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7/26/1984 (32 y, 7 m, 1 d)
2002 June Amateur Draft - Round: 2, Pick: 12, Overall: 53, Team: Anaheim Angels
$0.2M / 1 Years (2017)
Jepsen signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks on Monday, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports. (2/13/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Jepsen throws hard and gets ground balls, but the Angels already have late-inning relievers in place. He could see a few holds if he comes out firing, though. (Zach Sanders)
It took a while, but Jepsen finally turned his high octane fastball into a correspondingly high strikeout rate. Despite possessing a fastball that has always averaged in the mid-90s, he has surprisingly posted pedestrian strikeout rates, right around the league average for American League relievers. But a bangin' new changeup that induced tons of whiffs and ground balls galore fueled his breakout. Because there's a clear explanation here, you have to figure that he should be able to hold onto most of his gains, assuming of course he continues throwing that change as frequently. With Jake McGee expected to open the season on the disabled list recovering from elbow surgery, the back of the Rays bullpen is wide open for someone to stake claim. With no obvious candidate to run with the closer gig, Jepsen stands as good a chance as any and makes for a worthy purchase in AL-Only and even mixed leagues. (
The Quick Opinion:
Plus fastball velocity and increased usage of excellent changeup finally translated into high strikeout rate. If he could sustain skills surge, could be first in line to close games with Jake McGee expected to open the season on the disabled list.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan shrewdly acquired Jepsen from the Rays at the trade deadline in 2015 while sacrificing prospects of minimal consequence. Shrewd because Jepsen's rights were owned through 2016, and thus if a Twins playoff run failed in 2015 -- as it did -- there was still another season into the team's potentially bright future in which it'd hold the cards with the talented fireballer. Jepsen's stuff and results haven't really matched throughout his career, but he took to the closer's role well with the Twins when Glen Perkins struggled through injuries and ineffectiveness after the All Star Break. Jepsen doubled his career saves total with 10 in 29 appearances with the club, and posted a 1.61 ERA and eight strikeouts per nine (a lot for a Twin, mind you) as he did his part to try pitch the club into the postseason. Jepsen's control issues were toned down a bit with the Twins -- their specialty but most likely a small sample size caveat rather than anything of the sort -- and there's a real chance the club could look to ink him to an extension if he shows either a) a willingness to stay long term on a reasonable deal or b) an early season continuation of his hot second half in 2015. Either way, he's got a guaranteed spot in the back end of the bullpen and a real shot to vulture saves from Perkins, who is coming off back-to-back years of second half issues. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Jepsen just barely nudges out Trevor May as the handcuff to own, though May's status as under club control until 2020 might swing the pendulum back in his favor. Either way, Jepsen is most likely the 1a. to May's 1b. in that scenario, and that's behind a closer whose recent past is shaky. Jepsen should be on your watchlist.
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Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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