Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on June 10, 2009 @ 01:00:01 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 or 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? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

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

Seattle Mariners

Closer: David Aardsma

Next in line: Mark Lowe

Other possibilities: Sean White, Miguel Batista

Disabled list: Chad Cordero, Shawn Kelley

Save prospectors have found some pyrite.

Seattle will send Brandon Morrow back to the minors to stretch his workload in order to slide him back into the rotation. This leaves Aardsma with a more secure perch above this supposed committee. The M's have made a concerted effort to give Aardsma some rest of late, too - his workload was starting to drain him (see: May 31).

The M's have a pair of future stoppers in the minors in Joshua Fields, 23, and Phillippe Aumont, 20, but mixed players shouldn't think about picking them up yet. Deep AL players and keeper leaguers should perk their ears a bit, but don't count on anything.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • The Atlanta Braves played the matchups again last night: Mike Gonzalez came in to face a slew of lefties in the eighth before Rafael Soriano worked through a handedness mixture to close things out.
  • Detroit Tigers fireman Fernando Rodney was lifted after walking the bases loaded in a ninth-inning chance, but Brandon Lyon welcomed home all three runners to inherit the gaffe. Just a reminder that it's not safe to trust anyone else in the Tigers bullpen - and that Rodney, he of a 4.68 ERA, remains perfect in save opps. Explaining the ERA divergence: Rodney has a .162 opponents' batting average in save situations and a .304 clip at any other point.
  • Jose Arredondo was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Kevin Jepsen was recalled. Arredondo wasn't building on his breakout 2008 - his velocity fluctuated this year, and he was tagged when he was hit. Cut him loose if you're still clinging to the thread in deep leagues. The groundbally Jepsen is a promising righty in the strikeouts department (10.00 per nine in 18 relief innings this year at Salt Lake) but needs some work elsewhere (2.00 homers per nine, 8.00 walks per nine).
  • Speculators may see the future in the present. The Washington Nationals have already inked a deal with their second first-round pick, former Stanford closer Drew Storen. He's reportedly polished enough to be up in the bigs this year; he's able to pitch in relief or the rotation, but they'll probably groom him to shut the door. Given the Nats' pressing need at the back end, that's his best highway to the bigs, too. Keep an eye out later on this season.

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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