Jay’s Note: Seeing as how Smokey’s title has put this song in my head for what will probably be the entire week, I’m happy to include this video to pay it forward.
That’s it. Shows over. Please help the rest of the Razz staff by stacking your chairs at the back of the room. So with there only the same number of days left as fingers on Jason Pierre Paul’s hand (sick football reference!), it is only fitting to do a fun wrap of lots of gimmicky things and fun factoids. I rented a cool clown horn for that moment, so if you don’t live in a one block radius of me, it was for not. For the the rest of you, put that horn in your head and add it to the the tumor hum and the slight tinnitus. So to recap the year, there were a total of 14 closer changes, and that includes teams changing multiple times. We have 21 closers with 30 plus saves, which my research tells me… this is the new record. While the overall number and percentage of saves successfully converted is in line with the norm, it just shows that teams are sticking with their guys and the committee approach is fading. Tons more are inside, it’s my last post of the year, so things might get either weirdly informative, or informatively weird. Suspense!
Late season injuries and minor league call-ups are one thing. Just not doing your job is an utter disgrace. Bruce Rondon was sent home, literally, because of lack of effort. Holy stereotypes. Because getting out of bed, traveling first class and then having to pitch one whole inning a game in the oft-chance that your team may be winning. Yeah, that sounds impossible to me to keep up with. For now the Tigers will roll with a combination of Neftali Feliz and Alex Wilson. So anyone looking for 3-4 saves til the end of the year can be rewarded with the plight of Rondon and his poor work effort. I wouldn’t expect a treasure trove of riches, the Tigers rank in the bottom five in saves, save opps., bullpen ERA, blown saves, and believe it or not, balks by the bullpen. I know that last stat is bupkiss, but when is the last time you ever read a balk stat in a reliever post? It just happened for the first time in history and I am officially placing a copyright on it. So this is the final rankings for the year for closers I will do an end of the year wrap up next week with lots of zany stuff.
All right all of you, hardcore, prematurely balding fantasy baseballers, who are battling in the trenches these final weeks. You people. And by “you people,” I mean middle-aged, middle class white men with their mothers on speed dial. (What? Google Analytics can tell a lot.) Let’s do this like Brutus and Tommy Artootis. (I went to middle school with Tommy Artootis; you probably didn’t know that.) Yesterday, Kendrys Morales went 4-for-4, 5 runs and three solo home runs (19, 20, 21). The Morales of the story? He’s stepping up to help you win because we prayed for this. Right after praying that Lay’s Gyro-flavored potato chips wins the new flavor contest. Show of hands: how many of you care who becomes the next president? Okay, now how many of you care what flavor wins Lay’s potato chip contest? Ya’ll bunch of liars if you didn’t vote for Lay’s. Can we just make a Trump flavored potato chip to combine all my voting into one place? Morales has done well for my Tout Wars team, but I’m gonna come up a little short like Altuve. Here’s the current standings, as you can see power was my real bugaboo. If Miggy had reached 30 homers like he did seemingly every other year, it could’ve made a huge difference. For now, let’s bask in Rudy’s dominance and hope Lay’s Gyro flavor kicks ass. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, Chris Coghlan went full Ivan Drago on Jung-ho Kang‘s knee, taking him out in a hard slide. Kang is now done for the year, and could miss a month of next season, with a torn MCL. That’s not the year 1150, if any Romans are reading this. He also has a fractured fibia. Coghlan should not be allowed to wear that Iron Mike Sharpe knee pad. Things couldn’t be much worse for the Pirates, who will now rely on Jordache Mercer (full name). Kang’s agent said, “It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury. That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played.” Doesn’t that sound backhanded? Like, “It’s a shame we allow 85-year-old people to drive, but that’s the law and thanks for crashing into my car.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, I was watching the Twins game and I fell asleep and had a dream that Razzball’s Twitter account got one of those blue check marks. I’m not sure what this says about my fantasies, but it says something about Tyler Duffey and the Twins. They lack a certain je ne sais Michelle Kwan. The Twins seem to do this on purpose. Very workmanlike. Like a Minnesota woman who would handily beat me in an arm wrestling match. Pun noted. I’ve never been to Minnesota, but I picture the women looking like Jesse Ventura when he used to wear feathers in his hair and leotards. As with just about every Twins pitcher since Radke, minus Liriano and Johan, Duffey is yet another Twins hurler that has solid control and okay, not great strikeouts. Yesterday, he went 6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 9 baserunners, 7 Ks vs. the Tigers, and had a 2.53 ERA in Triple-A with a 7 K/9. I don’t see any huge upside here and is better in real life, which apparently the Twins play in. The Stream-o-Nator hates his next start, but I would start him if I needed to gamble. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
From Koji to Ross… Sounds like a bullpen whirlwind in the shade of a Justin-to-Kelly type scenario. Have things goten so bad north of me… NJ… that they are just trouncing anyone out there. Any retreads? Well, it’s full on guess mode at the late stages of the season for the B0-Sawx. If you are really scraping for saves this late in the game, than you my friend are a desperate man in search of desperation and regret. The Red Sox as a team are near the bottom in blown saves, bullpen ERA and basically look drab and beaten down. The only good news there is I think the Bruins start soon and Papi is chasing 500. Listen, I get that you play to the end of the season, but is Robbie Ross really the direction you want to go to when the end is near? Do yourself a favor, add a quality non-closer work on your rates, your free-style composure and possibly go shop at the merry-go-round for some really cool back to school clothes. Your pitching stats and your swagger will thank you with some compliments and some vulture wins.
