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.
Closer: Jordan Walden
May has not been kind to Walden. The closer has blown three of his last five chances this month, including a gaffe Monday night. He has a 9.00 ERA over his last six games. Though his recently reintegrated changeup has helped Walden be successful in the past, he hasn't used it much, and maybe he's struggling with location and approach as he thinks about when to use it. An over-thinking flamethrower can be disastrous.
His average fastball velocity is down by slightly more than 1 mph, but it remains a blistering pitch and probably isn't the cause of his struggles. His swinging-strike percentage is on par with last season's MLB stint and bodes well for his K/9, which while decreased remains attractive. But he's forcing fewer grounders and has experienced a normalization of his luck with runners on base, so maybe it's better to expect an ERA closer to 3.50 than 2.50.
That hardly makes him fantasy poison; he still has rope. Rodney hasn't done much better this month (7.94 ERA in 5 2/3 May frames) and might eventually lose his grip on important frames. The excellent performance of Downs and Thompson in setup roles could actually help Walden; maybe Scioscia prefers to keep everyone where he is.
Walden doesn't have a track record, so it's easy to think Mike Scioscia could pull the plug, but he seems to have Scioscia's trust; the skip recently pointed to Walden's troubles as a normal part of a young arm's development. There's still plenty to like about the righty's makeup.
If you're trying to swipe saves from here, Downs looks like the better target despite Rodney's experience. The speculative race between those two is close, though, and a couple of solid performances by Rodney could easily have him back in Scioscia's good graces as he did earlier this season when he converted a save chance.
Job security score: 3
Health score: 5
Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat |
Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts: White Sox chaos coming?
Fantasy Baseball 3 Up, 3 Down: Josh Reddick flashing power, Pedro Alvarez scuffling
Top 5 Fantasy Baseball Pickups: Danny Santana, Josh Reddick rolling