Officially, this is the 11.5th Razzballie ceremony, and our first socially distanced one. *looks out at the cardboard cutout audience* I see some familiar faces out there. There’s the cutout that sells me car wax at Pep Boys. Good to see you! Figure you’d like some recycled jokes, since you’re all made of biodegradable material. *eerie silence* Okay, moving on. I’ll be your host for the ceremony after A-Rod backed out. Turns out he couldn’t host, he’s just a parasite! It’s all right he’s a no-show, you can’t spell ghosting without host. You also can’t spell hostage, but no one is forcing you to stay for the award show. You’re going to want to, though, because without these awards, you’ll have no idea who was the best and worst hitters and pitchers in this absurdly abbreviated year, and you’ll be left giving out your own awards and no one cares if your “Low sodium tomato soup in a sourdough bowl” won your “Whitest Lunch Of All-Time” award. Stop making up fake awards! Leave that to me. Anyway, here’s the year-end awards for the best and worst of fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Brandon Kintzler 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.
After blowing the game in epic fashion Thursday night and then blowing another game same-day, hours later even epicly-er the Philadelphia Phillies have finally said enough is enough. Their relievers are rocking a icy 8.07 ERA, with an even more inflated 10.93 ERA in the ninth inning. Wow. That’s like Red Sox-relievers-bad. So who did they reach out to? Who else but the awful reliever experts, the Boston Red Sox, and Philly acquired Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree Friday night in hopes of bring some stability to the late inning relief. In return they send RHPs Connor Seabold and Nick Pivetta to Boston. Pivetta, a sabremetrics darling, will likely slot into the starting rotation immediately despite his ugly 15.88 ERA, 1.94 WHIP. He’s given up 10 runs in just three games this year so he should fit right in with this pitching staff. Still, dude strikes out everyone. A 10.32 K/9 in 2018 shows flashes of what could be a valuable starter some day. I have streamed him many times in the past and he’s burned me even more times, and I look forward to this happening again real soon. Connor Seabold (2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 58/11 K/BB in the minors), could also likely find his way into the rotation at some point this year, given the lack of competition at the big league level. Back to Phillies, Workman should immediately take over as closer and could see a boost as he’s better than his 4.07 ERA and 1.80 suggest and has converted all four of his save chances this year. The Phillies are a considerably better team so the save opportunities should be more frequent. Workman is likely already rostered in most fantasy leagues, even though he probably shouldn’t be. However, his successor in Boston, Matt Barnes, is still unowned in most leagues, and that is likely to change quick. If you’re as desperate for saves as I am for positive feedback Barnes and his 5.59 ERA are the obvious choice for save chances for Boston going forward. He notched his first save of the year Friday night allowing just one hit. Pick him up if you really need the saves or you just hate yourself.Please, blog, may I have some more?
(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)
The following happened last weekend: Bryce Harper laid on the hotel bed, on his stomach, feet up behind him, as he whispered into the hotel phone, “Tell me another story.” From the other side of the line, “I’ve told you all my stories,” replied the Phanatic. Bang! Bang! Against the hotel window, something loudly rapped. The Phanatic asked Bryce, “What’s that?” “Oh, Phillies fans have been standing outside the hotel throwing batteries at my window.” Bang! Bang! Another loud rapping. Finally, Bryce went to the window to politely ask the fans to cut him some slack. Bryce slid the window open and hanging from the side of the balcony was, “…Oh, hey, Spencer Howard? What are you doing?” “They told me I was pitching this weekend, and no one was allowed in and out of the hotel.” “No games, man. I’m just flirting–um, talking to the Phanatic.” With that Bryce closed the window, and moments later, a muffled, “Uh, could you let me in?” And Bryce shut his window’s curtains. So, Spencer Howard is being called up any day now. Prospect Hobbs gave us about 1200 words about him in his Spencer Howard fantasy, but here’s a juicy bit of tid, “Across rookie-level (just 5 1/3 innings), High-A and Double-A in 2019, Spencer Howard churned out 71 frames with 94 strikeouts to achieve a 2.03 ERA/0.83 WHIP/2.62 FIP. In producing those numbers, he cut down on his BB/9 from 3.2 in 2018 to 2.6, also finishing with a 11.2 K/9 in 2019. 30 2/3 of those innings came at the Double-A level, where he produced an equally impressive 2.35 ERA backed up closely by a 2.66 xFIP. For the complete picture, Howard pitched 211 1/3 innings across parts of three seasons in the Minors with a 3.28 ERA/1.14 WHIP, 12.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9. That’s as good as Grey is bad.” Okay, not cool, but I’m in love with Spencer, and would grab him in all leagues. By the way, regarding the title: You’ve seen one New Jersey joke, you’ve seen a mall. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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?
