Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on August 21, 2009 @ 00:00:00 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?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.


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


Seattle Mariners CL David Aardsma
Is Aardsma simply wearing down?

Seattle Mariners

Closer: David Aardsma

Next in line: Mark Lowe

Other possibilities: Shawn Kelley, Sean White, Miguel Batista

The leadoff walk: the bane of pitchers. Aardsma committed this sin Thursday before recording an out, but he then allowed a double, an intentional free pass, a run-scoring sacrifice fly and a game-losing single: a load of BS, indeed.

Though the hurler denies it, fatigue may be setting in: Aardsma has 57 appearances this year; the injury-riddled hurler had never shown up in more than 47 in the majors during a single prior season. In his first year as a closer, Aardsma has blown only three of 31 chances, but two of those faux pas have come in his last four outings, which also included a shaky non-save work day. Walks also continue to plague him (5.17 per nine), and the righty has been roughed up in August: 8.53 ERA and .421 BABIP in 6 1/3 frames.

Aardsma has pitched on back-to-back days - will the M's show a tighter leash on his schedule? With Lowe also going through a recent rough patch, we're not going to sound the switch alarm, but Aardsma may continue to stumble, especially if his stuff continues to resemble meatballs. Lowe may be worth speculation in deeps, though.

If you aren't desperate to catch up in saves and need to preserve your ratio stats, we couldn't blame you if you gave Aardsma a rest until he shows he can recover.

Job Security score: 4

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • This avenue has smoother paving: In halting a dubious month, Colorado Rockies stopper Huston Street calmed his owners - briefly - with a spotless ninth despite a deep flyout clubbed by Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Dunn.
  • San Diego Padres stopper Heath Bell was pulled back from waivers after being claimed. He probably won't be traded this year. The Kansas City Royals placed Joakim Soria into the process as well but are also unlikely to swap him.
  • After a three-day layoff, Francisco Rodriguez received some more work in a non-save spot Thursday. K-Rod threw a scoreless frame but walked two batters with the New York Mets trailing by a run.
  • A more vital development in the Metropolitan bullpen was the return of southpaw Billy Wagner, who threw a scoreless frame while fanning two hitters. His heat touched 96 mph during his 14-pitch season debut; it had been sitting at 93-94 mph during his farm rehab. This was a promising audition for a new club and for deep fantasy squads.
  • As much as Neftali Feliz has helped the team and fantasy owners since his arrival, the Texas Rangers plan to establish the "Neftali Rules" for the rest of the year. He'll likely receive a day off for every inning he pitches.
  • With all the recent hype surrounding youngster Kam Mickolio as a future stopper, current Baltimore Orioles stopper Jim Johnson wasted no time re-entering the fray with a four-out save. It's safe to say the birth of his first child already had him in a good mood.
  • Today's special on ratio rentals: The Minnesota Twins' Jose Mijares (1.88 ERA in 31 outings since June 5).

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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