What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? KFFL.com'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)
Closer: J.J. Putz (DL)
Understudy: David Hernandez
Lurkers: Sam Demel, Juan Gutierrez (DL), Kam Mickolio
Perez: absent for a few
Putz (elbow tendonitis) was placed on the DL Friday. He had been struggling with his velocity and performance of late. The right-hander dealt with a bone spur issue in his elbow in 2008 and 2009; while the past and present instances might not be related, it's a lot of injury trouble centered on one area of his pitching arm.
Though we don't want to jump to conclusions, we also don't fault Putz owners for being worried that this could lead to a long-term absence. Grab Hernandez in all formats; he's the likely replacement. He has two saves this season and four in his career. The 26-year-old has the fastball and dominance to do the job.
Demel, who has a closer's pedigree and was activated from the DL when Putz joined it, warrants a consolation speculation. If this becomes a long-term issue, maybe Gutierrez or Mickolio will be involved, but neither is worth pursuing.
Job security score: 5
Health score: 3
The Cleveland Indians placed Chris Perez on the bereavement list. His grandmother passed away recently. Our condolences. Though Perez could miss seven days max, per MLB rules, the team hopes to have him back by Sunday's game. In his place the Tribe will probably use a committee of Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp and Rafael Perez. The first two have been frequent setup men. The third, a lefty, has succeeded against right-handed bats but hasn't appeared in many crucial game situations.
Since it's a short-term window and the Tribe has scuffled lately, you won't earn much from any of these options. But if you're trying to add saves wherever possible, rent Pestano first; he offers the highest K/9 and is the only right-hander among the three. Follow him with Sipp and Perez, in that order.
- Brandon Lyon underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Thursday, further solidifying Mark Melancon's closer duties the rest of the way. The Houston Astros' healthy righty hasn't converted a save chance since June 8. Melancon's only subsequent opportunity was a multi-inning gaffe Sunday, but the righty still has sufficient job security since he hardly gets a chance to do his job.
Wilton Lopez would be next in line if you're trying to chase closures from here, but the recently called-up David Carpenter is a dark horse (more so long-term than for 2011). His fastball touches the mid-90s and served him well during his farm stopping (49 career minor league saves). We're talking NL-only dart-throwing for now, but keep an eye on him.
- On Thursday, Leo Nunez yielded his second June homer, equaling his 2011 allowance before that month. He locked down the save in a Florida Marlins victory - a rare June occurrence - in working around two runs on two hits. He had thrown five straight shutout appearances before that. His 5.79 June ERA is a corrective step of his hot start, but he'll need to falter for a much longer period to lose his gig; like Melancon, he hardly had a chance to close last month.
Any non-Nunez stopper world would be messy, likely a committee that would probably be led by Steve Cishek. That's a difficult speculative situation that is fruitless at this point outside NL-only setups.
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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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