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AL Closer Watch

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AL Closer Watch

Postby zoozam » Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:50 pm

AL Closer Watch


Thursday, July 31, 2003


No category causes fantasy owners more angst than saves. With big-names closers carrying exorbitant price tags in trade talks, it pays to be aware of who is line for cheap saves. Here's a look at the closer hierarchy for all 16 AL teams.


Updated every Wednesday


MAKING NOISE (Updated on July 30)



Boston Red Sox

Byung-Hyun Kim
Security: High

Profile
Boston Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
6 1 90.2 3.47 71 27


7/23 - 7/29: 4 G, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K (1-1, 1 Sv, 1 BS).


Status: From no closers to two closers, the Red Sox keep loading up on bullpen talent. The Sox joined the Yankees and Marlins as team acquiring proven closers with the apparent intention of using them as set-up pitchers. Scott Williamson is in Boston, but Theo Epstein's comments following the trade make it pretty clear that the team is entirely satisfied with the job done by Kim thus far. Of course given Kim's history against the Yankees, Williamson may be around mainly as insurance for one opponent.


Fantasy Insurance: Williamson. He hasn't been perfect this season -- check out his WHIP -- but Williamson has been very effective. It's possible if the Red Sox don't land a quality starter before they deadline, they may eventually consider moving Kim back to the rotation. Williamson gives them that flexibility, and it's what makes him worth owning for the time being.


Other Options: It's the same cast of characters, minus Brandon Lyon, that led them to trade for Williamson. Alan Embree, Mike Timlin and new arrival Scott Sauerbeck have all been useful at times this season, but they're worth owning in fantasy only if something drastic happens ahead of them.












Seattle Mariners

Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Security: Filling in

Seattle Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
7 0 49.2 0.72 21 7


7/23 - 7/29 1 G, 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (0-0, 0 Sv).


Status: For at least another week, Hasegawa is the closer. Kazuhiro Sasaki is on a rehab assignment but didn't fare well in his first appearance and reportedly doesn't have all his velocity. He'll likely be back in the very near future, but this delay could land Hasegawa another save or two.


Fantasy Insurance: Jeff Nelson and Arthur Rhodes. Nelson's ERA keeps improving, but that's not necessarily an indication he's back on his game. He's still giving up a lot of hits. Rhodes isn't faring much better. With Sasaki nearly back, there's no reason for fantasy owners to own either of these guys. .


Other Options: Rafael Soriano has been the team's most effective set-up pitcher in recent games, although he's not always used in pressure situations. But should something happen to Sasaki and Hasegawa, it would be interesting to see if this future closer got the nod ahead of Nelson and Rhodes.








Toronto Blue Jays

Trever Miller
Security: Platoon

Profile
Toronto Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
2 1 37.0 4.62 32 18


7/23 - 7/29: 4 G, 3.1 IP, H, ER, BB, 6 K (0-1, 1 Sv).


Status: Manager Carlos Tosca has been quoted as saying he wants a primary closer and not a closer-by-committee approach. The only problem is he needs a closer for that to work. Miller is part of a platoon that includes Aquilino Lopez and Jason Kershner, but not Cliff Politte, who remains the most likely candidate to seize the full-time job. Miller is mostly a situational option and has little chance of winning the job outright as long as right-handers hit .284 against him.


Fantasy Insurance: Politte. He's off the disabled list, but he's not in the closing mix yet. Tosca doesn't want to rush him back into the role -- remember, he stunk it up before his stint on the DL -- but remains of the mind that Politte can be a closer. As the Jays fall out of contention, he'll probably start seeing some chances.


Other Options: As mentioned, Lopez and Kershner are candidates to pick up some saves. Lopez is a better bet at eventually claiming some form of full-time role.










POTENTIAL NOISE (Updated on July 30)


Baltimore Orioles

Jorge Julio
Security: High

Profile
Baltimore Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
24 5 40.1 3.57 33 21


7/23 - 7/29: 3 G, 2.1 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, K (0-0, 2 Sv).


Status: Ah sure, we'll admit it, Julio's job is completely safe. It's just hard to trust him.


