What are the odds that you still own the same relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you a no-nonsense perspective on performances, injuries and managerial decisions from MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players who'll get saves in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league.
|Job security (JS) score
||1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
|Health (H) score
||1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)
Closer: Fernando Rodney
Understudy: Jordan Walden
Lurkers: Kevin Jepsen, Hisanori Takahashi
Disabled List: Scott Downs
Wait, your Rodney selection didn't come with complimentary Pepto Bismol? He wasted no time turning stomachs sour as his opening day closure came with a hit and a walk allowed. His Sunday gaffe, meanwhile, treated owners to two runs on one hit and three walks with just one retired batter.
Walden and his blazing heat have the best chance of this group to lead the team in saves after 2011. His profile matches the closer job. He logged the eighth inning yesterday, whiffing two in scoreless action, and struck out five of the nine batters he faced in the opening series.
Unfortunately, Mike Scioscia's loyalty (see Brian Fuentes, 2010) can be mind-boggling and ratio-killing. You might have to wait this one out, but having Walden's K's on your roster while doing so won't hurt. Upon his return, Downs (toe) will be a threat, too, but that potential shouldn't stop you from jumping on board the Walden train.
Job security score: 2
Health score: 5
Joe Nathan registered his first save since 2009 on Sunday, but it wasn't pretty: one run, two hits and two walks on 31 pitches. He's still working things out: His fastball topped out at 92, and his slider wasn't sliding well, so he focused on his curveball and keeping the ball down and out of the zone. Since Matt Capps had already pitched the seventh, the Minnesota Twins had Dusty Hughes warming up when things got iffy. We should see Capps in a save spot if Nathan has worked the previous day.
Aardsma feeling good
- Kevin Gregg got by with a little help from Nick Markakis' leaping, game-ending catch Saturday. On Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles' righty warmed up for a save situation but wasn't needed after they tacked on an extra run that eliminated a save opp. The planned back-to-back action bodes well for his hold on the job.
- A 30-pitch bullpen session before Sunday's game showcased an improved David Aardsma (hip). His stuff looked "competitive" as he was throwing all-out on his last 10 offerings. The Seattle Mariners probably will keep his rehab conservative, but he looked good enough that his initial early-May timetable could be moved up. Enjoy Brandon League's already tenuous shelf life as the head interim stopper while you can.
- Frank Francisco (pectoral) tossed bullpens Thursday and Saturday; the Toronto Blue Jays' righty was slated for another one Monday and could be sent on rehab duty if all goes well.
- Well, at least Brian Fuentes didn't blow a save. The Oakland Athletics' lefty came into a tied game but was hog-tied as he allowed three hits and three runs (two earned) on 30 pitches. We didn't get a taste of his interim duty, but we got some ugly flashbacks.
The window for notable saves contributions from anyone not named Andrew Bailey (forearm) might be closing quicker than expected, thanks to his improving condition. He threw from 120 feet Saturday for the second straight day. The righty said it was the best he has felt during his rehab, and he could be back in the next few weeks. He was on the docket to throw Monday and Tuesday.
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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