Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on July 8, 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 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? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Mound meetings

  • The Philadelphia Phillies' Brad Lidge took the defeat after letting up an RBI single in a tied game. He had shown that his fastball was returning to its old self in three consecutive save conversions before last night. Lidge's velocity has allowed him to be more aggressive early in the count. Getting away from slider gorging will help; it's more effective as a secondary pitch.
  • Brian Wilson warmed up in the ninth frame but was given the night off Tuesday after a 37-pitch mound stay the previous game, his second outing in as many days. Sergio Romo fanned the final two hitters to lock things down for the San Francisco Giants. Romo has exhibited excellent command this year (16 K's, three walks in 11 1/3 innings) since returning in May from an elbow sprain. The crafty righty employs a fastball-slider combo but allows a ton of flyballs; he's worth a ratio reliever look in NL leagues.
  • All three Atlanta Braves saves in July have gone to Rafael Soriano, who as the right-handed option was already expected to receive more chances than saves platoonmate Mike Gonzalez, based on the breakdown of player-pool handedness. Is Bravos manager Bobby Cox deciding to stick with Gonzalez in the eighth regardless of whom he'd face? In the last three outings, it seems that way. Of course, that late in the game, the NL style of play boasts ample pinch-hitting as opponents try to get around Cox's lefty-righty setup. Gonzalez remains a hold in all leagues, though, for strikeout utility at the very least, and the occasional save if the situation calls for him.
  • When the Arizona Diamondbacks shipped Tony Pena to the Chicago White Sox, they likely decreased their odds of trading closer Chad Qualls, barring a major fire sale. The trade leaves human canvas Jon Rauch as the likely next in line for 'Zona; he has run off a 2.79 ERA in 29 innings since April. Behind him on the speculative chain is probably Rollie Fingers disciple Clay Zavada.
  • Pena's save speculation stock takes a slight hit since he joins a more stable situation on a contending team, competing with Octavio Dotel, Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton for vulture saves. Pena could take over Dotel's closer-in-waiting role next year, especially if the latter departs via free agency.
  • Another Detroit Tigers save chance, another Fernando Rodney back-against-the-wall climax. Two strikeouts and a flyout calmed the nerves caused by a single and a walk. By losing to Detroit, the Kansas City Royals assured closer Joakim Soria of an already-scheduled night off.
  • For St. Louis Cardinals fans already dealing with an injury to infielder Mark DeRosa (wrist), it could be much worse: Chris Perez has a 23.14 ERA in 2 1/3 frames with the Cleveland Indians.

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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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