The ESPYS are coming soon, so I decided it might be time to nominate some relief pitchers for mid-season hardware and steal a little bit of ESPN’s ESPYS thunder (that’s just wrong on more than one level) in the process. Anyway, I’ll soon be handing an award to one of the relief pitchers with a chance to regress in a bad way and I’m calling these awards the Jurrjy’s because Jair Jurrjens was a pitcher that was as up and down as I can recall a pitcher being. He was (is, I could say, after all he still exists, somewhere) a BABIP dependent* pitcher because of a low strikeout rate. For instance, here are his 2011 1st half/2nd half ERA splits: 1.87 in 110.2 1st half innings vs 5.88 in a small sample of 41.1 second half innings. While it might have been better to pick a reliever to name this after, I can’t think of anyone that fits the description better than Jair Jurrjens. The only problem is, I’m not sure if the “winner” is the one whose ERA regresses the most or the one who maintains the mirage. I guess that’s up to the Academy to decide. So without further ado, your 2015 Jurrjy nominees in the “rising ERA” category are: Steve Delabar, middle reliever, Toronto Blue Jays (1.42 ERA /4.05 FIP). Bryan Shaw, middle reliever, Cleveland Indians (2.10 ERA /4.62 FIP). Joakim Soria, closer, Detroit Tigers (2.73 ERA /5.09 FIP). Brad Ziegler, closer, Arizona Diamondbacks (1.45 ERA /3.78 FIP), Darren O’Day, middle reliever, Baltimore Orioles (1.21 ERA /3.17 FIP), and JJ Hoover, middle reliever, Cincinnati Reds (1.31 ERA / 3.10 FIP). (*This article basically claims that pitcher BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is 75% luck, 13% defense, and 12% pitcher’s skill).Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m taking questions after my Ted Talks on fantasy baseball. I adjust my headset mic, pull on my turtleneck. Going Steve Jobs today wasn’t the best of ideas. This turtleneck is itchy. “You, in the front row.” “First off, the stuff you said blew my mind. I never knew electromagnetism had anything to do with fantasy baseball. Your square root stuff seemed like it came from a supercomputer. But a supercomputer with a mustache. And older supercomputers fawning over it. Supercomputer Cougars, if you will. So, my question for you is who does Kyle Hendricks remind you of?” “Alex Wood. Next question, you.” The Sun-Maid Raisin Box Girl stands up, “Do you know I’m a Cougar?” *shoots up in bed, dripping in sweat* Whoa, I just had the weirdest dream. Left Side of My Brain, “Or was that reality?!” AH!!! So, Hendricks pitched a gem the other day. His 2nd gem in a row, and I took a long hard look at him, then didn’t mention him the other day because I wanted to highlight him here. I agree with Dream Grey, he does look like Alex Wood. Only Alex Wood when he’s on point. Right now, Hendricks has a 7 K-rate, 1.9 BB/9 and a 3.77 xFIP. Wood throws a curve more, but their velocities are very close on the fastball, too. Both have 50%+ ground ball rates, which makes them prone to BABIP. Hendricks is not a potential ace, but he should be owned in far more leagues and looks like a solid fantasy #3 with #2 upside based on luck. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to get back to sleep and see the Sun-Maid Raisin Box Girl. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last week I went into what in the heck was wrong with Cody Allen. That Situation is still a little foggy, like everyone’s memory of your buddy’s bachelor party. This week, it’s time to look at the side-flinging Steve Cishek. Because when it gets down to it, closers are more interesting and they are basically that key piece in Jenga. It starts with them and everything trickles downhill. He has looked god awful and the Marlins are in full BBC, no not that BBC, the one that is bullpen-by-committee. Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, and Bryan Morris are all the names being bantered around as in the mix. None of those guys, minus Ramos, has the repertoire to be a closer. I am just calling it like I see it. If you want my honest opinion, I think they should just let them all do a round-robin thumb wrestling tournament. But seriously, who are they going to trust? Mike Dunn has 4 career saves, Morris is a re-tread reclamation project, and Ramos has been touted as the next guy for two years and hasn’t even gotten serious late-inning high pressure looks. So stay right there and hit that little red bar thingy for more holds and closers and bullpens… oh my.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Some people consider it a made up stat, I say hogwash or peeee-shaw. For the people who play in the leagues where the stat matters, it matters. That’s about as devout as I can get since I had to sell my soapbox to pay for my addiction of collectible thimbles. Now, I get it, the Hold stat isn’t for everyone. The basis of actually being a stat is wonky at best. These guys do more than just come in for one inning or one batter, they hold your periph numbers in check. If you don’t believe, that’s fine, I don’t believe myself half the time. Heck, I have no reading comprehension, so it’s more of a “in one ear out the other” type thing. See, I already forgot what I was discussing here. So this year, some of the top options that are going to be the go-to-holds guys are actually jumping up and taking the starring role for their teams due to injury. So I will delve into a few situations to monitor from a Holds perspective, as well as a nice handy chart with some predictions on the side of caution for the top-20 middle relievers, in terms of them garnering the coveted stat of the Hold.
