MLB - Fantasy Baseball - Long Relief
|Team||Closer||Heir Apparent||Dark Horse||Closer Status|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||J.J. Putz||David Hernandez||Entrenched|
|Atlanta Braves||Craig Kimbrel||Jordan Walden||Jonny Venters||Entrenched|
|Baltimore Orioles||Jim Johnson||Pedro Strop||Entrenched|
|Boston Red Sox||Joel Hanrahan||Andrew Bailey||Koji Uehara||Safe|
|Chicago Cubs||Kyuji Fujikawa||Carlos Marmol||On The Brink|
|Chicago White Sox||Addison Reed||Matt Thornton||Jesse Crain||Safe|
|Cincinnatti Reds||Aroldis Chapman||Jonathan Broxton||Entrenched|
|Cleveland Indians||Chris Perez||Vinnie Pestano||On The Brink|
|Colorado Rockies||Rafael Betancourt||Safe|
|Detroit Tigers||Phil Coke||Joaquin Benoit||Jose Valverde||On The Brink|
|Houston Astros||Jose Veras||Josh Fields||On The Brink|
|Kansa City Royals||Greg Holland||Kelvin Herrera||Aaron Crow||On The Brink|
|Los Angeles Angels||Ernesto Frieri||Ryan Madson||Safe|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Brandon League||Kenley Jansen||Safe|
|Miami Marlins||Steve Cishek||Jon Rauch||Safe|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Jim Henderson||John Axford||On The Brink|
|Minnesota Twins||Glen Perkins||Jared Burton||Safe|
|New York Mets||Bobby Parnell||Frank Francisco||Safe|
|New York Yankees||Mariano Rivera||David Robertson||Entrenched|
|Oakland Athletics||Grant Balfour||Ryan Cook||Sean Doolittle||Safe|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Jonathan Papelbon||Mike Adams||Entrenched|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Jason Grilli||Mark Melancon||Safe|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Mitchell Boggs||Trevor Rosenthal||Jason Motte||On The Brink|
|San Diego Padres||Huston Street||Dale Thayer||Luke Gregerson||Entrenched|
|San Francisco Giants||Sergio Romo||Santiago Casilla||Entrenched|
|Seattle Mariners||Tom Wilhelmsen||Carter Capps||Stephen Pryor||Entrenched|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Fernando Rodney||Kyle Farnsworth||Entrenched|
|Texas Rangers||Joe Nathan||Entrenched|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Casey Janssen||Sergio Santos||Entrenched|
|Washington Nationals||Rafael Soriano||Drew Storen||Tyler Clippard||Entrenched|
FFToolbox's closer depth chart takes a look at every team in baseball's closing situation and gives a status report for each closer in baseball. An entrenched closer is one who has the most job security possible, even a couple of bad outings in a row will not give fantasy owners cause for concern. An entrenched rating is earned for a couple of reasons, the lack of a viable second option, a sustained track record of success or injuries. A safe rating means that the closer has had some bumps in the road recently, a couple of blown saves for example, but still has the trust of his manager. Usually with a safe closer, there are other viable options in the bullpen for the manager to turn to should the current closer continue to struggle. An on the brink closer is one who could lose the job at any point due to a wide variety of factors. The key to chasing saves in fantasy baseball is to target the heir apparent to closers who are on the brink.
It was an interesting week for closers around the league as we saw the emergence of Kelvin Herrera in Kansas City and the demotion of two struggling closers John Axford in Milwaukee and Carlos Marmol in Chicago and St. Louis. If either Jim Henderson or Kyuji Fujikawa are available, they need to be owned immediately. Every save counts in fantasy baseball.
FFToolbox's Reliever to Target
Kelvin Herrera - RHP - Kansas City Royals - Owned in 54% of Yahoo! Leagues
The flame-throwing right-hander has not allowed a run this season in four and one third innings of work and picked up a pair of saves in place of Greg Holland this week. Royals manager Ned Yost insists that Holland is still his closer, but Holland (0-1, 12.00 ERA) has struggled early on this season and has always had issues with walks (34 walks in 67 innings last season) a real issue for any closer. Herrera's fastball can hit 100-mph and the strikeouts (77 in 84.1 innings in 2012 and 10 in just 4.1 innings so far in 2013) make him a valuable fantasy commodity even if he isn't racking up saves. Eventually skill wins out in these types of situations and it looks like Herrera is better suited to close than Holland. The Royals need to win this year after overhauling their starting rotation and dealing their best prospect in Wil Myers, so expect them to make the move to Herrera is Holland continues to struggle.
Closers on the Brink
With Carlos Marmol and John Axford already ousted from their closing roles and Greg Holland already in hot water, there is not a lot else to talk about on the closer front but for those of you chasing saves, here are a few closers who are on the hot seat that could lose their jobs next.
Mitchell Boggs - RHP - St. Louis Cardinals
Boggs has been thrust into the closing role due to the injury suffered by Jason Motte in Spring Training and has struggled early on, blowing one save and giving up six earned runs in a non-save situation this week. The tough thing about this muddled bullpen is that Boggs likely replacement Trevor Rosenthal has struggled this season in a setup role and despite having the skills to close, isn't quite ready. I touted Rosenthal as a pickup in this space last week and think he should be owned given his strikeout potential, but it may be best to avoid this situation entirely until Motte returns.
Joel Hanrahan - RHP - Boston Red Sox
While he is not officially on the brink of losing the job, it was a rough week for Joel Hanrahan in Boston. The Red Sox new closer came in to protect a three-run lead, the cushiest of save situations, on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles and promptly served up a home run to Chris Davis. After setting down the next two batters, Hanrahan unraveled completely. A single, back-to-back walks, and a wild pitch set the stage for Manny Machado's three-run go-ahead homer. Manager John Farrell is not about to give up on his new closer, but with established closer Andrew Bailey pitching well in a setup role, if Hanrahan continues to struggle, it won't be long before the Red Sox pull the plug.