The Houston Astros top first base prospect, future MLB All-Star slash hall of famer and savior of my fantasy team, A.J. Reed, has finally been called up after several weeks of waiting. The 23-year old phenom was currently slashing a very modest .266/.345/.509 with 11 homers and 36 RBI in 59 games with AAA Fresno. Certainly nothing to sneeze at, but it’s the fact that A.J. has hit safely in his past 8 games batting .372 with 14 hits, 3 homers, 3 doubles and 7 RBI in that stretch that makes me say, “aww yissss, thatswhatimtalkinabout!” You need more? What if I told you that A.J. Reed was one of the best hitters in the minors last year hitting .340/.432/.612 with 34 homers and 127 RBI between AA and AAA (135 games). Oh boy, now that is some POWER! All caps! Yessir, A.J.’s got a molly whopping home run stick and then some. Primed to hit the ding dongs! The one caveat, which is a French word for bad stuffs, is that A.J. has struggled mightily against lefties batting just .222 against them. This appears to be Houston’s primary reason for delaying his call-up, and as a result I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reed sit versus lefties in the early going. Regardlesss, irregahdless, irrecaveats, let’s recap: A.J. Reed is finally here, he should get the majority of the playing time at first base, he has immense power upside and you should add him everywhere he’s available. He’s going to save my fantasy team and trust me I wouldn’t have quoted Top Gun if I wasn’t completely serious. This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Not sure how many of you saw it yesterday, but Terry Collins got heated in a press conference when the Mets’ PR guy wanted him to tell the media more about Syndergaard.  Finally, Collins called him a puppy dog and stormed out.  Now, in a move that will be sure to make even the best PR person sweat, the Mets are in final talks to reunite with Jose Reyes.  The news picked up steam when management asked that the players’ wives not travel with the team.  Also, Wilmer Flores better not cry if Reyes joins the team.  Reyes smells the slightest weakness and he becomes a slap hitter (of recent vs. of old).  So, what can we expect of Reyes if he does land on the Mets, or any team, because he will sign somewhere.  Last year, in 116 games, he had 7 homers, 24 steals and a .274 average.  Honestly, that’s not that bad.  He can’t stay healthy, but maybe starting in July will help with that.  Figure he can play 80 games, which should put him in the area of a 7-10 HRs, 17-25 SBs and a .270 average.  Not terrible if you’re struggling at shortstop or MI.  Maybe the Mets will say eff it and also hire Doc Gooden to cut the foul lines.  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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Throughout my time as a dynasty player, I’ve learned that there’s one thing that’s as inevitable in this format as death and taxes….. turnover. Sometimes it’s simply because a manager no longer likes the format or league. Sometimes it’s a lack of the time element that needs to be applied to properly compete. Other times it’s an incident that disenfranchises owners, and leads them to quit. Well over the last month I’m pretty sure all of these apply to outgoing managers within our Razzball in-house dynasty the Razznasty. There’s been drama, tears, a gang-related shooting, and an arm wrestling tournament in a truck stop. Actually I think I’m confused, all those things happened during my Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws. You know what they say, “sometimes you join the Hell’s Angels, and other times you marry into them”.  Moving along, let’s discuss the standings, trades, and wavier claims for the month of May.

