Some of the trade rumors I’ve seen are just plain funny.  Craig Kimbrel to the Yankees?  Wait, what!?  Really?  I’m not denying it as a possibility but I am thinking it might be a little overboard to acquire a premier closer when you probably only need a solid bullpen guy because you already have TWO premier closers.  The list of closers and strong middle relievers available is so long this year.  One thing’s for sure, there are going to be some strong bullpens vying for postseason play.  Here’s the lowdown on closers and some other relievers who could be dealt in the upcoming weeks, starting with some of the players most likely to be traded and ending in with those much less likely to be.

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Here I thought the Brew Crew were a dying entity this year with all this talk of punting and trading all their mid-level talent.  For soothe, they have had an impressive last 30 days in the Holds department.  It isn’t just one guy garnering them either…  It is a multi-syllabic hold dragon with three heads.  Each head is completely different and has a really cool story.  The first is the Fresh Prince of Holds, Will Smith. He has basically been what we all thought Jonathan Broxton would be this year, but probably with more success. Over the last 30 days he has 5 holds, 2 Wins, and a K/9 rate over pushing 14.  That is sassy with a Jor and extra emphasis on the dache.  The next is Michael Blazek, who in some weird way is basically Jeremy Jeffress‘s boy by name only.  I will call them Smoke, and yes please.   Common sense is there for anyone who knows dudes history.  He is my honorary hero and on the Smokey hall of fame wall with Lincecum, Chris Perez, and Dock Ellis.  So to their stats before I teeter out from pure excitement…  Blazek and Jeremy have both garnered 4 holds over the last 30 and form a power/finesse RH combo in front or beside Smith, and in front of K-Rod.  With all the trade talk surrounding basically everyone in baseball, it seems if K-Rod gets bounced out I have them Smith and Jeffress in a tie, then Blazek for saves, with Broxton on ready for that veteran preference.   So let’s see what other  bags of factoidal goodness I can come up with and of course the Holds chart for some good toilet reading…

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For my “Rest Of Season” edition of SAGNOF Special, I’d like to start with a confession, or really more of an admittance:  I’m in two Razzball Commenter Leagues this year and last year I was in one.  Those are only the fourth, fifth, and sixth rotisserie leagues I’ve ever played in.  This despite having played fantasy baseball since 2002.  The reason is because I’ve primarily played in head to head leagues.  One of the biggest differences between the two formats is the nuance involved in the tradeoff of various hitter stats (what one hitter can give you versus what another can) in rotisserie and it becomes much more important to not just realize where you are in the standings of individual stats but to try to predict/project where you will be by season’s end.  That’s why I’ve chosen to give you some Rest of Season Steamer projections for the best base stealers.  Use it to project your own players, to project your place in the final standings, or to scheme up a trade.

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So, you may have missed out on Cesar Hernandez and I am partially to blame.  (But don’t worry because according to Rotowire “Unfortunately, he lacks both power and speed, assets he would need to be fantasy relevant in all but the deepest fantasy leagues.”  On the other hand there is also: “Cesar, basically the awesomest guy in the world.“).  Uhhh, anyway, he stole 6 bases in a three game span and I haven’t even written about him yet.  If you are wondering how that happens, it’s in large part a timing thing, although I definitely should have looked into him as soon as he started playing more often because I would have seen he did show decent speed in the minors.  So what can we expect going forward?  Well, prior to an injury to Chase Utley, Hernandez was starting less than half the time.  Despite being outfield eligible he has yet to play there this year.  Upon Utley’s return he could steal (pun intended) games from Freddy Galvis in addition to occasional starts at second base so maybe he sees 5 starts each week.  He has a pretty good track record of stealing bases in the minors but prior to this year he only stole one base in 100 games and 256 plate appearances in MLB.  I think that if you picked up Hernandez you can feel ok about it, but temper your expectations somewhat. And if you missed out you should perhaps start by looking at players that may have been dropped in your league.

