Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Tommy Layne, John Axford

by Tim Heaney on August 23, 2012 @ 12:32:24 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

Milwaukee Brewers RP John Axford
Axford: free and clean on Wed.

Heading into last night's ninth inning, Dale Thayer had worked each of the previous two days, and the San Diego Padres were facing a righty sandwiched between two lefties. Enter rookie southpaw Tommy Layne, who registered his first career save with a groundout, a fly-out and a strikeout.

Layne hides the ball well with hitches in his delivery, adding potency to his stuff via deception; his fastball tops out in the low 90s, and he hasn't really had such farm success. Of course, his profile wouldn't stop Bud Black from using him in similar circumstances again, considering they've turned a retread like Thayer into a solid fill-in stopper, thanks in part to PETCO Parks' surroundings.

Don't go chasing Layne in mixed leagues, but the soft tosser could pick up a save or two as a platoon understudy for however long Huston Street (calf) remains on the DL, which at least will be into early September. The Pads' depth chart doesn't list another lefty RP, so that works in his favor if it's the ninth, but it might also mean they'll need him in earlier situations. Of course, SD has many other closer-capable arms to fill in for Thayer in spot efforts, so this could easily be a one-shot deal.


A two-out single didn't prevent John Axford from throwing a scoreless frame Wednesday; he recorded all three outs via the K for his 20th save of the year. Jim Henderson set up in the eighth. The cleaner, sharper Ax might get a break tonight considering he has thrown on three of the last four days, but he once again has a handle on the Milwaukee Brewers' job as at least the primary chopper.

Other Wednesday saviors

Fernando Rodney (39), Rays
Aroldis Chapman (31), Reds
Jason Motte (29), Cardinals
J.J. Putz 2 (26), Diamondbacks
Jose Valverde (25), Tigers
Rafael Betancourt (25), Rockies
Addison Reed (23), White Sox
Tom Wilhelmsen (19), Mariners
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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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