Please see our player page for Brusdar Graterol 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.

I take a lot of antacids.

Rolaids created an award (not for me)–a gold-plated firefighter’s helmet–to honor baseball’s best relief pitcher every year from 1976 to 2012. The history behind this fascinates me. Feels like some seeds of analytics were born in the bowels of Rolaids’ 1970’s corporate office.

Relief pitching events were each given a point value. Three points per save. Two points per win. Two points per loss. The biggest end-of-season number won, period. 

Blown saves (-2) were introduced in 1987.

Tough saves (+4) came along in 2000. Surprises me that I’ve never seen this as an option by fantasy providers, especially in points leagues or daily games. An antacid company was using it 20 years ago ffs. Refers to any time a reliever enters the game with a tying run on base and secures a save. 

Relievers might be my favorite thing about fantasy baseball, for reasons I can’t explain except to say I love games that resist attempts to shrink/minimize/categorize/rubricate them. The more multi-layered the better. And saves bring that to fantasy baseball. (As do stolen bases.) I also love Holds leagues because they throw the math off a nudge further and open another market of elite players who just happen to pitch the not-ninth. 

Ranking RP’s is kind of a paradox. It might be the least accurate yet most useful of any positional ranking, especially for dynasty leagues.

So that’s the caveat. 

These rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, btw. Would look totally different in a holds league.

Relief pitching is a strength for me in fantasy, year over year. I tend to trade from it and trade for it on a regular basis, sometimes within the same week. Still, I’m a little leery to put fingers to keys on this one. The yearly upheaval at this position is like no other, so I’m not surprised there’s very little on the market right now covering relief pitching in dynasty leagues. 

The very thought of the task has my hand reaching for the (insert highest-bidding antacid company here).

Kidding. I love this stuff. My full geek breathes fire when researching the K-BB % leaders across all leagues, digging into their game logs, skipping to their innings, even watching/reading an interview here and there.  

Let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Which position would you say has gained the most value over the past decade?

In MLB? In fantasy?

Maybe it’s shortstop. 2020 might be the best shortstop season of all time, whatever that means.  

And that’s pre Wander. 

But this winter saw Emmanuel Clase traded for Corey Kluber. I know Delinosaur Jr. is feeling the pain of everyone there, too, and the old Klubot has been in the shop for a hot minute, but to say this trade made waves is an understatement.

The conversation began in alarmist, anti-ownership fashion and ended in hushed admiration of Clase’s cutter and consideration of the relative values of their contracts and remaining innings, especially in the context of a team with a pitching surplus such as Cleveland’s. 

Felt like a signpost to me.

As did Tampa Bay’s trade of top 50 echo chamber prospect Jesus Sanchez for erstwhile bartender Nick Anderson. 

As have the contracts dolled out every off-season, even in the miserly winters of 2017-18, when bullpen pitchers were signed early in the cycle for near-record middle-relief contracts. 

I might be kicking the horse a bit at this point when all I really want to do is share my work-intensive relief prospect rankings. More and more leagues are incorporating holds, either as its own category or a combination category with saves. Given the dominance of hot relievers, all these guys gain a lot of value in saves+holds leagues, where their barrier to helping you in that category is all but erased. In the dynasty game, they can be swapped in and out of your minor leagues to expand your active roster and suppress your ratios while snagging some strikeouts and the occasional win. 

Without further ado because we’ve had plenty of ado because hey I worked on this one all winter, the following humans are my top 20 relief prospects for 2020. 

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?

Rocko’s Modern Life was an acid trip of a cartoon that ran from 1993 to 1996. 

The show wasn’t about acid trips, per se, but it was a how-to guide for avoiding bad trips. 

I mean I think that’s what it was. I was ten years old in 1993. Was all I could do just to ingest the beautiful madness. Sometimes felt uncomfortable enough to change the channel or even (gasp turn off the TV. 

