If only Adam Jones had gotten injured that headline would’ve been perfect. Well, it looks like we are in the thick of baseball injury season! When I went to put this week’s article together, I had 20 players listed that I needed to check out. Luckily, some guys like Brian Dozier, Logan Forsythe and Gregory Polanco were back in their team’s line-ups by the time came for me to check out their current status. Other guys like Jarrett Parker, Mallex Smith and James Kaprielan aren’t really fantasy relevant enough to worry about. But if you are in a deep or AL/NL-only league, feel free to ask me about anyone you want in the comments. Also, many of my fill in recommendations are for deeper leagues, so if you want to know who to pick up in shallower leagues, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments as well! 

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One-time Mariner Tom Paciorek was the face of the organization for the better part of the last 40 years.  Ken Griffey Jr. once said of Paciorek, “For many years, Seattle fans came up to me and asked if I was a very tan Paciorek, because Paciorek left such an indelible mark.”  Edgar Martinez once said of Tom Paciorek, “You can’t think of the Mariners without thinking of Tom Paciorek.  He’s so gutsy, you’d think he got those guts from a local abattoir that provides Wilson with its top-notch tennis racquets.”  Randy Johnson has said, “I got the idea for my mullet from Tom Paciorek’s back hair.”  All of this flattery heaped on Paciorek, and he said, “You guys need to check out Mitch Haniger!  Now amscray before I dazzle you with a bon mot.”  Wow.  The modesty on that Paciorek.  In Triple-A last year, Haniger had 20 HRs, 8 SBs and a .341 average.  His BABIP was a bit high, but he likely won’t drain your batting average below, say, .250.  He already has 3 HRs and one steal, and is 26 years old, so his time is now.  Plus, the Mariners are playing him, and batting him in a good place in the order.  There’s little reason why you shouldn’t at least give him a shot on all fantasy teams.  After all, he has the Tom Paciorek Seal of Approval (ToPa SeaApp, trademark pending).  Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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As we always do about this time!  *beat drops, Grey does the worm, Grey’s iPhone alarm goes off, time to put more money in the meter*  Damn, how long was I worming for?  September 1st hits and teams expand their rosters to the Four-Oh.  Now pour some extra bullpen guys out for all the dead moments between pitcher changes.  So, what does this mean for all of us, fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!)?  It means call-ups and rookie nookie is aplenty.  Aplenty, I tell ya!  By the by, for big boned people, rather than an X-Large t-shirt, they should call them aplen-Tees.  Yeah, I just made the English language better.  High-five yourself for even knowing to read me.  *Grey worms, alarm goes off*  Damn, I need to get more coins.  At this point in the year, you need guys that are getting everyday playing time, so I’m pumped up the jam on rookie nookie, but if a guy isn’t playing every day, he’s as good as dirt in redraft leagues, and I don’t have a Soil category, do you?  It’s a most exciting time to be alive and be fantasy balling, but don’t lose sight of the real goal here:  to get quality at-bats from guys that are playing, not to pick up a guy that will be great in 2017.  (Unless you’re in a keeper league; then, by all means, knock yourself out!  Not literally!  Ouch.)  Which bring us to Yoan Mocada.  Red Sox manager, John Farrell, says Moncada’s promotion is eminent.  They have a bobblehead giveaway planned, a kid’s jersey giveaway, a ‘Yoan yawn coverer’ which is really just a foam hand, a–*intern whispers in my ear*  Seems I was misusing ‘promotion.’  I already gave you my Yoan Moncada fantasy.  He’ll be up on Friday.  He should be owned everywhere and will play 3rd base.  No Gas Face there.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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One look at this week’s most added player list in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues causes me to reminisce about my younger days in the early-mid 2000s. I can vaguely remember the bar-hopping, insane amounts of alcohol consumption, and late nights that frequently occurred during that time period. One thing that I can clearly recall from those days is closing time at those various establishments when the ugly lights would come on and that Semisonic song would be blaring over the speakers, signaling that it was time to pack up and go. Stumbling out the door and finding a local diner to satiate my pork roll, egg, and cheese fix meant that it was a good night. When no diner was to be found, man was that an annoying song! Why’d you have to ruin a perfectly good evening, Semisonic? It’s all your fault. Drunken logic! But I digress. The point is that this week could easily be dubbed closing time in fantasy baseball, as there were serious changes in the late inning pecking order of several teams. Injuries to Wade Davis and Huston Street created opportunities for Kelvin Herrera (39.2% owned; +10.8% over the past week) and Cam Bedrosian (22.8%; +17.2%) in the 9th inning in Kansas City and LA respectively. The trade of Jeremy Jeffress to Texas opened the door for Tyler Thornburg (31.0%; +16.8%) to close games in Milwaukee. But the biggest gainers of the week were the new stoppers in Seattle and Houston, Edwin Diaz (57.9% owned; +44.7%) and Ken Giles (57.0% owned; +37.9%). Diaz claimed the role for the Mariners after incumbent Steve Cishek hit the disabled list, and Giles took over for the Astros for a struggling Will Harris, and fantasy owners quickly pounced on the explosive duo. Over the last 30 days, Diaz and Giles have combined for 43 strikeouts against just 5 walks and have allowed just one earned run over that span. Their swinging strike rates are 24.1% and 25.4% respectively, and they’ve each averaged over 97.5 mph on their fastballs. There might not be more than five or six closers that I’d want more than these guys right now, so grab them if the other owners in your league have been asleep at the wheel.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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I was going to just delay this post due to inclement weather, but Grey’s super Doppler 5001, which is also a giant B.S. detector, wouldn’t let me.  So here we sit, some 48 hours before the list that you are about to see means about as much as single-ply toilet paper…  Really, what cheap s.o.b. concocted this idea of pinching pennies?  I mean everyone has had a run-in with it at some point.  Awful.  It’s part of the reason I have a salt-water bidet in all three outhouses at the Smokey compound.  So back to the deadline… closer gossip teams are lining up other contenders closers in such a bullish market, namely the rumors surrounding Mark Melancon.  The market and teams that need reliable relievers, let alone closers, is the Nationals, Indians, Rangers and Giants.  It is just the land of confusion and there is not enough LOOGY’S to go around.  I will touch on who I can see where after the bump to prolong the suspense, but the teams I just mentioned are teams to monitor on the opposite end of closers, because if the big names start rolling, all but Cody Allen looks to be out of a job.  Here’s what I can see going down by the deadline in the bullpen game, plus some rankings and next in line stuff.  Plus, Razzball Soccer has started pumping out quality, so go over and check it and join the official game…

