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Bullpen Report: Who are these guys?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Keeping up with the ever-changing world of closers requires a lot of attention during the season. But when August hits, it becomes an exercise in micro-management. Teams out of the playoff race try out previously unheard-of youngsters. Fantasy teams out of the playoff race beg off, start three guys on the DL every week and give you a false sense of security. As much as we may not want to admit it, football also creeps into our lives and our minds are split between scouring updates for who will close for the Rockies and scouring updates for any kind of clue on who will start at running back for the Broncos.

So you can be forgiven if you go to your Free Agent page, sort by saves and a list of unrecognizable names pop up. My job, as your friendly neighborhood bullpen reporter, is to explain who they are, how long they'll be here and if they're worth picking up. It's a little column I like to call ...

Who Are These Guys?

Danny Farquhar, Mariners
Saves in last 14 days: 5
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Not much. Even though Farquhar's numbers this year don't look great on the surface (a 5.17 ERA and 1.33 WHIP), he has a 13.6 K/9 and a 2.16 xFIP. His strand rate is way below the league average and his BABIP is well above it. In short, Farquhar has masked a ton of great underlying numbers with a bad ERA. Watch it dip over the next month and a half as he racks up saves for the Mariners.
What has to happen for him to lose it: It will be unlikely, but Farquhar's peripherals will have to rise and meet his ERA. With Tom Wilhelmsen in the minors, being quasi-converted to a starter, there's not much competition for Farquahar at the back-end of the bullpen, especially considering the Mariners are out of contention and will benefit from seeing how Farquhar handles the closer role as the season draws to a close.
Chances Farquhar is closing at the end of the season: 95 percent.

LaTroy Hawkins, Mets
Saves in last 14 days: 3
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Hawkins needs Bobby Parnell to remain on the disabled list with his neck/herniated disc issue, first and foremost. He then has to prove that he's past his recent groin injury. And then Hawkins has to simply pitch well enough to hold onto the job -- meaning not blowing a ton of games. He doesn't really have to blow anyone away to keep closing games.
What has to happen for him to lose it: The opposite of everything listed above. And he may be facing a surprise run for the closer title from youngster Gonzalez Germen, who successfully converted the save Thursday night.
Chances Hawkins is closing at the end of the season: 71 percent.

Rex Brothers, Rockies
Saves in last 14 days: 4
What has to happen for him to keep his job: With Rafael Betancourt coming back, Brothers is probably going to lose save opportunities to the incumbent. However, the Rockies have suggested that Brothers -- the clear closer of the future (Betancourt is in the last year of his contract) -- may still get chances. There's also a chance the team trades Betancourt to a contender before the waiver trade deadline passes on August 31.
What has to happen for him to lose it: If Rockies manager Walt Weiss decides Betancourt should get his job back after returning from injury.
Chances Brothers is closing at the end of the season: 63 percent.

Josh Fields, Astros
Saves in last 14 days: 2
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Chia-Jen Lo probably has to blow his next outing in spectacular fashion. While it looks like Fields may be working his way back into the closer mix, he got his second save after Lo had pitched in back-to-back games and was essentially unavailable.
What has to happen for him to lose it: Either Lo goes on a run, saving games every chance he gets, or Fields has a couple more rough outings.
Chances Fields is closing at the end of the season: 15 percent.

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Dane De La Rosa, Angels
Saves in last 14 days: 1
What has to happen for him to keep his job: All De La Rosa really has to do right now is not be Ernesto Frieri. While Frieri has been on an epic slide -- he's given up 12 runs in his last 6 2/3 innings -- De La Rosa appears to be the most obvious choice to fill in, a supposition helped along by the fact that he was given the opportunity to save the game last week against the Indians.
What has to happen for him to lose it: Frieri has to figure out what's wrong. While he's been decent this year (3.62 EA, 1.23 WHIP), De La Rosa doesn't scream "closer." Frieri is still the high-strikeout intimidator in the bullpen. If he can fix whatever is wrong with him -- and he may be getting close, as Frieri hasn't allowed a run over his last two appearances while striking out three in two innings -- the Angels may go back to Frieri for the last month, just to make sure their closer is back to form.
Chances De La Rosa is closing at the end of the season: 35 percent.

Chia-Jen Lo, Astros
Saves in last 14 days: 1
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Lo just has to keep doing what he's doing. The 27-year-old rookie hasn't allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and posting a 1.11 WHIP. Over five minor league seasons (in which he often battled injury), Lo had a 2.11 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, with a 10.0 K/9 over 128 innings. He could be a stellar keeper target for saves.
What has to happen for him to lose it: The team may want to mix and match closers to see what it has in its 2014 bullpen.
Chances he's closing at the end of the season: 75 percent.

Gonzalez Germen, Mets
Saves in last 14 days: 1
What has to happen for him to keep his job: LaTroy Hawkins has to either continue to be sidelined, or return and simply ... not be good.
What has to happen for him to lose it: Considering Germen doesn't technically "have" it -- he's simply the guy who got the last save for the Mets -- there's not much he can do to change his fate. However, Germen makes for a wonderfully speculative play in NL-only formats, and not just by process of elimination. Converted to reliever this season, Germen had an ugly 5.52 ERA in 35 games for Las Vegas. But he did show some decent control (1.32 WHIP is a little low for that ERA) and has been solid with the Mets -- in 13 games, he has a 2.60 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. Hawkins is 40 years old and is on pace to throw more innings than he has in any season since 2003. And David Aardsma blew his only two save chances this season and hasn't pitched since Aug. 11. Germen has momentum, has an opportunity and could just quietly slide into the closer role so the Mets can see what they have through September.
Chances he's closing at the end of the season: 25 percent.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Angels' Mike Scioscia expects 'a big year' from C.J. Wilson
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:52 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday he's expecting a big rebound season from pitcher C.J. Wilson, MLB.com reports.

