Please see our player page for Aroldis Chapman 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.

It’s 1993. Funny man and lady slayer, Billy Crystal hosts the Oscars; Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time becomes a bestseller because guys buy the book to put on their shelves to be a lady slayer like Billy Crystal, and a mother and father fawn over a newborn: “What do you want to name him?” “I like the name Tejay.” “I think it’s an abbreviation.” “Does it have to be?” And with that Tejay Antone was brought into the world. Yesterday, he announced himself with a start vs. the Indians of 4 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners (4 BBs), 4 Ks, ERA at 2.08, but the line might not do it justice. He had a solid number of called/swinging strikes in yesterday’s game, and his 83 MPH slider, and 80 MPH curve really dips off the table from his 96 MPH fastball. Honestly, he looked to me like a great bullpen arm, or, if he can command his stuff, a high-upside starter. I kinda drooled at some of his offerings. Don’t think he’s there yet for mixed leagues, outside of favorable Streamonator matchups, but he went from off my radar, to definitely on it. As T.J. Lavin would say to a mirror, “You’re killin’ it, Teej!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re getting close to the re-launched opening day, so any serious knocks guys are picking up in camp now are going to start impacting playing time.  That also holds true for new, positive, Covid tests that might pop up.

Eduardo Rodriguez is currently on a throwing program away from the team as he awaits clearance from a positive Covid test.  From a physical standpoint, this is all good news, but he’s still up in the air until he tests negative.

DJ LeMahieu, Salvador Perez, Kenley Jansen, and Joey Gallo were both back in camp this week after clearing Covid protocol.

One guy not back yet is Freddie Freeman.  His case was originally thought to be more serious, and he has not been cleared to participate yet.  The Braves think there’s a chance at opening day for him, but at this point, if he’s still feeling symptoms, I’d put that timeframe at doubtful.

Along with Freeman, Yordan Alvarez, Austin Meadows, Aroldis Chapman, Jesus Luzardo, and Howie Kendrick are all also absent from camp.

Alvarez and Chapman have both been put on the IL, signaling their cases may be a bit more severe than others.  I’d expect Zack Britton to get the first shot at saves if Chapman can’t get cleared for a bit.  On the Astros front, you’d have to imagine Kyle Tucker has an easier path to ABs with Alvarez sidelined.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Aroldis Chapman tested positive for Covid and has mild symptoms. Aroldis was reading a radar gun, when he said, “Damn, I haven’t thrown 101 in so long,” then he realized he wasn’t reading a radar gun. This is not great news. Zack/Zach Britton would fill in if Aroldis can’t get back on the field in time for Re-Opening Day. (I’m trying to make Re-Opening Day happen. Is it obvious/working?) I’m hesitant about moving Aroldis down in my rankings, because he only needs — what, two throwing sessions to be ready? Seems like he could be back by Re-Opening Day, or maybe a day or two past Re-Opening Day or three days past Re-Opening Day (is it a thing yet?).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In Sunday’s introduction to the top 50 relief pitchers for 2021 dynasty baseball, I explored how Rolaids may have played a role in early analytics by assigning point values to relief pitching events in their quest to annually reward each league’s best pitcher in the 1970’s. 

During these years, Rolaids commercials claimed that their company name spelled relief. Now I know it was just a bit for a commercial, and I appreciate Rolaids bringing shine to an oft-shadowed position (especially to that point in baseball history), but I don’t appreciate—as an English instructor and father of an almost two-year-old human—that a company can build its core marketing strategy around obfuscating the spelling of words. Morphemes matter, y’all. Mastering the English language is heartburn-inducing enough without Rolaids playing fast and loose with phonics.

This reminds me of major league managers playing fast and loose with bullpens while the rest of us scramble to figure out how that team is going to spell relief for the next few weeks. 

But scramble we must, and relish the hustle I do, so let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I take a lot of antacids.

Rolaids created an award (not for me)–a gold-plated firefighter’s helmet–to honor baseball’s best relief pitcher every year from 1976 to 2012. The history behind this fascinates me. Feels like some seeds of analytics were born in the bowels of Rolaids’ 1970’s corporate office.

Relief pitching events were each given a point value. Three points per save. Two points per win. Two points per loss. The biggest end-of-season number won, period. 

Blown saves (-2) were introduced in 1987.

Tough saves (+4) came along in 2000. Surprises me that I’ve never seen this as an option by fantasy providers, especially in points leagues or daily games. An antacid company was using it 20 years ago ffs. Refers to any time a reliever enters the game with a tying run on base and secures a save. 

Relievers might be my favorite thing about fantasy baseball, for reasons I can’t explain except to say I love games that resist attempts to shrink/minimize/categorize/rubricate them. The more multi-layered the better. And saves bring that to fantasy baseball. (As do stolen bases.) I also love Holds leagues because they throw the math off a nudge further and open another market of elite players who just happen to pitch the not-ninth. 

Ranking RP’s is kind of a paradox. It might be the least accurate yet most useful of any positional ranking, especially for dynasty leagues.

So that’s the caveat. 

These rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, btw. Would look totally different in a holds league.

Relief pitching is a strength for me in fantasy, year over year. I tend to trade from it and trade for it on a regular basis, sometimes within the same week. Still, I’m a little leery to put fingers to keys on this one. The yearly upheaval at this position is like no other, so I’m not surprised there’s very little on the market right now covering relief pitching in dynasty leagues. 

The very thought of the task has my hand reaching for the (insert highest-bidding antacid company here).

Kidding. I love this stuff. My full geek breathes fire when researching the K-BB % leaders across all leagues, digging into their game logs, skipping to their innings, even watching/reading an interview here and there.  

Let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While the COVID-19 outbreak may be wreaking havoc in the real-life world of sports, fantasy baseball is at least unscathed, for the most part. In fact, the delay for Opening Day announcement lends value to some of the injured superstars whose ADPs have slipped because of their injuries. If you strike while the iron’s hot, you just may be able to grab yourself a bargain stud now that there’s extra recovery time before the season begins.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

One word about this top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words. I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Patterns In Queso That Look Like Messages From Another Planet for 2020– Okay, but I almost got you. This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other. Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from. 467 more, to be very exact. Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 567. Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500 that will go to 8,602, then a top 25,000 that will go to 28,765, then a top 600,000 that will go to 892,121, until we end up with a top kajillion in April that will go to a kajillion and one. Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500. Yeah, that makes sense. Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel. Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2020 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.” Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters. Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter! Razzball Subscriptions are also now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room, and you can go ad-free for a $9.99. Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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?

I teach in China for a month every summer, and all I really have access to for that month, entertainment wise, is baseball and whatever I can download or arrange ahead of time, so that leads to lots of podcasts and audio books.

The books I repeat most feature a certain group of young wizards invented by J.K. Rowling, and during this summer’s listen-through the whole Potter series, I had some new thoughts.

First, poor Filch. I mean what a awful gig that dude has. Whole castle full of magic, and he’s on his hands and knees scrubbing vomit and blood and snot and who knows what all.

Second, Summer for Harry Potter is a lot like Winter for baseball fans. Harry just sits around waiting for news. All. Summer. Long. So every little snippet of something takes on extra meaning. And The Daily Prophet has its head so far up it’s cauldron that even the snippets are just glances through a cracked mirror.

So who’s ready to fire up the rumor mill and speculate our way through the off-season!?

Not me.

I’m hanging onto Fall as long as possible.

If that appeals to you, let’s hop on a Thestral, fly over prospect country and pretend it’s still Summertime.

Please, blog, may I have some more?