Please see our player page for Brad Hand 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.

Welcome back to JKJ’s School of Waiver Wire Wizardry. It’s time for Lesson Two, where I hope to improve upon my decently successful Lesson One.

James Karinchak doesn’t have the closer gig like I and many others thought he would, so that’s a big time bummer, not only as-an-analyst-wise, but also multiple-Karinchak-owner-wise. Still worth a stash because Brad Hand really isn’t all that great anymore, and Karinchak is a good ratios and strikeout guy, and holds if your league counts ’em. Hand’s K-rate is still very healthy, but man he’s given up a lot of barreled balls already and the xERA is over 4. I really think it’s only a matter of time.

Colin Moran predictably has gone cold. Teoscar Hernandez a little bit as well but the BA is still healthy (for now). JaCoby Jones has been holding up nicely, at least. Oh, and that Trent Grisham guy is raking. He’s looking like a budding superstar, with the rare power and speed combo we just don’t see much in baseball anymore. I tossed in a quick note about Donovan Solano at the end, and he’s been smacking base hit after base hit since. Planned to cover him this week but his ownership rates ballooned.

Nothing to write home about with my other picks from last week. Let’s see if I do better this time around.

Remember, students, 2020 is a weird one. The hotties need to be given a shot. Don’t be the guy who looks back at the missed opportunities that could have given you your asterisk-laden fantasy baseball title! Just kidding, for the record. No asterisks this year. We’re all in this same crazy boat together.

Note: Only players in the 30th percentiles (39% or below) on either Yahoo! or ESPN are considered. All stats as of 8/7/2020. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Having fun chasing pitching yet? At least this short season won’t be boring. There has been no shortage of actionable bullpen moves. They’re not likely to slow down anytime soon. Get aggressive on middle relievers and closer spec plays.

  • Somethings not right with Ryan Pressly. He blew the save in his first opportunity for Houston without recording a shot. Andre Scrubb worked a clean inning and a third before that. Cy Sneed and Blake Taylor gave up a bunch of runs prior to that. We’ll see which way the wind blows next time the ninth comes up with a lead. Brad Peacock is probably worth a stash as he works his way back from arm soreness.
  • The Cardinals are going to need Kwang-hyun Kim in their rotation upon their restart from quarantine. That leaves the closer role open. Giovanny Gallegos should be ready to go at this point. Many fantasy managers have also made a bet Ryan Helsley will get opportunities.
  • Poor, cursed Nick Burdi has been placed on the season-ending 45-day IL with an elbow issue. At least he was able to earn his first career save before being struck down again. Richard Rodriguez should get the ninth until Keona Kela returns shortly.
  • Brad Hand has shown us the rumors of his demise were somewhat exaggerated. He’s notched two uneventful saves this week. I’d still expect Cleveland to try and rest him between appearances when they’re comfortable with James Karinchak handling the ninth.
  • The Angels are an unexpected dumpster fire in the backend of their bullpen. Hansel Robles has washed out as the closer. Ty Buttrey is filling in but has 1 K to 3 BBs in 6.1 innings. Kenyan Middleton is serving up gopher balls. Felix Pena is the only one treading water.
  • Jairo Diaz is cementing himself into the Rockies closer gig. His Ks and ratios don’t blow you away but the job security is nice.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