"I think he's throwing the ball as well as I've seen him throw it, which brings you back to either the start of last year or a couple years ago," Scioscia said. "I think that a lot of the second-half issues -- from the health to consistency to release point -- have been resolved. I look for a big year from C.J."

Wilson had posted no worse than a 3.83 ERA in his first four seasons working as a starting pitcher after a career in his bullpen but struggled in 2014, going 13-10 with a 4.51 ERA and 151:85 K:BB ratio in 175 2/3 innings. He's allowed eight runs (three earned) in 11 2/3 innings this spring while striking out seven and walking six.


Braves outright Zolio Almonte to Triple-A
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:40 pm ET) The Braves sent outfielder Zolio Almonte outright to Triple-A Gwinnett Tuesday after Almonte passed through waivers unclaimed, MLB.com reports.

Almonte was in the mix to receive playing time in the outfield at the outset of the regular season but couldn't land a spot on the Opening Day roster this spring. He hit .245/.283/.265 in 49 at-bats while collecting just one extra-base hit, a double.


Xander Bogaerts not comfortable at plate for Red Sox
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:37 pm ET) Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts is struggling to find a comfortable stance at the plate, this spring. 

Bogaerts struggled through a slump last season, when he hit .240. He's hitting .243 this spring, and manager John Farrell said he looks "jumpy" at bat, per the Providence Journal.  

"It’s just some stuff I’d been doing a lot last year, and it’s carrying over this year," Bogaerts said. "I’m diving to the ball. I have to stay more square to the ball."


MRI on Tanner Scheppers (ankle) comes back clean
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:35 pm ET) An MRI on the injured ankle of Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers has revealed no structural damage, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Scheppers has dealt with the ankle issue all spring, causing him to get a late start on his preparation. He made four appearances before being sent for the MRI due to continued soreness. Scheppers is set to resume throwing after the results of the MRI came back clean.


Padres option Cory Mazzoni to Triple-A
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:26 pm ET) The Padres optioned RHP Cory Mazzoni to Triple-A El Paso on Tuesday, per the U-T San Diego

The Padres acquired Mazzoni in a trade with the Mets on Monday. Mazzoni was 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA this spring. 


Yankees pitcher Adam Warren roughed up in minor league start
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:22 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Adam Warren is still hoping for a shot at the starting rotation this season. He didn't help his case Tuesday, allowing five runs on nine hits in four innings of work against minor league hitters. 

"The results weren't the best, but I'm just trying to get ready for the season," Warren said to ESPN.com. "It's tough out here to get the adrenaline going, so you try to lock it in, work on some things. That’s really what I try to focus on, getting ready for the season."

Warren is still having difficulty with the transition from reliever to starter.

"Sometimes you feel like you let off the pedal a little bit because you're like, you've got to go multiple innings, and sometimes you catch yourself pulling off a little bit," Warren said. "But I feel like I'm better if I'm bringing everything I’ve got for as long as I can. So I’ve got to constantly remind myself to go out there with a bullpen mentality, just as a starter."


Pirates pitcher Vance Worley allows one run in outing Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:18 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Vance Worley went three innings Tuesday against the Tigers, allowing one run on three hits with one strikeout.

Worley, who is expected to begin the season in the bullpen, was happy with his performance, according to MLB.com.

"I felt good. It's a tough lineup. I didn't want to leave anything over the plate," Worley said. "I've been hit pretty hard by them in the past. I wasn't trying to leave anything over the white. I wanted to make some good pitches to make them swing."


Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco expected to return Wednesday
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(6:01 pm ET) Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco missed Tuesday's game with a cramp in his left quadriceps suffered in a game over the weekend, but is hoping to play Wednesday, reports MLB.com.

"I'm optimistically thinking that he'll be ready to play tomorrow," manager Bryan Price said Tuesday morning. "[What I don't want to do with injured players] is to put them in there and find out they can't go, or shouldn't go."

Mesoraco is hitting .214 with two home runs and four RBI in 11 spring training games.


Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman removed for precautionary reasons
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:53 pm ET) Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman was removed from Tuesday's game for precautionary reasons due to concerns about his right hamstring, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Chapman, who looked like he wanted to stay in the game, pitched to just one batter and did not allow a hit in his brief outing. He has posted a 3.18 ERA and 16:3 K:BB ratio in 11 1/3 innings this spring.


Brian Flynn will have tough time making Royals' staff
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:52 pm ET) Royals pitcher Brian Flynn will have a tough time making the Major League roster, according to a report by the Kansas City Star.

Flynn had a 1.50 ERA in nine games this spring, and manager Ned Yost said he was one of the best pitchers in camp. However, the Royals would risk losing either Ryan Madson or Louis Coleman if they sent either of those pitchers down. Flynn still has options available. 


 
 
 
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