Between Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Ozzie Albies, Amed Rosario, Rhys Hoskins and Yoan Moncada baseball is staying at a Renaissance Hotel.  “Is that a Cal Ripken mint rookie card under my pillow and a Beckett Baseball Card Guide in the side table?  What a great hotel!”  That’s me staying at a baseball-themed Renaissance Hotel.  Oh, and this is barely touching a majority of Ralph’s top 100 fantasy baseball prospects.  By the way, I Googled top 100 baseball rookies from the preseason, and Baseball America had Dansby Swanson, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, Jharel Cotton, Jose De Leon, Robert Gsellman and Albert Almora in the top 10.  (Judge was 12th, Bellinger 19th and Ben Grieve 5th.  Okay, not Grieve, but you get the drift.)  Rookies are a crapshoot, but baseball ate some beans and is shooting crap!  (That sounded better in my head.)  Yesterday, Rafael Devers hit his 5th and 6th homers, coming in only his 16th game, as he hits .339.  He’s only 20 years old!!!  Triple exclamation marks due to sticky keyboard because of Giancarlo, my apologies.  If I had the time or motivation, I’d go back to the comments from people who said within three days of Devers’ call-up that he’s overmatched.  Yo, I think you might want to hold back your hot takes for a minute.  For 2018, Devers or Benintendi?  Okay, I’m gonna hold back my own hot takes, but you’re seriously considering the guy who’s only been up for two-plus weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We break from the usual 12 dollar salads, donkeys, and hypothermia to breakdown, in basic fashion, the relief rankings for the final 70-plus games.  Why is this helpful you may ask?  Because for trade target reasons or chasing saves for points, you may want guy A over guy B.  With the relief ranks it is as fluid as a clogged sewer drain, because on any given week, the middling type closer can hit bumps in the road and be removed from contention. So if you are using this as a trade commodity in your quest to add saves, my advice is this add the elite only.  Nothing lower than the top-12.  These guys are all nailed on and in an impressive state, barring an injury obviously. Now with that, we also have to realize that trades will happen… and take one reliever from a good situation to a better one, then on the reflexive of that, it can turn one with a job into a set-up situation.  Regardless, here is my stab at the top relief pitchers for the second half of the Fantasy Baseball season.  Cheers!

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Yesterday, Jacob deGrom threw a complete game with 1 ER, 9 baserunners (4 BBs), 6 Ks, lowering his ERA to 4.33.  Oh, his peripherals are beautiful.  Velocity is fine, even up a tad up, and that’s not the new radar gun positioning talking.  For what it’s worth, a radar gun can’t talk.  His Ks are way up.  Walks are up too, but not quite to the point where it justifies his four-plus ERA.  His xFIP is even below where it was last year.  So, what explains his mediocre ERA besides the general answer of:  Mets gonna Mets?  He’s not throwing his cutter or change nearly as much and is almost entirely relying on a slider and four-seam fastball.  The change and cutter were never ‘big’ pitches for him, but mixing them in may have kept hitters honest like Abe Lincoln and iced tea.  His slider this year is barely a positive pitch for him.  Last year, it was a top 20 slider in the majors, right next to Sabathia, and that guy loves sliders!  As with most things Mets pitchers-related, it’s a conundrum wrapped inside a forklift of fortune cookies that is wrapped inside a turkey.  It’s called a turforkum.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The fantasy baseball roster you could make out of the current disabled list would easily be in first place in many rotisserie leagues. If you left your draft with all of these players healthy you would probably be pretty confident of your trophy chances. Granted, if you left your draft with these players I’d question the skills of your league mates.

Fun story, I once joined a friend’s new fantasy baseball league and one of the members had never done fantasy sports before. He drafted every offensive position in order starting with catcher in round 1. This was my actual reaction when I realized what was going on in about the 3rd or 4th round… Needless to say his pitching was a disaster.

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Yesterday, on the holiest of Hallmark-created holidays and celebrated most of all by Bill Hall, mothers from all different backgrounds came together to put up their feet, sip mimosas and talk about how “The Handmaid’s Tale” could totally happen now with Trump.  I’d contend that Hallmark should get a little credit for women’s rights.  Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Secretary’s Day, “Buy a card just because you love her” Day… Before this, it was, “Do you wanna make this pelt I skinned into a rug or a sweater for little Kevin?  What?  You’re tired from churning butter?  Okay, you can have the afternoon after you make beef and kidney pie.”  In honor of Mother’s Day, one of the great lovers of women (who are handcuffed to his bedpost), Aroldis Chapman was diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation, and will be sidelined for a month.  If Dellin Betances is available in your league, can I get into your league?  If there’s an entry fee, all the better.  You pay it, and we’ll split the cash prizes.  I even grabbed Tyler Clippard in one league just in case Betances gets all Cuddle Boy on us.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Well, the demise of the active leader in career saves has happened. I can remember the days when he burst on the scene all wide-eyed and rally monkey backed.   That, unfortunately, was a dogs age in closer years.  Hell, most closers now a days are judged by weeks instead of years.  I personally don’t wanna think that he is completely done closing, but I think that he is done closing with the tigers (barring an injury or three).  So now it is the Justin Wilson show.  He is no stranger to high-leverage spots as he has been a critical holds guy for the past three years.  For comparison’s sake, think Tony Watson type of reliever… they even came up together with the Pirates to boot.  So the main question is will Wilson continue as such as the Tigers closer?  I say why not.  Joe Jimenez isn’t ready for prime time yet, or they don’t wanna throw the reigns on him yet.  The team has looked mediocre, and sorta old.  So alleviating Wilson to the closer role does two things: Makes their best reliever in the bullpen the closer, and it gives him even more trade value should the Tigers fall out of the race and eventually sell of some pieces.  Saves are ownable everywhere, and this doesn’t appear to be a committee type thing, so if you own him good on ya.  Let’s see what else is going down on Save Street lately…

