Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on July 22, 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.

Key

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

Chicago White Sox

Closer: Bobby Jenks

Next in line: Octavio Dotel

Other possibilities: Tony Pena, Scott Linebrink, Matt Thornton

Bobby Jenks, Chicago White Sox
Reason to worry about Jenks?

Jenks owners have not playfully poked Doughboy lately. After a blown save Tuesday (two runs, two hits, two walks), the stopper has now allowed at least one run in four of his last five outings - and has walked four in his last two games. The three saves he registered in that time came with a steep price.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said he's sticking with Jenks. The walks pattern doesn't reflect Jenks' normal production; catcher A.J. Pierzynski has said Jenks was missing his spots - his stuff is still the same.

Jenks has turned his velocity back up (95.2 mph average heat compared to 93.8 and 93.9 in the previous two seasons). Before dialing things back up this year, he had pulled back a bit to become more of a well-rounded pitcher. Maybe he needs to return to that M.O.

This may a decent time to buy low on Jenks if owners are panicking, but if doing so you should keep an injury concern in the back of your mind. When healthy, he's typically one of the more uneventful, consistent closers in baseball.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 4

Oakland Athletics

Closer: Andrew Bailey

Next in line: Michael Wuertz

Other possibilities: Brad Ziegler, Santiago Casilla, Jerry Blevins

Bailey tossed two innings for the Athletics last night, working after receiving a Synvisc injection in his left knee. Bailey says on-and-off knee issues this year got a bit worse over the All-Star break due to ceremonies that involved standing, along with numerous flights.

He says he's fine, and he has now tossed two innings in each of his last two appearances. He gave up a run in each of those outings, but you can't blame a closer that has been called upon for two innings in two straight non-save appearances.

This is why Wuertz would be a useful handcuff or speculative pickup. We may see him as an alternative since Bailey has been working hard through an injury.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

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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