It finally happened. A team decided to sign Craig Kimbrell! The MLB draft happened this week so the draft pick penalty has been lifted for signing a few marquee names like Kimbrell and Dallas Keuchel. The Chicago Cubs offered the most, since their payroll is jacked anyway. With the premiere of Dark Phoenix this weekend I’ve got a ranking of X-Men for the tiers.

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It’s a pretty fruitful week for plucking some speedsters from the wire. Injuries continue to open avenues for blocked players and languishing prospects. An analyst could get excited just thinking about it.

  • If you want a speed specialist Myles Straw is your man. He did one thing well in the minors: swipe bags. If he hangs around in Houston and manages to get on base he’s an instant category boost. He isn’t likely to play every day. Though that could change if he performs or injuries linger.
  • Keon Broxton is getting yet another fresh start. I actually loved him as a late stash in a Mets outfield that had very low hurdles to playing time. The Mets gonna Mets and they chose Carlos Gomez over Broxton. It will be interesting to see if a move to Baltimore can untap some speed like it has for Jonathan Villar.
  • Mallex Smith gave us a Billy-Hamilton-Homer last week. He walked and proceed to steal second, third, and home. Smith added a fourth steal in that game as well to give you six in one week from him. There are certainly regrets over dropping him previously.
  • With Seattle hosting the Astros for four games buckle up. Bob Cheerios is bottom ten in catchers to run on. Almost every Mariner runs at least a bit.
  • The Cubs are hosting the Rockies and Yu Darvish projects to start Wednesday. Could the stars align and give us the recently recalled Garrett Hampson in the starting lineup to face him? A Hampson truther can only hope. Plenty of other Rockies can give you a stolen base that day.
  • With Jose Alvarado on family leave, there could be a chance for Emilio Pagan to snag a save or two. Tampa has been a difficult bullpen to pin down, though.

Let’s pivot to pitcher’s being run on this week. Of course a couple Mets are near the top. Darvish has shown he gives zero Fukudome’s about holding runners. It’s also surprising to see a couple of relievers on the list.

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I don’t know if there’s a more frustrating pursuit than finding enough pitching in fantasy baseball. Usable middle relievers used to grow on trees. Now the good ones are picked and what’s left probably tastes sour. Nevertheless, we forge ahead trying to find a bandaid for our fantasy staffs where we can. In deeper leagues those won’t be brand name, rather bargain brand bandages. At least we’re far enough into the season that some early injuries have healed.

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The damn is breaking on many bullpens, with holes springing in a good amount of others. If you landed a top tier arm consider yourself immensely lucky. The rest of us schmoes will be in the bullpen garbage heaps looking for a few cans to trade for a nickel. The tiers are GIF themed this week, so no one has to think too hard.

  • Sean Newcomb has transitioned to the bullpen well. He’s ditched his changeup in favor of his wipeout curveball. If he limits the walks he will get opportunities to close. Especially with groundball pitcher Luke Jackson finally running into so bad luck on balls getting through the infield. Managers usually feel like extreme groundballers are better eighth-inning options.
  • The Rockies will have to promote someone with Wade Davis hitting the IL. Scott Ohberg has been pretty good since last season and figures to be the fill in. Remember that logic doesn’t always apply when guessing at manager decisions, though. Bryan Shaw and Carlos Estevez have both closed before. They could be worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.
  • All signs were pointing to Jose Leclerc returning to his closing role. Shawn Kelley came off the IL and spit in the face of those hoping for a Leclerc save, closing out two straight. For what it’s worth Leclerc was warming up a few nights ago when Chris Martin got in trouble. Still, if Kelley is getting it done they may see where he takes them.
  • The Nationals bullpen has turned into a plague ship ever since signing Trevor Rosenthal. Coincidence?
  • Boston is ready to throw in the towel on Ryan Brasier as closer. They can’t seem to find any to replace him. This is obviously because Matt Barnes insulted Alex Cora’s mother. Someone named Marcus Walden blew a save Wednesday. Brandon Workman notched a save Monday but was then used in the middle innings the rest of the week. I added a couple of Workman shares since his 13.3 K/9 is stellar and the BB/9 has been better in May.
  • Steve Cishek has done a bang-up job since Pedro Strop hit the IL. Between that and Strop’s history as a setup man, Cishek may be the guy for the foreseeable future. Sorry, what’s that? They still have Brandon Morrow? I can’t hear you over my own roaring laughter.
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Another week, another post by me mentioning the Mets. Does it seem like I pick on the Mets too much? I am a Phillies fan, so it’s entirely possible. Maybe the Mets could teach their pitchers how to hold runners and get to home plate faster like the rest of baseball. This is the same organization that lets it’s pitchers decide for themselves whether or not to get an MRI on their sore arms so I’m not expecting much. Sorry, Mets rant over. Here are the week’s speed notes.

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It’s getting ugly in the reliever market. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and promotions have wrung much of the top talent out of the scene.  Much like the bazaar in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle there’s stuff everywhere, but it’s hard to find what you need. Also, there’s a basket with a cobra in it. You just have to hope the Rock shows up and start throwing people through walls. I don’t actually know what the fantasy baseball equivalent of that is. I’ve gotten off track here thinking about the Rock’s ridiculous biceps, as per uzhe. I’ll wrap up this lede in ramble with a comparison Jumanji’s theme: the only way to win the game of relievers is to play and win.

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The parade of prospects getting call ups early this season has been eventful, to say the least. Some are already back down. Don’t let that discourage you from hunting for the next FAAB target a week early. Speed can be an easier skill to translate at the big-league level if you can find ways to get on base. I’m not a prospect expert, check out Mike’s work for that. Still, it’s never a bad time to gamble on a young guy with potential.

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