Whenever spring training starts to wind down and the closer spot is yet to be determined, it’s never a good thing. It causes rosters to get fat off the land, and wastes your draft picks on no-news type situations. I will turn my one good lazy eye to the Minute Maid conundrum of “who closes for the Astros?” Some may ask: “who cares?” But this is the essence of SAGNOF believers. Cheap closers are what makes the fantasy world get on a sit, spin, chug a beer, and scream obscenities at trolley cars. So from the beginning of the hot-stove baseball season, and even after they signed Luke Gregerson, I believe that it’s still Chad Qualls‘ job. No news is good news for the incumbent… Even though the news all across the reliever landscape is all speculation, “he said this” and “the beat writer said that”. Well, the only person who actually knows is the manager, Hinch. So I am going to do my best to break it down from my ivory soap tower. Stick around, there may be something fun or edible once you get inside.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s been a long, tough winter (especially for those of you who live in the Northeast), but the wait is almost over. Spring training is in full swing and the regular season is just around the corner. That means, of course, that fantasy baseball draft season is here.
Recently, we’ve attempted to identify the next Corey Kluber and looked at some hitters who displayed above average power and plate discipline over the past couple of seasons. Today, we’re going to focus on relief pitchers. If you’re looking for the latest closer rankings as well as the top handcuff and hold options, check out the Bullpen Report, which provides excellent RP analysis each and every week.
This post will attempt to identify relievers with a very specific profile: power arms with high K-rates. Players who throw hard and miss bats. It’s that simple. Well, mostly. Let’s take a look at the search filters that I used for this exercise:Please, blog, may I have some more?
We now get to the ugly step-sister of rankings and the waiver darling position that we all chase. The relief pitcher is by far the most debated position on who to draft, where, and when. For the most part, I agree with you (with whatever you think), but the guys you want…if you get them where they are being drafted, usually beat or exceed value. Injuries suck and do happen, you just can’t prevent them. You just have to be in a position of favor and hope that you land his replacement. Sucktitude, i.e see Joe Nathan last year, is just a roster burden and usually drags you down all season because he isn’t someone you can just drop, but he makes it awfully hard to roster. It’s a catch-22, to stat or not to stat. Last year saw an unforgivable 10 closer changes in the first six weeks. That is not something you can pad your roster with enough save-cuffs for. So let’s get to the first set of rankings of the year. I will get into draft strategies for them, and as always, cover holds in the countdown to the season.
Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Ralph and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Here’s an example from your own life. You walked into a bar and negged the first girl you saw. Told her she had nice hair, then immediately asked her how often she dyes it. Never worked before. This girl laughed and talked to your dopey ass. She even thought it was charming when you told her to pay the bar tab. Went home, had great sex and the next morning she’s moving some of her shirts out of her dresser, so you have room to bring a few of your things over. You tell her that’s not necessary and she shrugs, goes into the bathroom, calls her mother and starts crying loudly. Seemed awesome, turned out psycho. Now imagine she didn’t reveal she was psycho for three months. That’s Steve Pearce. At some point in 2015, he will start moving his shirts out of his dresser and you’re gonna feel real awkward. Right now, he’s insane. Yesterday, was part of that insanity as he hit two homers, bringing his season total to 20. No longer is the fortune cookie’s ending ‘in bed,’ it’s now ‘with Steve Pearce.’ There’s some noise about him changing his stance and that’s led to him having a breakout season. Yeah, don’t buy it. He’s 31 years old. Not the death knell for anyone, but when you’re barely rosterable as a utility man for a major league team for almost seven years, you don’t suddenly change your stance and everything’s great. He’s a 10-homer utility man, disguised as Jesus. It will end at some point in 2015, but for now Pearce your genitals, make the devil horns and ride the lightning! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Wilmer Flores went 3-for-4, 2 runs, 6 RBIs with his 5th and 6th homers. With David Wright hurt, Flores has been playing every day. The Mets are thankfully still able to get Ruben Tejada into their lineup. The Mets said, “We’ve wanted to drop Tejada, send down Tejada or trade Tejada for a nickel on a dollar, but since we can’t figure out the paperwork, we’re playing him every day for the last three years.” No Met in particular said that; all of them did. Why do I care about Flores playing? In Triple-A in 2013, he hit 15 homers and .321 in 107 games. That was when he was 22 years old. Maybe he’s not God’s answer to Bac-Os and able to make every game better, but I bet he could’ve been as good as David Wright this year. The reason why baseball people and the media doesn’t like Wilmer is he fields like he has a golden glove. Not that he won a golden glove. Like he’s literally trying to catch grounders with a metal statue. If he gets a job out of spring training in fifteen after twenty, this won’t be the last time you hear me try to convince people Wilmer Flores isn’t bad. For now, he’s only viable in very deep leagues as we watch Flores’s stock bloom. Flores’s stock bloom! Flores’s stock bloom! Springtime for Wilmer, and the Mets… (BTW, when did this site become so pro-Mets? I feel dirty. Though, that could be because I haven’t showered since March.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Rusney Castillo is expected to join the Sawx on Tuesday. Whoa, did you see that? There was a rainbow going over the world and when I said that it turned red. I wonder if that’s because he’s Cuban. Oh, it’s probably because the Red Sox paid to sponsor the rainbow. That makes more sense. I didn’t think Mother Nature would sell rainbow naming rights, but there ya go. Someone’s gotta pay for the sun; the world we live in. So, Rusney’s getting a little taste of how’s your father with the Red Sox, but I don’t think he’ll A) Play every day. B) Be much a factor this year. C) There’s no C. Now, for 2015 fantasy baseball, well, there we’re gonna have to talk for a sec. Sorry, I know you’re late to be moral support at your wife’s surgery, but she can wait. Here’s what Prospect Mike said about him previously, “The one tool that is not in question is (Rusney’s) speed. A 30+ steal season from Castillo is a possibility as soon as 2015. The power is still up in the air. Some have tagged him more as an 8-12 homer type guy while others have said 15 or maybe even 20 homers could be in the cards. With any player, we get lots of comps thrown around. Two of the comps I’ve heard the most are Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis. Honestly, the Davis comp makes the most sense to me. The one that makes the least sense is Grey, he’s just a buffoon.” Hey, what’s that all about? To me, the Rajai comparison feels heavy on the speed; Victorino seems a better equivalent, but, honestly, there’s a ton of unknown here. He could be anywhere from a 7 HR/20 SB fourth outfielder to a 20 HR/40 SB superstar. Victorino feels about right — 12 homers, 30 steals. The more I read that he only had 66 steals in 1097 plate appearances in Cuba, I wonder if the hype machine hasn’t taken Rusney and thrown him into the spin cycle, making him more than he is. Shizzton of risk either way you slice the cake, and, brucely, I love cake, so I hope you’re sharing. For this year, I’d take a flyer if I could platoon him. For 2015, I’d take the risk for something special, but don’t expect more than Victorino. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ryan Braun revealed he doesn’t have a thumb issue, he has a whole hand issue. Unfortch, he’s also proving to have a ‘can’t stay on the field without steroids’ issue, which is the result of a ‘steroids has broken down his ability to stay healthy’ issue that’s brought up a ‘is he really trying to get on the field’ issue that all came about when he was ‘wearing scrubs, watching his wife spit out a kid and his wife was squeezing his hand too tightly’ issue that leaves the issue, ‘will he return and do anything this season?’ Basically, Braun’s got more men’s health issues than Ricky Martin. Whether or not you drop him or just bench him comes down to who you have to replace him, but, in September, he’s hitting .200 with zero homers, and he hit .240 in August with four homers, so chances are good you can find someone better than him for the final two and a half weeks. This will definitely muddy waters on if Braun is a mannish boy or what to expect from him in 2015 fantasy baseball. Unless Lame-Ass-Busta Excuses is a category in your league, then Braun has it on lock. (Also, applies if the category is spelled Lame-Ass-Buster Excuses or simply Lame Excuses.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