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Jeurys Familia has been diagnosed with a clogged artery in his right shoulder.  Do the Met doctors have Waze?  Try the Van Wyck Artery.  You know what’s happening here, right?  This is Metsferatu, the evil spirit who haunts Mets pitching.  Metsferatu was not happy about the Taillon news, only he sidelines pitchers!  Metsferatu looks at back cover of the Post and Daily News, plotting his next move, “What if I give Gsellman a third testicle?  Or two horns that pop out of his forehead so people can call him Gazelleman?  Maybe I go hitter and turn Neil Walker into a zombie.  Will anyone notice?  I mean, I had them replace a guy with Valley Fever with a guy named dude-a and no one said a damn thing.”  So, Jeurys Familia could be out a while, or not at all.  Still early to say, but I would absolutely grab Addison Reed.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If players are going to break out in a season, they don’t always break out the first week of a season.  I’m reminded of another Phillies player, Dominic Brown.  The year he broke out, it didn’t happen until June of that year.  Of course, in subsequent years, his swing got long like Don Johnson’s in The Harrad Experiment and rather than working his way back in the cages, Brown was preoccupied with avoiding his stalker, Tehol.  This brings us to another potential breakout, Aaron Altherr.  Or as Mystikal calls him, Altherr.  You don’t have to be scurred, he’s doing his thang.  Altherr hit two more homers yesterday (2-for-4, 4 RBIs, hitting .351), and is one of the hottest players in the majors this week.  Of course, this won’t continue, but to what degree will this tail off?  By the way, I want to be a judge at a twerking competition called a Tail Off.  In the minors, he’s shown speed (20-ish) and power (teen-ish).  With his Ks and BABIP, his average will come down a long way (maybe .250), but I see no reason why he can’t be a 17/20/.250 hitter on the year, and definitely a must own.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Anthony Rendon went 6-for-6, 5 runs, 10 RBIs and his first three homers of the year.  *gulps*  Sonavabench!  That is worst sonavabench I’ve had in my life and I thought my worst sonavabench was when I benched Conforto on Saturday for his double slam and legs.  Five homers on my bench in two days.  I feel a little uneasy from this sonavbenching.  Is woozy a side effect of sonavabench?  I feel legit woozy.  I need to sit down.  *vomits*  I feel worse.  “Hello, I need a paramedic.  The problem?  I BENCHED RENDON FOR THE TOP OFFENSIVE GAME OF THE SEASON!  Yes, I have insurance.  No, it’s not an HMO.”  *turns on oven, sticks head in oven, reads The Bell Jar lit by the pilot light*  This book is so boring, at what point does Plath mention Rendon and bite the big one?  So, yeah, I’m an idiot for benching Rendon, but what can do, as my Polish neighbor used to say.  On the bright side, he appears out of his early season slump.  That’s a consolation prize like coming in second on The Bachelor and all you get is herpes.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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When struggles happen, the fantasy geeks come out of the wood work with words like “decreased velocity”, “contact rate” and “swing strike percentage”.  Now I am no geek, but Roberto Osuna is failing the eye test for me.  Control is all over the place and he has zero confidence in his pitches.  Yes, if you look at all his secondary pitching attributes, they are all down or up for the worse.  First, his velocity is down almost two MPH from last year.  Granted, he did miss some time this spring though, so there is a reason to have a letter from his mom to explain that.  His z-contact rate (pitches in the strike zone) is off the charts bonkers.  It currently sits at 91%.  If he had pitched more than five innings to date and qualified, he would have the highest such contact rate in baseball among relievers.  That is not a good trait to have as a closer, let alone a mammal.  Finally, his swing strike percentage has bottomed out at a cool 10%, which would put him outside the top-100 relievers.  And surrounded by names like Tommy Hunter and Michael Ynoa, all staples to a flourishing fantasy team.  So what do we do?  You cuff him.  Jason Grilli is the best name there and Ryan Tepera just got the save in extra innings the other day.  All we can hope for from Bobby Osuna is that with some more innings and builds back up to the 9-plus K/9 reliever we drafted as our 1A closer.  It isn’t time to panic, but do yourself a favor and cover your bases.  Here’s what else is going down in the end game… Cheers!

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