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Don’t yell at me! I own Carlos Santana and I know how awful he’s been! It makes sense that his name is Carlos Santana, because Carlos Santana looks like Edward James Olmos and the acne scars Olmos has are how deep Carlos Santana’s scarred my fantasy soul. Sometimes I wake at night in a cold sweat, frightened that Carlos Santana has found his way on all of my fantasy teams, only to realize it’s just a dream and I haven’t been sweating. Instead, I peed myself, so I fall back to sleep soundly. So, with that uplifting lead-in to this Buy, what do you sell to get Santana? A herpes blister and hope for a dead cat bounce? Yes, that would seem to be the case. Okay, enough hubbub on the tomfoolery, do I really want you to buy Santana? Yeah, I do. Let’s look at his 1st half vs. 2nd half last year. 1st half: 14 HRs, 37 RBIs, .207 average, 45.8% ground ball rate, and death threats for what he did to fantasy teams. The 2nd half last year: 13 HRs, 48 RBIs, .260 average in 16 less games than the 1st half. His ground balls went way down (not literally!) to 34.2% and his fly balls shot up (literally!). His hard contact went up, his Ks went down, his everything went up. Some thought that his 2nd half last year was a sign he was going to break out in April this year. Yeah, that didn’t happen, but he’s not old and I can’t imagine he’s going to stay this bad all year. This year’s 1st half of 9 HRs, .211, 44.8% GB rate isn’t the end of an era, but maybe about to be the end of his error. Pithy points! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The ESPYS are coming soon, so I decided it might be time to nominate some relief pitchers for mid-season hardware and steal a little bit of ESPN’s ESPYS thunder (that’s just wrong on more than one level) in the process.  Anyway, I’ll soon be handing an award to one of the relief pitchers with a chance to regress in a bad way and I’m calling these awards the Jurrjy’s because Jair Jurrjens was a pitcher that was as up and down as I can recall a pitcher being.  He was (is, I could say, after all he still exists, somewhere) a BABIP dependent* pitcher because of a low strikeout rate.  For instance, here are his 2011 1st half/2nd half  ERA splits: 1.87 in 110.2 1st half innings vs 5.88 in a small sample of 41.1 second half innings.  While it might have been better to pick a reliever to name this after, I can’t think of anyone that fits the description better than Jair Jurrjens.  The only problem is, I’m not sure if the “winner” is the one whose ERA regresses the most or the one who maintains the mirage.  I guess that’s up to the Academy to decide.  So without further ado, your 2015 Jurrjy nominees in the “rising ERA” category are:  Steve Delabar, middle reliever, Toronto Blue Jays (1.42 ERA /4.05 FIP).  Bryan Shaw, middle reliever, Cleveland Indians (2.10 ERA /4.62 FIP).  Joakim Soria, closer, Detroit Tigers (2.73 ERA /5.09 FIP).  Brad Ziegler, closer, Arizona Diamondbacks (1.45 ERA /3.78 FIP), Darren O’Day, middle reliever, Baltimore Orioles (1.21 ERA /3.17 FIP), and JJ Hoover, middle reliever, Cincinnati Reds (1.31 ERA / 3.10 FIP).  (*This article basically claims that pitcher BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is 75% luck, 13% defense, and 12% pitcher’s skill).