Fantasy Insurance: Kerry Ligtenberg. He gives up a fair number of hits, but he strikes out enough hitters and walks few enough hitters to survive. He'd be a viable fantasy alternative if Julio got hurt, but he's not going to steal away the job.


Other Options: Southpaws Buddy Groom and B.J. Ryan aren't good enough against right-handed hitters, or at times this season, left-handed hitters. Willis Roberts is out of the mix after landing on the DL. Well-traveled Hector Carrasco is in town, but he's nothing to get excited about.







Chicago White Sox

Tom Gordon
Security: Sharing

Profile
Chicago Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
6 4 52.1 2.92 67 26


7/23 - 7/29: 3 G, 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (1-0, 1 Sv).


Status: It's not just like old times for the once-dominant closer, but Gordon has a healthy share of the job in Chicago and he's doing well with it. Manager Jerry Manuel appears comfortable playing matchups with Gordon and Damaso Marte, but there will always be more chances for the right-handed reliever.


Fantasy Insurance: Marte. The versatile southpaw picked up saves in back-to-back games recently and still found time to work 2.2 innings the following night. He has been better against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters and could easily sneak away with control of the job if Gordon slumps. Very much worth owning.


Other Options: Billy Koch isn't out of the picture, but he's getting there. Only AL-only owners should consider holding on to him at this point.






Detroit Tigers

Chris Mears
Security: Low

Profile
Detroit Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
5 0 15.0 2.40 8 1


7/23 - 7/29: 2 G, 2.2 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: Mears has bounced back well from his first taste of adversity, allowing just two hits and a walk in his last three appearances (3.2 IP). That news is almost as good as his torrid start after being recalled from Triple-A. The Tigers still aren't going to win many games, but they appear content for now with Mears closing out their rare wins.


Fantasy Insurance: Jamie Walker. Should Mears falter -- and his minor league record suggests it's possible -- Walker is a name worth knowing. He hasn't been dominant, but he has been Detroit's most consistent set-up pitcher. .


Other Options: There's not much to choose from, although the Tigers will likely spend the second half testing out more than a few young arms. Chris Spurling still isn't out of a midseason funk, but he displayed at least some closing potential early in the season. Matt Anderson and Franklyn German remain entrenched at Triple-A.






Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Lance Carter
Security: Medium

Profile
Tampa Bay Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
17 6 51.1 4.56 35 16


7/23 - 7/29: 3 G, 3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, BB, 4 K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: It's not getting prettier for Carter, whose slump wasn't halted by an All-Star Game appearance. Carter still doesn't appear in serious danger of losing his job, but that won't last if his ERA continues its climb towards 5.00.


Fantasy Insurance: Al Levine. Owner of the bullpen's best numbers, although that may not be the case for much longer. Levine's struggles to regain early-season form may be part of the reason Carter is safe.


Other Options: Jesus Colome is back on his game and even picked up a two-inning save on July 25 in a 10-6 win, but his roller-coaster performance this season makes it tough to envision him being given a full-time shot at closing in the near future. Travis Harper picked up a one-out save on July 21 and has been reliable all season, but he's not yet worth worrying about from a fantasy perspective.









Texas Rangers

Francisco Cordero
Security: Medium

Profile
Texas Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
3 6 54.2 3.13 59 27


7/23 - 7/29 2 G, 2.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: So far, so good ... of course it's just one save. The Rangers haven't produced many save opportunities since Ugueth Urbina skipped town, leaving Cordero with liitle work. Still, it would take an injury or an implosion of the highest order for him to lose this job in the second half. The Rangers need to know what they've got.


Fantasy Insurance: Erasmo Ramirez. Really, we're just picking names out of a hat at this point. Ramirez has thrown well recently and the Rangers have no clear alternative to Cordero.


Other Options: Take your pick. Lefty Brian Shouse has pitched consistent innings all season but gets shelled by right-handed hitting. Rosman Garcia closed at Triple-A Oklahoma earlier this season but hasn't been consistent in the majors. Southpaw Aaron Fultz? Try an 8.68 ERA in June and 12.15 ERA in July. Jeff Zimmerman continues with bullpen throwing sessions and could make for an intriguing late-season factor.