After Rafael Soriano once again looked like his apologetic alter ego, Sorry-yo, Matt Williams said the Nats won’t have a set closer. Let’s backtrack to August 18th, it was a day after the fourth time Soriano had given up runs in the matter of two weeks. At that point, I wrote there was a problem, and I grabbed Drew Storen. That was three weeks ago, and things haven’t gotten better. So, why was I able to spot there was a problem with Soriano three weeks prior to the Nationals manager, Matt Williams? Terrific question. There’s a few possible reasons A) Matt Williams’s Oakleys are worn to shield TV cameras from showing he’s actually asleep. B) Matt Williams can’t find steroids that make him smarter. C) There’s no C. D) In a secret meeting in Bud Selig’s wood-paneled basement in Milwaukee in 1999, Major League Baseball declared that every team must have at least one Mark McGwire. Matt Williams was elected to be Arizona’s Mark McGwire. (Sosa was elected to be the Cubs’ McGwire, which is why he bleached his skin.) The experiment to have a McGwire on every team was a success at first, but soon the players that were elected to be McGwire began to say, “I’m not here to talk about the past,” every time any question was asked. The biggest offender of this was Matt Williams, so, rather than risk being found out, MLB made him the Nats manager. Any of these reasons could be right, but it’s probably D. So, with Soriano in trouble, the Nats could go to Storen, Tyler Clippard or Matt Thornton. My guess is it’ll go in that order, and yesterday Storen got the clean save, helping his case. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
This late in the year, Big Head Bochy minus his monsters goes and has to be all “I am changing it back to the way it used to be when all was being drafted and confidence in February Grey was at an all-time high.” So the news that Santiago Casilla will now be in a co-starring role this late in the season just sucks for all parties involved. Sergio Romo gets back into the fray as the closer situation is all muddled now in the city by the bay. Whoa, whoa, whoa-o. Even Steve Perry hates this idea. Don’t believe me? Go ask him, as he seems like he’s over Sheila and prolly all good in the wits department. Now I can see if Casilla was pitching awfully, which he wasn’t… well not completely, but come on Bruce. You can’t do this and actually sleep at night knowing you torture fantasy line-ups the way you do, and I for one am writing a letter. No, an email, screw that a petition! You hear that Bruce? A petition… so get yourself ready, I may even sue you. Smokey smash. So if you saw the writing on the wall from this, you already had Romo stashed. Let’s see what the jumbled up rankings look like with the injuries, demotions, and the rigmarole that is involved in the Saves of Thrones.Please, blog, may I have some more?
For some strange reason, I have the great Willie Nelson song in my head… On The Road again. Why, you ask? Because I am out perusing the great country of ours and doing fantasy football’s 32x32x32 with Nick. I may be thinking football, but my heart is in San Francisco… rather bullpens. So it was all quiet on the savedom front til recently, when some usual save stalwarts stubbed some toes. While some repeat offenders… yeah you Joe Nathan just continue to lull us into a state of perpetual eye-rolling… all of these issues are no bueno for the push to make playoffs in some formats, or those pining for the stat push in point leagues. I am personally not too worried about the married guys, they are there for good reasons; they do it all year and you have them for saves or to save not. I am more throwing my ire towards those middle guys, the Steve Cishek‘s and Rafael Soriano types who have given us decency all year and then have recently given us both ERA’s over 7 a piece the last 2 weeks. So buyer beware at this point for stat purposes with these guys they aren’t going to be replaced but the production is on the level of a doozer on light duty. Stick around for some tid-bits of knowledge or stay to just say high. [Jay’s Note: Oh… I get it.]Please, blog, may I have some more?