I figured out the best concoction for delivering fantasy baseball… First, go to liquor store and grab your consumption of choice. Next, convey your thoughts about fantasy bullpens to the masses in a cognitive and fluid way that makes sense to… the masses. Mission One: check, Mission Two: to be determined. This week, I wanna touch base on the neophyte in Seattle’s Edwin Diaz, the once highly-touted starting pitcher prospect that is now occupying the first chair in Seattle. He is sorta the new kid in class, and the trust level to let him borrow a Nintendo game just isn’t there yet. The stats will speak differently though. Check the rhythm of the rhyme I wrote and while I got a chance here, let me clear my throat. For the last month, he has been chipping away at the Benoit salad in Seattle’s pecking order. Well, now he is the goods by setting up a Cishek. Cishek in this case is Swahili for “not for long”. Over the last fortnight, he leads all of baseball in holds with 5, and his 20.57 K/9, which is basically unparalleled by anyone. Listen, Cishek has the job and he isn’t getting shipped anywhere while the Mariners are in a wildcard hunt. But isn’t it fun to own the guy who is sexy now before you start seeing kids in the mall all wearing him like he is the new Cavaricci? Diaz is his name and RP satisfaction is his game, green is his color… blue is the other. So hop on the good foot and add the sure thing. While you’re at it, check some other delectable sundries that I have in the shape of bullpens and their place in society…Please, blog, may I have some more?
So this year, like so many before, the closer trade market is always an interesting cocktail mixer of events that shake things up. The Padres waited to be first, which makes zero sense… but also makes total sense. A conundrum wrapped in bacon as they traded Fernando Rodney to the ever more deadly bullpen in Miami. He will not be closing there, but will basically make that bullpen just deeper and taking value away from great holds guys on the year in David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough. Rodney brings his glistening 1 earned run on the year, to a situation behind the Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, who hasn’t blown a save to date. So now the ramifications don’t just stay with the Marlins, their bullpen is solid. The Padres, however, are like the movie Thinner, a cursed bunch of unprovens, which is sometimes good and bad. Ryan Buchter is the first guy up, as he has carved out a decent set-up niche there. After that, it is a bunch of Quacks, Villas, and BM’s. Buchter has the K-rate, just not the pedigree… yet, to be a closer. He has the job as they say in fantasy, which is better than being fantasy homeless or unemployed. So Buchter is the add. Maurer and Quackenbush are on ready five. Here what else is happening in the game of final bosses. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Whatever your cultivation of choice may be, go with it. Oscar Gamble was, and is still a pimp in social culture, as is California sensemilia. So whatever your subset of life is, that’s cool with me. My obsession is a little of column A, a lot of column B, and I incorporate column C. Column C being my love and passion for the deliverance of the most finite bullpen jargon on the web. Go look, there isn’t anything better than me. I checked, if I added a pretty colorful chart with catchy funny names, then I would literally have to kick my own ass. So here we sit, and look at what the Rangers are doing. They have been doing, in the last 30 days what the Cubs did over the first 30. They are, in no large part, being buoyed by a stout bullpen. Their starters are all hitting the DL and fast. The trio of Matt Bush, Jake Diekman, and Sam Dyson are about as tight as a bullpen can get, and the best group I have seen since the Isley Brothers concert Prospector Ralph and I went to see. I have talked about Dyson and Diekman on separate occasions this year. So no, it’s the one without voting privileges turn. Bush has basically been a la machina since promotion on May 12th. He has appeared in 13 games for the Rangers to date, and his usage has only recently spiked having pitched in 13 of the last 22 overall for the Rangers. His 10-plus K-rate over that time is coupled with an ERA under a buck and his xFIP is basically what David Phelps is giving you. Who, in most hold leagues right now, is pretty much a must own and isn’t a guy you yawn at in mixed company leagues either. Bush is a feel good story that I think can continue as long as the Rangers can duct tape their starting rotation together long enough to maintain their AL West dominance. He should be rostered in most leagues going forward for his usage potential as the remaining Rangers starters, minus Cole Hamels, average less than 6 innings per start. So head for the mountains and roster some Bush. Stick with me for some other diatribes of greatness…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The save buffet line in Minnesota is becoming a tiresome “wait-and-see who gets the chance today”. We all sit there and wait to own all the bullpen condiments that they offer, whether it be Brandon Kintzler, Fernando Abad, Trevor May, Kevin Jepsen, or Michael Tonkin. Including Perkins, those are the names