The White Sox were due to wear throwback jerseys on Saturday, and Chris Sale didn’t want to wear them.  The White Sox refused to relent, so Sale took it upon himself to do something.  Cut to, ahem, ten minutes later and Sale was sent home for throwing a temper tantrum and cutting up all the throwback uniforms.  The most surprising thing in this story:  the White Sox clubhouse had a pair of lefty scissors.  After Sale cut up the White Sox 1976 uniforms, Chet Lemon weighed in, saying, “It was a tough uniform to rock.  The guys on the 1983 team thought they had a reviled uniform.  At least in 1983, you could strut around like a peacock, which they called Paciorek’ing, due to the grace of teammate Tom Paciorek.  In 1976, they dressed me up like a lawn jockey.  That shizz was offensive!”  For his antics, Chris Sale was suspended for five games by the White Sox.  That’s the last time he tries to introduce a cutter without talking to the pitching coach.  Now, if the Red Sox trade for Sale, their top two starters could help win back the casual Jewish Red Sox fan who checked out after Youk and Theo left. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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Earlier this week, we looked at some lightly owned hitters in ESPN leagues who could be potential difference makers in fantasy baseball over the second half of the season. Today, it’s time to focus on some pitchers who can give your fake teams a boost down the stretch. Even if your team’s ratios look more unsightly than a Meg Ryan facelift, there’s still plenty of time remaining to fix those issues. So put down those Francisco Liriano and James Shields voodoo dolls people, and let’s go to work.

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The changing parabola that is the saves game is taking over the first “S” in this weeks post.  Steaks are boring, throw rocks at them.  The “saver stitch” has changed in several different destinations, and the funny thing is, I just wrote about closing situations two-and-half-days ago.  Strange days indeed, my friends.  The closer in the Desert, the Beantown, and now, the City of Angels, is possibly up for grabs.  Check the bottom for the first two, as I would like to concentrate on Huston Street.  He pulled up lame on Sunday and with the All-Star break here, we will anxiously await his massive 5.7 K/9 rate.  The rumor mill was already circling for Street to be a trade candidate in a few weeks, now the possible injury puts a dent in the already dented can.  The adds for the Angels are a yuck Joe Smith, who if possible, has been equally as bad as Street.  My speculative pick if Street is more injured than it appears is Deolis Guerra for a bit, before seeing what Cam Bedrosian has.  Baby Bedrock was a tout of mine a few months back and stumbled.  Guess what?  He is back, but no one cares because the Angels are bad and not anything or anyone watches except the cast of Angels in the Outfield.  So those looking for a speculative add for the boring non-three days of fantasy, check the stacks of Angels and be ahead of the curve, instead of having trouble with it.