ALL QUIET (Updated on July 30)


Anaheim Angels

Troy Percival
Security: High

Profile
Anaheim Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
23 1 33.0 2.45 30 10


7/23 - 7/29: 2 G, 2 IP, H, ER, BB, K (0-0, 2 Sv).


Status: Healthy and safe.


Fantasy Insurance: Brendan Donnelly. One of the few set-up guys worth owning in all leagues regardless of the closer's health, despite an odd week that featured his first win, loss and blown save of the season.


Other Options: Francisco Rodriguez has allowed home runs in three of his last four appearances but still merits attention in AL-only leagues for his extensive quality set-up work.









Cleveland Indians

Danys Baez
Security: High

Profile
Cleveland Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
22 6 49.2 3.44 45 15


7/23 - 7/29: 3 G, 3.0 IP, 2 H, ER, 0 BB, 5 K (0-1, 1 Sv).


Status: Baez sports an ugly 0-7 record, but it's tough to argue with the rest of his numbers. He's a lock to keep closing in Cleveland.


Fantasy Insurance: David Riske. After starting the second half on the wrong foot, Riske has bounced back. He's be a quality sleeper if Baez got hurt.


Other Options: Jack Cressend, Terry Mulholland.







Kansas City Royals

Mike MacDougal
Security: High

Profile
Kansas City Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
24 6 44.2 4.23 35 27


7/23 - 7/29: 2 G, 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, K (0-0, 0 Sv).


Status: Despite a recent slump, his second of the season, MacDougal appears in no danger at all of losing his job. When he'll again be effective at his job is up in the air, but it shouldn't be long.


Fantasy Insurance: Curtis Leskanic. Should MacDougal continue to stumble beyond the limits of Tony Pena's patience, Leskanic is a viable alternative. He's been brilliant since arriving in Kansas City and has closing experience. Worth a look in AL-only leagues as insurance.


Other Options: Graeme Lloyd, Jason Grimsley, D.J. Carrasco.






Minnesota Twins

Eddie Guardado
Security: High

Profile
Minnesota Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
24 3 42.0 3.43 38 11


7/23 - 7/29: 3 G, 3 IP, H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (0-0, 1 Sv, 1 BS).


Status: Guardado appears to be coming out of his slump, although his jobwas always safe.


Fantasy Insurance: LaTroy Hawkins. Although far less than perfect in recent weeks, Hawkins remains the best alternative should Guardado get hurt.


Other Options: J.C. Romero, Juan Rincon, Johan Santana.







New York Yankees

Mariano Rivera
Security: High

Profile
New York Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
19 2 37.0 1.51 37 5


7/23 - 7/29: 2 G, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 2 K (1-0, 1 Sv, 1 BS).


Status: Nothing new on the closer end of Joe Torre's bullpen, where Rivera is always a good fantasy investment.


Fantasy Insurance: Armando Benitez. The Yankees finally have an insurance policy worth buying. Benitez hasn't been brilliant since arriving in the Bronx, but he's clearly the man if Rivera gets hurt again.



Other Options: The fact that the Yankees went out and got Benitez suggests they don't have much faith in their other options, but Antonio Osuna is the best bet after Rivera and Benitez.








Oakland Athletics

Keith Foulke
Security: High

Profile
Oakland Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
27 4 56.0 2.57 59 15


7/23 - 7/29: 3 G, 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K (0-0, 3 Sv).


Status: A gold fantasy closer. Like Billy Koch last season, Oakland uses their closers so often that they're in line for a lot of wins -- see Foulke's seven.


Fantasy Insurance: Chad Bradford. Oakland's most-used reliever after Foulke remains the most likely fill-in if Foulke were hurt.


Other Options: Ricardo Rincon, Mike Neu.
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Postby pkarr5000 » Tue Aug 05, 2003 1:01 pm

good work!! ;-D
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Postby Madison » Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:33 pm

Thanks Zoozam! A few people have been looking for this! ;-D
Yes doctor, I am sick.
Sick of those who are spineless.
Sick of those who feel self-entitled.
Sick of those who are hypocrites.
Yes doctor, an army is forming.
Yes doctor, there will be a war.
Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
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Postby zoozam » Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:01 pm

in case anyone missed it, bump
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