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NL Closer Watch

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NL Closer Watch

Postby zoozam » Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:51 pm

NL 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 NL teams.


Updated every Thursday


MAKING NOISE (Updated on July 31)



Cincinnati Reds

Chris Reitsma
Security: Platoon

Profile
Cincinnati Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
0 3 57.1 4.40 33 14


7/24 - 7/30: 3 G, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (1-1, 0 Sv).


Status: What's more exciting than the thought of Chris Reitsma closing games! All right, so it's tough to see Reitsma emerging as a quality fantasy closer given the former starter's 4.40 ERA and 63 hits allowed in 57.1 innings. But for fantasy owners in dire need of saves, he's the right-handed portion of a platoon with Felix Heredia, according to Reds manager Dave Miley.


Fantasy Insurance: Felix Heredia. Reitsma is the right-hander, but Heredia has considerably better numbers and hasn't fared poorly against right-handed hitters. That's why he has the better fantasy sleeper value, even if he initially plays second fiddle. Opponents are hitting just .222 against him this season.


Other Options: Since platoons never work, and neither Reitsma nor Heredia is a lock to seize the full-time job, other options must be considered. Most intriguing are prospects Ryan Wagner and Joe Valentine. Wagner is a little raw, but the Reds appear to like his closing potential and want him in Cincinnati. Acquired in the Jose Guillen deal, Valentine throws hard and has closing experience in the minors but walks way too many hitters. Still, he was a highly-regarded prospect in Oakland's system. Veteran Kent Mercker is off the DL and is another viable option. Gabe White, who is hurt and on the block, probably isn't worth your consideration.







Colorado Rockies

Justin Speier
Security: Platoon

Profile
Colorado Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
6 2 48.0 3.10 46 15


7/24 - 7/30: 3 G, 2.2 IP, H, ER, BB, 5 K (0-0, 1 Sv, 1 BS).
Status: Speier continues to pitch well, although he's not perfect. Against the Reds on July 30, he allowed a game-tying home run in the ninth. But since he's right-handed and has pitched well since Jose Jimenez was taken out of the closer's role, he still looks like the guy to own if you're after Colorado's saves.



Fantasy Insurance: Brian Fuentes. The lefty isn't out of the mix, and it's probably even fair to keep calling this a platoon between he and Speier. He'll see a few situational chances and is worth owning in NL-only leagues with tight saves races.


Other Options: Jose Jimenez has been battling a bad back (new) and lousy pitching (old). It's tough to see him getting back in the closing mix this season. Steve Reed is a terrific set-up guy but never seems to be considered as a ninth-inning option. Moved to the bullpen after arriving from Detroit, Adam Bernero has been sharp. He merits an extra look as a sleeper down the road.





Florida Marlins

Braden Looper
Security: Medium

Profile
Florida Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
21 4 60.0 3.00 42 20


7/24 - 7/302 G, 2.0 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 0 K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: With Ugueth Urbina pitching brilliant set-up innings, this isn't the time for Looper to slump. But despite boosting his saves total, Looper is trying to get things turned around before it becomes an issue. He allowed three runs in each of back-to-back appearances on July 23 and 26 but bounced back with a strong finish to the month. Considering he got the call for saves on July 28, 29 and 30, it looks like he's still firmly entrenched as the closer.


Fantasy Insurance: Urbina. The new guy has allowed just five hits and one run in 8.2 innings with the team. Should Looper falter or get hurt, he'd be a great fantasy find. As it is, he's probably worth keeping around, if even just stashed on the bench.


Other Options: It doesn't really matter with two arms like that ahead of them, but Tim Spooneybarger is still a name worth knowing once he comes off the disabled list at some point in August.







Milwaukee Brewers

Danny Kolb
Security: None

Profile
Milwaukee Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
3 1 20.0 2.70 20 9


7/24 - 7/30: 1 G, 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: It's not entirely clear what's going on in Ned Yost's bullpen. Mike DeJean is no longer the closer, but he picked up a save by pitching the final two innings against the Mets on July 29. But aside from that performance DeJean has been typically up and down in set-up work. Leo Estrella looked like a closing option for a time, picking up three saves, but he pitched the seventh inning of the game in which DeJean got a save. That leaves us with ... Kolb. The right-hander has been sharp in 20 innings since being recalled from the minors and has three saves, including one the day before DeJean's. For now, he looks like the top of a very crowded org chart.


Fantasy Insurance: DeJean. If he's not traded, it appears well within the realm of possibility that he'll reclaim the job at some point before the end of the season.


Other Options: Valerio de los Santos also remains an option, although he's had a few rough outing in recent days. Luis Vizcaino were also mentioned by Yost. Vizcaino was a preseason sleeper, but it's tough to ignore that 8.05 ERA.







