Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on August 26, 2010 @ 14:05:00 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? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

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

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Closer: Hong-Chih Kuo, Jonathan Broxton

Understudy: Octavio Dotel

Broxton pitched the eighth inning and showed some resolve in holding the Dodgers' lead. He fell into a 3-0 count on the leadoff batter but battled back and induced a ground-out. He wound up retiring the Milwaukee Brewers side.

Though Broxton looked back in form, Torre said that he isn't ready to give Brox his job back. "That was the Broxton you send out there in the ninth inning," LA's skipper said.

Los Angeles Dodgers RP Jonathan Broxton
Close, but not quite: Broxton

In last night's ninth, though, Torre decided to use half of his bullpen. Righty Ronald Belisario retired Ryan Braun, southpaw George Sherrill retired Prince Fielder, and the lucky vulture stat went to Dotel, who retired Casey McGehee.

Dotel doesn't warrant chasing. Torre likely didn't want to use Kuo on back-to-back nights, and Broxton might have taken a small step toward regaining closer work.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 5

Florida Marlins

Closer: Leo Nunez

Understudy: Jose Veras

Lurkers: Clay Hensley

Nunez continued his rough August despite locking down his 29th save of the year Wednesday. The righty allowed a leadoff homer, two singles and a walk before escaping a bases-loaded jam; he has allowed at least one run in six of his nine August appearances on his way to a 7.00 ERA, 1 2.33 WHIP and a .381 opponents' batting average.

Nunez has allowed only three homers in 53 1/3 innings, but his strand rate has been below-average all season and has bottomed out at 65.9 percent for the month. Nunez has become increasingly hittable lately while battling consistency issues with his secondary pitches.

It's tough to think the Marlins won't at least give him a break from closing, even if he has been working around trouble to notch saves. Nunez is still eligible for arbitration, so maybe Florida wants to find other closing options before they have to make a decision.

Both Veras and Hensley have had strong Augusts. Veras has stranded all 18 of his inherited runners this year. Three of Hensley's 14 inherited have been plated, but all of them came in his first two appearances of the season.

While Hensley has manned the eighth inning for most of the year, he has stumbled in the second half. Veras has a better power arsenal and would be a better speculative target.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • Brandon Lyon continued his saves success, tossing two innings for the Houston Astros Wednesday while striking out three and allowing a hit.
    Matt Lindstrom (back) is continuing his return track, though. He threw a positive 35-pitch bullpen session yesterday and plans to throw Friday after taking Thursday off. There's no official timetable for his return, but it might come within the next week if he progresses well.
  • In the "for what it's worth" department, the Pittsburgh Pirates used Evan Meek in the eighth and Joel Hanrahan in the ninth to finish Wednesday's non-save outing. In the previous game, Meek pitched the ninth and recorded the save.
    Though Bucs manager John Russell hasn't outwardly committed to one reliever over the other, Hanrahan has been the majority ninth-inning choice since the Octavio Dotel trade. Both Pirates righties are ownable in mixed leagues, though.
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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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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