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I am always a day late and a buck short on the posts because I am relegated to be the Saturday morning cartoon of the Razzball variety.  No worries, I mean, who doesn’t love 80’s cartoons and can’t list 10 shows that would drastically alter children’s universes today?  One word… Snorks.  So with everyone else doing the second-half rankings, I felt it was my duty to give the closer rankings based solely on the second games remaining.  The elite will still be the elite, the mediocre are still mediocre, and the middling teams will still be middling. I don’t care what algorithm Jimmy Bill came up with to have expected win totals and blah blah.  Expected win totals are an indicator of save expectations. because the percent of saves converted in wins by teams has been pretty stagnant at 52%, give or take a few sheckles each way.  So looking at the games remaining, some teams have less games to play then others, and some have more so the expected totals for some teams will be different then what you would expect them to be.  So as a wise person once said to me in throws of fantasy passion, lets have at it.  Cheers!

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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!

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It feels like only yesterday J.D. Martinez injured himself, and it was yesterday if you were roofied.  In his place, Steven Moya is filling in admirably.  Yesterday, he went Yardo Montalban as he Tattooed the ball two times.  Da plane, da plane…is flying right next to Moya’s homers!  My dear guests!  I am Mr. Albright, your host.  Welcome… to Fantasy Baseball!  Smiles, everyone, smiles!  No, seriously, smile, you paid a lot of money for those caps.  Moya now has three homers in his last three games, and if baseball is a game of inches, Moya’s got a lot of ’em.  79 inches to be exact.  Not saying he’s John Holmes, he’s six-seven and looks like an easy 35-homer hitter.  I watched him hit a ball the other way and he was like, “Yeah, okay, I guess I’ll hit this one out.”  He looks like the kind of guy that could twelve homers in a month.  If you’re power-starved, or just bored and wanna pick up a new player, I’d grab Moya.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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!

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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!

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