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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?

After much success last year in NFBC’s Cutline competition (around top 30 overall out of 1,000 teams), I decided to give it another go. Mind you, they only pay top 20, and I came in approximately (I don’t remember) 30th, so I didn’t win money last year, but money can’t buy happiness. Happiness can only be derived from seeing a Japanese mascot petting a dog. Nothing else counts towards happiness. Luckily, this league doesn’t have a happiness category. You might remember (likely don’t) that I autodrafted the first four rounds last year for my “much success” team, so in some ways this year’s league is a test of Man vs. Machine because I drafted this whole kit and/or kaboodle. Everyone likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are the best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Now that I think about it, it’s not Man vs. Machine this year for me; it’s Man vs. Machine vs. Machine. HOLY CRAP, WE’RE OUTNUMBERED!  Anyway, here’s my NFBC Best Ball, Points League, 10 team draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh, hello random blog reader. I didn’t see you there. Don’t mind me, I’m just doing early offseason fantasy baseball research while listening to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” on a loop. It gets me in the proper mindset to tackle bullpens. I generally find few fantasy positions that elicit more angst than relievers. Nevertheless, I’ve hit the double-digit mark on BoP and am feeling all kinds of weird. It’s the perfect place to dip a toe into choppy reliever waters. I’ve broken down the roles while unveiling my new “Razzers” rating system (base 1-5). Is this a ploy to trick search engine’s into redirecting users searching for Brazzers? Yes. Yes, it is.

Ok, now that you’ve returned to this tab from your incognito browsing session, the Pens!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rarely does a fantasy season derive itself from an actual fantasy. An honest-to-goodness, real-life, sleepwalking-in-your-pj’s fantasy. A I-walked-in-on-Marisa-Tomei-and-she-was-like-come-join-me fantasy. Ronald Acuña Jr. aka Tildaddy comes home with Brillo pads you have to use your favorite shirt to clean the dishes aka The Truth is having a fantasy fantasy season. Can’t even remember the last time someone was a top fantasy player and seemed to be trying to accumulate stats. That is an absolute treat. Yesterday, he hit his 40th homer, and now his likely sole goal is to get to 40/40. Who wants to get stats for us, fantasy baseballers? No one usually! They’re all bastards!  But Acuña does! He has 123 runs and 99 RBIs from predominantly the leadoff spot. I’m sorry, I’m going to kiss my computer screen where you reside. He’s averaging 418 feet per homer; Trout and Gallo ‘only’ averaged 419 feet. Speaking of Trout, Acuña or Trout for 2020? On the Player Rater, it’s clearly Tildaddy. At an ADP of 5 this year, he was a steal! If only I owned him in one league…*wavy lines starting a dream sequence* Hey, look, I have Acuña on all of my teams. *turns to mirror* Oh my God, I’m bald! Damn you, O. Henry! *wavy lines* I hate ironic dreams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s never too early to turn the page towards 2020. Which is what Hugh Downs used to say while wearing a smoking jacket and flipping through a script. By the way, Hugh Downs missed his porn actor calling.  “Oh my God, that’s an Orca in your pants!” “Well, I ain’t Churchill Downs.”  Fun Fact! Hugh Downs only wore slippers. Okay, okay, OKAY, enough about freakin’ Hugh Downs. This is like when Seinfeld was telling Bania to ease up on the Ovaltine jokes.  Grey, you’ve got fifteen minutes of Hugh Downs! Let him go! I’d love to but he goes Downs so easy! So, Luis Castillo pitched another gem in a season of them (7 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA at 2.63). His peripherals are equally gorge like Barbara Walters fluffing Hugh–I’ll stop! Castillo’s has a 10.8 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 3.71 FIP and his fastball velocity is up and he’s throwing his change a lot more (26% to 32%). He kinda reminds me of another Reds pitcher, Trevor Bauer. Castillo’s ERA could easily be near-4 vs. near 2.50. Still like him, not saying make a chump dump like when Hugh Downs used to spend 30 minutes in the bathroom and blame Mike Wallace, but Castillo looks a lot better than Bauer in ERA, but for 2020 I don’t see a ton of difference. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Alexa, for Amazon Prime Day can you order me Clorox?  Thank you, Alexa.  Now can you order me clips to hold my mouth and eyes open? Thanks, Alexa! Now can you order me a large man to pour the bleach into my mouth and eyes while shoving me into my oven? Oh, and Alexa, if you can get German Marquez to do it, that would be so appropriate!” German yesterday?  Guten tagged!  Here’s a visual metaphor for you:  A German U-boat filled with men, one toilet and only Taco Bell to eat for a blitzkrieg of runs.  Marquez is driving me insane but he is not an Uber ally, because he is dead to me.  