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You flip through your cassette singles.  You pop in James Ingram’s Just Once cassette single, but decide that’s better to play right after taking the love of your life for an abortion.  You then pop in the In Your Eyes cassette single, but it feels too Say Anything.  You then pop in the Always & Forever single you played on the way to prom, and it…feels right.  You take your boombox and place it on your shoulder, Luther Vandross plays obnoxiously loud if Vandross could ever be obnoxious, but you decide he can’t be.  The song gets to the end and you flip it over to play the Always & Forever house remix.  Yet, this whole time, Matt Harvey‘s Buy Low Window stays shut.  You wonder why it won’t open again, and sigh.  It’s now shut because yesterday Matt Harvey went 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA down to 5.37.  Looks like the slider returned with his velocity.  Last week I said I didn’t think his problems were unfixable, yesterday he showed they weren’t.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Matt Harvey (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA up to 6.08) briefly held the honor of having the worst ERA of any National League starter at 6.08, which means Harvey is the only one happy with Shelby Miller this year.  It’s time we addressed the giant imaginary rabbit in the room, Harvey.  The Mets thought that Harvey’s problems were mental and considered burning all of his locker’s contents to rid him of the bad juju.  Can you put his “animosity for Terry Collins” in the locker too?  How about his “bitterness at not being the star pitcher anymore?”  Does that fit in a locker?  What about “brooding?”  Does brooding fit in a locker?  Someone needs to salve Harvey’s ego with some Jergen’s lotion because you can see his buttsoreness (totally a word!).  His velocity looked fine yesterday, but his slider is not being located with precision.   Also, check this:  1st time through the order facing Harvey:  .241/.292/.373; second time:  .301/.326/.518; third time:  .509/.563/.764.  What does that tell me?  He’s having a hard time keeping his pitches fresh the 2nd and 3rd time a hitter sees him, which goes back to the slider.  I don’t think his problems are unfixable, but he may need a trip to the Disgraceful List with a mysterious ailment to clear his head and figure out his slider.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts.  The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep.  Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives.  Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role.  He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety.  Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board.  Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball.  So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so.  If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you.  So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…

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Danny Valencia had himself a nice little weekend.  On Friday, he hit two homers, then yesterday he became only the third player to ever have a three-homer game (3-for-5, 5 RBIs) against the Rays (last one was Carlos Delgado in 2003), and only the 2nd player that also stood for the pregame National Anthem.   Valencia grew up Jewish, and, according to Wikipedia, “(Valencia’s) two key hitting coaches growing up were Bob Molinaro, a family friend who is a former major leaguer, and his mother Mindy.”  I didn’t have a Jewish mother, but have plenty of experience being half-Jewish, so I can imagine the guilt trips he got, “Why don’t you marry a nice Jewish girl and stop swinging at balls in the dirt?”  “You never call your mother, and you’re opening up too soon.”  “You can go take batting practice after you give your mother a kiss.”  Wikipedia doesn’t mention it, but one less guilt-inducing hitting coach he had was Jose Bautista.  Valencia learned how to hit for more power from Joey Bats.  Since Bautista imparted wisdom on Valencia, he’s hit 30 homers in the last 580 ABs.  So, can Valencia keep it going?  It appears so.  Now finish your latkes and keep your hands back!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Ugh, the smell of my onsies de Mayo is so much worse than a normal day.  I reek of sizzlin’ fajitas and am all cotton-mouthed from… well let’s just say alcohol.  So attacking the usual Saturday bullpen rundown is a dizzying affair to say the least.  Speaking of a dizzying places, let’s look at the Rockies bullpen situation; it’s definitely not all kush, but it’s not charcoal brick pack.  The trust in Jake McGee is still there, because to be honest, the talent level behind him isn’t really there, is not ready, or has no experience in the end-of-game thing.  Behind Jake are Chad Qualls, who has pitched the majority of the right-handed match-ups in the 8th inning with a smattering of Boone Logan mixed in.  Now, I was nervous about McGee’s K-rate until I saw what Qualls’ was.  The stout bunch of McGee and Qualls have a combined K/9 over the last 14 games of 5.16.  That is combined!  I can’t make up this stuff.  The role of closer is most likely safe because the next guy up is Qualls, and well, if that last stat statement wasn’t enough to make you bored, I don’t know what else to say.  The look of the rest of the pen is very unproven with Scott Oberg, Justin Miller, and Gonzalez Germen.  What this bullpen needs is a youth movement to come front and center.  They have the guys there, but aren’t utilizing them in a role that is conducive for anything outside of dynasty leagues that count holds.  Eddie Butler and Carlos Estevez (no not that one) are a good start to what could be a decent mix.  And yes, I see Butler as a bullpen arm.  Getting chances are sparser than other teams for the Rockies, but with time, and once they start invigorating the youth into the chain of holds and saves command, progress will be made even above sea level.  Let’s see what other gobs of knowledge we have for the closers over the last few weeks…

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