For as batshizz crazy 2020 is, I will say that it is exciting. Maybe exciting isn’t the right word. Maybe batshizz crazy is the right thing to say, and leave it at that. Every day we have another rookie callup and I’m here for it, even if it might lead to roofies and waking up to wonder why a member of al Qaeda is making a lampshade out of your back skin. “Que quiero mi torso…lampshade?” Al Qaeda, “We don’t speak Spanish.” So, yesterday the Padres called up Luis Patino. My mom is always telling people about her kitchen cabinets’ faux patina, so this must be good. Check it out: Here he is in Prospect Itch’s top 25 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball. Also, Prospect Hobbs wrote about 1200 words in his Luis Patino fantasy. I’m jazzed like hands and psyched like a shrink! Here’s a small snippet from PH’s post, “Even with just two refined pitches (and another two in the making), Patino has completely baffled right-handed hitters, as they produced a meager .163/.259/.220 slash against him in 2019. Clearly, Patino could step into a big league bullpen tomorrow and be elite. Like, ya know, the opposite of whatever Grey is.” Oh, man, cmon! So, is this the end of Joey Lucchesi of the Doing Crimes To Your Fantasy Team Crime Family? Not sure, but even if Patino is a long man in the bullpen, he’s worth a flyer in leagues 12-team mixed and deeper, depending on needs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to JKJ’s School of Waiver Wire Wizardry. This is Lesson One. Please, take your seat. Feel free to drink adult beverages in class. I encourage it.

It’s been a good while since I’ve blessed your brains and your eyeballs with my writing. And I’ll be honest, in the meantime I wasn’t fully confident we’d have baseball at all. But yay! I was wrong! For now…several teams didn’t play at all this weekend, and I just can’t see this being the last time something like this happens. Maybe I’ll be wrong again. Hope so. First the Marlins, now the Cardinals, maybe still the Phillies, but it seems they may have dodged a giant bullet. Time will tell.

For now, though, we still have baseball, which means we still have fantasy baseball, which means you lucky folks get to read the first of my brand-spankin’ new weekly column here at the Razzball on fantasy baseball waiver targets.

Gonna keep it pretty straightforward. No particular order. Bats in one section, arms in the other. I’m only interested in players owned in the 30-range percentiles or less in either Yahoo! or ESPN leagues, but I’ll list both platforms just cuz I’m nice. That way, there’s a better shot the guys you’re reading about are actually out there for you to get. Ownership rates are always a-changin’, of course, so keep that in mind. I mean, duh, but friendly reminders never hurt. Also, keep in mind this doesn’t include Saturday’s stats since I’m writing before games have started.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Have I been wrong, hypnotized, paralyzed, by what my eyes have seen,” sang Natalie Merchant the last time I saw her at Lilith Fair. As I lay there, on that hemp blanket, eating a homemade granola bar, I thought, “I’m buying whatever that Merchant is selling.” Sadly, I can’t have my soul enriched during these dastardly times by some female honkeytonks, unless I happen across something between my binge watching of Siesta Key. Then, yesterday, Nate Pearson (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks) was as good as Natalie Merchant and Siesta Key combined. Yo, my man went from a 99 MPH fastball that had Nats’ hitters bulging their eyes to a backdoor 77 MPH dipsy with poise of a 15-year vet. The 99 MPH fastball is enough, but his secondary command, just dropping pitches in. Go to the top of a mountain and let out a chef’s kiss. This was against the defending champs, and he was like en bee dee. Massively impressed by him during Spring Training in March just off a few clips, but watching him for five innings has me convinced:  He can be this year’s Chris Paddack. He should be owned in 100% of leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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?

I kicked off the bullpen parade last week with the AL East. It’s a safe place for us reliever analysts with mostly secure jobs and quality arms. The tradeoff for that comfort is following it up with the AL Central. The odds are far better that all five of these projected closers will be changed out than none of them being replaced. There isn’t a ton of depth either. I suppose that’s what happens when you refuse to spend money. Let’s push through this muck like a swamp on dagobah and hope a little green man imparts us some wisdom in rearranged syntax. Did no one else take a hit of acid for this? Just me? Ok. Fire up the Rage Against the Machine and on to the pens.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Generally, when it comes to closers I’m not interested in blowing too much draft capital. There are two reasons why. First, closers lose their jobs so frequently—by virtue of injury, poor high-leverage performance in small samples, or trade deadline deals—that it’s not worth investing too much draft capital in them. Second, because so many lose their jobs, others will always be available on the waiver wire at various times throughout the season. Look no further than 2019’s top two closers who both lost their jobs: Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen. They not only lost the closer role, but they also wasted top-75 picks for their fantasy owners.

