Nothing is worse than owning a closer you drafted… you get comfortable and things are going well. You’re sitting pretty, a dalmation on the beer cart. Then poof! The dreaded word that for fantasy players and save connaisseurs is worse than the “I’m pregnant” line; That word is a “group”, from singular to plural. It isn’t fair. These guys don’t know the hours of time we devote to drafting a team and then getting pimped to the waiver wire for the next dude up. Well, that is where we are currently sitting with Atlanta and Philadelphia. Adding more names to the donkeycorn factory at the end of the chart. Joining the fray are now Tommy Hunter, A.J. Minter, Seranthony Dominguez, Dan Winkler, and a slew of other candidates that are all in bathrobes in a line by height down the hallway. Save orgies are good for one thing and one thing only, diversifying the stat and keeping you closer to the leader by expanding the save universe. But we all live in “a one man, one save” lifestyle like the Puritans. So what do we make of all this mess, besides getting a waiver wire mop and roster as many as possible? Stay calm if you own the old closer. There was a reason they had the job initially, and they are still in the running. Dropping a potential save candidate to the wire is never a good idea, unless you are upgrading and getting a better save option that has the job outright. This savey save advice is keen when you are middle of the pack, but if you are chasing saves and falling behind by the day, trading for one of a higher caliber is the tact to go. Let us see what else is happening in the end game of fantasy…Please, blog, may I have some more?
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I mean, who doesn’t like a good old Kenny Rogers reference? I appreciate it, but was more keen on Islands in the Stream, which in reality still works for this post. This week, I wanna focus y’alls attention on when to keep relievers of hold value or when to fold them and grab someone new. I wanted to bring this up because the near-leader in holds currently is Juan Nicasio. (Who for all intents and purposes is a fantastic Holds pitcher when you just take into account the hold total of 12. Which trails only Archie.) The hold total is great for holds leagues says captain obvious. The peripheral stuff is absolutely poop though. Commander Poop, for the full nautical theme. He checks none of the boxes from the non-hold league boxes, his K-rate is just a tick above 9, HR/9 at 2.0, a BAA over .300 and an ERA over 6… Those are not the four checks that I was referring too. So for mixed leagues, the guys you want to own are all over these standards: The K-rate has to be at or above 11 K/9, which includes over 60 relievers in baseball. HR/9 has to be tiny, think under 0.50, BAA against has to be anything at or below league average of .243. And lastly, the ERA has to be respectful, but not the end-all-be-all of determinations, because unluckiness does happen with relievers. So when doing your homework for reliever adds, make a checklist of those three stats and let the ERA be the tie-breaker in determining your add. In holds leagues, quantity does matter, but if you are only going to eat one banana why buy the whole bunch and let them ruin all the other categories?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Closers wear many hats, many outfits, and work their way up to that garnered closer spot. Now that Hunter Strickland is there, established and doing work, what will become of him if/when Mark Melancon returns… eventually? Melancon is scheduled for a bullpen session this weekend and he was previously scheduled for a throwing session a few days before, but instead played catch. Was his dad in town and they wanted to reminisce about the days of yore? But back to the guy in the seat in Strickland, him of the plus 9 K/9, 7 saves in 9 chances and .170 BAA. Those are all numbers for a closer that makes you comfy and cuddly in a “set it and forget it” kinda way. Though in all fairness, you should never remove your closer from your starting roster. So how long, or better yet, do we trust that Melancon just walks in like Wooderson from Dazed and Confused with ‘This is the story of the Hurricane’ playing behind and retakes his job? I am leery that he even makes it through his bullpen session. Kinda serious, but… kinda serious. The people that drafted Melancon aren’t losing anything but a DL slot. The people that own Strickland via FAAB or waiver wire pick up deserve him keeping the job. I am fighting for the common man here! The everyday waiver wire warrior. So rooting for Strickland now is a thing, I am going to get some foam fingers made that have some catchy quote on them. So if you are a Strickland owner, it is a firm hold and hope the MM never makes it back. For the Melancon owners… sorry. Hope he falls down and breaks his crown. Closer report, rankings, and musings heading your way. Cheers!Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Miami Jeters are currently cruising on a sub-60 win pace. Nice if you look at the investment value in terms of dollars and the amount of talent on the field. Now the once or semi-reliable closer, Brad Ziegler, has puked up another save chance and seen his ERA climb a blood alcohol level of 8.44. That is a Cherynoblian level that usually results in a quick change, minus Bill Murray dressed as a clown. In the wings are two decent enough options that in most leagues should be owned for their K prowess. They being Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough. A change is coming, as the soft-tossing Ziegler can’t rely on sorcery and garbage to will him through save chances, no matter how few and far between they are. The Marlins, from a standpoint of we are only winning X amount of games, and can’t afford to lose Y because of a closer who can’t shut the door is just bad for business. I am grabbing Steckenrider before Barraclough just based on games and position of appearances of date. It is really tough to say though because they have 7 wins, and neither guy has featured more than 4 appearances when the team has been leading. But Steck has seen more 8th innings, and I like him better because he has a closer makeup. So add accordingly if save speculating is your bag, but with success in closing comes success in the setup game. And don’t ignore Barraclough either, because he will be in elevated positions as well and since this is the Holds portion of the week, go get him if free.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Speed kills. Whether that be by the arm or legs. But this isn’t no SAGNOF post, this is the weekly look at strictly bullpens. At what point do we stop looking at velocity and its effectiveness being a correlative? Probably never, as the statcast era has never looked stronger as geeks type in the square roots of derivatives to figure out the best angle of deflection for them to walk down the stairs in their parents basement. It’s a tale as old as time, and people like me mock math and numbers because, well… I am lazy. Numbers always existed, but now they are so finite that you can get a feet per second drop of a the pin that no one can hear. So maybe I should delve into the fray here and take a look at the early season velocity for closers and how they compare to last year and how they correlate to K success. Velocity isn’t the end all be all of reliever success, but is fully in the forefront when studs like Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen are teetering on slow-pokes compared days of yore. So I made a hand dandy chart, comparing last years average fastball velocity, K/9 and Swinging strike % to this years to see where the relationship between success, worry and full on panic in the closer realms exist.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Closer news is nice, but how much fluctuation is really happening in the first eight games of the year? Zero is the answer… but what about Kenley Jansen? If you drafted him, you are riding that gondola to closer purgatory as his draft slot is an inexcusable smorgasbord of devilishness. In layman’s terms? You are burnt. So like closers, I also cover their well being of your local neighborhood holds guys too. Early season patterns of usage are a key to early season effectiveness. Managers stick with guys early that have had a good spring and can be relied on to get tough outs. It is no different than later in the season, but some of the faces change because of poor spring, injury returns, and dreaded attrition factors that all relief pitchers battle. The role of the relief pitcher is completely expanding, as more former starters are being used in multi-inning appearances. Would it completely blow your mind if I said there have been more multi-inning appearances of four strikeouts than there have been starts with seven-plus innings? Boom, mind blown. The Peacock effect is in full bloom. Following the Devenski Effect of a year ago, the multi-inning reliever is going to become a hot commodity fantasy-wise… hopefully by Wednesday. The K-factor, the “free inning” factor, and the way you can time a relief pitcher on a down starting pitcher day is the exploitation factor that can vault your rates into the next level. It happens subtly and takes diligence on the wire, but two-3 K’s and rates per day at the cost of merely a few innings (as compared to a starter maybe going 5 innings and throwing 85 pitches) makes me wanna puke. Thanks Gabe Kapler. So keep an eye out for multi-inning relief cave dwellers and the goodies that they supply. Or just stick around here and learn about everything else that is happening around the bullpens around fake baseball!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Bullpen situations, speculations, and basic wherewithal are always a conundrum. Much like trying to figure out the size of Bruce Bochy’s head. Quick answer? It is bigger than normal, and not in an intelligence-type way. It is more of a cro-magnon way. Manager decisions aren’t always made by choice, but by no other better outcome. Hence why we have Hunter Strickland as the interim closer for the Giants. This is only because Melancon is injured. Dyson is just abysmal, and Watson has that whole lefty moniker attached to him (plus he hasn’t looked spectacular either leading up to opening day). Here’s the thing that worries me about Strickland being the guy whether it be temporary or more of a permanent basis; he has problems getting the left-handed hitters out. Like, it’s really bad. Just go ask Bryce Harper about that. Lefties hit .333 last year and for his career, hit almost 50 points higher against Hunter. Now this is sort of a normal occurrence with opposite handed hitter/pitcher splits, but not for pitchers who are uber successful in closing situations for a long period of time. The time table for Melancon to return is spotty with arm inflammation, so he could be there for a few weeks or until he falters. Regardless, saves are saves and he should be owned universally. Don’t show a blind eye to Dyson or Watson though if the waiver wire show their faces, because this situation is going to be a fluid one if and when Melancon returns for most of the year. Hunter Strickland rant over. Let’s see what other bullpen and closer news is on the docket for