return tomorrow after Toronto's off-day Monday. This shouldn't stop save seekers from scooping up Frank Francisco if he's available, though.
  • Huston Street's K/BB is at a career-high 5.88, and his Colorado Rockies job isn't in jeopardy, but his appearances are becoming more painful. Opponents are hitting .266 off him while making contact on 75.0 percent of their hacks against him; both are the worst figures of his career.
    His homer problem (10 allowed this season) probably has to do with location and predictability. Maybe it's because he has already topped his 2010 workload, too; in this case, health could be causing fatigue, ironically. With Street's contract up next season, though, Rex Brothers remains a solid long-term speculation.
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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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