Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on July 2, 2009 @ 01:00:01 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for the entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which setup men are climbing the depth chart? Any lingering injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

Job Security score
Health score
1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

Texas Rangers

Closer: Frank Francisco

Next in line: C.J. Wilson

Other possibilities: Darren O'Day, Eddie Guardado, Jason Jennings, Jason Grilli

Disabled list: Joaquin Benoit

Well, Rangers skipper Ron Washington relented to our demand Wednesday.

Um ... mulligan? Maybe his closer needs some more time to refine his act.

Francisco - in his first outing back in the closer role, mind you - gave up a game-tying three-run jack with two outs. He backed into the win, though, when the Sheriffs locked up the game with a walkoff blast in the bottom half.

The death stare (?) emanating from the dugout given from starter Kevin Millwood, in line for the win before the holiday fireworks started early, might as well have been this author's. The lucky victory doesn't negate that 27.00 ERA Francisco handed his owners for an inning's work.

The game's commentators, as this author heard on the MLB Network simulcast, noted Francisco's fastball location and control were off; the back-to-back walks that set up the blast back that up. Only 17 of his 31 pitches went for strikes; that pitch total doesn't make you warm and fuzzy, either.

The last thing that a flyball-friendly pitcher can do is leave heat up in the zone; for more terror, see that 0.31 - yes, you read that right - groundball-to-flyball ratio.

His strand rate stood at 98.9 percent before the game; its jump down to 91.4 after only Wednesday's outing means a bigger slide could be coming.

Francisco has already needed two DL stints this year, and Texas took its time bringing him back into the fold during his second return. As we've previously noted, retain Wilson everywhere since the southpaw will spell Francisco when needed.

At least the club has today off to allow Francisco to rest ... and to digest their plan of attack from the closer spot.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

  • In what is seemingly becoming a more stable setup, the Florida Marlins' Leo Nunez converted his second save chance since inheriting the interim role. He fanned two Wednesday while facing the minimum. Lefty Dan Meyer, meanwhile, walked two in the eighth inning before escaping trouble. While Nunez will continue to hold down at least the majority of save chances, the hobbled Matt Lindstrom (elbow) may return from the DL sooner than expected and could throw as early as tomorrow.

Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

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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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