Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on April 29, 2010 @ 15:46:00 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?'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)


Philadelphia Phillies

Closer: Ryan Madson

Understudy: Danys Baez

Lurkers: Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero

Disabled list: Brad Lidge (elbow, knee)

Philadelphia Phillies CL Brad Lidge
Lidge ready to return

Lidge is slated to be activated from the DL Friday after making significant strides in his recent rehab outings.

Madson could keep the closer role in the short term - manager Charlie Manuel hasn't made up his mind yet - but the righty's blown save Wednesday (two hits, one walk in giving up the tying run) might lighten Lidge's burden of proof to regain the job. Madson has typically struggled in slamming the door and has blown two of his last three save chances.

Lidge's timing is impeccable. He is still widely available and should be grabbed in all formats. Even if Lidge doesn't immediately go back to closing, it probably won't take long if he shows he's competent in the late innings. Deep league Madson owners should hang tight even if a change happens, strictly for the insurance.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 5

Pittsburgh Pirates

Closer: Octavio Dotel

Understudy: Joel Hanrahan

Lurkers: Evan Meek

Dotel has allowed at least one run in each of his last six outings, splitting his last four save chances. His blown gaffe Wednesday was his first save opp since April 18; when he falters, it's amplified since Pittsburgh doesn't give him many chances.

A .456 opponents' BABIP and a 44.3 percent strand rate are the likely culprits; his line-drive peripherals aren't outlandish, meaning the former should come down with more outings. He's using his curveball more, so that's probably a culprit, as well, and he could fix himself by throwing his other offerings more.

Look at Dotel's game logs, though, instead of blindly glancing at his ERA and writing him off. To keep Dotel active, the Buccos brought him into two of their football-style blowout losses in the last week on April 22 and April 26. He was probably just out there trying to throw strikes and was lit up.

Dotel's numbers are terribly skewed because of those outings, and a change probably isn't imminent unless he's injured. He still has good dominance and wasn't having control issues until his last three games, two of which were meaningless mop-up appearances.

Hanrahan, however, should be owned in NL leagues and possibly deep mixed if you're desperately clawing at Pittsburgh's next in line. Since he arrived in Pittsburgh last year, Hanrahan's dominance has been elite, and outside of a six-run blowup this season, he has been suffocating.

Meek has promising groundball peripherals and is worth owning as relief help in NLs as well.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

  • Milwaukee Brewers launching pad Trevor Hoffman might receive Thursday off if a save situation arises, per manager Ken Macha. LaTroy Hawkins , the best bet as the saves successor, would be the likely candidate to fill in. Be sure to review Hoffman's exploits while waiting for his next outing.
  • With stopper Chad Qualls unavailable for the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, Juan Gutierrez stepped in for a clean one-inning closure. Qualls had pitched in six of eight days before sitting Tuesday. He probably needed extra rest despite having that day off.
    Gutierrez should be owned in deep leagues - and shallow mixed setups if you're speculating; there's no indication of Arizona making a switch right now, but he remains a useful commodity while you're waiting on a change.

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 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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