Oh hello, Razzball reader. How’s the view from your bunker? I have to say I chose an excellent shade of cement-gray, myself. My HAM radio tells me we’re expecting some baseball soon. Hope the hazmat suits they’re surely wearing don’t affect overall athleticism. Joking aside, this is an entirely different baseball landscape. The NL has added the DH. Extra innings will see a runner start on second base. Teams have admitted they aren’t really sure how they’ll get through nine innings of pitching. That opens up two interesting angles for us creative thinkers. Wins are going to be very random and shift to a large amount relievers. So you save chasers are going to be in a great position for win chasing. Get your WAGNOF on. Also, NL players that may not have seen as many at-bats obviously just got a boost. Not only the poor-fielding power hitters but their slick-fielding compliments that now get into the lineup more often. Let’s tackle it all.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve only been loosely following the counterproposals MLB and the MLBPA are exchanging. Where are we at now, 200 to -38? How does a negative game take place? Only position players are allowed to pitch and only pitchers get to hit. You thought that was cute before, huh? It seems like the most likely season is 50 games, which would be wild. Stats like steals are going to be so very hard to manufacture. I’d suggest streaming rabbits against pitchers that can be run on from the jump, to be honest. Here are the worst pitchers when it came to stolen bases yielded per inning in 2019.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the likelihood of a shortened MLB season growing by the day streaming and targeting matchups will be more important in our 2020 fantasy world than ever before. One of the best places to take a stab at that is using catcher defense to try and mine some stolen bases. Two things factor into this: how often a catcher is run on and how often they throw runners out. Ideally, you’re getting a good matchup on both sides, like finding toilet paper at the grocery store that’s also not sandpaper texture, but I’d prefer volume to efficiency. Here are the 2019 stats and some of the likely hot spots.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We know spring training is fully underway when a bunch of arms break. We’re sure to see more as soreness becomes less general and more devastating to our early drafts. The four-tier format is back for our closer report. This week, pandemic foodstuff themed tiers. I’d laugh but for fear that might cause me to cough resulting in those nearby turning mob justice on me. Let’s get to some news and notes on the reliever front first.

  • Emmanuel Clase – He of the hardest cutter in baseball is starting his Cleveland career off on a sour note. A back strain will likely sideline him for 8-12 weeks. This opens the door for fellow reliever wunderkind James Karinchak to solidify a leverage role. If you want a job relieving for Cleveland just have a hard to spell name, throw gas, and be in your early 20’s.
  • Jose Alvarado – Don’t look now but Alvarado looks sharp as ever. But Roto-Wan, Nick Anderson is *the* it closer of draft season?!? I have no issue with Anderson’s stuff, just his role. He factors into their ninth inning, no doubt. Let me ask you this, though. He saved some games for them last year since they’re a team that’s the most progressive in leverage roles, right? No? Ok, well he came over from Miami, who’s bullpen was a collection of molding leftovers. He racked up a bunch of saves there, surely? How about one save. Well, at least he’s a young prospect? Turns 30 in June. I don’t mean to rain on your Nick Anderson parade, and by “don’t” I mean I do, but he’s far from a lock. I’m betting on Alvarado seeing some of their saves as the lefty side of a committee in every league I draft that uses RPs.
  • Brandon Kintzler – Things are not off to a great start this spring for the presumptive Marlins closer. Like, walking four straight batters bad. I’d consider a spec play on Ryne Stanek early on.
  • Ryan Helsley – I’m not the Helsley guy but some people I respect (see: Matt Thompson, Nick Pollack) have made it a point to draft the young Cardinal in the late rounds. Their ninth inning is a mess to predict, as usual. Helsley also has an outside shot at the rotation it seems, depending on the health of their assumed starters.
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Rosie is the latest zombie reliever. He’s always been able to light up radar guns. He just has zero command at times, as in most of the time. The command seems to be there this spring, however. KC would love to add any talent it can to baseball’s most mediocre bullpen.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Draft season is getting into full swing. Unless things break right for you early you’re likely to find your team a little light in the steals department. Take a stab at some of these cheaper players to boost your speed.

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Usual Suspects

  • Jarrod Dyson – Dyson probably has the most guaranteed playing time coming into the season. Injuries tend to cut into his ABs but when he’s in the lineup he’s running.
  • Delino DeShields Jr. – We’ve all been there with Delino. He’s cheap and has 50 steal speed if he could only play everyday and avoid the litany of injuries that tend to derail his season.
  • Dee Gordon – I’m actually interested in Gordon as a speed dart. He’s been around a while but is a seemingly young 31. The wheels aren’t what they used to be and will likely degrade as the season goes. Still, there’s plenty of scenarios that see him leading off in Seattle.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Much like the classic Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) PC game, The Oregon Trail, we finish our bullpen parade out west. Apologies if the research in this post is light, I stayed up all night playing TOT on the Wayback Machine. Suck it deer, I shot so many of you I can’t even carry all the meat. Much like the game, your journey to saves accumulation is a series of decisions fraught with peril. Do your best not to die of dysentery. In this example, Wade Davis is dysentery.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As pitchers and catchers report we’re beginning to be graced with some reassurances as to who certain teams will use at closer. Those are always nice. Just remember managers don’t feel beholden to what they say in February and situations can change. Not unlike myself and fellow analysts. “I don’t recall recommending Jose Leclerc as a top 10 2019 closer, Senator.” We’re all playing a guessing game. My best advice is to invest lightly and spread your exposure over as many arms as possible.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I regret to inform you, my fantasy friends, that even fake jedi get the flu. That’s right, Roto-Wan is coming to you today from a Sudafed laced haze that would make Jesse Pinkman proud. Stop interrupting me pink elephant, I’m trying to get a preamble together here. At any rate, we’ve reached the NL in our bullpen previews. Let’s kick it off with the very in flux NL East. My advice is to exercise even more caution with these names than we usually do.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We close out the American League bullpens with the AL West. It feels like all of these teams have something to offer either in closer speculation or high wattage non-closers. Remember the golden rule of the saves chase: don’t overpay for closers. Opportunities come if you’re active on the wire.

I didn’t realize how upset I was about the sign-stealing scandal until I started writing this. If you’re an Astros fan and I’ve offended your delicate sensibilities below, you can go and discard them along with your stolen championships.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I kicked off the bullpen parade last week with the AL East. It’s a safe place for us reliever analysts with mostly secure jobs and quality arms. The tradeoff for that comfort is following it up with the AL Central. The odds are far better that all five of these projected closers will be changed out than none of them being replaced. There isn’t a ton of depth either. I suppose that’s what happens when you refuse to spend money. Let’s push through this muck like a swamp on dagobah and hope a little green man imparts us some wisdom in rearranged syntax. Did no one else take a hit of acid for this? Just me? Ok. Fire up the Rage Against the Machine and on to the pens.

Please, blog, may I have some more?