Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - 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? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
Closer: Ryan Madson
Understudy: Danys Baez
Disabled list: Brad Lidge (elbow, knee)
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
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
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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