Goodbye, Nazi In Exile, enjoy your long walks along the Chilean coast and your alpaca farm where you shave little German helmets on your animals. After 2 2/3 IP, 11 ER, ERA up to 5.12, I will never draft you again or any Rockies pitcher. I should’ve learned my lesson from Jon Gray last year! (Though, he’s been okay this year — shut up, Contrary Grey!)  In my deeper leagues, where I have no choice, I’ll still be sadly starting Marquez in away games.  *sees his next start is in Yankee Stadium* Lowercase yay!  He might be Deutschland but I’m Dunceland for owning him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week we took a look at a few NL players who’d been mentioned in one of my posts this year, all of whom had gone from 0 or 1%-owned types to viable fantasy options in shallower leagues.  (Note that I’m only mentioning players I’ve already talked about this year, which excludes a lot of the deep-league studs and surprises, as so many of them zoomed up the ownership charts so quickly in a week that they didn’t qualify as deep-leaguers by the time I was posting for the week).  Now we’ll do the same for a few American League players, once again thinking about whether or not they’ll be able to continue making a fantasy impact in the second half of 2019.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At least one of you is reading this with a bandaged thumb from a fireworks mishap. I had a Cousin Pete (Italian side of the family) who lost the tip of his thumb on the 4th, but rather than stop the festivities, he taped the tip of a hot dog on his thumb to act as a tourniquet for the rest of the 4th, so we could all go about our fun-having business. I suggested my Cugino make a PSA about hot dog tourniquets, but I was turned away by NBC Cares. Let us bow our heads and pray that if anyone loses a finger, may there be a proper-sized hot dog nearby.  Okay…*claps hands* Play ball!  Yesterday, Matthew Boyd went 5 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 9 baserunners (zero walks), 13 Ks, ERA at 3.87.  Flavor Flav secures his giant clock to his chest with one hand and pumps his fist with his other hand, “Yeah Boyd!”  Boyd was the 1st pitcher with less than 6 IP, zero walks and 13 or more Ks.  You kinda have to get hit around a bit to have that record, but, damn, that’s impressive.  Let’s hear it for the Boyd, let’s hear it for the…MATT!  See what I did there? No one saw that coming!  Not a soul!  Boyd is one of the few guys in the entire major leagues who is pitching better than his ERA would indicate.  I’m kidding, everyone’s ERA is crap!  But Boyd’s been very special — 11.9 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 3.33 xFIP — and is looking like a solid number two with upside. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m back from vacation and ready for another week of madness with Grey Albright Fantasy Master Lothario. Lots of news with the All-Star Break approaching and we hit on all of it. We touch briefly on the London games, learn that Grey doesn’t watch “normal tv”, always bets the over, and doesn’t understand the overseas scheduling. We try to make sense of the Red Sox bullpen. Discuss Brendan McKay’s debut and his value going forward. Name some possible second half bounce backs, hit on some breakout second baseman, and touch on what to expect from Dylan Cease. But the show culminates in the unveiling of the Sogard Cycle, a new tool to predict the five to six weeks of hit hitting from The Accountant each season. It’s the Razzball Fantasy Podcast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, when does Brendan McKay come up to replace an Ineffective Listed Blake Snell?  Ton of people asking about McKay, so I’ll go over him briefly, because I have nothing else to do but service you.  I am a mere vessel for your wants and dreams. Bit like the Flowbee if you need a haircut.  Prospect Mike just went over McKay in his last post.  McKay is the Rays’ Ohtani.  Though if hitting and pitching made Ohtani a unicorn, I’m not sure what that makes McKay.  A Loch Ness Monster?  Seen more often, but just as imaginary?  McKay’s likely headed for a Middler role in Tampa, and maybe some at-bats.  His arm excites me more than his bat, he could have a 9+ K/9 and always has insane command (2 BB/9), but Jalen White Clarence Beeks or Brendan McKay?  Meh, I don’t think there’s that much of a difference.  Guess McKay has more upside, and love how he sounds like what a dad would call a character on 90210 back in the 90s.  Why do we even care about McKay?  Have you seen Blake Snell (3 1/3 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 5.01)?  If you have, send him back to replace the stunt double who is wearing his jersey.  “I thought when they said ‘changeup,’ they meant a changeup from pitching well, so I started pitching like garbage.”  That’s Blake Snell addressing dozens of crying Rays fans.  I know no one wants to hear this right now, but Snell doesn’t appear to be pitching poorly; he’s having atrocious luck.  Like if a ball is hit right at a fielder, a squirrel grabs the ball and throws it into the outfield for a double.  He could be a buy low, as long as he’s not hiding an injury, real or fake.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?