Please see our player page for Brandon Maurer 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.

Afters months of anticipation, many speculative adds and drops, the Rangers have finally called up top prospect slash phenom slash future super stud slash tiger beat cover boy of the month Willie Calhoun. Wait, I thought they were supposed to call him up in May!? Well, they didn’t. So I held him a little longer. They they really didn’t and yeah, so, that’s how I cracked my cell phone screen. Willie was slashing an impressive .306/.360/.444 with 8 home runs, 57 runs scored, 42 RBI and 4 stolen bases at AAA. That’s five categories if you were counting all the times numbers appeared. Need even more numbers? He’s been red hot flames in el mes de Julio. Hitting .429/.520/.619 with two homers, 13 RBI and two stolen bases. He held a 24 game on-base streak before his call up. Willie’s feeling the heat in July! Grey told you to BUY and Friday night he started at DH and hit second. That sure would be a great place to hit if it wasn’t in the Rangers line up. He went 1-for-6 with a run scoring single in the second in his debut and he also walked and struck out twice. It’s not a Juan Soto crushn bombz debut, but there could still be big things in store for Wild Willie. He was a top five prospect and if he’s able to find playing time on this Rangers team he’s capable of filling out a box score on a nightly basis. Time to go Willy Nilly, ya’ll! It’s even better than dilly dilly! I’d grab Calhoun wherever I could based on his upside alone. This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

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

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From this day forward, or rather more bluntly on days when I have had too much of Grandpa’s wowwie sauce, it gets a little obscure.  And this week by obscure I am talking about John Cusack movies.  The cult 80’s classic movie Better Off Dead to be exact.  Where we all wanna know where my two dollars is.  Much like that movie, the Myer that we are all hoping and rooting for to defeat the preppy d-bags is Kevin Kiermaier.  Recently returned from a DL stint that lasted too long in my humble K.K. loving opinion.  The thing I tend to love about Kevin is that he is going to play every single day.  Why you ask?  Because he is an elite defender in centerfield.  That my friends wins hearts and minds and cures all ills in real baseball.  Unfortunately for fantasy baseball, we need results to warrant consideration for lineup-hood. While he doesn’t boast Hamilton type speed, he does have three consecutive 10/15 seasons under his belt.  Like I said, it’s not elite by any stretch of the imagination, but to be honest, this whole Lane Myer/Kevin Kiermaier lede title thing was a stretch.  But still, 10/15 seasons don’t come stumbling in the bar every night with the take me home pumps and no drink necessary dress on.  The waiver wire is a place for throwbacks and what-ifs.  So that is where I am telling you to look.  If K.K. is there, grab him up, make him wifey material for the rest of this year and watch the 80 plus games he plays out the rest of the year develop into a 10/10 season.  Not great, once again.  I know I sound like a drunken broken record but everyday at bats are the sex panther for good SAGNOF returns.  Here comes some more tidbits of SAGNOF-dom and maybe some cool little pop-up pictures for the slower reading crowd.  Cheers!

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Earlier in the preseason, I delved into the holds tiers for fantasy bullpens.  It exists right here in the Fantasy Relief Pitchers for Holds.  That was more a broad brushstroke of fantasy bullpen goodness that goes on here at Razznation.  Now that we are thumbs deep in draft season and the players being more prominent in roles are starting to show their purpose we can get a better grip on who to won and who to covet for the ugly step sister of saves the hold stat.  In more cases than not, following a “drafting for holds model” holds true, but holds are such a fluid stat… more fluid than the closer role.  So drafting the elite guy every year looks like a great idea, but name the guy who lead the league in holds multiple years in a row or, hell, twice in their career?  It’s a short list, whose names are not that awesome or even around anymore.  So for drafting for holds, whether it be in a straight holds league or a saves+holds league having the edge up on bullpenery is key.  The strategies for each of those leagues is basically the same as the elite holds category earners and they should be drafted after the last “donkeycorn” closer to come off the board.  If you draft an elite closer, always cuff your closer with the top holds candidate on that team. Next, do what I just said twice and grab your second closer’s backup/holds guy.  That will give you two closers, their back-ups for the “just in case” moments and holds.  Then your last pick for your bullpen will be an independent guy that has a K/9 rate over 9.  That is my finite strategy for drafting holds in any league. It gives you five guys that you can bank on every day in a “set it and forget it” type situation.  Don’t fall in love with your options, as like I said, bullpen fluidness is blah and you can find a hot hand on an off day.  So now that strategy is out of the way, let’s look at the more finite tiers of holds!

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The most important thing in fantasy baseball relief-dom in terms of holds is consistency.  Without consistency of opportunities, of placement in the bullpen, and a team’s consistent success in utilizing their bullpen to your fantasy advantage… you get left out out in the cold when it comes down to accumulating a stout holds based relief pitching corps. Until there is a shift in the utilization of bullpens for the benefit of fantasy, more so, the leagues that use the hold stat.  I will admit that I am more of an eye test person than a numbers guy.  Numbers scare me.  They prove too many things that don’t factor in the human error factor and the good ole eye test.  So against my better mental state, I used numbers from the past five years to show that the bullpens are being used more frequently.  Not just by some teams, but by all teams.  I know, duh.  This is something that we all eyed to be happening than Smokey goes in the opposite direction like a dyslexic salmon and gets some data to prove the incline of a stat that he holds so near and dear to his fantasy bear heart.  Well sit back, relax, it’s going to be a fun ride on the holds bus this week as we do some research and than put the top-50 relief pitchers into hold tiers.  Enjoy!

