Thomas McFeeley, Staff Writer September 3, 2013
Late summer is marked by the sound of crickets, not only in your backyard, but in Major League bullpens. Teams are on auto-pilot and the only changes to expect from here on out will be possible isolated tryouts for 2014. One notable change, though it won’t have any effect on Fantasy league saves:
  • John Axford was traded from the Brewers to the Cardinals late last week. For Axford, the change of scenery will be good, as Brewer fans were about done with him. I stand by my April and May statements that Axford deserves a closer role somewhere. He’s not the best closer in the game, but his gopheritis was not the result of his peripheral stats, just misfortune. With Edward Mujica firmly in control as the closer, Axford will not see any save situations, and as Jason Motte returns in 2014, the bullpen will be crowded. It will be interesting to see if St. Louis management shops Axford to teams with weak pens.
  • The Mariners recalled Tom Wilhelmsen among their batch of September call-ups, but don’t expect him to pitch in any save situations. If saves is a crucial category in your league and every save could mean a place in the standings, you may want to pick him up in case he gets re-installed, otherwise, you should pass.
    Just because Tommy W is back in the bigs does not mean he will help your Fantasy team down the stretch. Photo credit: BTats

    Just because Tommy W is back in the bigs does not mean he will help your Fantasy team down the stretch. Photo credit: BTats

  • Ernesto Frieri seems to have regained a solid hold on the closer duties for the Angels with Dane de la Rosa falling back to a set-up role. The pair could easily swap spots if Frieri struggles, so monitor this situation.
  • Bruce Rondon picked up his first career save for the Tigers, but relax, it was in a rain-shortened game on Friday, and so there is no change at the back of the ‘pen.  But you should watch his appearances (or the box scores) closely to see if he can be effective and possibly the 2014 closer.

Not much has changed since last week, but here is our weekly Closer Confidence Chart.  Enjoy the stretch run and may each of your saves be important:

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