Glen Perkins out indefinitely
The Twins’ playoff chances took a bit of a hit last week when it was announced that Perkins would be out indefinitely with back spasms, and so did the chances of fantasy owners with him on their rosters. Although the second half hasn’t been nearly as productive as the first was, Perkins has been one of the more valuable fantasy closers on the season. He seems a bit blindsided by the injury, and since it’s one involving his back, there’s no guarantee he’ll be healthy again this season. If there’s no room to stash him on the disabled list, he’s a safe drop candidate in most redraft leagues.
As for his replacement, Kevin Jepsen has been outstanding since coming to the Twins at the deadline and was pitching pretty well for the Rays before that. He’s not going to put up huge strikeout numbers, but he does well enough in that category. More importantly, he’ll get you some saves down the stretch. Jepsen's likely already owned, but if by some chance he’s not, he needs to be added immediately. The term “indefinitely” is never good, and there’s a decent chance Jepsen keeps the closer role even if Perkins returns considering how the latter was pitching before he got injured.
Sean Doolittle time?
If you were one of the people who added Doolittle a couple of weeks ago when he was first getting ready to come back from the disabled list, it’s looking like that move will finally start to pay off. Drew Pomeranz has had his ups and downs, but he’s allowed runs in two of his last four outings. Doolittle, meanwhile, has three consecutive scoreless outings and looks to be shaking some of that rust off. Even better is the fact that his velocity has been steadily climbing, averaging about 94 mph in his last outing, per Brooks Baseball. The A’s have nothing to lose, and might as well get their stud closer back in his role before the season ends. While you shouldn’t be expecting the elite production he’s shown in the past, considering he missed virtually the entire season, he should be a huge late-season addition and could make a difference in some fantasy championships.
Alex Colome could get save chances
Brad Boxberger has all of the talent in the world, but he’s been inconsistent all season long. For most teams, he hasn’t been so bad that he’d be worrying about his job, but the Rays aren’t most teams. They’re more likely than most to utilize matchups and use their best reliever in the eighth, meaning Boxberger’s closer title is much more loose than others. As such, Kevin Cash has intimated that Colome could be seeing some save chances in the final weeks of the year. Considering the shape of the waiver wire at this point in the year, there aren’t many better options. For example, I’d take a chance on Colome getting a few saves than latching on to any reliever in Boston getting a consistent shot. The Rays are a quiet Wild Card contender that gets by on pitching and defense. That means they’re playing in a lot of close games, giving them more save chances than most. Don’t expect Colome to be a game-changer this month, but he’s striking out more than a batter per inning as a reliever while walking just five in 29 innings. Even when he’s not getting saves, he should help out in other categories.
I mentioned the Boston bullpen briefly above, and my in-depth analysis of their situation is ¯_(ãƒ„)_/¯. They tried Junichi Tazawa in the ninth, but it’s unlikely they’ll want to go down that road again. They’ll keep him in his comfortably set-up role. Jean Machi is currently the closer, which….yeah. Beyond him, there’s Alexei Ogando and Robbie Ross. They could also decide to go young and try out Heath Hembree, Noe Ramirez or Jonathan Aro, but they are all basically the same player, and that player is not exciting.
Roberto Osuna had a rough week, appearing in two games and allowing a run in both of them. Of course, that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, as it’s been an impressive first season for the 20-year-old. For fantasy owners who need good performances every week from here on out, it was a noteworthy performance, even if there’s little to be worried out moving forward.
On the other side of things, Jeurys Familia may be the most impressive new closer in baseball this year. His numbers are incredible, but you really have to watch him to appreciate him. His splitter that reaches as high as 96 mph with huge movement is just stupid.
Tom Wilhelmsen has taken over the Mariners closer job, and has performed really well in the role. He’s gotten saves in each of his last eight appearances while not allowing a run and striking out two batters versus two walks over 9 2/3 innings. For those in long-term leagues, I wouldn’t be too worried about Carson Smith, as I’d imagine he’ll get another shot at the ninth inning in 2016.
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