Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on August 6, 2010 @ 11:30:00 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)

 

Chicago White Sox

Closer: Bobby Jenks

Understudy: J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton

Chicago White Sox RP Bobby Jenks
Ozzie and Bobby at it again

Welcome to another episode of "Ozzie and Bobby" - a bit more caustic than your 1950s TV. Jenks allowed a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Thursday's game to blow the save, his third in 26 opportunities this year. Like a scorned spouse, skipper Ozzie Guillen refused to talk about Jenks in the postgame comments.

"Ask Bobby what he wants to do. I don't know," Guillen told reporters. "I don't say we've lost confidence, but the last three times he blew the game, he gave up three or four runs. Right now, I don't know yet ... I've got to wait and see what I'm going to do the next couple of days."

Sound familiar? Maybe this manager-closer relationship functions on angst. Jenks has responded each time Guillen has threatened his job this year. Guillen admits the 'pen is better with Jenks as its closer.

Jenks is a rollercoaster pitcher, with extremes on both ends of his performances. Like one of those always fighting couples, the emotional Guillen and Jenks might break up for a few games, maybe as the skipper allows Putz or Thornton to see closer time.

Until we see long-term evidence of Jenks being in the doghouse, don't break off your engagement with him. If you need saves, tough out the potential bombs for gains in one category.

There will likely be a Hollywood ending of an Ozzie-Jenks reunion. Stand by your White Sox man.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 4

Detroit Tigers

Closer: Jose Valverde

Understudy: Ryan Perry

Valverde returned from a brief bout with illness for a two-inning, non-save appearance Thursday. He kept the contest tied with a 1-2-3 10th, but with one out in the 11th he allowed three straight hits, the last being a two-run triple.

The righty has an 11.00 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP in the second half, and he struggled with his splitter location in his second frame yesterday. His rhythm might be off, too, from not seeing steady work.

Job security isn't an issue unless he continues to melt down, but maybe he receives a break and Perry fills in. The latter isn't worth pursuing in mixed leagues yet - just something to monitor.

Also, keep an eye on Valverde's splitter issues. Papa Grande's game revolves around grounders, and any slippage there would compound a luck downturn that was waiting to strike.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • Matt Capps, pitching for the third straight day, recorded four outs with three K's and one walk and lucked into a Minnesota Twins win thanks to the Tropicana Field catwalk. With Jon Rauch (hands) sidelined due to hand, foot and mouth disease, the Twins' 'pen hasn't had much help, meaning Capps has had to come in for non-save work on two of those three days.
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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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