Well we weren’t talking about deep fried empanadas.  We were talking about the retro-chich lads from that Navy town of San Diego…  Yes, those Padres of the last place origin.  The ones with 16 whole wins in their favor on the year.  Sneaky Hold situations make my world go round.  Which, in turn, makes me spurn to you on the recycled tip of the serving platter from a fantasy analyst.  Over the last 14 games, the Padres have endured some good fortune in the reliever ranks, namely Brandon Maurer.  Maurer has netted himself 7 Holds over that time, or in fantasy bullpen coverage terms here at the Razz-nation, a hold the fort(night). Maurer is the 8th inning guy and if you are in a holds league, then he is probably taken.  Him of the 14-plus K-rate over the last 10 games and because they strung a few victories in a row, boom! Stats.  But we all know how many holds he has in the last umpteen days… because we can all read stat lines and understand that one plus the previous amount equals today’s total.  Math catch-up lesson over.  The Father’s depth in the pen doesn’t just end with Brandon.  Take a look deeper and we will come across not the candelstick maker, nor the baker, but the Butcher.  As in Ryan Butcher.  While Maurer seems to get all the decent looks in the 8th for the beloved hold, Butcher seems to latch onto him like a paramecium in heat looking for a Padres win.  Averaging over a K per inning, and duly entrenched as the bridge to the bridge to Fernando Rodney (which probably really isn’t much of a bridge of at all, but just a rope with board entwined with hope aspiration and tears), so with this brief biopic on the San Diegans bullpen fellas, lets look at what else is bouncing around in the world of set-up, set-up to get beat down.  I get nothing but a hold.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hold the Internet presses (which is just posting a silly video; that makes the internet stop)!  Jonathan Villar isn’t owned in more than 50% of leagues?  That feels like a personal slight against my manhood.  And my manhood is already slight!  Hey, Previous Sentence Grey, not cool!  My bad, Next Sentence Grey, but you set yourself up!  This is like a Yo Momma episode on MTV where everyone called in sick so they had one schizophrenic guy play both sides.  Yo, Momma is so fat her blood type is gravy!  *same guy runs to other side*  Oh!  Oh!  Okay, well, your Momma is so dumb she drafted A.J. Pollock!  Snap!  *runs to the other side, but pulls hammy*  Yo Momma, shoot, can we pause?  My hammy’s torn. *collapses onto ground*  Don’t think MTV didn’t consider the one man Yo Momma show.  Insider talk, they are one of the cheapest channels.  It’s no surprise all of their shows star unknowns.  Okay, this is neither funny nor that illuminating.  I love Villar because SAGNOF.  I hear ya, prematurely balding man, what happens when Arcia is called up?  Well, we don’t know when Orlando Arcia will be called up and Villar can play 3rd (since everyone is over Hill, especially Aaron) or Villar can play 2nd, and Scooter’s a platoon guy that can’t always get it out of first.  Villar has 40-steal speed and should not be on waivers anywhere.  *pulled hammy Yo Momma guy pokes his head up*  Yo Momma is so ugly…Yeah, I can’t continue, my hammy is killing me.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When looking at the standings, it is usually a great indicator of how well a team is doing by looking at the Hold leaders.  It doesn’t tell you all or is the end all be all of indicators, but when you have three guys in the top-4, it speaks volumes.  It shows the team is ahead, but not by so much that they are blowing people out, have a great set of flow through the bullpen with set jobs, and they are successfully in-sync.  Not that “in-sync”, but yeah, sorta because something that included J.T. can’t really be all that bad.  So what is making the Chicago White Sox so good at what they are doing right now?  First, it starts from the last inning back.  David Robertson has the goods of what you want from a closer, he has the K-rate and decent control to limit base runners.  What I am noticing is he is keeping the ball away from the upper part of the zone, which was his buga-boo from the past; that he gives up too many homers.  In front of him, he has a trio of relievers with different mindsets.  Nate Jones is basically a closer in front of the real closer, but with a better approach of pitching to contract then K’ing everyone.  Zach Duke is by far the sexiest LOOGY in the business right now and Matt Albers is an all effort pitcher with tons of movement on his pitches.  Add in the fact that they have Putnam and Petricka as sub pieces that can fit into anyone’s role, and they have what looks like in the early stages of the season the best bullpen in baseball. That is not to say that it will last but the investment level from a fantasy level, especially from a holds league, but it is very stout.  So check out the other tidbits and bits tids that I have for you after the bump.  (Plus a chart that monitors usage and runs given up by relievers that usually lead to them losing or gaining spots in the pen.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Astros announced that Lance McCullers would start the year on the DL.  Just like a Mick to skip out on work on St. Patty’s Day.  Keeping an eye on you, Andrew McCutchen!  At least we don’t have to start the year with tears for Fiers.  Everybody wants to rule the Astros rotation!  With it being announced that McCullers would start the year on the DL, I dropped him 15 spots in my starting pitcher ranks and lowered his projections.  He’s now in the top 60 starters vs. the top 40 starters.  He’s a young pitcher with a shoulder issue, so if you take my previous excitement and divide it by my current hesitation, you get the entire Angels team dancing on the head of a pin.  Okay, my math might be off there, but I’m trying to weigh my current cautious optimism with my realistic pessimism.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sneaky free K’s are all the rage for a streaming option when a starter just won’t do.  The numbers they put up are more of a collection-basis rather than a hunt, play and punt.  Relievers, not just closers, are the container that transports the glue.  Can you imagine glue not coming in a container and just being had at the local sundry store by the handful?  Messy proposition my friends.  Non-closers are what every complete fantasy team need.  They are like the egg in a good recipe – you can often substitute one reliever for another.  That’s what makes them so handy… they don’t usually carry a huge draft day burden.  They are basically free waiver-wire adds.  For those in holds leagues, that doesn’t always ring true, and when I start getting into the preseason hold rankings, some of the names will be similar.  That’s because the names you want just don’t give you holds, they give you multiple stats.  They are the five-tool performers in the industry of relief pitchers.  So here is a little preseason primer for guys who don’t really adorn too much draft day attention, but should be snagged in situations that require their services when you are short on K potential and maximizing the K/9 of your fantasy roster…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve just never been a Matt Moore guy…

