What are the odds that you still own the same relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you a no-nonsense perspective on performances, injuries and managerial decisions from MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players who'll get saves in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league.
Closer: Matt Thornton
Lurkers: Jesse Crain
Another rough ninth inning for Thornton and the Sox: On Monday he allowed a leadoff double and then a hard line-out to first, but a one-out fly ball was dropped by left fielder Juan Pierre, allowing the tying run to score. Crain stopped the bleeding but later drew some of his own when he allowed the game-winning dinger.
Days after informally instituting a quasi-committee setup, Ozzie Guillen said Thornton, perfect in eight ninth-inning save opps last year, "will be back out there" and acknowledges the ChiSox are hurting the lefty's chances. Pierre has had a direct hand - err, glove - in two of Thornton's three BS entries, having also botched an aerial shot Friday to push Thornton toward a blown save. Of the seven runs Thornton has allowed, only one has been earned; if your defense extends the inning, your odds of failing increase.
In a small sample size, however, Thornton has been hit hard and more frequently. Primarily a fastball pitcher, Thornton has often been beaten on his secondary stuff. That leadoff two-bagger came off a slider he described as something at least rated PG-13. Mixing in a changeup that he used rarely last year, if at all, hasn't helped. His heat remains a prominent offering, but its location probably isn't right yet.
Ozzie apparently is willing to trust Thornton's reliable history, which fantasy should owners should as well. Regardless, the three backups are stash-worthy.
Job security score: 3
Health score: 5
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