New York Mets

Dave Weathers
Security: Low

Profile
New York Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
2 1 60.0 3.30 51 24


7/24 - 7/30: 4 G, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (0-1, 1 Sv).


Status: We like Weathers as a potential closer, but he's only one of a handful of faces that could appear in this spot. Manager Art Howe maintains he plans on going with the "hot hand," suggesting he doesn't have faith that any of his relievers can handle full-time closing duties. But Weathers picked up the team's most recent save, working two perfect innings -- four strikeouts -- on June 30. He's as good a bet as anyone on the roster to pick up seven or eight more saves down the stretch.
Fantasy Insurance: Everyone else.



Other Options: John Franco, Mike Stanton and Dan Wheeler appear to be the most in play, having all picked up at least one save since Armando Benitez went to the Yankees. Franco has awful numbers aside from a decent ERA and Stanton has awful numbers across the board, so Wheeler is the most interesting by default. Youngsters like Edwin Almonte and Orber Moreno don't seem to figure in Howe's thinking just yet.







Pittsburgh Pirates

Mike Lincoln
Security: Low

Profile
Pittsburgh Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
3 2 15.2 5.17 11 6


7/24 - 7/30 3 G, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, K (1-2, 0 Sv, 2 BS).


Status: Lloyd McClendon maintains he hasn't named an official replacement for Mike Williams. He'll maintain it more vociferously after watching Lincoln in recent games. In his last two appearances (July 27 and 29), Lincoln has worked 1.1 innings while allowing eight hits and seven runs. He was charged with a blown save in each game. And you thought Williams was bad? Given Lincoln doesn't have a season of 40-plus saves to rely on when the manager thinks of making a change, he may not be long for the job. But for now, pick him up if you need saves and don't mind the risk in ERA. He has little direct competition.


Fantasy Insurance: Williams and Scott Sauerbeck are gone, leaving limited options.


Other Options: Joe Beimel has been solid, but he's the only southpaw in the bullpen, making it tough to save him for the ninth every game. Julian Tavarez is still around, but his strikeout totals make it tough to think of him as a closing option.









POTENTIAL NOISE (Updated on July 31)





Chicago Cubs

Joe Borowski
Security: High

Profile
Chicago Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
19 3 47.1 2.85 48 12


7/24 - 7/30: 3 G, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (0-0, 2 Sv).


Status: Borowski hasn't been dominant since May, but he generally gets the job done and doesn't give Dusty Baker much reason to consider a change. Assuming the Cubs don't add a reliever before the deadline, it's tough not to think Borowski is as safe as anyone outside of Smoltz, Gagne and Wagner.


Fantasy Insurance: Antonio Alfonseca. It's tough to say if Alfonseca would really still get the call if Borowski got hurt, but he seems like the most logical choice. He's been coming out of a slump recently, allowing seven hits and one earned run in his last 7.2 innings. But unless something happens to Borowski, Alfonseca should remain in fantasy free agency.


Other Options: If Baker needed a one- or two-outing option, Kyle Farnsworth might have to get the nod ahead of Alfonseca. Opponents are hitting just .182 against Farnsworth and he has 56 strikeouts in 51 innings.











Philadelphia Phillies

Jose Mesa
Security: Medium

Profile
Philadelphia Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
21 3 45.1 5.16 35 18


7/24 - 7/30: 3 G, 2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, BB, K (0-0, 2 Sv).


Status: The Phillies found a way to make Mesa look effective, landing Mike Williams from Pittsburgh. Based on the way Williams has pitched since arriving, it's tough to think he's more of a threat to Mesa's job than the guy who were already around. Mesa continues to frustrate, but he has blown just three save chances.


Fantasy Insurance: Williams. Although if you have him on a roster, you're nuts. His numbers with the Phillies? Six hits, five walks and five runs in 4.2 innings.


Other Options: Rheal Cormier and Turk Wendell have pitched terrific relief innings all season and would seem more effective alternatives than Williams, but they didn't get much of a shot before and Williams does have closing experience on his side.









ALL QUIET (Updated on July 18)



Arizona Diamondbacks

Matt Mantei
Security: Medium

Profile
Arizona Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
11 2 31.1 3.16 39 9


7/24 - 7/30: 2 G, 3.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, (0-0, 1 Sv)


Status: Mantei appears comfortably back in charge of the closer's job in Arizona. Fantasy owners should probably worry more about the oft-injured pitcher's health than about other pitchers taking away save chances.


Fantasy Insurance:Jose Valverde. There's nothing wrong with Valverde that another Mantei injury wouldn't fix. He's continued stellar set-up work and looks like a future fantasy gem as a closer.


Other Options: Oscar Villarreal has been very sharp in recent weeks and could push Mike Koplove to option No. 4 when Koplove returns from the DL.






