The holds leaderboard has been basically demolished as guys have switched roles. Three out of the top-10 holds guys (Bettances, Herrera, and Watson) currently are holding down the closer roles for their respective teams.  Add in two more from the top-20 (Andrew Miller and Ken Giles) and you can see that 20% of the entire holds leaders are double dipping in stats.  Not always a bad thing, but when you are counting on one stat from a guy and then it switches to another, it detracts from the previous.  Have no fear, because the bullpen aficionado is here to steer you through the muck and mire that is the bullpen shuffle.  So for this week, we are going to look at guys who aren’t in a closing role.  I have taken current closers out of the equation for the chart, because this is a holds piece and we don’t want “their kind” infiltrating the holds stuff.  So be active on the waiver wire as we come down to the end of the season, there should be no commitment in the relief game.

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I remember years ago the gold standard for fantasy goodness was getting 20 home runs and 20 steals.  That trend is unfortunately not in our favor anymore.  As I have waxed poetic before about the growing trend of the stolen bases laying by the roadside and becoming less of an accumulated stat across baseball…  This year, we roughly have 50 games to go and we have one player that has just accomplished the feet, and if someone would have guessed that it would have been Wil Myers in preseason, I would have spit out my grape Fanta.  With other players on pace to eclipse this mark, the number is still trending in a bad way. In the last six years, the number was the highest in 2011 with 12 players making the 20/20 barrier.  Since then, it has reduced every year, 9 in 2012, 8 in 2013, 5 in 2014 and 4 just last year.  With Myers, there is some hope that a few other players get there, but the numbers are not in the stats favor to be opposite of what they once were, and there is no way that I can see it getting up to double digits again.  This tells me a few things about rostering SB guys, first, the elite are more coveted.  Players like Jose Altuve to me should be a top-5 player next year because he basically wins you, or at least is the reason that you win two categories.  Second thing is that grabbing players that are steal-only guys is probably not worth the chase, and the punt of the category is most likely the best strategy.  But hell, what do I know, I have only been here since forever and a day.

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The price that was paid, and the results that led him up to the trade had everyone believing that Andrew Miller would trump the incumbent Cody Allen in Cleveland.  Through two-pitched games, he has seen one save opportunity in the 6-7th inning, and the other was in a losing effort.  Now, I am not reading the tea leaves here, but after just two appearances and five games overall, I think Cody is not a droppable player in any format, saves holds or NSVH.  I mentioned it out loud to myself after the trade was completed, and also to Prospector Ralph.  With 55 games to play and save chances in 52 percent of games won… so that would leave 14 or so chances for the Indians and Miller to retain value.  And don’t get it twisted, he still has a ton of value with a ridiculous K-rate over 16, and the Indians are still a first place squad.  Just everyone that seems to matter has struggled with the Twins. It’s crazy that they are 20-plus games under .500.  So for the Allen owners, hold firm, like Gi-Joe style grip type stuff.  Miller owners, you have most likely owned him all year, so your peripherals aren’t going to be flawed because of him.  As far as saves go, I think it could go 70/30 the rest of the way and be a situational thing on occasion.  Let’s look at the plethora of changes that are basically pillaging the relief ranks around baseball…

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The Brewers should be in sell mode, or is that should have been in sell mode? Well, I guess it’s not either here nor there.  The unheraldness (totally a word) of the infielders as of late is becoming a fantasy monsoon.  The play of and the eligibility of Hernan Perez of late is becoming quite the fantasy add.  He qualifies at both the third sack, which isn’t something you pay an extra 50 cents for at the county fair to see, and as an outfielder in most formats.  Over his last 15 games, he has more HR, RBIs, and runs than the top-3 corners in baseball.  Now you add the SAGNOF goodness and it makes me shake my head at the minuscule 23% ownership in ESPN leagues.  Someone is paying attention on the ownership tip, but he deserves a ton more accolades from the millions and millions of fantasy ballers who play this game.  His at-bats aren’t going to slow down as Will Middlebrooks isn’t going to walk in and go all hot schmotato.  The added bonus for him are players in dynasty league formats, as he is only 25, should be taking even further notice on him as he is almost qualifying for SS, and has a few starts at 2B.  So I am grabbing my lucky dice and saying that he can’t continue to put be a top-10 fantasy player (like he has just done over the past 15) over the next 30 days, but if he can possibly do top-10 fantasy 3B over that time, he is a waiver wire darling that can carry you to where flags fly forever.  Let’s see what else is going down with steals and saves for the week…

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I was going to just delay this post due to inclement weather, but Grey’s super Doppler 5001, which is also a giant B.S. detector, wouldn’t let me.  So here we sit, some 48 hours before the list that you are about to see means about as much as single-ply toilet paper…  Really, what cheap s.o.b. concocted this idea of pinching pennies?  I mean everyone has had a run-in with it at some point.  Awful.  It’s part of the reason I have a salt-water bidet in all three outhouses at the Smokey compound.  So back to the deadline… closer gossip teams are lining up other contenders closers in such a bullish market, namely the rumors surrounding Mark Melancon.  The market and teams that need reliable relievers, let alone closers, is the Nationals, Indians, Rangers and Giants.  It is just the land of confusion and there is not enough LOOGY’S to go around.  I will touch on who I can see where after the bump to prolong the suspense, but the teams I just mentioned are teams to monitor on the opposite end of closers, because if the big names start rolling, all but Cody Allen looks to be out of a job.  Here’s what I can see going down by the deadline in the bullpen game, plus some rankings and next in line stuff.  Plus, Razzball Soccer has started pumping out quality, so go over and check it and join the official game…

