Please see our player page for Anthony Bass 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.

Been a while since I gave you a roundup of news, so guess what? Here’s a roundup of news, or in the case of Josh Jung, a guy who I added to the rankings. First off, what Prospect Itch said previously, “The best Texas prospect since Gallo, Josh Jung brings full-field power, plate discipline, and a plus hit tool along with functional defense at the hot corner. I’m trying to acquire him in my 20-team OBP league and suggest anyone seeking potentially affordable third base help consider the same in their leagues. Speaking of affordable, anyone know a reasonably priced hitman to take out Grey?” Okay, that’s not cool. Hold on one second, are you telling me the Rangers have a decent prospect? I call BS. I thought the Rangers gave up after finally figuring out how to spell Saltalamacchia. Oh, I know, this is the Rangers just trying to sneak Michael Young back out at 3rd base, and spelling his name differently. Jung, you’re nothing but a Freud! Podcaster Ralph told me the other day, he thinks Jung is a 25-homer, 3-steal, .280 hitter. Not sure how much time Jung sees this year, but the draft season is still Jung! Sorry, hashtag never again. I added Josh Jung into my top 20 3rd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball with the projections: 21/6/25/.272/1 in 170 ABs, but obviously those could go up if he breaks camp. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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“Ask not what your fantasy team’s pitchers can do for you, but what you can do for your fantasy team pitchers.” The number one thing you can do is have your fantasy team page open and curse and scream whenever a reliever comes into the game in a non-save shituation and gives up runs, or when you have a pitcher give up five-plus in under five innings, or when you bench a guy who throws a gem. That’s the least you can do for your country and your team. Yesterday, the Kennedy curse lifted, and Jack and Joe did you right: Joe Musgrove (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.68) vs. Jack Flaherty (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.84). In 2021, Jack Flaherty could be underrated. Imagine he’s not a top five starter next year, because of one bad start. Sign me up for some of that nonsense. Joe Musgrove is a trickier proposition such as, “I’ll do whatever for $50.” Wait, that’s a trick’s proposition. Since Musgrove’s IL stint, his fastball velocity wasn’t quite there, but yesterday saw him touch 95 MPH, and his slider was working for him. For 2021, I could see getting sucked in again by Musgrove, which inevitably will leave me mumbling, “Era, era, my ERA is a mess.” That’s JFK struggling to the finish line of a fantasy season, like all of us. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The changes to bullpens week to week this season will probably never cease to amaze me. It’s the damn wild west out here. Why anyone would pay for saves is beyond me. With the trade deadline looming it’s also a good time to take stock and maybe stash some of the next in line guys if you have the room. Tiers are day of the week themed since everyday is Wednesday now.

  • I thought Joe Jiminez had one of the safest jobs in baseball. He did everything he could to lose it. The team has announced his removal as closer and a committee going forward. Gregory Soto is probably the only one of the lot with enough upside to make it worth the chase.
  • The Rays traded Emilio Pagan and were cursed to never again find a closer. It seems like Diego Castillo is the reliever due for an injury. He a plenty capable reliever. We’ll see what the usage looks like soon.
  • Daniel Bard snagged a pair of saves for the Rockies. As a righty, he has a lead on Carlos Estevez for manager decision making. We’ll see if that holds up until Wade Davis returns.
  • The Blue Jays are a full blown committee now. Anthony Bass didn’t do much to lose his grip but Jordan Romano is converting some opps, as well. Ken Giles is throwing so it may not matter much longer.
  • The Cardinals placed Andrew Miller on the IL. Giovanny Gallegos is kind of the guy by default at this point. Team management is still trying to stop one step shy of committing to him fully but whatever. Until Ryan Helsley is back I’m not sure anyone else earns a save.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not that long ago, I remember hearing a story. One I will recount for you here, but you can’t tell anyone else. Promise? Okay, there was this guy Brandon Bielak, and he was real into attachment parenting and had to put up with his stupid father, Nick, and dopey brothers, Tony and Joey Lawrence — Whoa. Well, the Teen Beat on, and I’m reading this from an old TV Guide with Miss Piggy on the cover, can you tell? Brandon Bielak is an enigma. Nothing exists on him, besides Matt Roush’s blurbs. Confession Alert! I used to collect TV Guides. What an absolute nerd. Any hoo! Bielak was found on waivers by me (or was it in an abandoned refrigerator — wait, wrong show), and he went 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 1.76. He works with a 94 MPH fastball, and a ton of secondary pitches with the curve hooking hard, and looking especially nice. He’s very serviceable, bordering on more. He could be a back-end fantasy starter for years to come. Now, I’ve streamed this guy a few times, and Streamonator thinks Bielak next start is even better — with no Big Bang in sight. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

