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It was another interesting week around major league bullpens; a few “committee” situations appear to be resolving themselves, and those pitchers are absolutely names to know as you prep your Fantasy team for its run to the wire. Let’s have a look at some bullpen situations that should be of interest to you as the season winds down.

The Washington Nationals will be without a key member of their bullpen during their run for a playoff spot, and the team will have to rely on the other members of the ‘pen to step up and fill his ample shoes.

Oakland doesn’t have to worry about a playoff chase, but the team appears to have resolved – for now at least – its questions regarding its ninth-inning man. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Things remain murky in the Beantown bullpen, as the Bosox are still searching for a closer to replace the injured Koji Uehara.  Two relievers have tried and failed to land Uehara’s old job, but now a third has stepped to the fore. His is a name you should know if you’re looking for late-season saves.

The Tampa Bay Rays brandish one of baseball’s better bullpens, but lately that group has been anything but dominant. The team’s closer is still among the league leaders in saves, but his performance of late has left his Fantasy owners a bit shell-shocked. Can he turn things around, or is it time for a change in Tampa Bay?

All of these stories and more in this week’s edition of Bullpen Briefs. Following bullpens around the league is truly a daily pursuit, so be sure to check out – and bookmark — our Bullpen Depth Charts, which are updated as news breaks … pretty much daily. Note: Stats are current as of close of play on September 17, 2015.

 

Bullpen Briefs

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.

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. Consider adding Doolittle if he’s available in your league.

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 has allowed only two earned runs in his last 13 appearances, and he logged saves on Sept. 4 and Sept. 13. Ross doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he is probably the most effective reliever in the Boston bullpen at this point; he makes a good add if you’re chasing saves.

 

Relievers on the Rocks

Chicago White Sox’s closer David Robertson has had an outstanding season, but he has surrendered seven runs (five earned) and five hits in his last two 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 is 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. That blow-up lifts Boxberger’s second-half ERA to a putrid 4.43, and his WHIP to an equally horrendous 1.87. He has blown four of his 15 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 fashioned a rather ugly outing of his own on Sept. 17 – surrendering four runs to Baltimore.

 

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 14 appearances since the All-Star break, Hatcher has forged a tidy 1.26 ERA and 0.84 WHIP – while holding opposing hitters to a .160 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. Coming on the heels of the “cranky arm” that shut him down for a few days last month, there is some concern that the Kansas City closer may be nursing some arm trouble. Manager Ned Yost has made it clear that Holland remains his ninth-inning man, but this situation absolutely bears watching.

Following bullpens around the league is truly a daily pursuit, so be sure to check out – and bookmark — our Bullpen Depth Charts, which are updated as news breaks … pretty much daily.

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Buck Davidson

Buck Davidson has been writing about baseball since the Internet was more a flight of fancy than a way of life. His Fantasy analysis has appeared on such websites as RotoExperts, RotoRob, Yahoo, CBS, MSN, FOXSports and KFFL.com, and he has hosted numerous Fantasy Sports podcasts over the years. For the past seven seasons, Buck has been a contributing writer for The Fantasy Baseball Guide magazine. Despite all of his years of experience, though, Buck seeks out the unique sports insight of his 95-year-old Granny Lil when the Fantasy chips are truly down.
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