Recently, I took part in a mock draft where I selected three closers: Brad HandTaylor Rogers, and Ian Kennedy. I got them at picks 113, 176, and 224, respectively. After the draft, I wrote about my picks, which required me to research them in greater detail. And diving deeper into Hand, Rogers, and Kennedy only strengthened my resolve not to draft closers early.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The end of the 2019 fantasy baseball will be no easier than the rest of it. Pitching is imploding all around us. Do what you can to stem the tide of disaster and consider an effective middle reliever over a volatile starter.

  • The Brad Hand saga continues. More positivity from the team (shocker!) as they say Hand “looked like himself” in a bullpen session. I guess that’s better than looking like Willie McGee? We’re still locked in the downward spiral of news, shaky outing, rest, repeat. The bullpen usage in Cleveland hasn’t sent any clear message about saves in Hand’s stead. Oliver Perez earned a save of the one out variety while Nick Wittgren is getting used in leverage spots but not getting the final out. Call ups James Karinchak and James Hoyt are also in the mix with Nick Goody and Adam Cimber as other possibilities. Fun times.
  • Turns out Felipe Vasquez is an asshole and a pedophile. Can’t say it was nice knowing you. Enjoy federal pound me in the ass prison. As for the shipwreck that is the Pirates Keona Kela is the lead candidate to close given his stuff and closing experience. Richard Rodriguez could see the ninth if Kela is shaky or gets hurt, as he tends to do.
  • Kenley Jansen blew his eighth save, just after a stretch of solid outings. The Dodgers seem to be committed to him as their closer and want him to get right for the postseason. When you thrive with only an elite cutter the end comes fast when the pitch loses some bite. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jansen retire this offseason when you consider his 2018 heart issue.
  • Matt McGill returned to the head of the closer committee in Seattle notching his fifth save Wednesday. He’s the favorite to finish as their primary closer if he remains healthy.
  • We all roasted the Brewers for acquiring Drew Pomeranz. Who’s laughing now? He’s been an excellent reliever and just picked up his second save. Only having to face batters once clearly suits him with 36 Ks in 21.1 IP.
  • Hunter Harvey is being shut down for the rest of the season with bicep soreness. File his name away as a late dart in the 2020 saves chase.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The ones that don’t draft pitching early. The Muslim Mrs. Garretts. The Yu’s that we saw in the 2nd half. The ones that see things differently and not simply the ones who are holding drinking glasses up to their face to make googly eyes. They’re not fond of the rules like:  Don’t wear sweatpants every day. And they have no respect for the status quo, because they’ve checked out every time someone defined “status quo” for them. They held onto Yu Darvish (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA at 3.97) all 1st half and were rewarded nicely. Unless he’s just on a team that started checking out fantasy football in June. Back in July, Coolwhip wrote, “I’m not prepared just yet to say he’s back back, but it’s looking like he’s finding his way back. I’ll call him a tentative buy for now, while advising to keep an eye on his walks and I’ll be watching his velocity and arm slot. In fact, I just picked him up where I could to see what happens.” Hashtag nailed it. Prior to that, Darvish had a 5.01 ERA.  Since then, 2.44 ERA in 66 1/3 IP. The fix, as we all know by now, he’s stopped walking everyone. His season-long peripherals 11.2 K/9, 3 BB/9, 4.39 FIP are sweet, but his 2nd half peripherals are legendary, and some of the best in baseball — 12.6 K/9, 0.8 BB/9, 3.20 FIP. For 2020, the thought of getting anywhere close to Darvish’s 2nd half has me, not only interested in him, but thinking he could be a steal as a number two fantasy starter. Yu might think I’m crazy, but the crazy ones change the world, or at least do well sometimes in their leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?