I say “uncomfortable” here because Rocko’s Modern Life was never boring, so it must have been discomfort that made me lukewarm on the show, which carries a 7.9 rating on IMDB. If you go check it out now, you’ll see traces of the influence it’s had in the worlds of Spongebob, Morty, and more. 

Man, this intro is careening down an unpaved path, huh? 

You can also see modern-life influences at work when watching Rocco Baldelli manage the Twins, is where I’m trying to go. 

Minnesota does things its own way, and it’s working. The Tampa-like feel to their machinations is plain as day. While it makes fans a little uncomfortable to sign a pile of creaky veterans named Homer, Piñata and Dick Mountain or to cut CJ Cron when you don’t have a first baseman on the roster, that’s life in modern baseball. 

If even one of those old arms is healthy in October, it’ll keep Rocco from having to begin a playoff game in Yankee Stadium with Randy Dobnak on the bump. I imagine I wasn’t the only one changing the channel to dodge the discomfort that night. 

Weird story short, things are looking up in Minnesota, where the system is stocked with bats and arms in both the upper and lower minors. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Everyone in the baseball world is keeping at least one eye on the postseason, and everyone has the same question: is A.J. Pierzynski likable now? He looks like a nice dude, no?

Maybe that’s just me.

Humans are definitely wondering about bat flips and unwritten rules, though. Especially Grey, who wanted me to delete all Braves from the list because that organization is the worst thing that’s happened to baseball since Grey touted Rudy’s Tout Wars success on Twitter.

Take heart, though, baseball fans. No matter how many bats get flipped this Fall, I’ll be here talking about all the good players our future selves can enjoy (unless they flip bats).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Those sad Joker movie trailers are conquering the Internet, and I am afraid for us all.

Be well, dear reader.

And please enjoy the chaos.

2B SS Gavin Lux is earning all the headlines, but he’s probably owned in your leagues. If not, he should be.

2B Mauricio Dubon could provide a spark at the keystone in San Francisco. Dubon’s probably not as good as his .302/.345/.477 AAA line, but he’s popped 20 home runs and stolen ten bags across 123 games and should be tracked in all leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Today, we celebrate all of those mothers who are in labor giving birth to us, so put your legs up, grunt real hard and scream at a loved one that they are a “bastard” or a “weasel-d*cked moron who isn’t even the real father.” You’ve earned this day, male or female, though I’m not sure how men earned a Labor Day. Do I have this celebration right? Any hoo! People acting like Justin Verlander‘s 3rd no-hitter was stamping his ticket to Cooperstown are hilarious. He was a lock for the Hall of Fame when he posed nude in the mirror with Kate Upton. Yesterday’s butter:  9 IP, 0 ER, 1 walk, 14 Ks, ERA at 2.56 is just another example of the legacy of one of the greatest pitchers ever. Everyone should stop to watch a Verlander game. That’s a ‘stop to smell the roses’ request because you deserve something as glorious as seeing Verlander throw a baseball. This is a request for you to live your life, not like you’re in labor with your feet in stirrups, but like your feet are on the ground and you’re reaching for the stars. Okay, now I’m just misquoting Casey Kasem. For 2020 and beyond, Verlander is an ace until he shows he no longer is, and I’m thankful for every one of his pitches that I’ve never owned on a fantasy team (eff me). Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Baltimore shortstop prospect Gunnar Henderson (2-for-5 with a triple and a homer) is riding a seven-game hit streak in the GCL. Henderson was a second-round pick for the Orioles in this year’s draft (42nd overall). There’s not a lot to get excited about right now in Baltimore, but if you play in dynasty league, I’d scope Henderson as a long-term project with a potentially sweet payoff. At 18, Henderson is 6’3″/180 with a nice left-handed swing that can make contact and hit for some power. Like a lot of shortstops, there’s talk of a slide to third if he doesn’t have the defensive chops, but his bat should play at either position. Henderson’s K-rate is a touch high at 23% but he also has a nice walk rate (11%) through 70+ plate appearances. Check him out if he’s available and you’ve got a roster slot to play with. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?