Please see our player page for Adam Ottavino to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Once upon a time, we were uncertain how teams would handle their prospects in this the final season of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League Baseball and the players union. 

Today, I feel like everyone could’ve seen this coming. 

Given one last chance to squeeze their prospects for an extra year of team control, teams just can’t help themselves. Nico Hoerner will have to stay in the minors for about 37 days to grant the Cubs an extra year on his contract, so that’s that. Easy call. Let’s keep Eric Sogard and Ildemaro Vargas instead, bumping some other more promising pieces off the roster. 

Teams act like this is just free money, but that feels like folly if we consider the 41st man and 1st man off the roster who theoretically earned a spot he can’t occupy because of Ildemaro Vargas. 

And it doesn’t take into account another big question: will they even want Nico Hoerner six seasons from now? Perhaps his ultimate value is allowing the club to hold onto a promising young arm who might’ve otherwise aged off the 40-man roster. 

No time for tears, though. Lots to cover this week. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Since we’re talking closers, I just want to expand a bit on my closer strategy. I mentioned in part 1 of this article that my plan at closer is to wait and grab two of the tier 3 closers and then just try to play the FAAB game. Some may scoff at that idea and think it’s too risky but I think it’s the best play in this format. I get it, it’s human nature to crave safety and security. We come out of the womb and one of the first things we do is try and latch on to our mom’s boobs because that’s comforting. Similarly, many of us want to grab an early closer and feel that warm comfort of knowing that we have 30 saves locked up. Is grabbing a closer like sucking on your mom’s nipples? Somewhat. While there’s really not much downside to breastfeeding (at least according to my lactation consultant), there is a huge downside to taking a closer in those early rounds.

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Holds Ain’t Got No Face! 

These poor schlubs. No one’s favorite player is a middle reliever. The middle reliever never gets the girl. The signed middle reliever rookie card never fetches more than a buck-fifty on eBay. 

Yet these working-class heroes continue to go out every day and grind away to bridge the gap between the billion-dollar, sexy starting pitchers and the dark, mysterious closers. 

So here’s to you Graeme Lloyd! Here’s to you Mark Eichhorn! Here’s to you Matt Thornton! And MY personal favorite player of all time — here’s to you Jeff Nelson! 

 

From a fantasy perspective, the middle reliever has been a non-factor since the beginning of roto baseball. In your standard 5×5 leagues there’s just no room for a player who barely contributes in any of the 5 pitching categories. However, after years and years of heart attacks from being forced to draft Fernando Rodney because they missed the closer runs — cardiologists have created a new fantasy category to prevent such cardiac conditions: saves + holds 

Below I’ve ranked the top-40 non-closers for saves + holds leagues. In true Kerry-fashion, I’ve manufactured my own ranking system. I’ve ranked these guys out into three categories: sv/hlds, limiting runs, and K/9 — the three categories that middle relievers can consistently help you in. Limiting runs is a combination of ERA and WHIP — basically, in one inning, a reliever needs to keep guys off the bases — and if there are already guys on the bases — keeping them from scoring runs. You know — like the job of every pitcher! 

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Not usually my style, but we’re taking a break from the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings for a day because of the big trade between the Rockies and Cardinals (and a shizzton of other moves). All the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings, including pitchers, are already up on our Patreon.

So, the Rockies are trying to lose, and they’re a stupid franchise. That is a bad combination. Like burning down your house for insurance money after letting your insurance lapse. The Rockies gave away their marquee player and $50 million. If this is a rebuild, and Austin Gomber is the start of–I’m sorry. I can’t even say Austin Gomber with a straight face. The Cards got Arenado for a Gomber pile of garbage. Bud Black is actually the perfect imbecile to run that team. So, on Arenado’s fantasy value, well…*swallows*…okay, so…*collects thoughts* Yeah, I moved him down in my rankings.

Arenado was traded to the Cards, and I can’t possibly tell you he’s as safe to draft in St. Louis. I don’t think the park change is as dramatic as some are making it out to be. I don’t think he’s suddenly done. I know his road/away splits, but as said many times before, guys are better at home. Even guys who aren’t in Coors. You’re staying at home, you’re surrounded by family and friends, you’re seeing your wife–Wait, are these reasons to enjoy being at home? Right, yes, I kid! Home numbers are always better. Familiarity with the park, just being more comfortable. It’s always like this; there’s stats to back it up, don’t make me pull them out. So, Arenado might not have been great on the road when he played in Coors, but you can’t just say his new home numbers will be his old road numbers. Doesn’t work like that. Trying to see the difference between him and, say, Jose Abreu, though, has become nearly impossible and Abreu isn’t a top 20 overall pick, and neither is Arenado now. I moved Rafael Devers up to the top 20 for 2021 fantasy baseball; Arenado dropped about ten overall spots (but only one spot in the top 20 3rd basemen), and I lowered his projections a bit. His new projections: 88/32/106/.279/1 in 592 ABs.

For what it’s Wuertz, here’s out Steamer projections pre-trade: 103/35/103/.286, 4th best 3B, ~20th overall. Here’s him post-trade: 86/29/85/.256; 8th-10th 3B, ~110TH overall. Um, that’s kinda gross. And, to add fire to the inferno whooshing around the Torenado, look at projections of Austin Riley vs. Nolan Arenado:

Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for fantasy baseball:

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Hello again, my friends. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

I had another fun-but-also-terribly-painful experiment for you guys. For some of you this will be euphoric. But as a Cardinals fan myself, well, this just sucks.

