KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.
|Job security (JS) score
||1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
|Health (H) score
||1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)
Closer: Tom Wilhelmsen
Understudy/Fill-in: Brandon League
League had an appearance on which to build in Seattle's 8-6 victory against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday night. In the sixth, the righty relieved starter Jason Vargas and didn't stop the bleeding immediately, but it didn't take him long.
Right away, League gave up an RBI single to Mike Trout. He retired the next man on a fly-out to end the frame, though. In the seventh, he walked Albert Pujols before striking out the next three batters to register a hold.
In that contest, Wilhelmsen, the likeliest to fill in for the temporarily demoted League, laid a nice foundation, too, however. He came on in the eighth, with runners on second and third, one down and the M's ahead by two.
The 28-year-old induced an FC grounder from Pujols and then struck out Mark Trumbo to end the serious threat. In the ninth, he dropped an HBP and a strikeout between ground-ball outs to seal Seattle's victory. Geoff Baker thought Wilhelmsen's performance was so impressive that it might serve as the marker for when "the M's gained the confidence to make him a closer."
The assumption has been that League will eventually get the job back, and he will if the Mariners think that such a move would enhance his perceived value. But strikeout artist Wilhelmsen, with his improved control rate, is making a case to retain SV value one way (after the trade deadline) ... or another.
Job security score: 2
Health score: 5
While Santiago Casilla (bruised tibia) has been unavailable, the San Francisco Giants have closed games the way that Bruce Bochy said they would when they first lost Brian Wilson (TJS surgery): by committee. Jeremy Affeldt pitched two perfect frames against the Chicago Cubs on Monday to net his first SV of 2012.
For fantasy owners outside deep NL leagues, Sergio Romo is the only reliever who matters in this arrangement. And the Giants insist that they haven't even thought about placing Casilla on the DL; Bochy said the righty is feeling better. A few more days of denial, however, and roto managers will be wishing that they'd been more prepared.
Take care of that ASAP. If Romo is unavailable, Affeldt is the club's most reliable lefty, which may give him an advantage over Javier Lopez. Bochy could choose to deploy his hurlers based on the danger of the situation, however, so if it comes to this, save the frustration and be patient.
Ken Rosenthal labels Brett Myers "this year's K-Rod" because the right-hander has a $10 million vesting option for 2013. The Houston Astros revised his contract because he agreed to switch from the rotation to the bullpen; next year's dough became guaranteed for a certain number of games finished.
Rosenthal is correct: It's pretty much a given that the Astros won't see him reach whatever that figure is. They'll do whatever they can to ship him to another club, and that club will make him a setup man. Get on the horn, fantasy owners, unless you project to be hurting for saves without his contributions between now and July 31.
Brad Lidge's first rehab outing wasn't pretty. We'll let Mark Zuckerman deliver the details.
The Washington Nationals are certainly just happy that Lidge is healthy following his surgery to repair a sports hernia. He'll probably need a few more appearances, at least, before he returns and becomes a candidate to cut into Tyler Clippard's temp gig. Clippard remains a safer bet, of course.
The New York Mets await word on the severity of the injury that's causing Jon Rauch to experience "tenderness" in his right elbow. Ramon Ramirez (hamstring strain) is already on the DL. When is the last time Frank Francisco was the most qualified and healthiest hurler on his team to close?
On Tuesday, reportedly, the Boston Red Sox had intended to discuss a plan for struggling reliever-turned-starter Daniel Bard. Every column knew how to read into that in the wake of the right-hander's disastrous start on Sunday versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bard, 26, may be so screwed up after his half-year attempt to start that he probably won't be much of a contributor in the bullpen, either. Alfredo Aceves has done pretty well as closer for a month and a half, and Andrew Bailey (thumb surgery) will probably be back in a couple of months.
Other Monday saviors
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.