Want to take me on in a Razzball Commenter League? Join my league here!Please, blog, may I have some more?
I wish filling out your fantasy roster with middle relievers was as easy as plop-plop, fizz-fizz. But I’m sure it isn’t, because not everyone is using the same model of success. I can dig that, I mean, I come from a long line of Smokeys that like the art of shoveling. Listen, I get it if you don’t wanna help your team-rates and ratios by adding guys that are stout in production for basically free at the end of your draft. Streaming relievers is a real thing, I didn’t make it up. It does exist, and it lives in the house between Nessy and Sasquatch. It’s not for the faint of heart and is probably not for everyone. It is about optimizing your free innings (very useful in RCL leagues that have games started limits, which everyone wants to win). It’s a basic theory and the patent is pending, so stick around as I get into the art of streaming relievers. And as an added bonus, I have broken down the MR corps into four separate groups. These groups are broken down by usefulness. We have one for straight cuffs, one for rates and holds, a straight holds, and then some stone cold sleepers for you deep-leaguers.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The end of the year is always fun for me when it comes to the race for holds, and the guys getting them. The names that appear on the leaderboard for the last 14 days of games looks like a Dateline special of guys who were abandoned by their actual parents, and just appeared in the majors. For instance, of the top-20 Hold garnerers [Jay’s Note: garnerees? garnerererers? gonorrhea? Eh, let’s just go with garnerers…] over those same last two weeks, only three are in the top-20 for the year (Clippard, Cecil and Watson). On a side note, these are guys for you in dynasty leagues and deeper keeper leagues to pay attention to…. wink-wink. That right there echoes the fact of something, oh I don’t know, two weeks ago, where you should just stream the hell out of RP down the stretch to maximize everything. And by everything, I mean appearance, grooming techniques, hell, it’ll probably allow you to take better pictures to update your Tinder account. Maximize is the name, and maximizing was the game. You see that boat in the distance?… That’s me sailing off into the sunset telling you au revoir, and that I told ya so. I don’t make this stuff up, there are years and years of stats and performance charts that are readily available on the Google machine to prove my point. So with that tangent concluded, here is the last bullpen/hold chart of the year, basically showing you who wins. Sort of. If winning holds is an actual award, that is.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ah, the stretch run and the second to last Holds post of the year. If your not streaming RP at this point to your advantage, I don’t know what else to tell you but to give me your password, and just get ready for Sunday fundays. It’s not Sunday is it? Because I can’t talk about it with it around, because it slowly consumes me, then beats me, steals all my money, and makes me feel like that time at the water park. Sorry, sidetracked on terrible memories. So Drew Storen has popped up and taken the reigns until Soriano figures out why seven ate nine. I have heard that people are questioning why Tyler Clippard isn’t in there trying to win one for the skipper. It’s easy, but has multiple levels to it. First, you don’t take your best reliever out of the key spot, and that’s setting up and clinching the game for you. Rhis is documented by Clippard dominating in appearances with the lead over the last 30 days. The second is– Storen, who will be awfully expensive next year, while pitching effective, is basically being showcased and used to keep Rafael Soriano from getting his guaranteed 15 million doll hairs next year. You heard me: 15 million. Which becomes guaranteed at 120 games finished, he currentlly sits at 104. The moon landing, JFK, and keeping Rafi Soriano from getting duckets. Conspiracy theories or truth, all I can do is type it… hold on, Oliver Stone is on the phone. Stick around for some snippets of relief pitching lore and a flashy chart made from