Legit, nothing happened for about five weeks since the end of the season.  Literally.  I went into such a vegetative state, a farmer, in overalls, walked by me, poked my eye and said, “This spud won’t be ready for a few more weeks.”  Then I thought about how much a farmer is like a pimp.  You don’t see them much, except when with their hoes.  They work rain and shine and they hate the movie, Food, Inc.  Okay, maybe they’re not that similar.  Then I went back into my vegetative state.  During the offseason, I’m like a landlocked Delaware.  Any hoo!  We have some offseason moves to speak on — Choir at black church, “Speak!”  Dee Gordon was traded to the Mariners because Jerry Dipoto got a call from his mother that went like this, “How many titles did Theo Epstein have by the time he was your age?”  Jerry Dipoto put down the phone, turned to a mirror and yelled, “You’re better than this!”  The Mariners have tried this whole center field SAGNOF gambit before:  Jarrod Dyson, Chone Figgins.  All a play to get back to the days of wine and roses and Ichiros?  Maybe.  Trading for a guy turning 30 in April who relies on his legs seems to be a meh move — mehve? — but we’re here for the fantasy.  Last year, Gordon stole a league-high 60 bags, though Hamilton had an award-winning musical.  Gordon’s line drive rate was up year over year, but he did have a PEDs suspension, so not much to learn there.  His batted ball profile is eerily similar for the last few years, and I see no reason why anything would change in 2018.  He’s going to be playing center field now, which should make for some interesting relay throws involving the entire outfield, but that won’t affect Gordon’s hitting.  For 2018, I’l give him the projections 108/2/36/.292/54 in 633 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2018 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, baseball is back and the All Star break already feels like a distant memory, but it seems like there’s not really a lot going on in terms of the NL or AL-only waiver wire. With Jose Quintana, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, we’ve had one biggish-name and two possibly impactful crossover players head to the NL, so depending on how your waivers work that may have produced a flurry of activity. Beyond those names, though, I feel like the waiver wire has been even thinner than normal in both the NL and AL only world. Perhaps a moment of calm before the storm as more trades/promotions go down, and it can be awfully difficult to predict how much real-life trading action there will be — and how it should impact one’s approach on using waiver priority, FAAB dollars, or whatever other method your league NL or AL-only league might use to acquire crossover players. (By the way, I should mention that I’m writing this on Monday and will not have a chance to edit it before it gets published, so if crazy flurries of trades, injuries, and assorted moments of baseball wackiness occur on Tuesday, well, that’ll have to be addressed next week).

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In what very well may be the first hostile takeover of the closer year, we turn our eyes to the land of Primanti’s and Yinzers.  Yes my friends, I am talking about Pittsburgh.  The incumbent closer there, Tony Watson, has had a rough spring training.  One that usually I would brush aside and say “ehh ST stats mean bupkis” and he has the vet preference behind him to back him up.  I usually believe that type of big brother back-up mentality, but not when they signed a free agent who was viewed by several other clubs as a closer, that player being Daniel Hudson.  So before we get to Danny, let’s stay on Tony Watson for a bit.  He is the 19th closer off the board in most scenarios, which by all intents and purposes puts him in the lower-middle.  Last season he only took over the closer’s role after the trade of Melancon and notched himself 15 saves on the year.  But they weren’t all comfy ones.  Tony Watson is a phenomenal relief pitcher, notice, I said “relief pitcher”.  In my mind, he is just not a closer.  A closer by default last year though?   Very much so.  Now, you add the tumultuous spring that he is having; faced 24 batters, allowed eight hits, walked three and eight ER in four-and-a-third innings. good for a 16 plus ERA.  Looking for a silver lining, okay, there are two!  Zero home runs allowed and a K-rate above 12.  Yah… for peripheral stats, Hudson has been basically himself this spring, high-K middle-3 ERA, and holding opponents to a .200 BAA, while everyone is hitting Teddy Ballgame against Watson.  I am not completely panicking yet, because in reality I would have two higher ranked RP before Tony Watson comes off the board, but those looking to get a cheeky head-start on the SAGNOF craze, grab you some Daniel Hudson.  So for the first invasion of the season, I am flying the Jolly Roger upside down for distress.  Let’s see what else is going down for the end game of ballgames…