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Miguel Sano in the braino! When Sano, got no braino! Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in. Have a seat. Why aren’t you wearing pants? Okay, enough small talk! All right, one more bit of small talk. You ever go to Whole Foods and get something from their salad bar? Their cardboard containers suck! Unless you rip the container apart and lick the bottom, there’s no way to get everything out. Fine, maybe those few grains of quinoa are nothing, but at Whole Foods they cost, like, forty-five cents! Make a container where I don’t lose half my lunch because it gets stuck to the bottom of your stupid containers! Next time, I’m asking for a refund for the piece of lettuce that I can’t get out. No, I’m not cheap at all. Any the hoo! Miguel Sano! Right? Or right-right? Or right-right-right? Here’s what Prospect Mike said, “Sano has elite power with the potential for 35-40 homers at the major league level. He’s right there with fellow third base prospects Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo in that department. Sano most likely won’t hit for a high average, but his fantasy owners won’t mind if he’s launching 30+ bombs. I’d expect him to start the year in the upper minors with a mid or late season call-up a possibility. I like him almost as much as I hate Grey.” What’s with the hostility? PM, of course, is right. Sano has huge power upside. He already has 13 homers in only 61 games in Double-A and Paul Molitor has said, “We’re calling him up soon, and how about that hitting streak of mine? Huh?!” Okay, not exact words, but close. Buxton was already called up, and Sano is next. Like my face after a sun shower, now is a beautiful time for a stash. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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For one day, let’s put our troubles away and bask in Nolan Arenado. No, I want you to shove your troubles further under the rug than they usually are. Here, give me your high school depantsing, the girl that dumped you the day before prom, you walking in on your mother and the mechanic and all your other emotional scars and lift the rug, I’ll slide them under. There. *wipes hands* Now, you are unencumbered to enjoy The Torenado. He hit two homers yesterday to bring his total to 19, and he’s hitting .287 with a .271 BABIP. Yes, he’s actually been unlucky. You can likely tell from the ends of my mustache turning upwards, but he should actually be better. He’s on pace for a 35-homer, .290 season with ease! Again, with some stank — EASE! Help me, Auntie Em, it’s a Torenado and my house is spinning and my Yorkie is barking and I’m landing on a person. Oh, shucks, I landed on Pablo Sandoval. If you followed my rankings, and drafted Arenado. You’re welcome. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is the Saves Ain’t Got No Face “eff the team managers” edition which will give me a chance to both vent and try to deflect blame for bad calls I’ve made.  Joe Maddon of the Cubs decided to go a different route on his closer situation by removing Hector Rondon from the role.  For like three days.  And I make the call that Pedro Strop had a good chance to take over as closer.  Eff Joe Maddon.  Then in Tampa (Joe Maddon’s old team.. coincidence??) the following sequence happened:  1. Brad Boxberger gets dinged, Kevin Jepsen becomes the interim closer, (arguably) leapfrogging Jake McGee in the process.  2. Boxberger came back, blew a save.  3. Jake McGee (seemingly) takes over as closer.  4. Kevin Jepsen notches a (random) save.  5. Brad Boxberger (seemingly) regains closer role.  As of Sunday, the last 15/30 days for Rays Saves is 2/4 for Jepsen, 3/3 for McGee, 3/6 for Boxberger.  Last week I claimed Jake McGee was the new closer.  He gets zero save attempts this week.  Keep reading folks because this is really just the beginning of the latest twist and turns which will leave you wanting to pull out your hair.  (Plus recommendations to follow…)

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I’m a value oriented fantasy manager.  I’m not a believer in positional scarcity and I take that approach (aka meritocracy) to my draft by relying largely on projections.  When evaluating my slumping players I look at their projections and peripherals to see if the slump means anything.  When looking at the hot players in the player pool I take the same approach.  I am going to make recommendations to you based on these approaches.  For the next in line closers it means recommending players with good projections but also considering each players chance to close in the future.  For base stealers it means making sure the player won’t destroy your AVG or at least letting you know if he’s going to.

This week in SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) Recap: Early last week Adam Ottavino ascended into the closer role for Colorado and it looks at the very least to be semi-permanent.  He was previously my 7th best next in line closer to own.  Formerly my 2nd best next in line closer to own, Joakim Soria had ascended due to an injury to Joe Nathan, who should be back soon and will regain his closer role.  Jordan Walden notched a save last night but it appears Trevor Rosenthal was being given the night off.  Now onto this week’s recommendations…

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