this week…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Earlier in the preseason, I delved into the holds tiers for fantasy bullpens. It exists right here in the Fantasy Relief Pitchers for Holds. That was more a broad brushstroke of fantasy bullpen goodness that goes on here at Razznation. Now that we are thumbs deep in draft season and the players being more prominent in roles are starting to show their purpose we can get a better grip on who to won and who to covet for the ugly step sister of saves the hold stat. In more cases than not, following a “drafting for holds model” holds true, but holds are such a fluid stat… more fluid than the closer role. So drafting the elite guy every year looks like a great idea, but name the guy who lead the league in holds multiple years in a row or, hell, twice in their career? It’s a short list, whose names are not that awesome or even around anymore. So for drafting for holds, whether it be in a straight holds league or a saves+holds league having the edge up on bullpenery is key. The strategies for each of those leagues is basically the same as the elite holds category earners and they should be drafted after the last “donkeycorn” closer to come off the board. If you draft an elite closer, always cuff your closer with the top holds candidate on that team. Next, do what I just said twice and grab your second closer’s backup/holds guy. That will give you two closers, their back-ups for the “just in case” moments and holds. Then your last pick for your bullpen will be an independent guy that has a K/9 rate over 9. That is my finite strategy for drafting holds in any league. It gives you five guys that you can bank on every day in a “set it and forget it” type situation. Don’t fall in love with your options, as like I said, bullpen fluidness is blah and you can find a hot hand on an off day. So now that strategy is out of the way, let’s look at the more finite tiers of holds!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Holding off on info during the height of draft time is just not my M.O. So I am bringing the goods and the reliever rankings a week earlier than anticipated. Why go into battle with a water pistol when you can go with the boomstick? At this point in the preseason, having a few teams with committee situations is normally a bad thing, except when you get to grab the right guy in that committee. Having multiple draftable options from one team is more of a benefit than a detriment on draft day, because inevitably one person is going to be wrong in that selection process and it is usually the guy who gets drafted higher. So looking at the situations with the White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks as they sit today committee’s exist. Whether we want to believe it or not, each team has no clear cut closer and if you are skimming, this is still a good thing. Let someone else draft Gregerson, Soria, Parker, and Claudio. While you can sit back and wait a few picks or even rounds and scoop up Leone, Jones, Bedrosian, and Kela. As the season draws closer, this advantage will dwindle down to nothing, but for now use it to your advantage. Miss out on a top 8-10 closer, no worries, load up on the maybe’s and possibilities and if they don’t pan out than you can easily pivot to a more useful option on the waiver. So when someone says a committee is a bad thing, laugh and agree. Then drop the quartet of save possibilities into your team and see what happens. At worst they will cost you four out of your last seven picks. At that point in the draft, you should have an established team with all starters in place and you would be gambling on reliever talent anyways. Now you have the knowledge in your corner and a little bit of rankings goodness from ole’ Smokey. The initial installment of the Closer report with rankings is here, get excited!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Besides pooping, every fantasy baseballian needs to do prep work. Whether that be reading a publication of your choosing or doing a ton of mock drafts. Well, I am going to do you one better than using a mock draft to help steer your hand. I am using actual drafts that people do for money to lend you an ADP hand in the terms of closers. What else would I be doing? After all, I am Smokey, where only you can prevent fantasy bullpen fires. That public service announcement was brought to you by my own personal sponsor of Fischer pillows. Not everyone uses or believes in ADP as a source because some people in mock drafts are crazy, like legitimately Tehol-type crazy. That mock draft data is basically useless, but what if you had a list of drafts that were for actual dinero, and possibly some American money also? The NFBC is a great contest that we here at Razzball take part in and several of our writers have challenged readers, just like you, in these contests. They draw everyday Joe’s and experts from around the deep spaces of fantasy and all compete for money on varying levels of dramatics. Sounds fun? Cool, let me borrow 150 bucks so I can do one too. So I took that data from the past 35 days for a 12-team based ADP and broke it down into two fun categories. Drafts between February 1st and February 20th, and February 21 to March 6th. Just so they sound more legit, the first group had 88 drafts of ADP values to use and the second had 106. The number of ADP resources to draw from will increase by the time we get closer to actual game times, but for now 194 total drafts with data is at your discretion below. Only the closers side of it.
The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!Please, blog, may I have some more?