Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on August 23, 2010 @ 14:30:00 PDT


In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.


Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)


Baltimore Orioles

Closer: Committee

Understudy: Koji Uehara, Mike Gonzalez

Lurkers: Alfredo Simon

Manager Buck Showalter called upon Uehara for the closure Saturday, and with the successful conversion solidified that this is a committee setup. Since July 5, Uehara boasts a 0.50 ERA with 20 K's in 18 innings. The righty had closing experience in Japan (32 saves with the Yomiuri Giants in 2007), so he should receive a decent look. Pick him up wherever possible.

Baltimore Orioles RP Koji Uehara
Part-time closer, are ya, Uehara?

"(Uehara is) pitching well. Sometimes that situation may show up differently," Showalter said. "We have some people capable of (closing). They haven't been as consistent. He's certainly been consistent."

Gonzalez, who carries a 2.25 ERA in 13 games since his late July return, warrants ownership in most leagues because of the left-handed situational card he holds.

Showalter said he'd be going with a situational and availability approach, but even though he can't be ruled out entirely, this move hurts Simon the most. Given his shaky performance (5.73 ERA since June and a horrid August stretch), his value was mainly based on save chances. Now, that's far from a guarantee.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • The Oakland Athletics' Andrew Bailey was activated from the DL and threw in non-save duty Sunday, logging a scoreless inning with two K's. Nine of his 10 pitches were strikes.
  • Friday's rainout complicated what was already a battered Chicago White Sox bullpen. Thus, Bobby Jenks was thrown back into the deep end for non-save work. He gave up two hits in one-third of an inning Saturday and logged three scoreless frames (42 pitches) with four K's Sunday.
    Jenks pitched on three of the last four days and in back-to-back outings this weekend. Luckily, the Sox have Monday's game off, but will Sunday's long outing foul up Jenks at all? Keep an eye out.
  • After Daniel Bard pitched the seventh inning Sunday, Boston Red Sox rook Felix Doubront came in for the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon was warming up, but after the Sox extended their lead to five runs, Doubront stayed out and wrapped up his second save of the year with two innings of work.
    No cause for concern here; just a typical rogue save.
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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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