Filling in for Roto-Wan and as Vicky Valencourt said…

  • Reminder that there is only 1 trade deadline this year. No waiver trades this season, so, teams will have to make that decision to buy or sell sooner rather than later.
  • The Giants are considering whether to be….buyers? What? Yeah, we both read that right. Well, for now, their bullpen is confusing AF anyway, so, take your closer in waiting opportunities somewhere else. I will say that Melancon is back and has been getting late game opps recently potentially for a showcase as they’d probably like to move that $14 million contract for next year.
  • Stroman and Giles have been linked to a number of teams.
  • Mychal Givens has been looked at for a move to Mee-lee-wah-kay

  • Ok, the Brewers are basically linked to every reliever, and starter, available.
  • If you’re looking around for some steals, Mallex Smith, Victor Robles, Byron Buxton (coming back from IL), Ramon Laureano, and Oscar Mercado are all getting the job done. Maybe one or more got dropped due to recent struggles for basically all of them.
  • Hard to predict when catchers will start, but some easy targets to look at for streaming stolen bases this weekend would be against Tyler Flowers, Stephen Vogt, Austin Barnes, and Brian McCann.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

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We’ve reached the All Star break. That’s a little more than halfway through the fantasy baseball year. Since there was no real baseball yet this week, we’re going with a Closer Report/SAGNOF mash up. Bullets are freestyle and rankings are below. Tiers are HR Derby themed with some of my favorite moments in Derby history…

  • The All-Star break also serves as a time for teams to take stock of where they stand and consider whether the should be trade deadline buyers or sellers. The interest in Will Smith is heating up. That means there’s a stash opportunity. Pick your favorite between Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, or Reyes Moronta. There’s something in my gut telling me Moronta might be the guy long term.
  • Greg Holland and Craig Kimbrel both gave their owners a bit of solace going into the break with a save each just prior. Holland is the shakier own with the Diamondbacks minimally invested in him. Let’s see what a few days off do for two aging arms.
  • Grey told you to roster Liam Hendricks. I told you not to drop him. Hope you listened because, surprise, rushing Treinen back was probably a mistake and it’s showing. Treinen may never be a guy cut out for the solo closer mantle. He’s likely an elite fireman with multi-inning capability.
  • The top of the stolen base leaderboard isn’t particularly surprising with Adalberto Mondesi and Mallex Smith at the top. It gets interesting from there. Christian Yelich is third, Elvis Andrus is fourth, and Jose Ramirez is fifth. They’re likely matchup based with pockets of steals coming in the first half. It’s an interesting top 5 nonetheless.
  • Right behind them in sixth is Kevin Kiermaier. If you’re after steals, check the wire for him. He’s been a popular add but could be there. KK gives you some of everything.
  • Joey Wendle, another Ray, is right behind him. Wendle’s had about the worst injury luck you can have. He’s back now and sporting a solid .257/.341/.371 with 3 steals in the last two weeks. His playing time has some risk with Brandon Lowe’s return. Wendle can play all over the diamond, though.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s not easy making a reliever as an MLB closer these days. The ball is juiced and more hitters than ever have figured out that swinging for the fences pays off even with some extra strikeouts. Those factors equal plenty of blown saves these days. The pitching landscape is changing. You need to take more cracks at saves than ever, even if you strike out, too.

Much like an actual brasier, that’s used to store live coals, relievers get hot at certain times of the season. Perhaps we’re about to embark on just such a hot streak for some guys. Maybe one is actually named Brasier. Let’s take a look at the bullpen news of the week:

  • A fresh Ryan Brasier looked sharp earning a save in his return from the bereavement list. Could this be a sign of things to come? The Red Sox would love it if he could do the job they ticketed him for this season.
  • The Reds desire to use Rasiel Iglesias in other innings has popped back up. David Bell called on Iglesias in the eighth two straight days, giving Michael Lorenzon back to back saves. You haven’t been thrilled with the production from Iglesias this season so here’s some poop icing on your crap cake.
  • Ken Giles doesn’t expect to miss more than the minimum ten days on the IL. It is elbow soreness, however. More often than not that doesn’t just go away and is indicative of worse things to come. I’d hold the backups in Daniel Hudson or Joe Biagini if your spent FAAB on them. For a week or so, just in case.
  • Craig Kimbrel is making rehab appearances in Iowa. He’ll be in Chicago sooner than later it seems should all go smoothly.
  • Wade Davis has had an eventful return from the IL. He blew a save early in the week and had a bumpy conversion Wednesday night with a solo homer and base runner stranded on second. We’ve been through this with him before. Part of owning Davis is taking some midseason lumps. I’m holding Scott Oberg in the event another IL stint is needed.
  • Roberto Osuna blew a save Wednesday, as well. He’s not unaccustomed to the occasional hiccup. This isn’t a thing unless more blow-ups happen close together.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s June, in case you don’t own a calendar or Mayan solar stone. Fantasy owners can no longer afford to hold their breath in any given category. Now is the time to take your shots on middle relievers and hope they earn you a save or two. It’s nice if they can give you strikeouts or stellar ratios in the meantime. Check your wire for the names below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.
    Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?