Was having a chat in the comments the other day with Razzball writer, Coolwhip, and I said to him something like, “Wonder if starters who throw weak-sauce fastballs are going to be better this year because there will be less effort, and leff esort (sic) this year is better because no pitchers can throw hard with no real ramp up to the season.” Leff esort is such a great concept. It’s like saying ‘less effort’ without opening your mouth, so it is being said with less effort — hence, leff esort. Leff esort is such an easy way to live, yet alone pitch. Could all those jacked 99 MPH fastballs be just too much this year and leff esort is the way to go? I don’t know. But it does seem like guys sneaking by on 91 MPH or slower fastballs are having a much better time so far. Aaron Civale couldn’t get arrested with his 91 MPH fastball (if there was a law against 92+ MPH fastballs), yet here he is. Giddy up, Ryan Yarbrough (88 MPH), you slow dog! Sure, you’ll do, Jon Lester (89). Hey, look at Ross Stripling (91), and you too, Matt Shoemaker (91). Merrill Kelly had moments of 92+ MPH fastballs in his first game, but he is more about his cutter (90 MPH), curve and change. Last September, Kelly also dominated, and I’m adding him everywhere. Maybe we’re all just trying too hard and we need leff esort. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Roto-Wan is at the Jersey Shore this week, home to the iconic reality show of the same name. Much like the cast of misguided Jerseyites our MLB season is already riddled with disease. I won’t depress you with talk of how this kind of travel and interaction is a slap in the face of a contagious virus. COVID will do that enough. I’m here to try and catch up on the widespread bullpen carnage of this very early season. Hopefully, you headed my advice and discounted closers in your drafts. Now’s the time to plug those holes. You’ve got plenty of options. Unlike the guys that settled for going home with Snookie.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh what a year it’s been since my last article was published on April 3rd. At that point I was thinking “Wow, the Athletics could win the AL West this season with this lineup!” Now, I’m left wondering “I wonder if the Blue Jays can beat their division rivals, the NY Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates and win the MLB East.” At this point I don’t care how they break the teams down. Three divisions, six divisions, 15 divisions — just gimme my baseball! There’s only so much KBO I can watch and MLB Power Pros I can play! 

My prediction is that baseball dives face first into “We’re baseball! We ARE America!” and the season launches for 100 games on Saturday, July 4th. What’s more ‘Murican than that?! 

Enough banter — let’s talk about the Blue Jays sleepers. As always — I’m not here to talk about Vlad Guerrero or Bo Bichette — everyone already knows about them and how they’re going to perform. Also — I’m not really going to touch on prospects. The Itch already did a bang up job telling you about Nate Pearson and the other Blue Jays prospects here: https://razzball.com/top-2020-prospects-toronto-blue-jays/

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We know spring training is fully underway when a bunch of arms break. We’re sure to see more as soreness becomes less general and more devastating to our early drafts. The four-tier format is back for our closer report. This week, pandemic foodstuff themed tiers. I’d laugh but for fear that might cause me to cough resulting in those nearby turning mob justice on me. Let’s get to some news and notes on the reliever front first.

  • Emmanuel Clase – He of the hardest cutter in baseball is starting his Cleveland career off on a sour note. A back strain will likely sideline him for 8-12 weeks. This opens the door for fellow reliever wunderkind James Karinchak to solidify a leverage role. If you want a job relieving for Cleveland just have a hard to spell name, throw gas, and be in your early 20’s.
  • Jose Alvarado – Don’t look now but Alvarado looks sharp as ever. But Roto-Wan, Nick Anderson is *the* it closer of draft season?!? I have no issue with Anderson’s stuff, just his role. He factors into their ninth inning, no doubt. Let me ask you this, though. He saved some games for them last year since they’re a team that’s the most progressive in leverage roles, right? No? Ok, well he came over from Miami, who’s bullpen was a collection of molding leftovers. He racked up a bunch of saves there, surely? How about one save. Well, at least he’s a young prospect? Turns 30 in June. I don’t mean to rain on your Nick Anderson parade, and by “don’t” I mean I do, but he’s far from a lock. I’m betting on Alvarado seeing some of their saves as the lefty side of a committee in every league I draft that uses RPs.
  • Brandon Kintzler – Things are not off to a great start this spring for the presumptive Marlins closer. Like, walking four straight batters bad. I’d consider a spec play on Ryne Stanek early on.
  • Ryan Helsley – I’m not the Helsley guy but some people I respect (see: Matt Thompson, Nick Pollack) have made it a point to draft the young Cardinal in the late rounds. Their ninth inning is a mess to predict, as usual. Helsley also has an outside shot at the rotation it seems, depending on the health of their assumed starters.
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Rosie is the latest zombie reliever. He’s always been able to light up radar guns. He just has zero command at times, as in most of the time. The command seems to be there this spring, however. KC would love to add any talent it can to baseball’s most mediocre bullpen.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?