Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Edward Mujica, J.J. Putz, more

by Tim Heaney on April 19, 2013 @ 12:18:16 PDT

 

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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):
1 (unstable)
to
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
to
5 (durable)
: Up
 
+: Added
 
INJ: Injured
: Down
 
M: Minors
 
DL: Disabled List

 

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
St. Louis Cardinals
5
2
Jason Motte DL Edward Mujica
Trevor Rosenthal
Mitchell Boggs
Fernando Salas
Maikel Cleto M

After receiving heaps of praise from GM John Mozeliak, Mujica logged 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday with two strikeouts, working around two hits to record his first save of 2013. It may be the first of many, given the Cards' Tuesday proclamation of their new bullpen approach.

Mujica has climbed this mountain because of his workhorse reliability. Based on workloads, all three of the chief save options presumably were available last night. Rosenthal registered a hold in the eighth, and Boggs, who hadn't pitched since Monday, didn't enter.

Even with this situation's fluidity, Thursday's events justify placing Mujica atop the Redbirds' hierarchy. Fantasy owners should fly in formation.

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Arizona Diamondbacks
4
4
J.J. Putz David Hernandez Heath Bell

Putz's 2-for-4 conversion rate in April save chances, including a Thursday gaffe in which he allowed a game-tying solo jack at Yankee Stadium, isn't enough for the Arizona Diamondbacks to boot him. He's held enemies scoreless in five of seven appearances this year, with one hit yielded over those spotless spots.

Milwaukee Brewers RP Francisco Rodriguez
Welcome back, K-Rod

The 36-year-old, however, has walked four opponents in seven innings, and the speed on his traditional fastball so far comes in at his lowest average in any season measurable by PITCHf/x. His sinker, a favorite complement, has lost some zip, too. Note signs of nibbling, including more slider deployment, which looks like a problem given the decrease in his opponents' chase and swing rates. The latter marks the lowest figure PITCHf/x has ever gauged for him.

This sample size is small but significant enough to knock his Job Security score down a tick while keeping it at a high level, with the context that a few solid efforts will bump it back up to a 5. Is his sequencing becoming predictable? Simply deja vu of 2012 early-season woes, and all he needs is to work back into form? Keep an eye out for other troubling signs, and don't lose track of Hernandez if you don't have roster room for both.

What's brewing with the Brewers, plus Mound Meetings

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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