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A funny thing happened on my way to work today, I sat there in my favorite sitting place and did some research.  I looked at the availability of information provided by the other experts in the world of fantasy baseball, and then correlated that to what I do best.  That, my friends, is bullpens.  We as a collective fantasy universe play in leagues with the illusive yet sultry stat category known as the Hold.  In fact, in some further research that I have done, an estimated 30% of all fantasy players play in a league with some sort of Hold associated with the final outcome in the standings.  I mean, 30% is basically like winning the popular vote.  [Jay’s Note: I love you Smokey.] But I am standing here aghast at the amount of research poured into this fantasy industry by experts all around the world, yet here I sit.  Giving you the most diverse, in-depth, informative (yet funny), and groundbreaking stat analysis that not even world-wide leaders give… for free might I add.  I love me some bullpens, and if you don’t play in a league that adds diversity to the game to include them, then maybe you should down shift a bit and give it some thought and do a league that includes it.  Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.  Because this way I gain, at least one reader from each person that does it.  Go search the inter-webs for holds type information, you get a column sorted catastrophe written by some intern who doesn’t know the difference between good and well.  So stay here my friends, I am the goods through and through. I dropped the Holds chart weeks ago and now you get just straight cheddar and some rankings.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Felix Hernandez hit the DL with a calf strain.  He could veal it during his last start.  Sounds like a good injury to milk.  Sorry, I was just shaking out the pockets of these jeans I wore last night and I had a bunch of unused cow puns.  What’s a dad cow’s poop called?  Pa-nure!  Take it, Highlights, it’s yours!  So, James Paxton was called up to replace F-Her, who is likely going to only miss a few weeks, but Paxton could continue to get starts if he’s good.  So, can Paxton be good?  Is there’s twelve posts in post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-hype sleeper?  Paxton has shown flashes of brilliance with his 94 MPH fastball but the M’s have wanted Paxton to improve on a bunch of pitches and he’s already 27 years old, so is improvement coming?  Well, he had a 3.97 ERA in Triple-A this year and Steamer projects him as a streamer, so I have no faith whatsoever.   Speaking of faith, yesterday Paxton gave up runs like his character gave out marriage proposals.  Looking at his line is like looking at Chloe Sevigny — 3 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 unearned runs.  Paxton’s like when Picasso stood up from the toilet.  He’d look down and say, “That’s a work in progress.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Saturday, our prayers were answered.  No, not the prayer about winning Powerball.  Or the prayer about sweatpants becoming the new formalwear.  Or the prayer about muttonchops being some magical aphrodisiac.  Or the prayer about your mom forgetting that time you accidentally sexted her.  Or that prayer about being as successful in real life as you are in fantasy.  No, not those.  The prayer about Yu Darvish returning and looking as dominant as ever.  On Saturday, he threw the fastest pitch of his major league career, throwing three pitches for more than 98 MPH.  The line of 5 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks was solid, but I imagine this will be the start of him reaffirming his place in the top 10 starter conversation.  Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department sang, “Yu, Yu got what I need…Yu say he just spends Yen…Yu say he just spends Yen…But baby Yuuuuuu,Yu got what I need!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts.  The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep.  Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives.  Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role.  He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety.  Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board.  Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball.  So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so.  If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you.  So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…

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My years of sitting in French cafes, smoking really long cigarettes and wearing a beret, while sneering at children and puppies, has taken its toll.  I’m no longer the innocent fantasy baseballer who picks up just any potential rookie call-up.  I have more discerning tastes now.  When I was a mere jejune tot, I’d sip a combination of ale and grenadine my bartendress called a Monaco and talk about Super 2’s and so-and-so was going to be the next Ryan Braun-like call-up.  I’m no longer a tot; now, I’m a full potato, and I drink gin with extra juniper berries.  Crunching on juniper berries, coughing from a tumor, watching cyclists in spandex shorts, carrying baguettes.  The days bleed together.  I take out my daily planner and pencil, lick the pencil, turn the calendar day to make a note to, “Buy more Virginia Slim 120s,” when I read a note to myself, “It’s almost June, start picking up rookie call-ups, you dipshit!”  Ah, yes, Daily Planner Grey has a point.  Today, I decided to highlight Trea Turner.  At this point, he feels like the number one call-up.  A.J. Reed, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Orlando Arcia might make bigger impacts, but the Nats consider themselves a playoff team and they’re in a heated division battle right now.  I doubt they let Dusty simply ignore Turner because Espinosa is older.  Older really isn’t a reason to play someone.  An exec has to relay that to Dusty at some point.  Turner looks like he could be a Francisco Lindor-type from last year — 7-10 HRs, 15-18 steals, solid average.  Basically, a top ten shortstop from the time he’s called up.  I would stash him now–*coughs*  Sorry, I accidentally bought Virginia Slim 140s.  The extra 20 is killing me.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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jungho

If you walk out that door, you’re going to miss a great comeback. Hunt Stevenson kicked ass. And even though he didn’t actually meet the goal of 15,000 cars So Yamamura was so impressed with Hunt’s efforts that he declared his team successful. Just another example of a great 1980’s movie. Modern technology be damned, the 80’s was awesome. Speaking of awesome, let’s talk about the third baseman you’re going to wish you stashed on your DL if you don’t own one of Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado or Josh Donaldson. I refer to them collectively as the “Big 3B”. And no, there is no “Big 3A”. There’s the “Big 3A-holes”. That would be Justin Upton.

Please, blog, may I have some more?