My experiment is rather simple, and it’s similar to my last piece on Waiver Wire All-Stars. I’m certainly not alone in this, but I’ve noticed a whole lotta ex-STL players having really, really, really good things happen after leaving town. I got to thinking, and I wondered if it were possible to field a full fantasy squad of 100% ex-STL players and still have a good team. The answer is YUP. Oh, joy.

I had to take some liberties, and I had to do a lot of digging through past draft classes and minor league affiliate rosters, but I’ve built a Yahoo standard lineup of players who at one point in time were in the Cardinals system (with some liberties sprinkled in). It’s not a perfect team, but it’s a damn fine one if you ask me. It just hurts all the more knowing this didn’t have to be fantasy for the Cardinals. IT COULD HAVE BEEN REALITY! MAYBE! *crying baby GIF*

Another thing about this experiment is we gotta assume these players reach or maintain their fantasy ceilings. Some guys weren’t so great in 2020 but have been good recently, or vice versa. Some of them I don’t exactly miss, if I’m being honest, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t help this fantasy fantasy squad win.

Cardinals fans, get your tissues ready. Have Freese’s heroics from Game 6 of the 2011 World Series playing on a loop in the background as you read. Go to your happy place and try to stay there as you see name after name break your heart over and over again. This is supposed to be therapeutic, right?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Just as we expected, the 2020 baseball season has seen its share of highs and lows.  On the deep-league fantasy front, let’s hope your season has seen more highs (if you’re reading this, Anthony Sandander, Teoscar Hernandez, or Brandon Lowe, thank you for everything so far, and please keep it up!), than lows (sorry, Oscar Mercado, but I’m looking at you).  If you’re in the fantasy baseball thick of things but need some reinforcements, let’s take our weekly look — AL version — at some guys who may be of interest to those of us in deeper leagues (we’ll use a 20% or less owned in CBS leagues threshold this week).

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Welcome to your first Bullpen Report of the season. How’d day one of your season go? You know, besides losing two top 30 players moments before lineup lock. Unfortunately, that’s more likely to be the norm than the exception. If you didn’t already (you donkey), build any flexibility into your fake teams that you can. On the pitching side that means having a reliever that can juice a category for you when a body is needed in a pinch.

  • The big free agent this week was Zack Britton with Aroldis Chapman hitting the COVID-IL. If you missed out on him I’d suggest considering Adam Ottavino. Britton is getting the first call but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ottavino gets a look if Boone feels the matchups favor him.
  • Kwang-Hyun Kim is being anointed the Cardinals closer. I’m holding my breath here. It’s hard to trust someone who’s never pitched an inning stateside to immediately walk into the closer role. To me, it feels more like they’re set on the injured Giovanny Gallegos and don’t want to disappoint Ryan Helsley with a demotion this early.
  • I’m targeting the options behind Kyle Crick as the Pittsburgh closer. Just a gut feel that Crick can’t hack it in the ninth. Richard Rodriguez and Nick Burdi get much more swing and miss with their stuff.
  • Yoshihisa Hirano is another COVID delayed player of the early year. That may give Matt Magill enough leash to take over the closer gig in Seattle. It was kind of his last year. He was kind of going to close this year. Now he can at least win or lose it on his own merit.
  • Let me remind you that Corey Knebel has nasty movement on his off-speed stuff. He’ll need to find his fastball velocity with reports of it in the low 90s thus far in summer camp. If he can get that up a few ticks he could immediately figure into the ninth for the BrewCrew.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe the real-life baseball season has stopped, but that doesn’t mean fantasy baseball has to. It’s all we have these days, really. Fantasy sports while we fantasize about real sports coming back. I feel bad for my fellow fantasy hockey folks – I get the feeling it ain’t coming back, even if regular hockey does. I’m not about that fantasy basketball life (I dabbled in my younger years – Tracy McGrady anyone? Had to have him on all my teams), but I fear it’s the same fate. Only fantasy football is unscathed…so far. Wild stuff happening on that front, too. Brady to the Bucs? Da BUCS?! DAFUQ! Gurley and Newton RELEASED?! Hopkins TRADED?! Maybe Watson, too?! Madness, I say!

Anyway. This is a fantasy baseball article. Almost forgot. It’s an important year for the fine ladies and gents here at Razzball: the inaugural season of RazzSlam! Big shoutout to the NFBC peeps for hosting it. Give ’em a follow on the Twitter at @TheNFBC. I had the honor of being accepted into League 2 (of 18). Some scrub ass writer for CBS is in it. Big deal. I’m kidding, he’ll probably whoop my ass.

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Oh, hello random blog reader. I didn’t see you there. Don’t mind me, I’m just doing early offseason fantasy baseball research while listening to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” on a loop. It gets me in the proper mindset to tackle bullpens. I generally find few fantasy positions that elicit more angst than relievers. Nevertheless, I’ve hit the double-digit mark on BoP and am feeling all kinds of weird. It’s the perfect place to dip a toe into choppy reliever waters. I’ve broken down the roles while unveiling my new “Razzers” rating system (base 1-5). Is this a ploy to trick search engine’s into redirecting users searching for Brazzers? Yes. Yes, it is.

Ok, now that you’ve returned to this tab from your incognito browsing session, the Pens!

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