Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Aroldis Chapman, Grant Balfour, more

by Nicholas Minnix on September 12, 2012 @ 09:55:58 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.

Mound meetings

Tim covered, in anticipation of the scenario, the Cincinnati Reds' concerns about Aroldis Chapman's dip in velocity. Later on Tuesday, the club clarified the plan for their left-handed, flame-throwing specialist and gave fantasy owners some high-level details about his situation.

Oakland Athletics RP Jerry Blevins
Blevins saves A's day

It sounds like a fair way to move forward. Roto players should plan to be without Chapman for the rest of the week, so those in weekly leagues may feel pretty screwed. Sorry. Let out the frustration.

Then, look at it this way: The shutdown period is for the best, and hopefully this is enough to get him back on track. It sounds like it will be. He's been phenomenal for you (or someone else before you traded for him), so if you need to squeeze more from him than he could give in order to win, then perhaps you need to learn how to get more from the rest of your team.

Jonathan Broxton was indeed the first man to fill in for Chapman in a save situation. He took the ball on Tuesday night, and as John Fay noted, the right-hander was up to the task, as he has been in his last nine appearances. It was the reliever's first save for Cincy and his 24th of the season.

Expect Dusty Baker to turn to J-Brox for the rest of the week, as long as the portly pitcher is available. If he isn't, then Sean Marshall is next in line.


Left-hander Jerry Blevins played improbable idol for the Oakland Athletics in their 6-5 victory against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He picked up his first save of the year not long after he relieved closer Grant Balfour, who'd given up two runs on two walks and then two singles without retiring a batter. Just eight pitches: Blevins fanned Kendrys Morales and then induced a game-ending DP.

To his credit, Balfour took nearly all the responsibility for the blown save chance. He hasn't been as sharp in September, however, and with the A's playing nothing but crucial games from here on out, he'll have to be a little better in order to hang on to his regained closer's job. His job security takes just a bit of hit with this outing.

Unless you're in a shallow AL-only league, there's no rush to pick up Ryan Cook. In a 15-team mixed league, it's fun to beat the rush, if you have expendable players, however. This is the time of year when your pickups become highly specialized.


Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson informed the press on Tuesday night that his closer, J.J. Putz, had been unavailable in his club's contest that evening because he was experiencing some stiffness in his back. It doesn't sound like a big deal.

The righty has had a rough couple of appearances this month (four hits, three runs and two walks allowed, with six K's, in 2 1/3 stanzas - three games), both resulting in BS entries in his game log. Perhaps fatigue - or some other culprit (unlikely, but must be addressed) - is partly responsible for a buildup to the back stiffness.

Putz has a healthy mental approach, as he was telling the Snakes' official Web site earlier in September. Expect the D'backs to help him take a healthy physical approach and give him a couple of extra days, even if this discomfort goes away quickly.

David Hernandez, who could've been expected to do so, filled in admirably for Putz last night and registered his third save. He'd continue to do so for as long as he's available and Putz isn't, of course.


Andrew Bailey bounced back from a rough Saturday appearance against the Toronto Blue Jays (three runs in an inning) with a solid ninth on Tuesday night against the New York Yankees (one hit but one K in a scoreless stanza). The effort in the top of the ninth, in what was then a tied ballgame, handed him a winning decision when the Boston Red Sox plated a run in bottom half.

Other Tuesday saviors

Jonathan Papelbon (33), Phillies
Joe Nathan (32), Rangers
Tyler Clippard (31), Nationals With 3-run lead, gave up solo HR, plus 1 more hit
Jose Valverde (29), Tigers
Tom Wilhelmsen (25), Mariners
Javier Lopez (7), Giants The ol' 1-out special, a Lopez trademark
Luke Gregerson (6), Padres Pitched 1 2/3 frames (1 hit, 1 walk) to get it
Wilton Lopez (4), Astros Yielded 2 hits (yet again), but fanned 2
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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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