After swinging a deal for Aaron Hill on Wednesday, the Red Sox have beefed up their bullpen trading for Brad Ziegler. Ziegler was rocking a 2.82 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 18 saves with Arizona but he will likely be relegated to set up duty in Bean town. This is not to say his value is completely shot…yet. With Craig Kimbrel crying about his sore knee, Boston may be in need of an interim closer. Koji Uehara is the obvious first choice but his 4.96 ERA and 8 homers allowed in 32.2 IP make it seem like the choice ain’t so obvious. Still Koji’s 46/9 K/BB ratio makes me happy, and he notched the save Friday night (after surrendering a home run), so he’s the best bet for saves if Kimbrel misses any time. As for your new closer in the land of the rising sun? Tyler Clippard is the most likely candidate if you need saves or a buzz cut. He’s got a 3.06 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 32.1 IP, and saved 19 games for the Mets and A’s last year, but his career 57% save conversion rate certainly doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence. Daniel Hudson is the ideal saves candidate in Zona but has struggled mightily over the past month (12.96 ERA, 2.40 WHIP in 8.1 innings). Regardless, if you need a save and a haircut, I’d grab Clippard and Hudson in that order. And if you’re a Boston Red Sox team that desperately needs starting pitching, I’d recommend trading for a infielder and a relief pitcher.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s what I said this offseason, “Before watching the video on Lucas Giolito, I looked at his vitals.  This is something I don’t usually do.  Doesn’t really matter to me if a guy is six-foot-one or five-ten.  But, dizzamn, Giolito is a strapping young man, huh?  He’s listed at six-six and 230.  He’s only 21 years old, but I think he’s done growing.  Hopefully, cause his mom tells CBS Sports that his “feet already hang off the bed.”  With a six-six frame, as you can imagine, he throws fast.  (Christall Young is the exception that proves the rule, an idiom that never made any sense to me.  If it’s an exception, how does it prove anything?  It proves that there’s exceptions, but that’s about it, right?  I’m gonna move on before my brain hurts in my thought-nodes.)  Giolito hits 97 MPH on his fastball, which is actually up a tick from the previous year.  If he keeps steadily increasing his fastball every year, by the time he’s 40 years old, he’s going to be throwing 117 MPH.  He throws from nearly right over the top, so the ball fires downhill and hitters have about no chance of hitting it.  A 9+ K/9 seems to be a given once he gets settled in the majors.  With speed comes no control, to sound like a drunk Yoda.  Or does it?!  Snap, reversed on that.  No, Giolito has control too.  97 MPH with command?  I’ll say it for you, hummna-hummna.  Oh, and his strikeout pitch is his hard breaking curve.  In 20 years, Al Pacino could be playing the role of a Hall of Fame pitcher in the film, Giolito’s Way.  Assuming Pacino has eighteen-inch stilettos.  He could be special, and TMZ spotted Pacino shopping for eighteen-inch stilettos, so that could be a good sign.”  And that’s me quoting me!  He should be added in all leagues, like yesterday.  To put just the tiniest bit of dampers in these happiness diapers, Kershaw had a 4.26 ERA his rookie year in 107 2/3 IP.  Rookies give roofies and take your kidneys.  Hashtag truth.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Even after the trade of Manuel Margot to the Padres, the Red Sox still feature three prospects with big fantasy potential – Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and 2015 draftee Andrew Benintendi. Cuban import Rusney Castillo was an adventure last year, and I’d imagine dynasty leaguers are faced with a choice between selling low or holding this offseason. Jackie Bradley is another question mark, but showed flashes and is still just 25 years old entering 2016. At the very least, his plus defense should give him a long leash. Blake Swihart graduated, and has a fantasy-friendly profile behind the plate thanks to his offense. Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens made their debuts as well, and should be solid options in the middle of the rotation. In short, there’s still plenty of upside on the major league club and a top-heavy farm ready to feed it over the next two or three years.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo did his part to ensure he’ll be over valued in fantasy leagues next year going 2-for-3 with a home run and a stolen base last night versus the Yankees. He’s now 4-for-7 with two homers, four RBI and a steal starting in center field in the past two games. I guess it’s pretty clear from his bat that’s where he’s most comfortable. With New England, the new home for Cuban All-Stars and Big Papis, sure to be buzzing all offseason over these final games, the hype should build enough that Rusney Castillo is the next Manny Ramirez by draft day. At the very least he’ll be the next Jackie Bradley, Jr.  Still, desperate times, call for desperate fantasy measures and Castillo could be a hot schmotato with a whole lot more to prove in these final two games than most players.  We know he can steal. We’re seeing him hit. Two homers in two days, people! It’s mathematical! You’re trying to win a championship, right? Well, this Rusney trombone could be the reach around your fantasy team needs for the final push. Did I just type those words that way? Doesn’t matter it’s my last day of the season, is anyone still reading this? If you are, it’s about time you picked up Rusney Castillo and let him help you bring home a trophy.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (10) | 2011 (17) | 2010 (5) | 2009 (13) | 2008 (2)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [69-93] AL East
AAA: [79-65] International League – Pawtucket
AA: [68-73] Eastern League – Portland
A+: [68-69] Carolina League – Salem
A: [66-73] South Atlantic League – Greenville
A(ss): [36-40] New York-Penn League — Lowell

Arizona Fall League PlayersSurprise Saguaros
Chris Martin (RHP); Pete Ruiz (RHP); Michael Almanzar (3B); Bryce Brentz (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Will Middlebrooks (3B); Ryan Lavarnway (C); Pedro Ciriaco (INF); Felix Doubront (LHP); Junichi Tazawa (RHP)

The Run Down
With impact talent at nearly every level of the farm, this is a deep system, and a good one. Xander Bogaerts, a top-10 overall prospect, headlines the group and will arrive within the next year-and-a-half as a big time fantasy asset. Behind him, Boston features a great mix of high-ceiling guys and high-floor guys, making this system not only high-impact, but rather safe as well. The Red Sox might be another year or so away from contending again in the crazy-competitive AL East, but the club has done a quality job of trimming some fat, and setting itself up for long-term success in the process.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Boston Red Sox 2011 Minor League Review

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:

2011 (17) | 2010 (5) | 2009 (13) | 2008 (2) | 2007 (9) | 2006 (8)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [90-72] AL East

AAA: [81-61] International League – Pawtucket

AA: [59-83] Eastern League – Portland

A+: [64-75] Carolina League – Salem

A: [78-62] South Atlantic League – Greenville

A(ss): [29-45] New York Penn League – Lowell

The Run Down

The Red Sox pipeline, as usual, is flush with talent.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?