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: Matt Capps
Ron Gardenhire said Capps likely won't be used for a save situation Wednesday. It's a combination of necessary rest (he has pitched three of the last four days) and a closer role that appears in the balance, thanks to, in his last three outings, Capps' 27.00 ERA, Saturday blown save and two removals during closing opps, including last night's.
The opportunist in those two Capps hooks? Perkins, who came through on back-to-back nights by retiring Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee on Monday and Johnny Damon on Tuesday for his first two career closures.
Remember, though: In each of those Capps-to-Perkins handoffs, Nathan had already thrown a scoreless eighth inning. It's hard to bank on Perkins continuing in the role when Gardy knows to have all possible save options available - ahem, Nathan - but the lefty has impressed enough to get a short-term look and possibly pitch his way into part-time service at minimum.
Perkins' K/9 was hardly passable as a starter but has exploded in relief; he has seen a decent fastball velocity uptick in each of the last two seasons. The southpaw draws his strength from leaning on his slider, getting ahead in the count at an above-average rate and inducing ground balls.
Nathan by far remains the better target for helping you through the end of 2011, though, because of his track record and recent rejuvenation. He'd have to regress quickly and harshly for Minny to go back on their initial plans to throw their long-time savior into the ninth. Plus, Perkins' ability to pitch in various situations doesn't jive with restricting him to the ninth; his left-handedness can be used in more crucial setup circumstances.
Of course, this all could just be a quick breather for the embattled fireman, and it's just as likely he'll get a chance to return to helping your SV column. Capps owners must hold but stay on alert; handcuff Nathan, then Perkins if you miss out.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 5
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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