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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You shouldn’t have to read tea leaves or do a sneaky scroll down to see who I am talking about in this week’s closer report.  If you are new to this guessing game and word association type stuff, it is Brad Hand.  Why Brad Hand, I say why not?  I hear what you are all saying closers on losing teams are not that fantastic fantasy options, and for the most part you are right.  Because the stats behind that prove that… mostly,  But we can get into that a little later with handy-dandy stats and percentages and such.  So all Brad Hand did last year is basically his job, which in most instances gets you paid.  Which he just did by inking an extension this offseason.  The stats are all there for him to be a legit closer numero uno, with flair.  The flair that I am talking about is kinda like the buttons worn on suspenders at Shenanigans, but only with fantasy intrigue. He boasted a 11.8 K/9 rate last year, amassed 21 saves and 16 holds.  All stuff we can read on any fantasy bio sheet. Dig deeper though, and he does have a few kinks in the armor, namely a HR/FB rate that is not what you are looking for in a an elite closer, but he’s being drafted as a number two.  He falls just outside the elite though, because he is capped by being on the Padres and their expected win totals… or is he?

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I have said it here previously that grabbing relievers from a hot team or a team on a winning streak is usually a fantastic strategy from a holds perspective.  I really have said it multiple times, so my memory is better than your’s.  The Indians are in unprecedented territory as the team is in the midst of a win streak for the ages.  It seems like two Hatteberg’s and maybe half a David Justice ago that we remember the A’s had a win streak of twenty. But now the Indians are on their own 20-plus win streak.  Winning is a team effort, but Holds are what we care about in the Bullpen report.  The Indians Bullpen over the course of their win streak is just over a buck fitty, and that’s not what matters for this post.  The accumulation of goodies is what makes them all shiny.  The group of Bryan Shaw, Nick Goody, Tyler Olson and Joe Smith have totaled 20 holds over their last 20 games.  That total is just crazy, because since the all star break (which was 40 plus games ago) the have more holds than six teams do in total since said All Star break.  So investing in Cleveland for bullpen stuff is where it’s at currently.  Chase the win streak to aide in your pursuit of a Holds championship.  Let’s see what else is going down in the world of holds and bullpens…

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There’s a common term sociologists use called, The Tide of Uze.  Everything that encompasses everyday life is on The Tide of Uze.  Brushing your teeth, walking your dog, Jose Abreu, they’re all on The Tide of Uze.  There’s small pleasures to be found with them, but they’re so consistent they are often lost amongst other more exciting things.  However, this past weekend The Tide of Uze was raised by Irma GAWD!, the fantasy football kickoff and me going to a Dodgers game with Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, a frequent commenter who was in town.  I didn’t rank those per their importance, I’ll leave that to you.  Big weekend for the world, right?  (Yes.) With the Tide of Uze raising, it lifts everything that was floating on its surface, which meant Jose Abreu had a career weekend.  On Saturday, he hit for the cycle, and, not to be outdone, he homered twice on Sunday (2-for-3, 3 RBIs, home run, 30 and 31).  His season numbers are now 85/31/90/.302/1.  All preseason I talked about how I wasn’t getting a 1st baseman in the first two rounds, so I was drafting Abreu everywhere, and I was nervous about it.  Let’s just say I’ve learned to appreciate The Tide of Uze.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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The Book of Job says, “We will send out at least one email a day to all your contacts whether you like it or not.”  Shoot, I immediately see what I did wrong there.  I Googled for a Bible quote, and accidentally got an employee handout from LinkedIn.  Big bad on me.  Yesterday, Zack Godley went 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 2.86, with this start coming in Wrigley.  *gulps*  Maybe Godley isn’t an overstatement.  His peripherals are gorge too — 9.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 3.23 xFIP.  Throwing 92+ MPH with a mix of four pitches, and mostly going to Dazzletown with the curve being the pony killer (totally a saying!).  “I made you glue!” which is what I shout trying desperately to make “pony killer” a saying.  Oh, and all of it is coupled with a 56% ground ball rate.  That would be the third best in the majors if he qualified.  When there’s nary a starter in sight with a decent ERA, Godley’s otherworldly.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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We break from the usual 12 dollar salads, donkeys, and hypothermia to breakdown, in basic fashion, the relief rankings for the final 70-plus games.  Why is this helpful you may ask?  Because for trade target reasons or chasing saves for points, you may want guy A over guy B.  With the relief ranks it is as fluid as a clogged sewer drain, because on any given week, the middling type closer can hit bumps in the road and be removed from contention. So if you are using this as a trade commodity in your quest to add saves, my advice is this add the elite only.  Nothing lower than the top-12.  These guys are all nailed on and in an impressive state, barring an injury obviously. Now with that, we also have to realize that trades will happen… and take one reliever from a good situation to a better one, then on the reflexive of that, it can turn one with a job into a set-up situation.  Regardless, here is my stab at the top relief pitchers for the second half of the Fantasy Baseball season.  Cheers!

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