The MLB trading deadline came and went and a number of big name ballplayers are changing uniforms but don’t look for any of those big name players here in Twins Territory. The Twins however; weren’t shutout in this years trading frenzy as Twins GM Terry Ryan swung a deal with the Tampa Rays for 31 year-old right-handed reliever Kevin Jepsen and in turn the Twins gave up minor league right-handed pitchers Chih-Wei Hu and Alexis Tapia.
Kevin Jepsen was a Anaheim Angels second round pick in 2002 and and signed by scout Todd Blyleven. Jepsen made his big league debut in September of 2008 as a 24 year-old and pitched for the Angels from 2008 through 2014 before being traded to the Tampa Rays for outfielder Matt Joyce.
A Tampa web site Rayscoloredglasses.com had this to say about Jepsen –
“Jepsen’s ERA in 46 appearances and 41.2 innings with the Rays was a shiny 2.81, but that really doesn’t tell the full story. His strikeout to walk ratio was just 1.70-to-1 as his 7.3 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 were all his worst since 2011. His stuff remains promising–a mid-90’s fastball and a hard curveball–but his arsenal simply hasn’t been sharp often enough. His curve remains a good pitch, but he has never been great at throwing it for strikes and that especially became a problem as his fastball command withered. FIP, which estimates what a pitcher’s luck-neutral ERA should be based on strikeouts, walks, and home runs, pegs Jepsen as just a 4.13 ERA pitcher.”
Hopefully a change of scenery will help Jepsen because the Twins can certainly use bullpen help. Jepsen has a career ERA of 3.80 with a 1.35 WHIP and a 15-23 won/lost mark. His career KO/9 is 8.5 but he also has a 3.6 BB/9. Jepsen is making $3 million plus change this season and can’t become a free agent until after the 2016 season.