Bucks Bullpen Briefs 9-22-15

By on September 22, 2015

It was another interesting week around major league bullpens; a few “committee” situations appear to be resolving themselves, and the affected pitchers are names to know as you prep your Fantasy team for its run to the wire. Elsewhere, the ebb and flow of bullpen hierarchies continues to generate opportunities for the astute fantasy manager. Let’s have a look at some bullpen situations that could be of interest to you as the season winds down.

Note: Stats are current as of close of play on September 21, 2015.

Who’s Out?

Washington Nationals’ set-up man Drew Storen will likely miss the rest of the season due to a fractured right thumb he suffered September 9. Storen had fallen on hard times recently, with just a 5.82 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 23 second-half outings, but the Nats will absolutely miss him as they vie for a playoff spot.

The Detroit Tigers rather suddenly sent former closer Bruce Rondon home from the team September 22, due to what manager Brad Ausmus termed “his effort level.” Rondon had struggled with his command – evidenced by his 16 walks in 24 innings after the break – and that wildness had been a big factor in his four blown saves, 4.88 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in the second half. The Tigers will reportedly go with a two-man committee of Alex Wilson and Neftali Feliz in the ninth inning for now.

Who’s In?

The Oakland Athletics’ bullpen has been something of a mess ever since Tyler Clippard’s departure, but it appears as though former closer Sean Doolittle has worked his way back into the ninth-inning role. Doolittle has held the opponent scoreless in five of his last six appearances, and he logged his first save of the season on September 7. Note that while rookie Ryan Dull notched his first big-league save September 18, it came the day after a two-inning stint by Doolittle.

Like Oakland, the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen has yet to recover from the loss of its primary closer – in this case, Koji Uehara – but southpaw Robbie Ross, Jr. is making his case for the ninth-inning job. Ross doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he has recorded the Bosox’s last five saves, and he is probably the most effective reliever in the Boston bullpen at this point. The southpaw is a good fantasy pickup if you’re chasing saves.

Brad Boxberger (Keith Allison / Flickr)

Brad Boxberger (Keith Allison / Flickr)

Relievers on the Rocks

Chicago White Sox’s closer David Robertson has had an outstanding season, but he has surrendered nine runs (seven earned) and nine hits in his last four appearances. Chalk this up as a bump in the road for now, but back-to-back blowups usually warrant attention from Fantasy owners. Nate Jones would probably be next in line for saves if Robertson were unable to right the ship.

Tampa Bay’s Brad Boxberger earns another appearance in our “Rocks” section on the strength of his four-run implosion against the Yankees on September 14. Boxberger’s second-half ERA stands at a putrid 4.98, and his WHIP is an ugly 1.62. He has blown four of his 16 save opportunities since the break, and is in general showing signs of running out of gas. Alex Colome’ would probably be next in line for saves, but he has scuffled to a 6.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in nine September outings. Keep an eye on lefty Xavier Cedeno, who made his return to the Rays’ bullpen September 20 after missing time due to an injured oblique.

Relievers on the Rise

Kenley Jansen is still secure in his job as the Dodgers’ closer, but former catcher Chris Hatcher has pitched his way back into consideration as Jansen’s primary understudy. In 16 appearances since the All-Star break, Hatcher has forged a tidy 1.13 ERA and 1.00 WHIP – while holding opposing hitters to a .179 BAA. Hatcher logged his third save September 14, and his recent run of success could make him a vital part of the Dodgers’ pen as they head down the stretch to the playoffs.


Keep an eye on…

According to BrooksBaseball.net , Greg Holland’s average fastball velocity during his appearance on August 22 was 94.88 mph, but that number had dropped to 91.4 mph during Holland’s outing on Sept. 17. He bounced back to 92.53 mph the following game, but he also surrendered two earned runs and blew his fifth save of the year during that outing. Holland’s recent struggles, combined with the “cranky arm” that shut him down for a few days last month, have raised some concerns that the Kansas City closer may be nursing some arm trouble. Manager Ned Yost has stood by his ninth-inning man, but this situation absolutely bears watching. If Wade Davis is somehow available in your league, he makes a good addition to your roster if you’re chasing saves.

Former Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins struck out the only batter he faced in his return to the mound September 19, but he surrendered a solo homer in a non-save situation the following game. Kevin Jepsen has been solid as Minnesota’s closer, but it’s possible that Perkins could move back into his old role in the near future.

That’s it for this week; good luck in your leagues and we’ll talk again soon.



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