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? KFFL.com'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)
Closer: Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler
Understudy: Michael Wuertz (finger)
Lurkers: Jerry Blevins (shoulder)
Andrew Bailey will miss the final week-plus of the season to have what is being considered minor cleanup surgery to remove some bone growths in his elbow. Tests showed ligaments in his elbow to be sound.
The A's believe Bailey will be ready for Spring Training, but this isn't a complete sigh of relief; Bailey already had Tommy John surgery in college and suffered from tennis elbow earlier this year. Having bone chips removed often leaves the ligaments more susceptible to stress or tear. Keep an eye on his offseason progress.
As for the rest of 2010, expect the lefty Breslow (maybe Ziegler, but don't count on it) to fill in until the return of Wuertz, who'd be the better choice. Try to fit both on to your roster if possible, but Breslow might pay more immediate dividends, since Wuertz's return is unknown.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 3
For long-term planners: The Texas Rangers haven't closed the door on making Neftali Feliz a starting pitcher in the future, according to general manager Jon Daniels. They've viewed Feliz as a starter during his development. This closing thing was supposed to be a stepping stone to the rotation, but he hasn't exactly worn out his welcome saving games.
Bailey will go under the knife
Of course, if you own Feliz in a keeper setup, you have an elite arm in whatever role he occupies. If you're short on closers besides him, though, you might want to start looking into contingency plans, either for current stoppers or through speculation.
- You want automatic? Behold the Kansas City Royals' Joakim Soria, who after his scoreless one-inning, two-strikeout wrap-up Thursday now has notched 34 straight save conversions this year. Since his last blown save (May 6), he has a 1.07 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP with 49 K's in 50 2/3 innings. He's still getting the Royal shaft in the "best closer in baseball" talk.
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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