Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Santiago Casilla, Aroldis Chapman, more

by Nicholas Minnix on July 16, 2012 @ 18:10:58 PDT'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)

San Francisco Giants

Closer: Santiago Casilla
Understudy/Fill-in: Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt

Although Casilla owners probably felt as if the All-Star break was going to give him some much needed downtime, the right-hander blew a save chance on Saturday against the Houston Astros and perhaps spoiled those hopes.

Casilla has no excuses to make for the first run he allowed, but the tying tally, unearned, was the result of a crazy sequence. It began with a strikeout (that would've ended the game) and a wild pitch, which allowed the batter to reach. A Hector Sanchez error on the play permitted a Houston runner to score from third.

Casilla bookended his strange gaffe with saves - one on Friday and one on Sunday - to give him 23. Each appearance required his services for only two-thirds of a stanza; combined, the pair cost him only 16 pitches. He struck out six in his three games.

All in all, it was a positive weekend for Casilla and his owners, with the K's being encouraging. The workload wasn't too taxing, but he may not be available on Monday night. That would open the door for Romo, likely, although Affeldt could factor in.

Tim Kawakami opines that fans of the club (and, indirectly, rotisserie managers) may have to accept the fact that Casilla is stuck in the closer's role. Fatigue may come into play, the writer notes, and the pitcher could struggle again, but the arrangement will probably stick. Romo, in particular, remains a mixed-league hold, but Kawakami could be right.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Mound meetings

This past weekend, for the first time in his career, Aroldis Chapman appeared in a game on three consecutive days. The left-handed phenom's schedule had no discernible effect on his performance in any of those contests.

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker called on Chapman in save situations in Friday's and Sunday's games. Saturday's contest was knotted at two in the ninth when the Cuban came on. Statistical summary: two saves (13), one hit, no runs, one walk and eight strikeouts in three stanzas (44 pitches).

Expect Baker to use Chapman on three straight days in the future, as long as the closer has been fairly efficient on the previous two and Cincy is facing a high-leverage sitch.

Chapman surely won't be available on Monday. Sean Marshall or Jose Arredondo may get a shot at a save tonight.


New York Mets RP Bobby Parnell
Parnell: all the Mets got?

On Friday, Addison Reed blew a save chance against the Kansas City Royals by yielding a run on a couple of hits and an RBI ground-out. The Chicago White Sox went on to win the nutso contest 9-8 in the 14th inning. In another save situation on Sunday against KC, Reed gave up a hit but avoided further trouble and registered an SV, his 14th in 16 opps.

Somewhat strangely, the righty hasn't recorded a K in three straight games. Don't be alarmed; his velocity appears to be fine. In fact, this could be a positive for his development, especially as it relates to pitching at U.S. Cellular field.

In general, Reed's K/9 (and rate of swinging strikes generated) has declined as the season has worn on. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old's ground-ball rate is rising. If these are the byproducts of his concentrated efforts to grow as a pitcher, perhaps directed by Don Cooper and the staff, then they should benefit him in the long run.

They may also explain the occasional bumpy outing and warn of the possibility of a few more of them. If the ChiSox and Reed are collaborating in this effort, however, it speaks volumes about his job security for the rest of the season and their growing faith in him.


On Saturday in a contest against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets summoned interim closer Bobby Parnell with one out in the eighth inning and a one-run lead. The righty blew the save chance, lost the lead and never had a chance to pitch in the ninth.

Andy Martino reported that Parnell believed that the disappointing outing was an effect of the layoff around the Midsummer Classic. Martino also wondered aloud how much the ejection of Terry Collins influenced the outcome. Bench coach Bob Geren assumed managerial duties and elected to use Parnell in the eighth. And finally, Martino suggested that this breakdown said more about the Mets' bullpen than Parnell's ability to close. He's probably right.

That's somewhat ominous, because the Mets also learned this past weekend that Frank Francisco (strained oblique) experienced a setback and won't be back nearly as soon as they'd hoped. New York was already bargain shopping for a right-handed reliever.


In his first post-break appearance, which came in a 2-2 game in the 12th frame against San Francisco on Saturday, Brett Myers gave up three straight hits (and the game-winning run) without recording an out. The Houston Astros' closer took the loss, of course.

Myers has been the subject of trade speculation as the non-waiver deadline nears. This season, the right-hander is 0-4 with 18 saves, a 5.76 K/9 and a 1.82 BB/9. How must those numbers look to the front office of a contending franchise? More on Myers in Tuesday's Closer Hot Seat.


