Buck’s Bullpen Briefs 7-27-15

By on July 27, 2015

While there were no closer changes last week, we did see plenty of movement in the bullpen hierarchies of several teams, and more figures to be on the way as the trade deadline approaches. For every trade action, there’s a potential reaction that can reap significant rewards for the knowledgeable and astute Fantasy owner….and that would be you, wouldn’t it? Thought so – read on, Quiz Kid.

Who’s Out?

The Arizona Diamondbacks sent struggling set-up man Enrique Burgos to the minors on July 19. Burgos had pitched effectively early in the season, but his recent struggles had ballooned his ERA to 5.14 and his WHIP to 1.57. He’ll try to iron things out down on the farm, but Burgos can safely be dropped in most Fantasy leagues.

The Toronto Blue Jays optioned Steve Delabar to Triple-A July 25 to clear roster space for Aaron Sanchez. Look for Delabar to be back in the majors before long.

Aaron Sanchez (photo Buck Davidson)

Aaron Sanchez (photo Buck Davidson)

Who’s In?

Former Yankees and Tigers set-up man Joba Chamberlain inked a minor-league deal with Toronto on July 21, and he could be a part of the Blue Jays’ troubled major-league bullpen sooner rather than later. Chamberlain has struggled to a 4.09 ERA and 1.68 WHIP this season, but his ERA stood at 1.89 as recently as June 24. He probably won’t be in line for saves in the near future, but Chamberlain could pitch his way into a high-leverage role sometime down the road.

In other Blue Jays’ bullpen news, the team activated Aaron Sanchez from the disabled list July 25, and brought him in to pitch the eighth inning of a tie game that very night. The hard-throwing Sanchez was in the ninth-inning conversation this spring, and he could well be the Jays’ first fallback option if current closer Roberto Osuna stumbles.

The Cubs recalled Rafael Soriano from the minors on July 19, and he figures to be a part of the late-inning mix almost immediately. Soriano posted seven scoreless innings in the minors, and he owns 207 career saves – including a career-high 45 for the Joe Maddon-led Tampa Bay Rays in 2010.

Reliever on the Rocks

John Axford had been one of 2015’s top bullpen bounce-back stories, but he has hit a rough patch of road over the past month or so. Axford has allowed earned runs in each of his last three appearances, and he has posted an ERA of 6.43 and WHIP of 2.14 in eight July outings. Axford’s ERA has ballooned from 1.31 back on June 16 to 3.38 at the close of play on July 26; his job doesn’t appear to be in immediate jeopardy just yet, but it’s noteworthy that former closer LaTroy Hawkins has allowed only one earned run since June 15.

Reliever on the Rise

Arizona closer Brad Ziegler has been frequently mentioned in trade rumors, and for good reason: the veteran reliever has allowed only one earned run and just nine hits in 19.2 innings since June 3. Many thought that Ziegler would simply be a placeholder until the ‘Snakes found a “permanent” closer, but his fine 2015 performance has made him one of this season’s biggest Fantasy surprises.

Keep an eye on…

Former Marlins’ closer Steve Cishek was traded to St. Louis on July 24, and he’ll provide veteran depth in front of closer Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal has been a bit shaky lately, so Cishek could see an occasional save chance if Rosenthal and set-up man Kevin Siegrist need a breather. Cishek has allowed only one earned run in 13.2 innings since being recalled from the minors in mid-June, and he’s worth a look if you’re chasing saves in very deep mixed leagues.

The Braves signed veteran reliever Jason Frasor after he was released by Kansas City; Frasor owns a 3.50 career ERA and 36 saves, and he could be a factor in the late innings if closer Jim Johnson is traded away.

Oakland’s Tyler Clippard has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors; if he is indeed dealt, Edward Mujica and Drew Pomeranz figure to be the top in-house options to close games for the A’s.

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

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