During the regular season, the Closer Hot Seat will be your go-to guide for Major League Baseball's bullpen chatter. During spring training, KFFL's Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Session will get you tuned up for the fantasy baseball saves chase. Camp happenings don't always impact closer battles, but if there's MLB news you should know for your fantasy baseball draft, you'll find it here.
Brian Wilson, who's working on regaining full strength in his elbow, was scratched Wednesday after reportedly being slated to pitch, but San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the chin-haired one is healthy and wasn't on the docket for Wednesday work.
Wilson recently rested and threw minor league action before throwing a scoreless MLB spring frame Monday; his previous action versus big leaguers came nine days prior. San Fran is being careful with him, and skip doesn't seem concerned.
But don't you still feel a bit queasy? Wilson's high-effort action still leaves him in danger of physical and statistical mishaps over the long run. Though stoppers don't typically need much time to tune up for regulation games, it still seems like he'll need some time to streamline his performance and schedule, despite his sparkling spring stats.
Drafting fantasy saves is inherently shaky, but Wilson adds plenty of reasons to be worried. Expecting his 2009-2010 numbers is a mistake; the combined 147 innings he logged in that time has already affected him, and when clumped with his elbow recovery outlines a closer that shouldn't be picked as a stud.
Per CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Kansas City Royals are leaning toward Jonathan Broxton starting the year as closer to replace Joakim Soria (Tommy John surgery); it's looking like Brox, who looks like his old self this spring, should be your first fantasy priority.
Though Broxton has been the recommended preference in this space based on his experience and KC's intention to make him Soria's backup in the first place, official word has yet to come from Ned Yost.
Greg Holland is also in the discussion and the safer statistical play in the long run, though that and his ability to go multiple innings in an outing might, in Yost's mind, lock him into more important bridge frames.
Brad Lidge is the front-runner for the Washington Nationals' saves with Drew Storen (elbow) slated for the sidelines to start the season. But with Tyler Clippard ticketed to remain in eighth-inning work - Davey Johnson likes his bullpen arrangement - don't forget about the fantasy consolation prize, Henry Rodriguez, who has thrown nine scoreless March frames with seven K's, two walks and three hits allowed. He recorded the save in spring action Wednesday.
Last September, MLB.com's Bill Ladson noted that H-Rod was being groomed as a backup closer for when Storen needed a break. This was before the Nats inked Lidge, of course, but it shows the confidence they have in the 25-year-old with triple-digit heat.
His control is quite Carlos Marmolian, but Rodriguez's K/9 will be a welcome contribution in formats that value setup contributions even when Storen comes back.
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