As expected, the Minnesota Twins activated Matt Capps (right shoulder inflammation) from the DL on Friday. He made his first post-ASB appearance on Saturday, pitching one stanza and striking out one in a perfect frame. That work might be enough to convince Ron Gardenhire that Capps is ready to resume closing duties.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have reportedly inquired about the Twinkies' asking price for Capps. Interest like that is why Glen Perkins and Jared Burton should remain on the radar (and in a roster spot, when possible) of roto owners - at least those in deep leagues.


The Juan Oviedo campaign for saves in the Miami Marlins' committee is at least temporarily on hold. The elbow discomfort that forced him to exit a minor league game on Saturday turned out to be a sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. He doesn't have a timetable yet.

Steve Cishek pitched 1 2/3 innings without allowing a run against the Washington Nationals on Saturday to pick up his second save of the season. He gave up a hit and fanned three. It's pretty safe to say that the right-hander will appear in more save situations before the season ends.


On Saturday, Sergio Santos again experienced pain in his sore shoulder when attempting to throw on the side. The Toronto Blue Jays confirmed with an announcement on Sunday that the righty will have surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder and miss the remainder of the season.

John Farrell told the media that he hoped his closer will be healthy by spring training. The extent of the procedure won't be known until after Santos' appointment with Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Casey Janssen (13 saves, after one on Saturday), of course, will serve as closer for the rest of the season, barring an unexpected failure to perform well in that role for an extended period. Darren Oliver picked up his first save of 2012, a two-inning effort against the Cleveland Indians Sunday. Farrell wanted to avoid using Janssen, who'd pitched a combined 2 1/3 stanzas on each of the first two days after the break.


Dylan Hernandez recounts Kenley Jansen's brain fart of a blown save opportunity on Saturday night. Although the right-hander wasn't sharp in that contest, Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly is much likelier to chalk this up as a learning experience, as Jansen called it, than to hold it against his closer regarding his job security.

No need to worry. And Jansen recorded save No. 16 on the previous night.


Jose Valverde blew a save opportunity against the Baltimore Orioles in the 11th inning on Saturday night. His setup man, Joaqin Benoit, outdid him in the 13th by yielding a one-out solo home run that tied the ballgame and then a two-out, two-run bomb (it came after a HBP) that walked off the O's.

Valverde pitched in all three of the Detroit Tigers' games this past weekend (2 2/3 stanzas, 39 pitches). Jim Leyland might like to stay away from him on Monday, but he could probably use the right-hander if absolutely necessary.


Adam Kilgore noted on Monday that a rehab appearance by Washington Nationals reliever Drew Storen (elbow surgery) wasn't pretty. Regardless, the team with the best record in the NL plans to reinstate him from the DL after he makes one more appearance.

The Nats aren't worried about those results, understandably. It sounds as if the righty, who'll eventually pitch in a setup role after his return, needs only to regain consistent command of some of his stuff.

Tyler Clippard didn't see a save chance this past weekend, but his 14 saves in 15 opportunities attest to his performance. Davey Johnson doesn't intend to change anything, with good reason. If the reliever stumbles, in a playoff race, and Storen regains his dominant form, you never know, however.


The Boston Globe reported that the Boston Red Sox have scouted Rafael Betancourt on a few occasions and have demonstrated interest. It'd take a decent package to pry the reasonably paid righty away from the Colorado Rockies, however, so his fantasy owners shouldn't worry.

Other notable weekend saviors

Craig Kimbrel 2 (27), Braves
Fernando Rodney (26), Rays
Chris Perez (25), Indians To cap a 1-0 duel
Joel Hanrahan (24), Pirates
Rafael Soriano 2 (22), Yankees
Jonathan Broxton (22), Royals Clean rebound after BS on 7/13 (2 H, 1 R, 2 BB)
Alfredo Aceves (20), Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon (19), Phillies
Joe Nathan (19), Rangers Three hits, two earned runs, a walk - wasn't pretty
John Axford (16), Brewers
Huston Street (14), Padres
Carlos Marmol 2 (10), Cubs Allowed a hit, a walk in each (1 2/3 IP)
Ryan Cook (9), Athletics
Kevin Jepsen (1), Angels Bailed out Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs in wild one at Yankee Stadium
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

About Nicholas Minnix

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.

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