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It was another interesting week around major league bullpens; the playoff races are heating up, and plenty of teams bolstered their bullpens with players called up from the minor leagues. As the season enters its final month, Fantasy Baseball owners are also looking to fine-tune their rosters for an epic run to the wire; saves often provide the impetus for a big move in the season’s waning days.

There’s plenty of concern in Minnesota, as the team’s closer is trying to work through some injury issues. Fortunately, the Twins made a move for a talented understudy prior to the trade deadline; can he be a Fantasy difference-maker as well?

The Rangers are still in the thick of things insofar as the playoff race, due in no small part to a pair of relievers who were little more than Fantasy afterthoughts back in April. Speaking of afterthoughts, the Detroit Tigers are well out of the playoff hunt, and the team is still struggling to find a closer to replace Joakim Soria, who was dealt to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a better season than many thought they would, and their veteran closer has enjoyed his finest season as a major leaguer. He’s hit a bit of a bump lately, though, causing some to wonder if perhaps the clock has struck midnight on his Cinderella season.

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.

 

Bullpen Briefs

 

Who’s Out?

Neck and back injuries have limited Minnesota closer Glen Perkins to only three appearances since August 17, and when he suffered a setback recently, the Twins announced that he would not accompany them on their current road trip, which concludes with a game on September 13. Back spasms are Perkins’ current issue, and it’s conceivable the team could elect to shut him down if they are not in playoff contention at the conclusion of the road trip.

Who’s In?

Kevin Jepsen has been lights-out since arriving in Minnesota via a trade with Tampa Bay, allowing just two earned runs and seven hits in 15.2 innings of work. He has also saved five games for the Twins, providing invaluable insurance for the ailing Glen Perkins. Jepsen looks like he’ll be the Minnesota closer until at least the end of the current road trip (September 14) and he could very well hold the job the rest of the way if the Twins decide to shut Perkins down. Jepsen should be owned in most mixed Fantasy leagues at this point.

Reliever on the Rocks

Detroit’s Bruce Rondon brandishes a triple-digit fastball, but too often, that wicked heater ends up somewhere other than in the strike zone. Rondon has walked nine batters in 16.1 innings in the second half, while scuffling to a 5.51 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Rondon’s job would probably be in serious jeopardy if not for the struggles of understudy Alex Wilson, who has surrendered four earned runs over his past two appearances. The Tigers’ bullpen is a mess, and Rondon’s wildness is not furthering his cause to remain the team’s closer.

Reliever on the Rise

Texas set-up man Keone Kela has not allowed an earned run since July 30, and he has surrendered only four hits and one walk during those 11 appearances. Kela has fanned 60 batters in 54 innings this season, and the 22-year-old owns a fine 1.65 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 18 second-half appearances. Closer Shawn Tolleson’s job appears safe, but Kela’s outstanding performance of late has made him worth a roster spot in some deeper mixed Fantasy leagues.

Keep an eye on…

Arizona’s Brad Ziegler has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2015 season, but the submariner has surrendered seven earned runs and 10 hits over his past two appearances, while watching his season’s ERA jump from 1.46 to 2.48. While the two consecutive blow-ups may be nothing more than a bump (okay, a large bump) in the road, the fact remains that Ziegler is a 35-year-old soft-tosser whose previous career best was 13 saves, and he’s also nursing a gimpy ankle. If Ziegler can’t turn things around, Daniel Hudson would probably receive the first call to close games, but for now, this is simply a “keep an eye on it” situation.

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 4, 2015.

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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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