Aaaand we’re back! In case you’re concerned, I’m writing this in complete isolation from any human contact, and yes, I’m wearing my mask. It has a sweet Joker smile and scares old people. 2020 has been real rough my over-the-internet friends, from George Floyd to murder hornets to tiktok becoming so popular its been bad news city, but nothing has rocked our worlds harder than you know what. I’m speaking of course, of the Red Sox heartless trade of my flame and my muse Mookie Betts. Ugh. How could this year get any worse? To boot, my hopes of Betts getting the COVID, missing 2020, and re-signing with Boston look to be all but dashed as he’s signed a lifetime contract with the Dodgers worth more than all the money me and everyone I know will ever make in their lifetimes. But fret not, wunderkind GM Chaim Bloom has replaced him with Kevin Pillar. You know, the former Blue Jay? Yeah, that guy. Welp. Give me the rona now God and end this. But wait–keep that mask on! Pillar flashed some serious leather in right field Friday night and went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI! Maybe this won’t be so bad! At least Boston won’t have to pay a 41 year-old outfielder 30 million dollars in 2031? Or will we all be d-e-d dead by then anyway? Did I mention the Sawx added utlity infielder Jose Peraza too? He went 4-for-5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBI Friday and Grey told you to BUY. Jose leads the league in batting average, folks! Peraza struggled last year but he’s just two years removed from batting .288 with 23 steals in 2018! Pillar and Peraza could be the bright spots we (I) so desperately need right now. They could do some real damage in a stacked, albeit Mookie-less, Boston line up. Who needs Betts when you got Kevin Pillar and Jose Peraza?! (Sigh, I do. I do. I really do. Come back to me, Mook!)
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well, I thought by the time June rolled around I’d be writing knowing whether or not a plan was in place for at least an attempt at baseball in 2020, but instead as I write this the immediate future of the MLB, along with much else in the world, is still painfully up in the air. As we all deal with everything going on around us, though, I don’t think it’s too self-indulgent to turn to a favorite past time/hobby/obsession/part-time job to help strengthen us mentally and emotionally — and for the readers and writers here at Razzball, that past time, of course, is fantasy baseball.
Since I’ve always been a fan of mining bad real-life MLB teams for deep-league value — attempting to find treasure in the perceived trash pile that other owners may overlook completely — we’ll take one of those bad MLB teams and see what it might have to offer, especially for us deep leaguers. I’m choosing the Marlins, since for about five months now I’ve just had a feeling that they could be at least a bit better than folks expect, especially in fantasy terms (though in a shortened season with expanded playoffs, who knows what craziness could ensue). I’ve gone through my rosters, and here are the Marlins I have on multiple teams, all of whom I’d consider grabbing more shares of if and when I draft more teams for 2020. Let’s see who on this team is leading the charge to make me think there might be something to see here…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?
Head-to-head fantasy baseball encompasses some of my favorite parts of fantasy – rivalries, strategies, and ties. Okay, maybe not that last one, but overall, it’s my favorite format to play. Like in roto leagues, you’re focused on compiling stats in your scoring categories (homers, runs, steals, strikeouts, etc.), but your matchup resets each week and you’re on to the next opponent.
Punting is one of my favorite strategies in H2H Categories, mostly because it allows me to not pay a premium for saves or speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a) punting both or, b) fully punting either, but I do recommend a version of punting that I feel gives you an advantage over your opponents.
Here’s our disclaimer – This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You know your league and your in-season management ability. If you’re an owner who is excellent at scooping up new closers, then punting saves is a reasonable strategy to explore. These strategies are also not meant to be half-assed. If you’re leaving your draft knowing you need to find steals on the wire, take the time to find those steals. Now that you’ve been warned, enter the punting dungeon……if you dare.
The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!Please, blog, may I have some more?
The best 2020 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer. Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means. Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?” Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint. Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature. Any hoo! So the title is a bit of a superlative. What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?” You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you. This is the best 2020 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change. If I took Trea Turner in the 1st round, everything after would change. I’ve previously gone over my 2020 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings. For this exercise, I’m taking Fernando Tatis in the first, because, well, people complained previously I always did this post by taking the first pick, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover your hair right instead of left. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Gerrit Cole and deGrom in the first two rounds and I was able to take Trevor Story in the 2nd round (which is likely), but since Tatis and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free rein to fill up my team after pick 200. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky. It should still be my ideal team…or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up). Anyway, here’s the best 2020 fantasy baseball team:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Los Angeles is such an eco-friendly city that when a recent EPA report cited jet fuel as accounting for 17% of air pollution, the Dodgers went out and traded for Mookie Betts. See, this year’s All-Star Game is in Dodger Stadium, and now eleven of their players don’t have to fly anywhere for the All-Star Game festivities. Always giving, my great City of Angels, that’s not actually the city of the Angels, that’s Anaheim, but they call themselves Los Angeles and it’s nowhere near Los Angeles. Not confusing at all! Let’s just drool for a second at the Dodgers’ lineup: Betts, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger, Pederson/Pollock, Seager, Will Smith and Gavin Lux. If they trade Austin Barnes to the Astros for a trash can, then their 2020 title hopes will be sealed! Before you laugh, the Astros could use a catcher. So, Betts’s best will be in the starry skies of Los Angeles, and Rihanna might just start liking baseball again. “You’re cute with that silliness.” “Nah, seriously, I want to go bowling.” That’s Mookie and Rihanna on their first date. Betts is in the prime of his career, and I can’t see any chance a move to Los Angeles slows him down, however–Don’t do it, Grey! Don’t be negative here! Well, Fenway to Dodger Stadium isn’t the best move. Some of those doubles off the wall might go for deep outs to the left fielder. The Dodgers didn’t steal a lot in 2019 either, but that could be from a lack of threats. Justin Turner is running? Muncy? Bellinger did run, because he can. Betts should still be a lock for 15-20 steals, but I’m knocking his power down a tad with the park change. While his projections will change a bit, his ranking is staying the same in my top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball. For what it’s Werth, Rudy’s auction rankings changed dramatically for Betts, knocking him way down, but Betts’s projections are even better than mine, as seen at the hitter projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?