Uber-talented Moore has always gotten praise for his clean mechanics and smooth delivery, plus fastball, and solid slider, but it never materialized into good control and solid numbers.  Those horrible, horrible walks…  Moore’s K zone looks like a star chart!

After never ranking him favorably the past few years because of a 4.5 walk rate, yes 4.5, I thought the buzz for him off the DL from TJ recovery was too… buzzy.  I’m at a loss for words I’m so confused!  But I hadn’t seen him pitch since hitting the DL after two starts last year, and maybe a reconstructed elbow can help.  “He’s more machine now, than man!”  Well let’s hope it helps the horrific walk rate!  Here’s how he looked yesterday hosting the Astros, along with ranks for pitchers for the second half:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kennys Vargas was demoted to Double-A. Shouldn’t it be Double-Kenny? It’s official, the Twins hate Vargas. They gave him all of about ten days to prove himself this time around. Maybe they just get off on killing Kennys. Oh, well, that’s all I wanted to say in the lede. Nothing else. Just gonna pick my cuticles until I get to that “Anyway, here’s what else” jazz that I always write. Oh, I guess I could mention Miguel Sano is being called up. I buried the lede worse than Kendall Graveman! First Buxton and now Sano, this is the most excitement Minnesota’s seen since Prince was spotted at a Cold Stone Creamery ordering raspberry sorbet, and, without missing a beat, the cashier said, “And if it was warm, you’d order much more,” then high-fived his oblivious co-worker. I just gave you my Miguel Sano fantasy. I wrote it with an 80’s glam Sharpie. I’ll add one thing to that. Grab him right now! He could hit .180 with power or he could hit .250 with power, but, either way, at corner infidel, you do worse, as my Jewish grandmother would say. After saying, “Oy, it’s hot in here.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s funny how drastic and immediate changes can be from the Minors to the Majors.  Thinking back on Trevor May who was profiled a few weeks back – the guy was walking everyone in the Minors and in his short stint in the Majors last year, to become top-25 in K:BB ratio.

But that took some seasoning.  We’re seeing something even drastic-er and immediate-er with what’s going on with the Astros younguns.  Lance McCullers went from being old Trevor May with better Ks to having an 18:0 K:BB stretch before getting a tad wilder these past few…  But he was supposed to struggle through control issues, not Vincent Velasquez!  Vinny V went from a 4.11 K:BB mowing through AA this year to 1.70 so far this year in the show with 17 Ks and 10 BB through his first three starts.

I was pretty high on Velasquez when he was called up, but maybe it was a tad too early for the 23 year old to find immediate success.  So I decided to break down his start yesterday, that should’ve been a cakewalk at the Mariners, to see how he’s looking:

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Before you accuse Jose Tabata of leaning into a pitch with two outs and Max Scherzer on the brink of a perfect game, let’s take you back to 2009. The then 19-year-old Jose Tabata was with his wife, the 54-year-old, Conchita Alonso Rivera Consuela Charlynn Torres, and she was pregnant. Conchita etc. would tell Jose to lean into her belly to hear the baby, and Jose leaned. At supermarkets, at carnivals, at the car wash, Conchita etc. asked Jose to lean and listen, and he did. Of course, there was no baby in her belly, it was actually a Betsy Wetsy doll that she shoved under her shirt. Later when Conchita etc. was arrested for falsifying a pregnancy and kidnapping a baby for Jose and her to raise as their own, they would meet at the glass partition in prison and she would tell Jose to lean in. Times were good, Jose leaned in. Times got rough, Jose leaned in. So, on Saturday, when the Pirates were one out from having a perfect game thrown against them, Jose did what he always did — he leaned in. After that no hitter, Max Scherzer has a 10.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a 1.76 ERA. So, yeah, he’s a top three starter, if not the best this year, and he is amazing. No kidding; hey, sorta like Tabata and his wife! (There is a lot more truth in this opening paragraph than you’d likely ever imagine. Just Google “Tabata wife” if you don’t believe me. Happy belabored Father’s Day, Tabata!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?