Please see our player page for Alex Claudio 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.

Ryan Braun battled injuries once again (insert steroid/herpes cream joke). But, the Hebrew Hammer had the 14th best hard hit rate last season. His stats don’t reflect this hard hit rate so we have to assume Brauny hit into some bad luck. He reportedly changed some things in his swing this offseason for the first time in his career. The goal of this is to elevate more balls to avoid that bad luck. Braun could be a sneaky fantasy asset this year if you’re willing to roll with him missing plenty of games. He’s currently coming off the board in the 16th-17th round which could prove to be a major steal…

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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!

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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!

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Usually, as one does, I type with my fingers.  Hunt and peck with mostly the index’ers, but definitely fingers all the way.  I’m so pumped up going for the win this year I’m typing up this post with both fists.  WE MUST WIN!  BY WE I MEAN ME!  BY ME I MEAN I, IF “I” WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED IN THAT SENTENCE INSTEAD OF ME; I DON’T KNOW, AND AM TOO HYPED UP TO LOOK INTO IT, IN FACT, THIS SENTENCE IS KINDA KILLING MY HYPE BY EVEN DISCUSSING GRAMMAR.  GRAMMAR BOO!  WINNING THIS LEAGUE YAY!  Actually using my fists is not enough.  I will now type up this post by banging my forehead on the keyboard.  ABCJIVS1I7$  Damn, that didn’t work so well.  Maybe I’ll try my nose.  Hekko, froend.  Ugh, that didn’t work either.  Okay, I’m gonna use my fingers again, but I’m just as pumped up.  RAWR!  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family team, it’s a 15-team, mixed league:

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Now to finish out the positional rankings for 2018 with my favorite: the relievers!  I may have went a little crazy here, 3000 words on closers and one stat fellas is just bonkers to think about.  I could have just used “save potential” and “hard hit percentage in medium leverage situations” about 40 times in my rankings, but I didn’t.  Ranking relievers is an ever changing game of robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.  There are always going to be injuries and attrition, which lead to relievers getting changed and making the preseason rankings look stupid in hindsight.  Last year there were 40 relievers that garnered 10 saves or more.  Now, if you are keeping track, there are still only 30 teams so my previous sentence about replacement value in relievers is very true.  That is why handcuffs and secondary bullpen pieces on draft day are important, not only for saves but to help your cranky ratios that creep up from day-to-day.  This ranking is just based on relievers with potential for saves and how they will stack up in that department.  Holds post will be something separate and should be forthcoming, though you sure as hell aren’t getting 3000 words on Holds because I’d rather blow my brains out.  Still love the Holds game as much as, or even more than any other fantasy writer, just gotta temper expectations as not many other sites give you so much bullpen love as we do.  So enjoy the rankings of 2018 fantasy relief pitchers.  (It says 50 but I went ahead and did a little extra.)  Enjoy!

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As I sit here and awake from my winter’s hibernation, I search for and do only the essentials.  Gold chain, check.  I also tell myself that the transition from Fantasy Soccer to Fantasy Baseball will be as easy as riding a bike.  But you forget, I’m a bear.  Nonetheless, here we are fantasy folks and four female folkers.  Baseball 2018 is already in high gear with posts from the usual gaggle, and as always my contribution is at the back-end of ball games.  Namely saves, holds, and relief pitchers that have intrinsic mixed league value and individual league value heading into the draft stages of this new and bright year. So keeping it simple, I formed a chart that will be included it in every week’s post that will have the bullpen pictures of all MLB teams, updating it with every sleeper or bullpen post… because I am a giver.  That and who knows what will happen in the forthcoming weeks that may skew the dynamics of the bullpens around the fantasy world?  Once Grey starts doing his pitcher rankings, I will then drop my own rankings in  proper fashion.  Til then, sit back relax, ask questions about almost anything relating to bullpens or closers, as I will gladly be here as always for my ninth season here at Razzball.  So it is with pleasure that I can bring you the first bullpen related post of the year.  Individual closer and reliever posts are on the way. Enjoy!

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Quick, grab a coin from your pocket.  Now hurl it in a river, and imagine it’s at someone in your office two cubicles away.  Now mid-flight, make a wish.  Get back to me in two-three days and let me know how it went.  This luck and wish game is much like the closer game.  We hope and pray that all is well, but at the end of the day, we only care about the accumulation.  This late in the season its all about the job.  Who is doing it and who isn’t, period.  The stalwarts are on cruise control into the final stretch of the season and are mostly on more winning teams than the teams that have situations that aren’t the most ideal.  Good bullpens usually equal good-to-moderately-good success in real life.  Much is the same with fantasy closer investment and going into next year if you struggled for saves this year.  Invest in teams that will have aspirations of playoff baseball.  The investment in drafting a round or two earlier than usual should pay off in the long run of the ever treacherous 180 days of fantasy baseball.  So with the season winding down, let’s see what is happening in the saves market around the game as we transition into fantasy football, basketball, hockey and SOCCER!

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There are two times of the year taxing comes about.  Once at the beginning of the fantasy baseball season for legal tax reasons, and then about now in September.  The Yankees seem to be flip-flopping useful relievers from one to another as they all seem to be getting worn.  So Aroldis Chapman with some wear and tear eased off his arm is going to be worked back into the clutch-save position for the Yanks.  Betances over the past 14 days has maintained his K/9 rate of over 15, but at the expense of his ERA (7.91), and his BB/9 rate has spiked all the way up to near 8 per 9.  That is the stuff that gets people fired or demoted.  (Which is exactly what is happening in his case.)  I can see him dropping to a lesser role for the next week or so and being used in less pivotal situations.  Allowing Robertson and Chad Green to show what they got in front of the flame-throwing Cuban.  Aroldis’ last 14 games have been a far improvement over his last 14.  Era was only 2.70, K/9 way below his standard at 10.80.  The bad department is that he hasn’t really been used too much.  So as he gets back on the bike in closer role and the season comes to an end soon, let’s see what else is going down in the world of saves…

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We’re back, Dr. Easy and I, for another week of Razzball Player Rater deep-diving, looking for the unexpected gems at the bottom of the ocean (a.k.a., the waiver wire) and trying to separate them out from the cubic zirconia and the fish poop. All that glisters is not gold; the owls are not what they seem; etc. etc. Last week, we probed — so to speak — rookie hitters. This time around, we’ll look at relievers and rookie pitchers. So, which players are all bling bling? Which are the real thing?

Take on your favorite contributors and other readers in the Fantasy Football Razzball Commenter Leagues for a chance at prizes! Free to join, leagues still open!

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When I write titles like this, often times I say to myself: Do I need to extrapolate on the actuality of the point that I am trying to convey?  Fortunately for you I am going to be all basic with knowledge this week because it is pretty cut and dry.  Are you winning saves?  How much are you winning saves by?  If yes for the first question and over 20 for the second, be like Billy Ray and sell.  Do not liquidate all your assets, just slim down your roster to a smattering of usefulness instead of a hoard.  Find a culprit who maybe chasing second, third or even fourth.  My reasoning for this and why you should do it now is that before people realize that there is no hope in dope or chasing saves when you can’t make them up… they will lose interest and they will have zero trade value.  Don’t get stuck holding a struggling middle/upper closer when you can reinvest that in a bat that can make up a stat other than just one.  Today’s moral is:  sell saves, be aware that your return may not be as great as expected, but it’s better then dumping them to the waiver wire for nothing.

The Fantasy Premier League is about to begin! Tune into Razzball Soccer for all your Fútbol needs!

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