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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Much like the famous Doors song that shares it’s name, bullpens are drawing near.  (Minus the Oedipus complex that the song explores.)  I mean, it may… but that is gross and I don’t wanna associate my bullpen goodies to that.  Moving on, shall we?  This year has been the SAGNOF-fest that we always come to expect.  Closers up, closers down.  Trades and attrition.  It happens every single year and it is the reason why the waiver wire is what it is: So we can get the new third closer for the Twins.  The chase for saves never ends, well, I mean it ends for season-long leagues, but for dynasty and keeper leagues, the times never change.  Saves are a category.  A deeply hated and often cursed at category that will always be debated about.  Whether or not to invest earlier picks then normal to get a stud, or just fill in with hope-so’s and also rans.  There unfortunately is no right or wrong answer because both strategies work as long as you are a waiver goblin.  So with the final post of the year, much like the other years that I have done this, we look to next year…  This year’s counting stats and information don’t matter, we want to know what lies on the horizon. So let’s find out!

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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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When Hunter Renfroe was demoted two months ago, he had to ask himself, “Did I just lose my job to Jabari?”  Since he was holding down his soon-to-be-extinct home button on his iPhone, Siri responded, “You’re the jabroni.”  This sent Hunter Renfroe into a shame spiral not seen since Lorenzo Lamas spun his laser pointer at cellulite.  Then Renfroe stepped on more mental rakes that smacked him in his face.  He followed The Iron Sheik on Twitter, who promptly called him a Jabroni.  He wandered into a Brony convention, and a bearded man dressed as My Little Pony introduced himself as Jay Brony.  It was awful!  Renfroe, or as Scooby would call him, ‘Renfroe,’ has a batting average that is the dog’s breakfast, which means it’s Scooby snacks.  Zoinks!  That’s not why you’re owning him; it’s for power, that he has in spades (though clubs would make more sense).  If you need power in the final ten days, grab Renfroe, you jabroni!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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As the story goes, Daniel Mengden entered the Lion’s Den Friday night with a 6.59 ERA through 17 career major league starts, and somehow left the game with his first career complete game shut out allowing just two hits and striking out seven retiring the last 11 batters in the row for his first win of the year. He looked dominant at times allowing only two base runners in the outing with Philadelphia not being able to manage any hard contact off the young right hander, who’s got a funky handle-bar mustache and an even funkier looking windup/delivery. This was by far the best start of the 24-year old’s young career, and just his second scoreless start in the majors. He added his first career hit as well and scored a run to help his cause. Whata night for the youngster! After struggling with a 6.50 ERA, and 1.61 WHIP through 14 starts last year, and two subpar outings in May/June of this year, Mengden has returned to the rotation in September and now put up back-to-back quality starts including a six inning two earned run performance against the fearsome Astros line up last week. Mengden may not be the safest fantasy option out there on waivers, but the A’s seem to be playing the role of spoiler late in the year and he remains a pitcher available in most leagues. I’d take a flier on Mengden, bible readers know how Daniel fared against the lions, let’s hope he can keep it going as he heads to the Tigers den next week in Detroit.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Sometimes with the SAGNOF machine it’s best to take a trip on the way back machine.  Players long past their usual usefulness of SAGNOF every now and again peep their heads out from the geriatric bingo and arts and crafts tent to be a whole bunch of fantasy useful.  We peer our eyes on Jose Reyes.  The once polished-up steal machine formerly of NY and now back again.  The end of the year flurry which we are seeing could be fueled by his pending free agency, or maybe he has found the fountain of yutes.  Either way he is showing out for the final stretch and is basically a must own type entity right now.  Slashing .348/.446/.582 over his last 15 and has basically repeated his counting stats in the second half of games, in half the games (83 in first half and 4 since all star break). The middle infidel spot has been a tumultuous path of futility all year with ping-ponging guys that have arguably more value from day-to-day than keeping rostered the whole year.  Just to put in perspective how good he has been over the last 30 days, he has better counting stats then Alex Bregman, who is owned in 91% of leagues right now.  Reyes is only owned in 32%.  If apples were to apples here, I would choose the dude in the big apple because of the speed.  No I am not saying dump Bregman for him, I am simply saying that comparatively Jose Reyes should be rostered.  Think fast it’s on to the saves and steals news of the past week.  Cheers!

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When you were a kid, did you ever receive a formal invitation and it was addressed like this, “Master Albright?”  Okay, now think about Harrison Bader getting a formal invite.  I’m dead.  That legit made me laugh for twenty minutes.  I stopped midway to breath from an oxygen tank, but a full twenty minutes, nevertheless.  Imagine this:  Mom, “Harrison, come here and open your auntie’s wedding invite?”  “Why does it say, Master Bader?”  Dad, “You’ll know in a few years, son.”  Not to mention, Master makes every little boy sound like the kid in The Toy.  S’lame!  I don’t even want to Google the origins for calling a boy, Master, because it’s prolly hella racist.  Any hoo!  Harrison Bader is playing every day, but the Cards do have 19 outfielders to juggle, so he’s not 100% guaranteed.  He is hitting for power and average, and at the top of the lineup.  With the Cards trying to make the playoffs, they’re putting their best lineup on the field and Bader has been a part of that.  Even if Master Bader sounds like he wouldn’t play well with others.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the Buy, I just wanted to mention our Fantasy Football tools.  Freudian, because this is my Buy and this would be your buy?  P to the erhaps.  But no purchase necessary, there’s a 7-day free trial, so you can give them a whirlybird for the first week if you like.  Anyway II, the Buy/Sell:

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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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Who doesn’t love them some BOGO sales? Girls love them, hell even flamboyant fake baseball players like it.  I prefer the pun value in them better than buying two pairs of shoes, only of which I need one.  Which leads us to Javier Baez.  I equate him to that sushi roll that you aren’t sure that you like and don’t exactly know what’s in it.  Like a Ahi Tuna special, but in a baseball hat.  Entering play (as of me writing this) he had 21 Homers and 9 steals.  Not fantastic by any stretch of the SAGNOF variety, but I wanna see if there is more juice to squeeze out of the North Side orange.  We are fully entrenched in the here and now of fantasy, but always need to be looking to next year.  So with his uptick in speed over the past eight games (3 steals), making everyone aware of their surroundings in the SAGNOF world seemed like a good spot to write about Javy for the first time this year.  Batting average is not what you want him to be a stalwart on your team, but the 21 taters with 12-15 stolen base potential with SS, 2B and 3B eligibility heading into next year, he is someone with name value that you may want to ask to your fantasy prom.  Enough with the debate about Baez for now and later, let’s get to the Stealers and Savers for the week…  Good luck down the stretch lads!

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