Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on August 17, 2010 @ 11:45:00 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)

 

New York Mets

Closer: Committee

Understudy: Hisanori Takahashi, Bobby Parnell

Lurkers: Pedro Feliciano, Manny Acosta

Spinning the closer wheel for the first time since Francisco Rodriguez (finger) went down for the season, the Mets decided to land on Takahashi, who came through with a scoreless ninth Monday. For what it's worth, Feliciano notched the last out of the eighth inning and garnered the win.

Reports conflict about whether Mets manager Jerry Manuel will hand permanent duties to Takahashi, who closed for a year in Japan but was mainly a starter. The 35-year-old southpaw K's a decent amount (8.50 per nine this year), chiefly through deception, not velocity. Righties pester him more frequently than lefties, and he has struggled away from Citi Field this year.

Positives: He has a 2.68 ERA in 23 relief appearances this year, compared to a 5.01 ERA as a starter. Takahashi's 2.57 August ERA out of the 'pen shouldn't be dismissed.

New York Mets RP Hisanori Takahashi
Takahashi the Mets' best bet?

Before yesterday's game, though, Manuel mentioned every reliever short of John Franco in his quest to replace K-Rod. Though one report says the skipper will probably go to Takahashi as closer, it's hard to cement that after one game. Parnell has potentially top-notch skills and has improved his control. Feliciano is effective against lefties and could also see a matchup-appropriate opportunity.

At least Takahashi made a good impression. Manuel might let the lefty run with things if he continues his success. If saves are holding you back, you can chase Takahashi first. Before you get too excited, note "chase" there; that's probably what Mets save seekers will be doing until October.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 5

Houston Astros

Closer: Matt Lindstrom

Understudy: Brandon Lyon

Lindstrom continued his shakiness, returning to action Monday for the first time in six days but allowing two runs in the ninth of a tied ballgame to absorb the loss. Back-to-back one-out singles and a wild pitch produced the first run, and a triple sent home the other. It was the third straight game in which Lindstrom failed to wrap up the ninth inning.

The righty said his back wasn't bothering him, but he was "missing on his pitches." Skipper Bradley Mills said Lindstrom's velocity looked like it was back to normal and that they'll try to examine what's wrong.

Unless you must keep pace in your saves column, it's probably best to sit Lindstrom for a bit. If your roster has enough space and you're in dire saves need, Lyon could be tucked away - maybe he'll have a few more cheap saves here and there. However, Lindstrom likely would fully lose his job due to continued health issues only.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

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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 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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