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It was another interesting week around major league bullpens; let’s have a look at some bullpen situations that should be of interest to you as the season winds down.

The Detroit Tigers sent their closer home last week, due to what was termed his “effort level;” who will step up and take his place in the ninth inning in the Motor City?

The Kansas City Royals are once again in the MLB playoffs, but they’ll have to make their World Series run without their closer, who could be looking at a long-term absence. Times like this are why it’s handy to have a talented understudy in the fold.

The Minnesota Twins have seemingly been a part of Bullpen Briefs rather frequently of late, and the news is rather mixed again this week. The team’s former closer is scuffling in his attempt to reclaim his old job after missing time due to injury, while his former setup man is cruising along nicely in his new ninth-inning gig.

All of these stories and more in this week’s edition of Bullpen Briefs. This will be our final Bullpen Briefs column of the season; it’s been a great year, and I would like to send along my thanks to everyone who took the time to give us feedback on the column. We are listening to you, and we hope to use your suggestions to make next year’s edition even better than the 2015 version. I’ll be heading to Phoenix for the Arizona Fall League next month, so keep an eye on the website for updates from the prospect wonderland that is the AFL.

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 25, 2015.

Bullpen Briefs

Who’s Out?

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.

Kansas City’s Greg Holland was shut down this week due to a torn elbow ligament, and it looks like he could be headed for Tommy John surgery. Holland endured a rather bumpy 2015 season, finishing with an uncharacteristic 3.83 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. If Holland indeed undergoes Tommy John surgery, he’s not likely to be a factor during the 2016 season.

Who’s In?

It was initially thought that a committee of Neftali Feliz and Alex Wilson would handle the ninth-inning duty in Detroit, but it has been Feliz who has received the nod for the Tigers’ first three save chances in the
post-Rondon era. He blew his first opportunity, but the veteran has notched a pair of saves since then, with Wilson pitching in a set-up role for the second of those tallies. If you’re chasing saves, and are willing to take on Feliz’s 6.17 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, then the former Texas closer looks like the best option in Motown at the moment.

Wade Davis is among the best relievers in baseball, and he should step right into Holland’s old digs without missing a beat. Davis has already logged 13 saves this season, and his 0.99 ERA and 0.82 WHIP should tell you that the ninth inning in K.C. is in very capable hands.

Relievers on the Rocks

Let’s set the Wayback Machine to July 11, 2015: Minnesota closer Glen Perkins had just tossed yet another scoreless inning, and lowered his season’s ERA to a stellar 1.21. It’s been a rocky road for the Twins’ reliever since then, though: the southpaw has a brutal 7.79 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 19 second-half appearances, and opponents are batting a robust .367 against him. Injuries have been a prime reason for Perkins’ post-break woes, and the former stud closer may still be dealing with some lingering health issues. Kevin Jepsen has been solid as the Twins’ fill-in closer, and it’s looking less and less like Perkins will regain his ninth-inning job this season.

Relievers on the Rise

Addison Reed lost his closer’s gig while in Arizona, but he has been lights-out over the past couple of months. Reed has allowed only two earned runs since July 29, and he has surrendered just eight hits in 13 appearances as a member of the Metropolitans. Reed is not a threat to unseat Jeurys Familia as the Mets’ closer, but his recent run of success has made him a viable Fantasy option in NL-only formats or leagues that reward holds.

Keep an eye on…

Baltimore’s Zach Britton is currently dealing with an injured lat muscle, and he has not pitched since blowing a save on September 20. He threw a bullpen session September 25, and he could return to the mound in the coming week. Darren O’Day has done a nice job in the ninth inning during Britton’s absence, and he should be owned in most Fantasy leagues while he’s in the closer’s chair.

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.


Buck Davidson
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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, 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.
Buck Davidson
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