In what very well may be the first hostile takeover of the closer year, we turn our eyes to the land of Primanti’s and Yinzers.  Yes my friends, I am talking about Pittsburgh.  The incumbent closer there, Tony Watson, has had a rough spring training.  One that usually I would brush aside and say “ehh ST stats mean bupkis” and he has the vet preference behind him to back him up.  I usually believe that type of big brother back-up mentality, but not when they signed a free agent who was viewed by several other clubs as a closer, that player being Daniel Hudson.  So before we get to Danny, let’s stay on Tony Watson for a bit.  He is the 19th closer off the board in most scenarios, which by all intents and purposes puts him in the lower-middle.  Last season he only took over the closer’s role after the trade of Melancon and notched himself 15 saves on the year.  But they weren’t all comfy ones.  Tony Watson is a phenomenal relief pitcher, notice, I said “relief pitcher”.  In my mind, he is just not a closer.  A closer by default last year though?   Very much so.  Now, you add the tumultuous spring that he is having; faced 24 batters, allowed eight hits, walked three and eight ER in four-and-a-third innings. good for a 16 plus ERA.  Looking for a silver lining, okay, there are two!  Zero home runs allowed and a K-rate above 12.  Yah… for peripheral stats, Hudson has been basically himself this spring, high-K middle-3 ERA, and holding opponents to a .200 BAA, while everyone is hitting Teddy Ballgame against Watson.  I am not completely panicking yet, because in reality I would have two higher ranked RP before Tony Watson comes off the board, but those looking to get a cheeky head-start on the SAGNOF craze, grab you some Daniel Hudson.  So for the first invasion of the season, I am flying the Jolly Roger upside down for distress.  Let’s see what else is going down for the end game of ballgames…

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Welcome to the fantasy wrestling league.  (If that is why you are not in the right place.) If you came for some fantasy baseball holds league info, then please, by all means, get comfy for a spell.  We as a people who play in holds leagues all know the big name guys.  The proven commodities.  The reason we know about them is because I have talked about them in my Holds Ranking Post.  Go check it out, there’s fun for the whole family in there, with coloring sections and a pop-up section for the Misses.  So bigger leagues that rely on deep knowledge into hold-dom require some names that in special situations would garner interest.  This is why we are here… I am going to break down some names in each league (for your league-specific needs) so you can win the deep end of the draft.  None or almost all of these guys aren’t going to be in the handy dandy chart I provide below, because they are off the beaten path a a bit.  So enjoy some depth to the bullpen discussion…

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The goal of a stat is to maximize it from the jump, and you could plan it that way even further on draft day.  There are certain pitchers that have a greater propensity to allow the stolen base, and exploiting that by originally drafting those players on draft day to get a jump on streaming isn’t an awful idea.  I used this feature multiple times  last year, so a preseason refresher is never a bad thing to prep you for the upcoming season.  The one bad theory that works against you when trying to stream is that some of these pitchers are fantasy stalwarts in the starting pitcher department.  The biggest name being Noah Syndergaard.  Because he is a good deterrent of actual OBPa, the stolen base becomes a risky proposition to try and gamble on with him taking the mound, most likely twice in the first six games. Because in actuality OBPa is a huge thing, because you can’t steal first. Picking on a pitcher isn’t the only way to go about it either as teams with poor catchers could also benefit you for the streaming guessing game.  The best thing here is that usually the first three days of the year have truncated schedules so picking and choosing your options could be the jump start you need to dominate a category from day one.  Here is a handy chart with last year’s stolen base totals, stolen base opportunities, and OBPa.  The three key factors to see who is easy to Winona…

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Surprise.  Huston Street is already injured and being replaced by someone who isn’t the full measure or picture of health in Cam Bedrosian.  Cam is the goods, it is just a matter of him grabbing that role, remaining healthy, and then riding off into the sunset like the end of the movie Shane.  Minus the slumped-over presumably a dead thing.  The thing that I love about Cam is that he is growing as a pitcher.  He always had the K/9 rate (9.3 in 2014, 9.2 in 2015, and 11.4 in 2016), but the thing that says that he is legit is that his walk rate was basically halved last year.  To extrapolate on that further, in his last 26 appearances of last year he faced 92 batters, walked 8, and allowed 12 hits.  Good for a slash line of .146/.239/.159 for a .398 OPS.  That is approaching reliever stalwarts like Bush and Barraclough. And we know how much they are coveted right now, and they don’t have a sniff of savedom. Oh… and add in only one earned run during that time.  Stats sound great because they are basically forgotten about, because his season ended the first week of August.  He was basically licking the closer bait, and then poof.  Til now.  If you are looking to invest in him for the season, he is basically going to give you Kelvin Herrera type production, and by his ever rising ADP (last week 200, this week 140) the secret is out for the save chase in La La Grey.  Let’s see what else is going down in the realm of closers as we get ever closer to draft days…

