Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Rafael Betancourt sticks, Mariano Rivera slips, more

by Tim Heaney on September 6, 2011 @ 13:10:39 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

  • At the moment, Rafael Betancourt is the main man for Colorado Rockies saves, and Jim Tracy thinks it'd be "asinine" to replace him while he's in a groove. There's still a solid chance that Huston Street will reclaim his gig sometime this season, but it's becoming more and more frustrating for his owners to wait on it.
    If Betancourt is still available, grab him immediately. Though a poor string of outings could boot him from the role, he's showing few signs of slowing down. If you own Street, are well off in saves and need to address other areas, consider dropping him in shallow formats.
  • New York Yankees RP Mariano Rivera
    Is Mo losing it?
    Brian Wilson (elbow inflammation) threw 15 pitches in a bullpen session Monday and will do so again Wednesday before being re-evaluated. The San Francisco Giants will continue employing a committee, with Santiago Casilla as its leader, in the meantime.
  • Jason Motte's renaissance season continued Saturday with a five-out save for the St. Louis Cardinals. He'll continue to be a threat to Fernando Salas' save chances for the remainder of September and is worth acquiring if saves will be the difference in your stretch run. But Tony La Russa still values having Motte come into tight situations, especially with runners on base, so save work won't be as consistent as you hope for.
  • Sergio Santos' holiday weekend certainly was laborious. The Chicago White Sox's presumptive 2012 closer didn't do much for his 2011 standing. He blew a save chance Saturday in a two-homer, three-run debacle and yielded a walk, a hit and a run Monday before Chris Sale came in for the final out. Expect Sale to keep checking in for opportunities. Both should be owned.
  • Carlos Marmol's latest blowup came Saturday, a four-run, three-walk, two-hit blown-save loss (39 pitches). Sean Marshall stepped in Sunday and came through with a scoreless closure. It appears that the Chicago Cubs were simply resting Marmol; the erratic but talented righty rebounded Monday with a shutout inning and his 32nd save of the season.
    Marshall might be in line for similar backup duty down the stretch if Marmol, whose pitch counts pile up like Cubbie losses, needs a rest; he's worth a pickup if you need every possible save in deep leagues.
  • As Mariano Rivera approaches 600 saves (three away), he's showing more signs of slipping, as evidenced by a two-hit, one-run tap-dance closure Monday. We might see more of David Robertson or Rafael Soriano filling in down the stretch to keep him fresh for the postseason if the Yanks manage to lock up a spot with time to spare. D-Rob did the job Saturday in a two-inning appearance.
    Though Soriano has more closing experience and would do the job in a theoretical long-term Mo absence, Robertson is the better bet to be the occasional fill-in. Neither is worth a mixed league grab, though.
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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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