that have been gifted a precious save chance for the occupants of the Twin Cities. A save opportunity total that is second to last in the league (18), in front of a surprise first place team in the Cubs. The Cubs are only there because they are beating everyone up and don’t have the late-inning chances that other losing teams do. So back to the Twinkies… they have the least amount of saves, holds, and have the least amount of appearances by relievers with the lead. All those things are so bad for roster space that you are speculating it to get you a save. They are on pace to average less than 3/4 of one whole save a week. But if people want to keep roster shuffling, looking for the odd save here or there, who am I to judge? I mean, some people say cucumbers taste better pickled. The fortunate thing for you is that I am here to guide that steady hand and give you astute advice for a nominal (not nominal, it’s free) fee. So here the rankings of closers for week 11, now with more added snippets of goodness!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Dellin Betances is basically the fat of the fantasy set-up world. The goods are there, it just takes time and some settling before we all realize it is, what was and what always shall be… I think I just laced this post with some subtle Led Zeppelin reference, but I may be crooked to walk on one leg to let myself know that I did, let alone let you subtly know. So I will just go ahead and say there was a Zep reference-reference. Good, moving on. Success of a bullpen, let alone someone you should be relying on, is correlative of how well the team is performing. It’s science, if you score more you put yourself in a better position to win more, regardless of who is on the bump. Dellin was and is the goods, currently and in post-script. He came into the year as the man to target in any format that coveted fantasy goodness, condensed into a smaller innings unit of measure than that of a starter. Now add in the dash of Holds sassiness, and he is a bullpen god. He is now the king of the Hold in all leagues by quantity and not by just scripture. His 16 holds on the year are tops on the this year’s gig and given the Yankees propensity to not score over 4 runs in a game, his reign may be a run away. He has the good everywhere else; K/9, swagger, ability to tie multiple knots while buoyant at sea. There are no bullpen stats that he isn’t the man at. He basically walks into a bar/club and automatically has the best synchronized music to his step….think Matthew McConaughey in Dazed in Confused…and let here comes the story of the Hurricane ramble through your third eye for a bit. So let’s jump into this fortnights dealing in the bullpen game… alright, alright, alright.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Situations arise all the time with closers. Injuries occur, poor performance, and then the return of the incumbent. In the preseason, Will Smith was the guy the Brewers had tabbed as the closer. Then, like I just said, an injury happened. So now that he is back, what goes on in the back-end of the Brewers bullpen? Jeremy Jeffress has done a stellar job with a less than average set-up crew in front of him. He has pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a slightly more bloated xFIP of 3.41. For all his previous tangles with pitching, he is striking out far less then he is normally accustomed to at just a 6 K/9 rate. Low for a closer, even from the Lauvern and Shirley state. He has managed 14 saves in 15 opportunitioes, and for a team like the Brewers, 14 is a healthy total. So does his reign come to an end now that the best reliever is back in the fray? Granted, it is never a great thing when usual mop-up relievers start stealing your stats, namely Blaine Boyer and Carlos Torres, who have 3 saves between them in the past nine games. And granted, saves are wonky and games dictate them sometimes, come from behind wins, and situational loogy-ness are also a factor. So I think with the way Jeffress has been going, he stays there until Will comes and steals his mojo and never looks back… Until the trade deadline, which could alter things up completely and basically revert it back to the way it was. So if Will Smith is on your waivers, do yourself a service and add him speculatively for a week or two. If he doesn’t give you the returns that you expect, then, well, the opposite happened of what I think should happen. Enjoy Week 9 of the fantasy baseball season’s closer report!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts. The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep. Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives. Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role. He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety. Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board. Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball. So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so. If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you. So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well we weren’t talking about deep fried empanadas. We were talking about the retro-chich lads from that Navy town of San Diego… Yes, those Padres of the last place origin. The ones with 16 whole wins in their favor on the year. Sneaky Hold situations make my world go round. Which, in turn, makes me spurn to you on the recycled tip of the serving platter from a fantasy analyst. Over the last 14 games, the Padres have endured some good fortune in the reliever ranks, namely Brandon Maurer. Maurer has netted himself 7 Holds over that time, or in fantasy bullpen coverage terms here at the Razz-nation, a hold the fort(night). Maurer is the 8th inning guy and if you are in a holds league, then he is probably taken. Him of the 14-plus K-rate over the last 10 games and because they strung a few victories in a row, boom! Stats. But we all know how many holds he has in the last umpteen days… because we can all read stat lines and understand that one plus the previous amount equals today’s total. Math catch-up lesson over. The Father’s depth in the pen doesn’t just end with Brandon. Take a look deeper and we will come across not the candelstick maker, nor the baker, but the Butcher. As in Ryan Butcher. While Maurer seems to get all the decent looks in the 8th for the beloved hold, Butcher seems to latch onto him like a paramecium in heat looking for a Padres win. Averaging over a K per inning, and duly entrenched as the bridge to the bridge to Fernando Rodney (which probably really isn’t much of a bridge of at all, but just a rope with board entwined with hope aspiration and tears), so with this brief biopic on the San Diegans bullpen fellas, lets look at what else is bouncing around in the world of set-up, set-up to get beat down. I get nothing but a hold.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ugh, the smell of my onsies de Mayo is so much worse than a normal day. I reek of sizzlin’ fajitas and am all cotton-mouthed from… well let’s just say alcohol. So attacking the usual Saturday bullpen rundown is a dizzying affair to say the least. Speaking of a dizzying places, let’s look at the Rockies bullpen situation; it’s definitely not all kush, but it’s not charcoal brick pack. The trust in Jake McGee is still there, because to be honest, the talent level behind him isn’t really there, is not ready, or has no experience in the end-of-game thing. Behind Jake are Chad Qualls, who has pitched the majority of the right-handed match-ups in the 8th inning with a smattering of Boone Logan mixed in. Now, I was nervous about McGee’s K-rate until I saw what Qualls’ was. The stout bunch of McGee and Qualls have a combined K/9 over the last 14 games of 5.16. That is combined! I can’t make up this stuff. The role of closer is most likely safe because the next guy up is Qualls, and well, if that last stat statement wasn’t enough to make you bored, I don’t know what else to say. The look of the rest of the pen is very unproven with Scott Oberg, Justin Miller, and Gonzalez Germen. What this bullpen needs is a youth movement to come front and center. They have the guys there, but aren’t utilizing them in a role that is conducive for anything outside of dynasty leagues that count holds. Eddie Butler and Carlos Estevez (no not that one) are a good start to what could be a decent mix. And yes, I see Butler as a bullpen arm. Getting chances are sparser than other teams for the Rockies, but with time, and once they start invigorating the youth into the chain of holds and saves command, progress will be made even above sea level. Let’s see what other gobs of knowledge we have for the closers over the last few weeks…Please, blog, may I have some more?
When looking at the standings, it is usually a great indicator of how well a team is doing by looking at the Hold leaders. It doesn’t tell you all or is the end all be all of indicators, but when you have three guys in the top-4, it speaks volumes. It shows the team is ahead, but not by so much that they are blowing people out, have a great set of flow through the bullpen with set jobs, and they are successfully in-sync. Not that “in-sync”, but yeah, sorta because something that included J.T. can’t really be all that bad. So what is making the Chicago White Sox so good at what they are doing right now? First, it starts from the last inning back. David Robertson has the goods of what you want from a closer, he has the K-rate and decent control to limit base runners. What I am noticing is he is keeping the ball away from the upper part of the zone, which was his buga-boo from the past; that he gives up too many homers. In front of him, he has a trio of relievers with different mindsets. Nate Jones is basically a closer in front of the real closer, but with a better approach of pitching to contract then K’ing everyone. Zach Duke is by far the sexiest LOOGY in the business right now and Matt Albers is an all effort pitcher with tons of movement on his pitches. Add in the fact that they have Putnam and Petricka as sub pieces that can fit into anyone’s role, and they have what looks like in the early stages of the season the best bullpen in baseball. That is not to say that it will last but the investment level from a fantasy level, especially from a holds league, but it is very stout. So check out the other tidbits and bits tids that I have for you after the bump. (Plus a chart that monitors usage and runs given up by relievers that usually lead to them losing or gaining spots in the pen.)Please, blog, may I have some more?