Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on April 19, 2010 @ 13:00:00 PDT

 


Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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)

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

Closer: Chad Qualls

Understudy: Juan Gutierrez

Gutierrez received a shot to close Friday with Chad Qualls combining for 49 pitches in the previous two nights. Safe to say Gut didn't take advantage. He worked around a leadoff walk to record two straight outs, but he then gave up an RBI double to blow the save and a three-run homer in absorbing the loss.

Gutierrez didn't make the D-backs forget about Qualls, who Arizona says is still their closer despite his early-season struggles. The righty has had trouble commanding his sinker and is leaving sliders high in the strike zone. Qualls also appears to be overexerting his delivery to make up for dipping velocity, per Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

Bright side: Qualls' surgically repaired knee reportedly isn't an issue. Maybe the time off and the identification of his problems will help refresh him. Qualls is sustaining his heavy groundball rate, and 'Zona appears willing to let him ride out his corrections. You should remain just as loyal by keeping him in your lineup.

Chicago Cubs RP Carlos Marmol
The penitent man: Marmol gets a pass

Job security score: 4

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

  • In the New York Mets' marathon affair Saturday, Francisco Rodriguez blew a closing opp, allowing a run on two hits and one walk in the 19th frame. Mike Pelfrey ended up with the save as Rodriguez backed into a win.
    K-Rod couldn't throw a second inning; he was summoned to warm up numerous times, throwing about 100 warmup pitches in the 'pen to get ready for an extra-innings appearance. Rodriguez didn't appear in Sunday's game, meaning he might be available for Monday's contest.
  • The Houston Astros' Matt Lindstrom closed out a pair over the weekend, fanning five and giving up just one hit in two innings. He has eight K's without a walk in five innings so far.
    The righty now has a vital complementary offering for his triple-digit heat; the altered slider grip he worked on in the preseason might have saved his career. Early on, Lindstrom is relying on the slider more often than he has in previous seasons.
  • Carlos Marmol came in for a four-out save Sunday and blew the chance in the ninth. Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella has had trouble relying on his bullpen outside of Marmol, whom he doesn't want to use for more than four outs. Fantasy owners should forgive Marmol; look at his improved control (13 K's, two walks in his first six appearances).
  • Octavio Dotel worked around a solo homer to fan the side in his Sunday closure. He has given up four runs, four hits and two homers in his last three appearances, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are in no rush to remove him.

Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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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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