Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Ernesto Frieri, more

by Nicholas Minnix on September 24, 2012 @ 13:15:43 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)

Washington Nationals

Closer: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard

On Friday, before the Nats were to take the field, Davey Johnson announced that Clippard and Storen would share closing responsibilities for the rest of the season. That night, Clippard gave up three runs (two earned) to clock in with a blown save chance.

Los Angeles Angels RP Ernesto Frieri
Frieri heads Halos committee

Clearly, Clippard doesn't like to share, but handling the situation as he did isn't going to get him anything but a smaller portion of the duties. The righty has given up at least one run in five of his last eight appearances.

Storen, meanwhile, has registered a 2.59 ERA in his 24 1/3 innings this season. Although it should be noted that three of these were one-out appearances, he hasn't given up a tally in his past 10 games.

CHS warned that for several reasons Storen was a serious threat to Clippard's role, even though Johnson backed the latter when the former returned from the DL. It took awhile, but it has broken that way: Storen should be the better bet for saves in the final week and a half.

Job security score: 5
Health score:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Closer: Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs
Understudy/Fill-in: Kevin Jepsen

On Friday, not to be outdone, Mike Scioscia announced that the Halos would handle save situations by committee for the rest of the campaign. Frieri, who's been handling the bulk of the chances, had given up multiple runs (and three homers) in his last two appearances (one frame total).

Since then, Frieri has been the first and only to appear in the ninth in an attempt to protect a small lead, of course. He gave up a hit on Saturday but otherwise had no troubles, locking down the Chicago White Sox for his 20th save.

Judging from the way Scioscia has utilized his relievers recently, including this past weekend, it's safe to call Frieri the head of the committee.

Downs warrants a pickup in leagues where fantasy owners are scrambling for every last save. Although the southpaw can retire batters who swing from either side of the plate, the skipper often seems reluctant to use him for a full inning, so expect his opportunities to be limited.

Jepsen may see a chance before the year ends, but that's some real desperation if you pick him up. Maybe in an AL league.

Job security score: 4
Health score:

Mound meetings

Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless frame on Saturday, his first appearance in 12 days because he was experiencing fatigue in his left shoulder. The southpaw walked one and didn't record a strikeout in the non-save situation, but he was averaging about 97 mph and touching 99. Looks like he's good to go.

The Cincinnati Reds plan to ease Chapman back into the closer's role, as the club's official site reported. This is no shock. Expect him to be back in ninth to protect a small lead sometime soon. He may get another appearance in a non-save sitch, but it shouldn't be but one more.

Jonathan Broxton's fantasy value is expiring? Consider holding him, if you're desperate for every roto manager's favorite stat. Cincy could still turn to him in a save situation in order to avoid working Chapman on back-to-back days in the final week and a half.


Kenley Jansen has made three appearances since returning from his absence for his heart condition. He's pitched 2 1/3 innings, walked one and struck out four without allowing a hit.

Although Brandon League has filled in capably at closer (the righty notched two saves this past weekend, giving him 14 this season and five for the Blue), he's not Jansen. It seems like the Los Angeles Dodgers, if they're no longer concerned about their fire-baller's health, will reinsert him in the ninth-inning post, probably as soon as his next time out.


The San Diego Padres activated Huston Street (calf strain) from the disabled list on Friday. The Friars didn't utilize him until their contest on Sunday, however, when Bud Black asked him to protect a three-run lead against the San Francisco Giants in the final frame. Street pitched one inning, giving up a run on a hit and two walks but getting the job done for his 22nd save.

The right-hander hasn't blown an opportunity yet this season. He'll almost certainly see whatever other chances the Pads do from here on out.


Frank Francisco (elbow tendonitis) had a minor setback on Saturday. The New York Mets seem likely to shut him down for the rest of the season, although the club and the pitcher remain open to his return. He hasn't pitched in more than a week. It's pointless to have him pitch again: The Mets are out of contention, and the organization is invested in Francisco for a decent chunk of change in 2013.

For roto managers desperate for saves, Jon Rauch (who picked up his fourth save of the season on Saturday) - and maybe Bobby Parnell and Josh Edgin - could be your favorite last-ditch free-agent targets.


Heath Bell seemed to be close to gaining a share of the ninth-inning booty considering his recently respectable performances and Steve Cishek's recent troubles. Of course, then he had to go and do something like suggest that he doesn't respect his manager.

How will Ozzie Guillen react? It's impossible to know, but roto managers' money should be on "unfavorably." As in, at least, don't bet that Bell will see a save chance for as long as Guillen is in town. Which may be for only another week and a half.


The Minnesota Twins activated Matt Capps (rotator cuff irritation) from the disabled list on Monday. He's thrown some on the side since trainers cleared him, but it's fair to question whether the righty is ready for important MLB stanzas.

Capps is a free agent after this season, and the Twinkies probably won't re-sign him, so the club has no incentive to put him in a save situation. The organization's official site posted an article with quotes from Ron Gardenhire backing that up.

Glen Perkins is highly likely to remain the lead horse; the southpaw picked up his 14th save on Sunday and hasn't blown a chance in the second half. Jared Burton will probably get any save-opp scraps before Capps does. Capps probably just wants to get into two or three games to show that he's healthy before the offseason hits.


Before his game on Saturday, Carlos Marmol hadn't given up a run in his last eight contests (eight innings) or a home run in 26 games (25 2/3 innings, during which he recorded a 1.40 ERA). And, get this: He hadn't blown a save chance since April 24, so he'd converted 19 straight in that stretch (45 2/3 frames) and had a 3.15 ERA for that period.

In the Chicago Cubs' sandwich game with the St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Beltran took the righty deep. Streaks done.

Again, CHS notes, Marmol has had a fine season, particularly since adopting and implementing the philosophies of manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio. If the vet remains on the North Side in 2013, he could be a nice undervalued play, assuming that he maintains his gains.

Other notable weekend saviors

Jim Johnson 2 (47), Orioles
Fernando Rodney (44), Rays Really deserving of votes for Cy Young Award?
Jason Motte 2 (40), Cardinals Busy week: 5 SV in 7 days, watched Fernando Salas get BS on Friday
Craig Kimbrel (39), Braves
Joe Nathan (35), Rangers Seems to have settled in after 8-day break for dead arm
John Axford 2 (33), Brewers Only 1 out required for Sun. SV
J.J. Putz 2 (32), Diamondbacks Needed to record only 1 out for Sun. SV
Tom Wilhelmsen 2 (29), Mariners
Grant Balfour (20), Athletics Pitched 1 stanza for Sun. SV after throwing 2 scoreless on Sat.
Greg Holland (15), Royals
Wilton Lopez (7), Astros
Andrew Bailey (6), Red Sox Bounced back a bit after ridic implosion on Thurs.
Kelvin Herrera (2), Royals Gave up walk, hit on Sat. but sealed it - Holland had pitched in 3 straight
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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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