As many of you know, I’m in the NL-Only Tout Wars and LABR, so every year I take part in an industry NL-Only league with the CBS peeps (and Donkey Teeth, BDon, Itch…Now that I think about it, it’s all Razzball people and CBS’s Scott White) to try to find my footing like a drunk sailor hearing about a peg boy for the first time. If you don’t know what a peg boy is, don’t google it, which is what someone says knowing that will 100% cause someone to google it. Some might mock, some might mock draft, but this is my draft prep, and am happy to take part in this league. Until about 25 minutes into the draft, and players go for way too much, and I start getting hungry and I just want the whole thing to be over and ermahgerd! But, for those first twenty-five minutes of the five-hour draft, I’m laser focused. For this league, I once again use Rudy’s NL-Only rankings, and his War Room (it’s free with a subscription). I won’t try to get you to buy it anymore. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make the horse put a cape down so I can walk over the water without getting wet. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds others for prizes –> Razzball Commenter Leagues.) Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts: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.
Feels weird to say Spring Training is right around the corner when my neck of the woods has upwards of 20-something inches of snow on the way tomorrow night-ish. But, Spring Training is right around the corner! And it’s a good thing, too, cuz these weekly offseason updates are getting less exciting from here on out since all the sexy names have finally gone somewhere. There are some good players yet to be signed, but no one I’m on the edge of my seat over. Does anyone really expect Justin Turner not to be a Dodger at this point?
This past week was a bunch of meh faces in new places for the most part, except my boy Benny Baseball is closer to home now after a three-team trade I’ll be jumping into straight away:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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?
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?