Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Wilton Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt

by Tim Heaney on August 1, 2012 @ 13:11:56 PDT's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.

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

Houston Astros

Closer: Wilton Lopez INJ
Understudy/Fill-in: Francisco Cordero
Lurkers: Wesley Wright

Before Tuesday's game, Houston Astros manager Bradley Mills said Lopez earned an opportunity to close games, despite leaving the caveat that he might use the righty in early-game situations. A further buzzkill moment came when Lopez experienced elbow tightness in warm-ups before the same contest and was deemed unavailable.

San Francisco Giants RP Jeremy Affeldt
Affeldt on roto radar?

Houston leans on Lopez in the 'pen. At this point in their rebuild, though, they might be able to develop setup arms in-house for the future while they see if Lopez can man the ninth.

He had pitched on three straight days before needing rest last night. He's expected to be available for Wednesday, but considering elbow woes put him on the DL in late June and cost him 26 games, it's something to watch.

What happens if Lopez has to return to deactivation? It'd be ugly. The 'Stros could reinstate Cordero, but he's been so awful that it wouldn't really help Houston determine anything for the future. Grounder-inducing Wright has been somewhat of a revelation this year, thanks to re-establishing a two-seamer and continuing the whiff inducements his slider gained last year.

Wright has pitched important innings for Houston, too, but since the southpaw can - at least more comfortably than his teammates - log multiple frames at a time, he might be kept from fantasy-relevant circumstances.

Lopez still deserves an add, but be ready to change gears. It's not productive to pick up anyone else besides him in mixed leagues until we know anything further. If Lopez doesn't stay on the field, this will become a miserable fake and real situation.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Mound meetings

Following Nick's discussion yesterday of their closer conundrum, the San Francisco Giants didn't acquire bullpen help while nabbing Hunter Pence yesterday, so they're sticking with what they have on roster, unless they make a waiver swap sometime this month.

Jeremy Affeldt, meanwhile, threw two shutout frames last night and recorded the save. The up-and-down Santiago Casilla had worked on each of the past two days, and though he threw only 30 combined pitches, it might've contributed to Bruce Bochy avoiding him Tuesday.

Maybe Affeldt will gain more matchup-oriented opps. Three of the six hitters he faced were left-handed, but he's been OK against right-handers; it's just the disparity between the two that warrants caution. Bochy would probably only keep him for lefty-on-lefty situations, but he could also include Javier Lopez, which makes Affeldt a risky mixed-league venture.

Other Tuesday saviors

Aroldis Chapman (22), Reds
Addison Reed (17), White Sox
Franklin Morales (1), Red Sox Really?
Facebook Twitter Google +


Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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.

Don't miss these great reports....

What do you think? Sound off!

Recent KFFL releases