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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fantasy focus: Trevor Hoffman

If this is the end for Trevor Hoffman, he certainly has made it memorable.

The Brewers closer and baseball's all-time saves leader with 596 has blown half of his save opportunities this season, including an appearance Tuesday at Cincinnati in which he allowed three runs on four hits and didn't record an out in a 5-4 loss.

He has been shut down for the next two days to correct his mechanics, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, but Hoffman says his mechanics are fine.

I'm no pitching coach -- and I don't play one on the Internet -- but this quote is troubling for any fantasy owner in a deep category league who is depending on Hoffman for saves: "I'm a mid-80s (mph) guy. The changeup has been mid-to-low 70s. Not much is off in those numbers."

Translation: Hoffman doesn't rely on his heat, but right now he might as well be throwing in a beer league at Daniels Park.

The 42-year-old was excellent last season, when he converted 37 of 41 save opportunities with a 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. This season, he has a 13.15 ERA, 2.15 WHIP and 21 hits allowed in 13 innings.

The most remarkable number for Hoffman in 2010 might be the five blown saves, considering from 2004-09, at the ages of 36 to 41, he converted all but 27 save chances -- an average of only 4.5 blown saves per season.

If you own Hoffman and have the roster space, a player to consider is Brewers reliever Carlos Villanueva. The 26-year-old has a 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 27 Ks in 20 2/3 innings.

Milwaukee hasn't named an interim closer, but since LaTroy Hawkins is the disabled list with a shoulder injury (and he's 37), Villanueva seems to be the Brewers' best backup plan.

In daily leagues, he could be an emergency fill-in for Hoffman. In weekly leagues, he shouldn't be a starter until the bottom completely falls out for a player who has recorded 30 saves or more in 14 of the last 15 seasons.

For more fantasy sports updates, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.

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