unicorn tears…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The other day I talked about the dark underbelly of roster expansion and how, due to teams not DL’ing their players, it can actually hurt us in this thing we call life. Well, some of us call it fantasy baseball instead of life. Some of the less obsessed of us. To those people, I ptooey in your direction. If you’re not completely obsessed over your hobby, let me say this… Get a new hobby! The national pastime’s pastime? Maybe if you’re a stutterer! This shizz is more like the national pastime’s full-time, 24/7 job like taking care of your uncle who has been lying on your sofa for a month because your aunt started dating a guy she met on Tinder! “Uncle Frank, maybe you put on sweatpants so I can have company.” No, Uncle Frank won’t put on sweatpants, just like you won’t have company until you find another first baseman to replace Anthony Rizzo. Uncle Frank is comfortable in his gotchies! Are you kapeeshing me? So, Rizzo has a muscle strain, and the Cubs said they would DL him if the rosters hadn’t expanded, but instead they’re going to let Anthony Rizzo slice garlic really thin — so thin it melts when it hits the pan — while he whittles away the year on the bench. Sadly, you have to move on to another first baseman in redraft leagues. You can’t count on him the rest of the season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
There is something to be said about doing your job, and then saying “good job but the regular guy is back, and he’s taking your job back.” Mark Melancon filled in swimmingly for the injured Jason Grilli and his line is better than most closers in the F-tier of my rankings. To his dismay, Grilli is back, and is being eased back into his role. Is it fair? Probably. Does it suck for Melancon stat vultures? Most definitely. Going back exactly one year, when Melancon became a fantasy stalwart on our rosters, he has an ERA under 2, 25 Saves and 17 Holds. That’s all after Grilli went down last year. Besides the K factor, which is in Grilli’s favor, Melancon is basically being grounded for getting only an A- in English class… but but but it’s still and A!, I’m sure he’s muttering. But, I’m rooting for Grilli, dat journeyman done good, saved all those kids from dat thang. Whatever that thing was. You know the story. No? Well make one up, tell your friends it happened, and let’s start a rumor. So good luck Jason Grilli, just make sure to look both ways when you cross the street. Oh, we totally forgot about your 3 BS in April. Cause you’re back here forever. Subliminal message: Hold onto Melancon.Please, blog, may I have some more?
If I may take you back to February of fourteen after twenty when Pablo Sandoval showed up to camp straight from a winter in Milan where he learned how to diet, smoke cigarettes, and eat nothing but greens, and this wasn’t greens like lime-flavored Popsicles and moldy cheese. This was healthy greens. On that blessed day, he was wearing a mankini and when he walked into the clubhouse, Bruce Bochy whistled, thinking he was making a catcall at some fine Dominican honey. That was fine Dominican honey, but only in fantasy baseballers’ minds who thought a contract year and 180 pounds dropped in a sauna was a sign of great things to come. Sure, Sandoval could now twerk without needing an oxygen mask, but what had changed? Well, apparently not a whole lot. Right now, he’s hitting around .200 with two homers. Burp. The good news is he’s been incredibly unlucky with his BABIP, his line drive rate is right about his career norm and he’s due to hit more homers. There’s some bad news, his K-rate is up and he’s hitting more ground balls. Even at 133 pounds, he’s not a great threat to beat out infield hits, so ground balls aren’t good, and for a guy that swings at everything, a K-rate is a bit scary. This all goes back to he’s not this bad — this terrible that he’s been. He will get better and can be either picked up in leagues or traded for for (stutterer!) very cheaply. I mean, I wouldn’t even give someone a Donkeycorn for him right now, but a Brain Freeze or a fourth outfielder sounds about right if you’re trying to acquire him. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?