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Today is the first time that I can look at Billy Hamilton and say, “now is the time if he was available in a league I was in, I would add him.”  Chances are some douche canoe has been sitting on him all year, playing him sporadically and reaping the semi-benefits of him.  Watching him recently and correlating that into his last nine games, he has 9 stolen bases and looks to be turning the corner for the last 60 games of the year.  Long term, I wouldn’t trust him to babysit my schnauzer, but the immediacy of his stats and the effect they can have on a your steals in impactful.  The Reds are going to be sellers in a day or ten, and it would behoove them to play him everyday and let him run rampant and cause people headaches on the base paths like he is currently doing.  Since the All-Star break, he has a unsustainable .390 OBP, which has garnered him the SB total that we should expect from him.  The unfortunate thing is that it is like the cat calling the kettle black and the cat actually being black, because if he keeps up the .390 OBP, he is a HOF-bound and I will eat Grey’s hat.  In the short term, go look at your waiver wire just to make sure that he isn’t available… if he isn’t, see if the owner is asleep at the wheel and throw him something stupid via trade.  If he is available, grab him and reap the benefits for the next fortnight with your footie pajamas, kick back, and enjoy the new Jughead comic.  This week in SAGNOF deets is after the bump, so do your sister a favor before I do a favor for your sister and click that button.

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Shaba Antone in the know knows that I am all about Jamaica.  Love to visit the place.  I also have several friends that reside on the isle and like to partake in the national festivity of… well, you know, don’t make me say.  The Dodger pen has been a flux of capacitors all year, and I think at some point I’ll bet a sixer on the leading hold leader from them being someone who may have contracted a melanoma.  Enter Joe Blanton.  The resurrection project of all resurrection projects.  Not only has he flourished in the role of set-up to the stars, but he doesn’t seem to have any competition to say the opposite.  In his last 30 days, minus a week off for the All-Star break, he has a one-off the pace total of 7 holds, a K/9 rate of above average, and an ERA of two bills.  All this for a team that has lacked stability setting up the dude who sounds like someone you would rent a kickboard from in Jamaica.  Now, he isn’t the only reason for the Dodgers having a top-5 bullpen ERA in the last 30 days, but he isn’t not-not the problem.   He is someone you may need to own though, add in the fact that in some leagues, I have SP eligibility, and he looks even sexier.  So now that we have got the lede out the way, let’s get to the milk and cookies of the bullpen report.

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I have waxed poetic about him for three straight weeks and still have never given him the lede.  Well, Travis is the pure definition of what SAGNOF is.  It’s Grey’s term, but next to it in the glossary of Razz-terms, there should be a picture of Mr. Jankowski drinking a mai-tai while laying around on one of those full size ab-machines that he uses as a lounge chair.  All the dude has done is have basically half the plate appearances of a regular over the past 30 days, post a near .400 OBP, and have one less steal in that time than MLB leader Starling Marte (with 12).  Now, I am no numbers genius, I am a realist, and I really like the low-cost ability that he has for a team that has no other real choice but to play him, if he continues to do what he do. In all seriousness, where are the Padres going?  No wheres is the answer.  Guy is a newly minted 25, has shown decent enough OBP skills and prowess for thievery, that he may be wax-penciled into their lineup next year as someone they should try and build around and play smaller ball with.  I mean, they could do worse… they could sign Melvin Upton.  Oh, wait, that turned out good.  They can see if Wil Myers can play first base on the regular, yet again something else that went right.  For the small things, maybe the Fathers are starting to get things in the right direction, and instead of spending crazy stupid money for free agents and trading assets, they should start modeling themselves after what A.J Preller knows best.  They are a small market club with big club aspirations, start acting like it.  Just my two cents.  Let’s see what else is going down on the 90 feet thieves and sneaky saves department…

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I am always a day late and a buck short on the posts because I am relegated to be the Saturday morning cartoon of the Razzball variety.  No worries, I mean, who doesn’t love 80’s cartoons and can’t list 10 shows that would drastically alter children’s universes today?  One word… Snorks.  So with everyone else doing the second-half rankings, I felt it was my duty to give the closer rankings based solely on the second games remaining.  The elite will still be the elite, the mediocre are still mediocre, and the middling teams will still be middling. I don’t care what algorithm Jimmy Bill came up with to have expected win totals and blah blah.  Expected win totals are an indicator of save expectations. because the percent of saves converted in wins by teams has been pretty stagnant at 52%, give or take a few sheckles each way.  So looking at the games remaining, some teams have less games to play then others, and some have more so the expected totals for some teams will be different then what you would expect them to be.  So as a wise person once said to me in throws of fantasy passion, lets have at it.  Cheers!

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The changing parabola that is the saves game is taking over the first “S” in this weeks post.  Steaks are boring, throw rocks at them.  The “saver stitch” has changed in several different destinations, and the funny thing is, I just wrote about closing situations two-and-half-days ago.  Strange days indeed, my friends.  The closer in the Desert, the Beantown, and now, the City of Angels, is possibly up for grabs.  Check the bottom for the first two, as I would like to concentrate on Huston Street.  He pulled up lame on Sunday and with the All-Star break here, we will anxiously await his massive 5.7 K/9 rate.  The rumor mill was already circling for Street to be a trade candidate in a few weeks, now the possible injury puts a dent in the already dented can.  The adds for the Angels are a yuck Joe Smith, who if possible, has been equally as bad as Street.  My speculative pick if Street is more injured than it appears is Deolis Guerra for a bit, before seeing what Cam Bedrosian has.  Baby Bedrock was a tout of mine a few months back and stumbled.  Guess what?  He is back, but no one cares because the Angels are bad and not anything or anyone watches except the cast of Angels in the Outfield.  So those looking for a speculative add for the boring non-three days of fantasy, check the stacks of Angels and be ahead of the curve, instead of having trouble with it.

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