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After swinging a deal for Aaron Hill on Wednesday, the Red Sox have beefed up their bullpen trading for Brad Ziegler. Ziegler was rocking a 2.82 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 18 saves with Arizona but he will likely be relegated to set up duty in Bean town. This is not to say his value is completely shot…yet. With Craig Kimbrel crying about his sore knee, Boston may be in need of an interim closer. Koji Uehara is the obvious first choice but his 4.96 ERA and 8 homers allowed in 32.2 IP make it seem like the choice ain’t so obvious. Still Koji’s 46/9 K/BB ratio makes me happy, and he notched the save Friday night (after surrendering a home run), so he’s the best bet for saves if Kimbrel misses any time. As for your new closer in the land of the rising sun? Tyler Clippard is the most likely candidate if you need saves or a buzz cut. He’s got a 3.06 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 32.1 IP, and saved 19 games for the Mets and A’s last year, but his career 57% save conversion rate certainly doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence. Daniel Hudson is the ideal saves candidate in Zona but has struggled mightily over the past month (12.96 ERA, 2.40 WHIP in 8.1 innings). Regardless, if you need a save and a haircut, I’d grab Clippard and Hudson in that order. And if you’re a Boston Red Sox team that desperately needs starting pitching, I’d recommend trading for a infielder and a relief pitcher.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Philly fans are often singled out for their rude, obnoxious behavior, but yesterday, as the Mets hit six home runs, the Philly fans were attempting to be on their best behavior.  Here’s a few of the more polite things heard, “Excuse me, sir, are you using the batteries in your portable radio?  I’d like to throw them at someone’s shoulder.  No, not their head.  That would be rude.”  Also heard, “I hate to waste a cheesesteak, but I’d like to vomit on an unsuspecting Mets fan.”  “Jimmy, no, vomit on a suspecting Mets fan.”  “Yeah, you’re right, Marge.”  Finally, “These Mets are fun to watch, I get to try out new curse words — screw you, nut sock!”  Then, with a pleased smile, “See, it’s like sack, but sock.  Catchy, no?”  Philly fans had all kinds of reasons to be annoyed yesterday as the Mets did damage.  Yoenis Cespedes hit his 4th homer (1-for-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs).  Driving to the park in a limited edition car made of guano and Play-Doh must be his good luck charm!  Michael Conforto hit his 2nd homer (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) as he hit third until he was pinch hit for against a lefty later in the game.  I get that Conforto’s a lefty and it’s a matchup thing, but there’s gotta be some kind of unspoken rule.  The guy you bat third in your lineup is not a platoon player.  That’s Connie Mack to Earl Weaver to Coach Taylor rock solid coach stuff.  You don’t pinch hit your three hole hitter!  Then Neil Walker hit his 5th and 6th homers (2-for-5), with two homers in the past two days, and, honestly, truthfully, interruptingly, when you have six homers in 13 games, there weren’t a whole lot of games where you didn’t homer.   Finally, Lucas Duda hit his 2nd homer (1-for-5, 2 RBIs), and 2nd in as many days.  The Phillies starters really aren’t that bad.  Dot dot dot.  Compared to their relievers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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.

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A few weeks ago, we looked at some interesting hitter stats over the last few years. If you didn’t find the stats and trends that were highlighted in that article to be particularly interesting, at least you might have been mildly amused by the inclusion of names such as Jack Cust, Candy Nelson, and Silver Flint. Today, it’s the pitchers’ turn. Perhaps I can find an excuse to reference Cannonball Titcomb in this post. There’s only one way to find out! (spoiler alert: he won’t be mentioned again)

Just as I did in the hitter edition of this series, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on pitchers only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (strikeouts, win-loss record, innings pitched, ERA, WHIP) to the slightly more advanced (K/BB ratio, LOB%, batted ball profile, SwStr%).

Let’s get to it. Here are some interesting pitcher stats and trends to consider entering the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

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What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

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Adam Eaton (+39%) was the most added player in fantasy baseball this past week. Up until recently, Eaton has been the fantasy baseball equivalent of a “salad guy” throughout most of his career. You know the type of person that I’m referring to. The kind who orders a salad as his main course for a meal at a restaurant, just like in the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry did that exact thing on a date and then spent the rest of the episode trying to man-up for his woman and make reparations for that questionable decision. There usually isn’t much substance to the salad guy, and I always find that person difficult to trust quite frankly. “Hey, here’s another 1-for-4 for you, and I even threw in a run this time. Maybe I’ll steal a base for you next week. Or not. Stay tuned!” That’s pre-2015 Eaton talking to his fantasy owners while munching on some lettuce. Smug bastard!

However, things have changed for Eaton this season, particularly in the second half. Maybe he finally traded in those salads for some delicious Chicago deep dish pizza over the all-star break. In 16 post-ASB games, he’s produced a .410/.532/.656 triple slash line with 3 homers, 18 runs, 7 RBI, and 5 steals. He’s finally going deep at the dish this year, hitting 9 of his 15 career homers while posting a career-high .155 ISO thus far. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced that he’s turned over a new leaf (because he’s eaten so many over the years), but there’s nothing wrong with riding this schmotato while he’s hot.

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

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