Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on April 22, 2010 @ 12:00:00 PDT


Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | 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?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.


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


Arizona Diamondbacks

Closer: Chad Qualls

Understudy: Juan Gutierrez

Qualls' positive Tuesday results - after fixing a mechanical flaw - didn't last long. The Arizona Diamondbacks' righty promptly yielded a leadoff homer in the ninth frame of a knotted affair with the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday. He allowed a single and an RBI double before being yanked, eventually ending up with three earned runs allowed on three hits in one-third of an inning.

Arizona manager A.J. Hinch questioned Qualls' approach on the homer at-bat and wasn't pleased overall: "It's getting pretty ridiculous to be honest and it's no fun to lose these games," he said. "It's hard. And it's hard to find new ways to describe late-inning failures where they scratch not one, not two, but multiple runs on top of us to take us out of games." Hinch wouldn't say whether he'd start using Qualls in lower-leverage appearances, but you have to think his confidence in Qualls needs to be reaffirmed soon.

Wednesday was the third straight night Qualls pitched; he compiled 10 tosses for a total of 47 in the last three nights. Arizona has Thursday off, so that might've played into the decision. Though Hinch's frustration is mounting, Qualls owners have to hang tight. Since he's a relief pitcher, his potential ratio damage isn't that bad this early in the season, and you should keep him in your lineup for the save chances.

Qualls says his surgically repaired left knee isn't an issue, but maybe the D-backs will place some blame on his knee for an impending DL stint. Don't count on that, but it's something to think about, especially if Gutierrez is either on your bench or floating on the wire and you have a spot to burn on him.

Arizona Diamondbacks RP Chad Qualls
The catcalls for Qualls aren't far off

Job security score: 4

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Carlos Zambrano backed into being the highest-paid setup man in history; the Chicago Cubs moved the erratic righty to the bullpen, and he'll be the main bridge to stopper Carlos Marmol.
    Shallow mixed leaguers won't be able to extract any value out of Big Z. Deep leaguers could find room for him; this might be a temporary move, and if someone gets restless and drops him, he'll have some reliever K value.
  • Philadelphia Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel said Ryan Madson will remain the Phils' closer for as long as Brad Lidge (elbow, knee) is out. Lidge is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Lehigh Valley Thursday; this will go a long way in deciding if he'll return before April ends.
    Even with Manuel's confidence in Madson, it's safe to think Lidge won't have a hard time getting the job back, considering Madson's struggles in the role.
  • Another injury rehab: Huston Street (shoulder) made 60 to 70 throws from 120 feet Wednesday. The Colorado Rockies want him to throw off the slope of a mound this weekend.
    Rox manager Jim Tracy didn't want to give a timetable for Street's return, but he was optimistic: "We're moving in the right direction as well as - or maybe even, in my opinion, a little better than - we thought we would be at this point."

Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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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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