Atlanta Braves

John Smoltz
Security: High

Profile
Atlanta Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
39 3 54.1 0.83 59 8


7/24 - 7/30: 4 G, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (0-0, 3 Sv, 1 BS).


Status: Smoltz is healthy. That's all you need to know.


Fantasy Insurance: Roberto Hernandez. Just when you think Hernandez is turning the corner, he gives up two homers in an inning against Montreal. But the veteran is still the most proven option should Smoltz get hurt and the first name fantasy owners should look at.


Other Options: Darren Holmes, Ray King and Jung Bong.











Houston Astros

Billy Wagner
Security: High

Profile
Houston Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
31 3 58.0 2.02 73 15


7/24 - 7/30: 1 G, 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: Wagner's job is as safe as any in baseball


Fantasy Insurance: Octavio Dotel. Virtually untouchable, Dotel has allowed a hit in less than half his appearances. Opponents are hitting just .173 against him and he has a nearly 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Sound like a future closer to you?


Other Options: On most other teams, rookie Brad Lidge would have fantasy owners falling over themselves. But on Houston, he's a distant third or fourth when it comes to potential saves. He has overcome a couple of rough outings late in June and appears back on track.









Los Angeles Dodgers

Eric Gagne
Security: High

Profile
Los Angeles Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
35 0 51.0 1.76 84 13


7/24 - 7/30: 3 G, 3 IP, H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: Forget the All-Star Game. he's as good as it gets.


Fantasy Insurance: Paul Shuey. Despite an awful history as a closer, it's tough to argue with Shuey's performance this season. He's allowed just 26 hits in 42.2 innings.


Other Options: Guillermo Mota and Paul Quantrill would also factor in things if Gagne got hurt.





Montreal Expos

Rocky Biddle
Security: Medium

Profile
Montreal Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
25 4 51.0 3.71 44 31


7/10 - 7/17: 4 G, 3.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB, K (0-0, 2 Sv).


Status: Biddle is what he is -- a middle-tier closer with occasional control issues. For a team with a budget like Montreal, that's good enough. And for fantasy owners reaping the benefits of a competitive Montreal team, it's a good match. He's not as safe as an elite closer, but he's safe enough.


Fantasy Insurance: Luis Ayala. Earlier in the summer it appeared Ayala might unseat Biddle, but injuries and circumstances make that unlikely with Biddle going on the DL.


Other Options: T.J. Tucker and Joey Eischen.







St. Louis Cardinals

Jason Isringhausen
Security: High

Profile
St. Louis Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
8 1 17.0 2.12 16 5


7/24 - 7/30: 1 G, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (0-0, 1 Sv).


Status: Isringhausen was worth the wait. After battling injuries all spring, he's on top of his game as the closer in St. Louis. As long as he stays healthy, he's good to go.


Fantasy Insurance: Cal Eldred. Eldred did generally solid work filling in as the closer and would likely remain first in line if the need again arose.


Other Options: Steve Kline has 27 walks and 17 strikeouts this season and bombed out in a previous stint closing.






San Diego Padres

Rod Beck
Security: High

Profile
San Diego Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
13 0 20.2 2.18 18 6


7/24 - 7/30: 2 G, 2 IP, 2 H, ER, 0 BB, 2 K (0-0, 2 Sv).

Status: The only bad news is this can't last forever. Beck will blow a save opportunity at some point, but it hasn't happened yet. And that run of 13 saves with great secondary numbers mean the guy who started the season looking for work has enough job security to survive a slump.


Fantasy Insurance: Jay Witasick. As Beck settles in, Witasick is slumping. He's no threat to Beck, but still might get the call if injuries strike.



Other Options: Luther Hackman and Mike Matthews.











San Francisco Giants

Tim Worrell
Security: High

Profile
San Francisco Clubhouse


2003 Stats
Sv BlSv IP ERA K BB
23 4 53.1 2.03 40 17


7/24- 7/30: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 3 H, ER, 0 BB, K, (1-0, 0 Sv).

Status: Worrell hasn't been his sharpest in recent appearances, but he hasn't been much to worry about, either. He's filled in well all season for Robb Nen, and that's not going to change without injury or catastrophic meltdown.


Fantasy Insurance: Felix Rodriguez. F-Rod's numbers have improved quite a bit from early in the season, but he's still been less than dominant. With Herges around, it's not guaranteed he'd even be the clear choice if Worrell got hurt.


Other Options: Matt Herges, Joe Nathan and Scott Eyre.
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Postby pkarr5000 » Tue Aug 05, 2003 1:06 pm

thanks ;-D
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Postby Madison » Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:34 pm

We all thank you Zoozam! ;-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 2:00 pm

no problem; in case anyone missed it

bump
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