I have said it here previously that grabbing relievers from a hot team or a team on a winning streak is usually a fantastic strategy from a holds perspective.  I really have said it multiple times, so my memory is better than your’s.  The Indians are in unprecedented territory as the team is in the midst of a win streak for the ages.  It seems like two Hatteberg’s and maybe half a David Justice ago that we remember the A’s had a win streak of twenty. But now the Indians are on their own 20-plus win streak.  Winning is a team effort, but Holds are what we care about in the Bullpen report.  The Indians Bullpen over the course of their win streak is just over a buck fitty, and that’s not what matters for this post.  The accumulation of goodies is what makes them all shiny.  The group of Bryan Shaw, Nick Goody, Tyler Olson and Joe Smith have totaled 20 holds over their last 20 games.  That total is just crazy, because since the all star break (which was 40 plus games ago) the have more holds than six teams do in total since said All Star break.  So investing in Cleveland for bullpen stuff is where it’s at currently.  Chase the win streak to aide in your pursuit of a Holds championship.  Let’s see what else is going down in the world of holds and bullpens…

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Watching Luis Castillo is officially an ASMR trigger.  *insert onomatopoeia of satisfied exhale, picks up invisible fork and knife, mimes cutting up satisfied exhale, eats exhale*  Do you see how Castillo’s got me?  I’m eating satisfied exhales.  Can I write the 2018 fantasy baseball sleeper post right now for Luis Castillo?  TFW you see Castillo:  Insert Oprah’s o face around Gayle King.  CASTILLO MAKING ME CRAZY!  And not eating sugar for six days isn’t helping.  This Whole30 Diet got me like:  insert crazy-googly eyes.  I got Biggie Smalls eyes right now.  *smacks face*  Be coherent, Grey!  Sorry, about that.  Yesterday, Luis Castillo went 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.12.  His surface perfs:  9.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.40 xFIP, averages 98 MPH, and now I’m lightheaded again.  Okay, need to save something for his 2018 sleeper post.  As for this year, this was his last start, unless you count Strat-o-Matic starts I’m making with him all winter.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It is that time of the year my good fellows, that allegiances and brand loyalty are thrown out the window.  As stalwarts start to grow warts, and the season long compilers gather some moss.  Allegiances and growing to fond of your roster for Holds is what sets apart first place and the rest of the standings.  Who you roster on your team is your own business, but I am here to learn you something as the season long leaderboard for holds is kinda stale.  The overall season leader, Taylor Rogers, has 2 in the past two weeks.  It doesn’t get any prettier as you go down the top 5 either.  Nick Vincent has 1, Jacob Barnes has 1, Jose Ramirez has 2, and Pedro Baez has 2.  Not completely awe-inspiring returns for the top of the top for holds.  On the contrary, the leaders in the past 14 days: Kyle Barraclough, David Hernandez, and Tommy Hunter all have 5.  Far more significant returns for a reliever, and it brings me to my key point… Grab a hold and ditch, period.  The names that are garnering late game situations is growing rapidly and will increase even more once rosters expand.  This is the “what have you done for me lately” approach to hold accumulation down the stretch.  Yes, the guys you roster may be great at K/9 and BB/9 and have stellar WHIP totals etc, but when chasing the one key cog stat for set-up men, that being the hold, no allegiances should remain.

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The inter-webs may something different, but I am here to learn you that it is going to be a committee instead of what the searched answer may be.  It’s not looking fantastic for Trevor Rosenthal as he was pulled from the game on Wednesday with an injury and then sent home for further testing.  So that leaves a “collage” of relievers chirping to get a shot and maybe a re-emergence of Seung-Hwan Oh.  My guess is that it becomes a complete match-up based issue for their skipper Mike Matheny.  (Name that I wanna hone in on here is Tyler Lyons though.)  This, after all, is the bullpen report and he does, like the aforementioned names, pitch from the bullpen.  Lyons, over his last 14 appearances, which coincidentally is after the last earned run he allowed, has pitched to the tune of a 0.00 ERA, 18 K’s (good for a 14 K/9), and only has allowed 2 hits and 3 BB’s, good for 5 baserunners against 44 batters faced.  If you don’t have a calculator watch handy, that is a .032 batting average against.  So in laymen’s terms, he has been awesome.  It is the holds post for the week, so he had 5 of those to boot.  Hot teams, breed hot bullpens.  It is a fact.  Chasing holds, find a team that is over .600 in win percentage over the last 15 games and roster any guy that is in the pen that sees leverage situations.  Returns will come.  Advice and morale of the story given, now onto some other factoids of deliciousness for the week in bullpen/holds news.  Cheers!

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The trade deadline usually makes a real hash out of bullpens, and this year was no different.  Closers become just ordinary relievers.  Ordinary relievers become closers on teams punting.  Even further down, the holds through the obtuse guys now become a usable commodity.  Fantasy baseball with hold leagues, catch the spirit!  So like I was just saying, we have seen 5-6 teams rip apart their pecking order for hold-dom, and in some cases muddle up the closer order by trade, attrition, or subtraction.  This is a good thing, makes decisions easier.  Aim for guys on teams that are still getting you save opportunities. If you can’t find the stat, always fall back on the standings to guide your waiver wire hand.  Or even more finite, look at that teams W/L record over the last 10 games.  It is no coincidence that the top three teams in save opportunities since the All-Star break have winning records (Dodgers, Mariners, and Blue Jays).  Also, if you haven’t been streaming Holds yet this year, there is no better time than the present.  The list of holds leaders over the last 15 games is littered with names that weren’t even in print by me for the whole year.  So don’t be afraid to roster the unknown rather than a commodity because with the season basically over in six weeks (three if you have playoffs), every one counts and every H2H win counts.  Cheers!