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Draft day is usually the highlight of your night, granted, if there isn’t a killer Magic the Gathering tournament going down. Here at SAGNOF central, we use high tech devices (protractors) and technology (metal detectors) to help you be more smarter. Smartest? Most smart? One of those. The chase for draft day steals is always a ball and rank-him affair, the top guys are the top guys because they contribute in multiple categories, not just the thievery department. But what about the guys who don’t? That, my friends, is SAGNOF. I am going to take you through a look at some of the steal-only guys and their draft day ADP’s currently to see what values exist and who is drafting what, where, and why. Because we all like a bargain, it’s why Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx exist, they are the “slight defect consumer bin” for shopping, where as these guys are the one-off for a 5×5 contribution. Get the correlation? Good. The king of the one-category right now is Billy Hamilton. Yes he will score runs, but his main contribution to your team is basically hoping he wins SB’s all by his lonesome. His current ADP across multiple formats ranges from 60th overall to about 90 in some obtuse cases. Neither are fantastic, and I think his value is somewhere in the middle. Yes, he is going to steal you some bases, but on the high-end, is he worth a 5-6th round draft pick in your draft? Maybe, when you consider their are a ton of misfit toys being drafted around him like Todd Frazier, Mark Trumbo, and most of the back-end first tiered closers, Britton and Melancon. It’s funny that the conundrum and research says that people are drafting both ends of the S in AGNOF at about the same point on draft day. So now that you know who and where Billy Lin Miranda is being drafted, let’s see where some of the updated mid-round values at steals.

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A funny thing happened on my way to work today, I sat there in my favorite sitting place and did some research.  I looked at the availability of information provided by the other experts in the world of fantasy baseball, and then correlated that to what I do best.  That, my friends, is bullpens.  We as a collective fantasy universe play in leagues with the illusive yet sultry stat category known as the Hold.  In fact, in some further research that I have done, an estimated 30% of all fantasy players play in a league with some sort of Hold associated with the final outcome in the standings.  I mean, 30% is basically like winning the popular vote.  [Jay’s Note: I love you Smokey.] But I am standing here aghast at the amount of research poured into this fantasy industry by experts all around the world, yet here I sit.  Giving you the most diverse, in-depth, informative (yet funny), and groundbreaking stat analysis that not even world-wide leaders give… for free might I add.  I love me some bullpens, and if you don’t play in a league that adds diversity to the game to include them, then maybe you should down shift a bit and give it some thought and do a league that includes it.  Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.  Because this way I gain, at least one reader from each person that does it.  Go search the inter-webs for holds type information, you get a column sorted catastrophe written by some intern who doesn’t know the difference between good and well.  So stay here my friends, I am the goods through and through. I dropped the Holds chart weeks ago and now you get just straight cheddar and some rankings.

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The theory of SAGNOF is simple, don’t pay for saves on draft day.  This theory is, well, in theory, correct in most instances.  Saves and Holds categories are won every year by being a straight waiver wire assassin.  The “fluidness” and volatility of the position makes it such.  Saves and Holds are a success driven organization.  It is basically the frozen concentrated orange juice stat of the MLB.  So fortunate for you, I am sorta of your Billy Ray Valentine.  I agree in principle with the “don’t pay for saves” theory, except I usually implore you to get one of the top-12 guys instead of filling in the holes and playing the guessing game late in the draft.  As I stated in my last post, there are easily 6-7 closer jobs up for grabs this year,  and that doesn’t even include injuries and save speculation types.  That leaves about 12-15 guys who could garner saves or gain the job even before the job is theirs.  Drafting for speculation is fun when you have a Kimbrel or Melancon or Oh in the bank already, but when you are basically relying on luck and happenstance in the save game, it basically means you are taking an early punt or hoping to be better then everyone else at the waiver wire.  Odds aren’t always good depending on waiver rules, because not everyone lives in their mom’s basement has all the time in the world to do waiver wire adds all day once breaking news erupts.  So for the average Joe’s out there, here are five sleeper save guys and five sleepier holds candidates to consider on draft day.

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I think this will conclude this year’s rankings for all players, but with the way closer roles can change between now and Spring Training, finishing will be bountiful. There seems to be a big difference among experts in the top-10, and I am no different.  Also, the bottom tiers for the rankings are a “wait and see” proposition, as there are easily 7-8 teams with a closer by committee situation, or at best, a closer who is a retread of a retread.   Everyone knows who you are Fernando, you don’t have to stand up and raise your hand or shoot an arrow fictitiously at me.  So as we approach draft season and beyond, use this list for now, because the situations will be fluid from here on out.  As I promised two weeks ago, you will get a new list every two weeks, with a holds post (no it won’t be in different color for people who just skip the preface of an article) in betwix.  Get excited folks! Spring is sorta here, and with that comes all of Grey’s rankings, my closer and bullpen stuff, and basically every tool under the sun to help you be the best you can be.  Now get out there and win one for Flipper!

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Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

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If a discount is on top of “a sort of” discount, does that make it free?  The title this week is twice as nice with meaning, because everyone like to go Winona on their lineup, especially late in drafts.  And going double Winona, when a steal may be a steal, is SAGNOF gold.  So that’s where we are going today folks, the land of misfit outfielders, and one infielder.  The steals category is a fickle one that you either go all in on, or just basically change lanes without your blinker type stat.  This year there seems to be an abundance of “steals mainly, other stats to be desired” types.  These guys aren’t the elite of the elite in steals, but also aren’t the fantasy stalwart you may want to over-draft.  They still hold a ton of value, and most of them are familiar names.  I just think with outfielders, the best theory is to roster three studs, a guy with multi-position eligibility, and one that is a steals-only guy that won’t, or you hope won’t just lay eggs in other categories.  The Billy Hamilton’s, Villar’s and Dee Gordon’s are long gone before these names even show up on the drop down menu on the draft app and every single one of these fellas can be had after the 180th pick currently.  It is all about value kids. Although the steals category is a dropping number, stat-wise, from years gone by, it still is a stat that you garner points in. So check out what Igotta say, say hello… or don’t.  Cheers!

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