Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Greg Holland, Joe Nathan, Rafael Soriano

by Nicholas Minnix on September 14, 2012 @ 11:05:59 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

Since he's assumed the closer's role, Greg Holland has given up a run in four different appearances. One of those tallies came in a non-save situation, and he had yet to blow a save chance prior to Thursday night. The righty has given up a run in three of his last four games, however, and last night featured his first 2012 BS as closer.

New York Yankees RP Rafael Soriano
Given the option. ...

The Kansas City Royals brought in Holland in place of setup man Kelvin Herrera, with a two-run lead and two gone, in the bottom of the eighth against the Minnesota Twins. But the bases were full, and Holland walked Josh Willingham, forcing across an inherited runner. The pitcher struck out Justin Morneau to end the threat, thankfully.

Holland went back out for the ninth with the task of making a one-run lead stick. Unfortunately, Trevor Plouffe launched one (not a bad pitch, but not a good one) into the seats, ending that hope immediately. He sent down the next three in a row, but the Twinkies had tied it, and they went on to win in the bottom of the 10th.

Holland's recent performance is antithetical to the subject of a recent article on his club's official site. In his last four appearances (4 1/3 frames), the 26-year-old has walked four and given up hits to five. Those 11 K's are pretty, but they're window dressing for a cardboard box holding the three earned runs he's allowed in that span. Not an easy sell.

Holland tends to allow base runners. Lately, there have been a few extra, and they've come back to haunt him. It's likely just a rough spell. The Royals will see no reason to make a change. But Holland still has to prove that his 2011 dominance will be the norm, especially in the ninth.


Wow, did the Cleveland Indians spank Joe Nathan. On Thursday, the reliever opened the top of the ninth by serving up a solo homer to the Cleveland Indians' Ezequiel Carrera. Then he gave up a base knock, followed by a two-run homer to Jason Kipnis. Theeen, Carlos Santana doubled. Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington pulled Nathan after that one.

Correct: Nathan failed to retire a hitter. Koji Uehara cleaned up his mess.

It'd been awhile since Nathan had blown a save chance. Wash won't budge, don't worry. But the righty has been pretty blah since the break: a 4.71 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and five home runs allowed. Remember, awhile back, when Tim urged you to trade Nathan?


Rafael Soriano picked up his 38th save last night against the Boston Red Sox. Nice to see after he'd given up solo jacks in each of his previous two appearances, although neither resulted in a botched opportunity of any kind.

He made some headlines yesterday not because of his performance but because of a report that he's considering opting out of his contract after this season. It seems like a bold move. That's a lot of cash, $14 million for one year's work. Would the New York Yankees even want to re-sign him if he chose to do it?

As Paul Swydan (Fangraphs) writes, whichever team might choose to meet Soriano's contract demands this winter were he to opt out would more than likely be sorry. Some closers got real guts, though, eh?

Other Thursday saviors

Chris Perez (36), Indians Sent Nathan a thank-you card
Jason Motte (34), Cardinals
Wilton Lopez (5), Astros Gave up 1 hit, fanned 1
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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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