NL Closer Report: July 16

It was an All-Star-shortened week, but let’s have a look and see who was hot over the past seven days.

The Hot

Leo Nunez, Florida
Nunez continues to have a very solid season. He’s coming off of a week in which he saved two games in as many tries. He gave up one hit and did not allow a walk while recording two Ks. For the season, his xFIP sits at 2.99 and his strikeout rate is a career-high 9.08 K/9. His xFIP in July is 1.37 so it’s nice to see him staying strong.

Honorable Mentions: Both Huston Street and Billy Wagner were featured in last week’s post and both closers continue to roll along by recording two saves each without allowing an earned run. Hopefully you were able to grab Street off the waiver wire or from an unsuspecting fellow fantasy manager.

The Not

John Axford, Milwaukee:
In terms of fantasy value, Axford actually had a good week by recording a save and two wins in three appearances. However, he gave up four hits and two runs during that stetch. He was touched up by Pittsburgh on back-to-back nights. Overall, his numbers remain strong with a 2.76 xFIP and a strikeout rate of 11.08.

Heath Bell, San Diego:
Bell appeared in just one game this past week and was dinged for a run against Colorado. It took him 29 pitches – the most he’s thrown in any one game this season – to get through 1.2 innings of work. The outing broke a strong of six scoreless appearances, so there is really no reason to be concerned. He’s also struck out at least one batter per appearance in his last 10 games.

Octavio Dotel, Pittsburgh
Mr. Inconsistency posted a 20.25 ERA in two games while blowing two saves and taking a loss in the one game. He gave up four runs on three hits over 1.1 innings of work. Dotel now has five blown saves on the year. He’s struggling against left-handed hitters who have a .309 batting average and 9.24 BB/9 rate against him. Right-handers, meanwhile, have a .192 average and 1.61 BB/9 rate.

Keep An Eye On…

Brad Lidge, Philadelphia
The ERA of 4.60 is ugly, but his xFIP sits at 3.43 and he has a solid strikeout rate at 12.06 K/9. Lidge’s BABIP rate is high-ish at .341 and his overall numbers are skewed by the three-spot he allowed against Cincinnati on June 29. He’s a potentially solid buy-low closer.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Jason B
Jason B

Can you just leave the closer du jour of Arizona on the permanent “not” list? I’m all for scouring the waiver wire to get some vulture saves, but I want no further part of that morass. Stop the ride, I wanna get off!