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This is the best time of the year, next to when Shark Week is on TV.  All the movement in real baseball sends a ripple throughout the fantasy universe and in most position player cases, the player is owned to the moon or already a contributor.  Not so much in the realm of baseball’s forgotten warriors: the setup men.  As teams scramble for bullpen help, it creates an everlasting (not really forever) waterfall effect that resonates to the new and old team.  Take for example the Yankees/White Sox trade it has created job questions for five separate relievers: Betances, Robertson, Kahnle, Clippard and Swarzak.  Now with all the hype surrounding trade rumors, it is best to identify the team who gets the bullpen help first, than the trading team second.  Because the trading team usually is where the goodies are at.  Anthony Swarzak looks to be the biggest beneficiary in the setup options, and yes, Clippard will be closing, but Swarzak will be there when Clippard gets dealt again whether it’s before or after the non-waiver trade deadline.  So to summarize here, be speculative but not crazy.  Pay attention to the reliever deals in place and realize that some pitchers get moved down a few pegs, but on the reflexive, some move up. Have at some juicy reliever tidbits, Cheers!.

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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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Just when the ship couldn’t sink any lower, the Giants lost their closer for the second time this year.  When it happens once, sure… twice?  I have my doubts. Mark Melancon hit the DL with more arm ailments and received a PRP injection in his arm.  No, a PRP injection isn’t something that you search for on your go-to-p0rn site of choice.  It is never a good thing, especially for a scuffling team like the Giants.  They have already had attempts at the closer with Derek law, Hunter Strickland/ and now re-tread candidate Sam Dyson is thrown into the fray.  I mean, I am no Nostradamus here, but it doesn’t look good.  It’s almost like that 2:00 AM special when you stare across the bar and try to decide if it’s better then going home alone and revisiting that PRP search on that website of choice.  We saw earlier this year that Dyson is not to be trusted, granted that saves are saves are saves, but at what cost?  An inflated ERA and 1-2 save chances a week… maybe.  Hunter Strickland got the first save, but only because Dyson was plucked from the bullpen in 4-of-the-last-5. For a team that struggles to score runs, can’t keep the ball in the yard from a starting pitcher standpoint, and a bullpen with tons of failed attempts at a closer, the benefit just isn’t there.  So if you must, the order as of right now is: Dyson, Strickland, then Kontos.  But for a team with only 16 saves to show on the season, the chase is more exciting than the ownership.  Enough about the city of Rice-A-Roni, and onto the week in Holds and such!

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The Jewish Sphinx has a riddle that goes like this, “What does the old man scream while at the urinal?”  The answer, of course, is, “Peacock!”  The Jewish Sphinx is silly, but hella good with money!  “Why are you buying all those irrigation tools at Home Depot when you’ll eventually come across a mirage?”  Great point, Jewish Sphinx!  Or better known as Joshua Sphinxberg.  Any hoo!  This brings us (not really) to our featured Buy this week, a guy that needs no introduction, which is why I talked about Joshua Sphinxberg for 120 words — Brad Peacock!   I don’t love featuring starters as the lede Buy because they have one bad start and people are like, “Grey’s dumb, what else is new?”  Um, MasterChef, that’s also new.  Getting the obvious out of the way, I don’t know why Peacock’s parents didn’t name him Bird instead.  Now, his peripherals.  Zoinks, they are gorge:  13.5 K/9, 2.87 xFIP, 16% line drive rate, which would be the seventh lowest in the majors, and 27% soft contact, which would be the 2nd highest in the majors, just after Dallas Keuchel.  People are teeing off on Peacock like they just pressed their nose to the handle of a bat and spun in circles for five minutes.  Of course, Peacock’s one downside is his balls.  He is an old man!  No, he throws too many of them.  Peacock’s command could use one of those urinal flies on the catcher’s mitt.  Either way, I’d absolutely grab him in all leagues; he looks like he could be breaking out.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Something struck me the other day.  Luckily, not a bus.  No, it was a thought.  Bus-sized thought!  I was looking at Rob Neyer’s Twitter account, and he’s almost completely stopped talking about baseball and it’s all about politics.  It’s like he’s taken “stick to sports” as a directive of what not to do.  Occasionally, I’ll make a joke about Trump, but no more than I joke about being married to a Cougar, being a Jew who thinks he’s black, Mike Napoli’s mom’s breasts, hating C**nt Hurdle or an array of things.  Honestly, I miss baseball Rob Neyer.  His hot takes on politics are fine.  Personally, I agree with his politics, but at a certain point doesn’t he miss baseball?  He was the one person who I read religiously at ESPN.  Might be the last person I’ve ever read at ESPN.  The grand game misses you, buddy, come back from the MSM hot takes.  Any hoo!  Rudy’s title inspired me to talk on that topic, but Joe Ross.  He’s why we’re here.  Yesterday, he went 7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners (0 BBs), 12 Ks.  Is it a Mirage or is the Circus, Circus back in town and he’s a Treasure Island of Wynn (I don’t know why I’m in Vegas now.)  His peripherals can go either way.  His 9.7 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 3.48 xFIP are gorge, but his velocity is way down.  Down to the point where his Hard Contact is up nearly 10% to just under 40%.  The absolute worst of the worst allow Hard Contact at that rate.  Yesterday was a great sign, and I’d hold or grab him, but I want to see another start before saying he’s back.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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