The Mariner bullpen has basically been that round-up ride at your local carnival. It doesn’t look that bad until it totally messes with your vertigo and you end up spewing up kettle corn and other assorted goods for two hours there after. Last year, the Mariners bullpen had a 2.60 ERA, good for tops in the MLB. They also saved 51 games to only 11 blown saves. They were all comfy and coozy like footed pajamas last year, and basically everyone could rely on the decent value of return from drafting Fernando Rodney. Then the year changes to five and the ship went askew. Their bullpen ERA is over 4.30 and are on pace to accumulate 45 saves, and, to date, have already blown 18 saves (behind only three other teams for worst). So let’s just run down the year so far: Rodney was the closer, then he wasn’t the closer, Carson Smith took over, and now it seems as though they are reverting back to 2012 in hopes that Tom Wilhelmsen can right the ship of battered and injured bullpen dreams. Stick around for some tid-bits and bullpen ranks…
Remember that hit song from Back to the Future? Yeah I remember it a little too well. As a child of the 1980’s I watched the movie numerous times. I remember getting anxious seeing Biff chasing Marty on his skateboard, anticipating horse manure falling all over him. Ahhh, the memories…. But it’s not a song that originated from Back to the Future. The next time you’re watching Name that Tune, you’ll know that Johnny B. Goode was performed by Chuck Berry in 1959. Today, I’m drumming to the beat of Johnny Cueto. Of today’s DFS pitchers, Cueto has the best BAA, .197, and the best WHIP, 0.93. Sure, most of his success this season has come against the National League, but I saw what a rock star he was last week when making his first career home start in Kansas City against the Tigers. Johnny was rock’n and rolling on the mound, literally. The controversial shimmy during his windup made the Royals’ fans twist and shout. I definitely think that the advantage goes to Cueto when facing American League teams from here on out in 2015. It’ll be a harder adjustment for a hitter to face a pitcher they haven’t seen much of in their career, rather than Cueto having to adjust to which pitches batters have success with in the strike zone. Shimmy on down and check out the rest of my DraftKings picks for today.
Are the Red Sox grasping at proverbial straws here? I mean, let’s go to the waiver wire in real life… Grab a reliever, Jean Machi, that has three career saves, and let’s say we’ll think about him being the closer for our team. It sounds weird and crazy, but then you look at the Sawx record (it’s the worst in the AL by the way), and realize maybe it’s not such a far fetched idea. Hanley Ramirez has nine freaking doubles all year. NINE! I just hit four at Fenway the other day, until I realized they were hamburgers. Okay, back to closers. So the Red Sox, with the loss of Koji Uehara to the DL, will turn to just about anyone to see if they can close the 8-10 chances they will get the rest of the year. The front runners are Junichi Tazawa (has 4 blown saves in the last 30 days) and Jean Machi, and the sleeper candidate is the former All-Star closer Ryan Cook. Who in himself was traded for that spectacular fantasy asset: PTBNL. The situations for closers is getting bleaker with the bad teams losing actual options and not having a genuine fall-back option that you could tie your waiver wire dollars too. Best advice is don’t chance saves from all these guys, it will nuke your numbers elsewhere. Concede that you will only get seven points from saves instead of nine. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk while texting or making waiver claims.
All the fantasy world was hoping that Jonathan Papelbon would be traded to a team without a reliable closer. Instead, he goes to a team and kicks in the door swinging with the “I make more money than you” swagger that only comes with wearing Jordache jeans. And then he takes Drew Storen‘s job. From a relief pitcher standpoint, Papelbon jumps from the worst save-driven team to top 10 overall. The Phillies generated only 26 save opportunities to the date of his trade. The Nationals were a far better team, and their record says so with 43 save opportunities. The Nationals have also had a lead 32 more times than the Phillies, so Storen isn’t a completely wasted roster spot. If you got skunked by this, you need to keep him rostered. He will still get the off-day save chances, and should pitch in a ton of high-leverage situations based on the bullpen shape of the Nationals, which isn’t a blue ribbon. Papelbon immediately jumps to elite status for me because of his history, and the whole contending team thing. He will easily double his saves total (in less games) to date, which stands at 17. On the flip side of this trade, it opens up the gates to wunderkid Ken Giles to close in the land of steaks covered in cheese. Giles immediate value is that of a closer, but with the Phil’s, he’s going to basically have a worse representation of what Papelbon had, but he still has moderate save appeal. I can see him getting 10 saves the rest of the way. This is posting a day before the deadline, so things could be in flux. And make sure to check out Ralph and myself over on Razzball Soccer, as the FPL is in full go.