When it’s fourth and long and 20 years ago, I believe the old song from the sea goes… You don’t look at the stats to date, especially when it’s with two weeks to play. What is ahead of you is all that matters. There is no loyalty, this isn’t the time to dance with the date you brought to the dance. You are looking for stats in any shape or form, period. So I give you the list, yes, the list is the bible of what guys are and what they have done for the year, but if you have an inkling that player A is going to save three games compared to player B getting one, then that answers your own question and you have deemed me useless. It kinda hurts that you deem me useless, but I will move on. I have been through a few relationships where it was a “it’s you not me” type scenario. Regardless, I have taken pride in bringing you the best that I can give in terms of fantasy bullpen type goodies on a weekly basis. After all, it is the readers of fantasy that make fantasy go round. So I would like to say thank you, no there is at best two more post to end the year but I wanted to say thank you now since we still have some attention span left instead of steering it towards fantasy football, which is awesome and you should go check out what Jay and the boys (and girls) are dishing out top notch type stuff. Before you click over to that, stay here for some fantasy bullpen chicanery and knowledge courtesy of your’s truly.

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Yeah, it is sort of a play on words for the band Journey, so what?  The “so what” is that if you ever want a whole-hearted laugh to yourself, go watch Steve Perry sing the seventh inning stretch.  It is fitting because the postseason save aftermath that is happening is coming from San Francisco, the home of the band Journey.  See what I did there…? A huge cartwheel.  The removal of Santiago Casilla, because he was a little save chilly has thrown the usual or at least semi-stable job into a committee situation.  Never fun for anyone.  Hunter Strickland got the first save chance post Casilla castaway.  Bochy is a finicky beast, if he was a cat owner, never married, and possible a 50year-old scorned woman, it would make sense, but he isn’t, he is a manager that flies by the beat of his own drum.  I usually have dynamite steals info, but since this happened in between my closer/reliever post on Saturday, you get a double dip of save-ness.  The adds for me are Strickland, Romo, Cory Gearrin, a hold on Casilla and unless the inning is straight LOOGY’d up, Javier Lopez could be a factor.  That is how I see the saves getting divvied up.  That is a cavalcade of names to chase for saves, but if you wanna bank on one guy getting a mass majority I would look for Hunter to be that guy.  So continuing on with the S part of the AGNOF, let’s see what has happened around the baseball fantasy universe over the past week in thievery.

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As the season draws nigh, and it comes to the point in the season when we here at Razzball use words like nigh, verisimilitude, or even rancorous.  Don’t ask me what the meaning is, because I could barely spell them without my handy speak and spell.  The whole gist of this discussion is to basically look at our roster and think diversification.  Look at the bullpen pieces that currently occupy one or several of  your pitcher spots.  I say this because we all want counting stats at all times, and in a manner… this is why come the end of the year, it is very sexy to have guys who have multiple pitching eligibility for the off chance your don’t have a starter going in a spot or on an innings limit.  These fellas help out in K’s, rates, vulture wins, and since we are here for the holds, they do them too.  Listen, this isn’t a new thing or a crazy theory that I concocted in my basement after painting too man model airplanes.  Though, the thought process after that is kinda cloudy and sorta fun? So here is a rundown of the guys with some dual eligibility late in the fame to aide in your fantasy quest. Cheers!

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So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

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If history teaches us anything about fantasy baseball, it’s that the proof is in the pudding.  If history actually teaches us anything, it’s that Brad Pitt killed Hektor.  See what I did there, I pulled the ole okie doke.  It’s a favorable trick passed down through the years of dudes who vape and like to talk about how a dime won’t even buy a nickle anymore.  Those first few sentences are brought to you by filth and non-sense, because life isn’t fitting if there isn’t filthy or nonsensical.  So onto Holds, which about six actual readers, and one of the female variety still get all excited about.  The title says it all this week for the lede, Hector Neris has been carried in most formats all year because he brings some fantasy goodness to the table.  As a handcuff, there’s no way he can do it for the whole year, even with Jeanmar, or the fact that he has sexy enough reliever numbers, 11-plus K-rate, under 3 ERA.  I could go on and on and bore the crap out of you, but let’s just put it this way: he has 27 Holds behind a closer that has 34 saves for a surprise bullpen asset in the Phillies.  So in the last two weeks with the Phil’s getting there fair share of victories he has been an augmenter to your hold total notching a league high 5 holds.  He is a key cog down the stretch for not only the Phils , but for your fantasy team regardless of format.  So go take a look, just in case the late year shuffle has thrown him by the wayside.  After you do that follow the bottom for some Holds, set-up and other relief goodies…

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I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

Want to take on Razzball contributors and readers in a Fantasy Football League for prizes? Join here!

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Come on in and talk it over.  So many the Erie warriors would want to say, but I think the platoon is very much over.  So Jose Ramirez has embedded himself in the land where former Chisenhall’s roamed.  Who, by happenstance, is playing here, there, and most left of nowhere… which is left field.  Jose is getting all the good spot-stuff you need for a guy to be rostered, and I am not just referencing the SAGNOF love.  He is hitting .431 over the last 15 games with 10 RBI’s 15 runs scored, 4 home runs, and the salt on the rim of the margarita glass is 6 steals.  If you wanna lump in the fact that he is eligible in most formats at four positions…  This is Hernan part deux the redux of multi-eligible position players with Latino descent showing out.  He is currently, over the last 15 games, in the top-2 of all players in the ESPN database.  Only Mr. Blackmon can hold sway over him.  Now the ownership has spiked and he is currently in the 80’s, but hey, some leagues are dumb and slow, so just in case, he is there, which he shouldn’t be (just check). Worse comes to worse, he makes for an interesting guy to trade for down the stretch because his name isn’t sexy and could probably be involved with a bigger name with some draw.  SAGNOF report is incoming with some players to look at and some saves ups and downs from the three days that you missed me so…

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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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