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.
Keep an eye on the Chicago White Sox, who might be putting Bobby Jenks (back) on the DL before today's contest. Meanwhile, another Sox arm, J.J. Putz, has torn a bit. He needed the day off yesterday after a rough weekend, in which he pitched three straight days and blew two save chances, with Sunday's coming in the eighth inning.
Caution: Valverde's saves hot to touch
Skipper Ozzie Guillen was probably ready to look elsewhere in the ninth if needed, so this might mean another arm is on call for the next chance.
- Jose Valverde returned to action Monday after nursing a strained oblique. The Detroit Tigers' righty might have been better off staying on the sidelines despite saving the game; he walked three of the first five batters he faced but danced around it with a game-ending double play.
Valverde's harsh correction and struggles since the break continue. The righty holds an 8.53 ERA in 11 games (12 2/3 innings) with a 2.05 WHIP, but at least his dominance has been higher in the second half (11.37 K/9, compared to 8.31 pre-break). Even with his stumbles, don't count on Detroit removing him as long as he's healthy.
- Alfredo Simon's pitches have been flying out of the park. After allowing a 10th-inning, go-ahead dinger in a tied game Monday, the Baltimore Orioles' righty has yielded a homer in four straight contests. The O's won it in their half of the ninth, and it was the only hit Simon allowed in a five-out performance, but his peripherals are corrupting his save chances.
Mike Gonzalez continues to make a push for the role. Since his July return, he has a 1.69 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 10 2/3 innings. Can manager Buck Showalter continue his patience with Simon? Fantasy owners should prepare for a switch before skip does.
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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