AL Closer Report: July 23

The Hot

Neftali Feliz, Texas
Feliz continues to have a nice season and he saved three more games this past week. He also struck out four batters in 3.2 innings. The workload continues to worry me, so keep that in the back of your mind – especially if you’re in a keeper league. On the year, Feliz has 26 saves in 28 tries and has given up just 26 hits in 41.1 innings.

Andrew Bailey, Oakland
Bailey had a nice week with two saves and a win in three games. He did not allow an earned run and struck out two batters in 3.1 innings. Bailey has 20 saves and a solid ERA at 1.56 (xFIP of 4.15), but the low strikeout rate keeps him out of the “elite closer” category.

David Aardsma, Seattle
Aardsma could potentially change hands in the next week with the trade deadline looming. The right-hander looked good this past week with no runs allowed and six Ks in 3.0 innings of work. For the year, Aardsma has been up-and-down and sports a 4.88 ERA. He’s not an elite closer, but he’s a solid second closer for a fantasy team in a mixed league.

The Not

Kevin Gregg, Toronto
Aardsma’s trade value may have taken a bit of a bump up, but Gregg’s is certainly down. Toronto will most certainly not pick up his option for 2011 and the club may be afraid to offer him arbitration in the winter, so trading him now may be the only way to get a little (tiny) bit of value for him. Gregg has shown terrible control recently (four walks in 2.1 innings this past week) and he’s been toxic in high-leverage situations.

Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay
Soriano appeared in just two games this past week and he was roughed up by Baltimore on July 20 and blew the save. Overall, though, it was his first blown save in eight games. He’s struggled with his command recently. Soriano previously went 17 games without issuing a walk but he’s given up three free passes in his last four appearances. He’s a solid bet going forward.

Keep an Eye On…

David Robertson, New York
Robertson isn’t in line for saves in New York any time soon, but he could be an attractive trade target for a smart general manager. The right-hander showed his stuff this past week with seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings. On the year, he currently sports a 4.76 ERA, but his xFIP sits at 3.87 and in parts of three seasons, he has an 11.50 K/9 rate. With a little more consistent control and command of his breaking ball, the 25-year-old reliever could become a solid eighth- or ninth-inning guy.

Koji Uehara, Baltimore
Alfredo Simon is currently “The Man” when it comes to save opportunities in Baltimore, but Uehara could see more opportunities later this year or into 2011. The Japanese veteran has been solid while pitching out of the bullpen since coming back from injury. The right-hander has a strikeout rate of 10.67 K/9 in ’10, compared to 6.48 K/9 when he was pitching out of the starting rotation in ’09. He comes at batters with no fewer than five different pitches, which helps make up for his 87 mph fastball.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

4 Responses to “AL Closer Report: July 23”

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  1. dizdazster says:

    Simon gets the saves in Baltimore. Maybe Gonz next.

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  2. jrogers says:

    How about the White Sox situation? Nobody but Ozzie knows?

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    • STEALTH says:

      With Ozzie, nobody knows… but it’s not hard to see Putz getting the job. I’ve already added him where possible.

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  3. wily says:

    Splitting hairs but two of Soriano’s three free passes were of the intentional variety.

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