We close out the American League bullpens with the AL West. It feels like all of these teams have something to offer either in closer speculation or high wattage non-closers. Remember the golden rule of the saves chase: don’t overpay for closers. Opportunities come if you’re active on the wire.
I didn’t realize how upset I was about the sign-stealing scandal until I started writing this. If you’re an Astros fan and I’ve offended your delicate sensibilities below, you can go and discard them along with your stolen championships.
It’s getting ugly in the reliever market. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and promotions have wrung much of the top talent out of the scene. Much like the bazaar in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle there’s stuff everywhere, but it’s hard to find what you need. Also, there’s a basket with a cobra in it. You just have to hope the Rock shows up and start throwing people through walls. I don’t actually know what the fantasy baseball equivalent of that is. I’ve gotten off track here thinking about the Rock’s ridiculous biceps, as per uzhe. I’ll wrap up this lede in ramble with a comparison Jumanji’s theme: the only way to win the game of relievers is to play and win.
Just for reference, as I was out and about, the “cult” classic by Lisa Lisa was on. Now you can admit it or you can lie about it, but if you hear this song on in the privacy of your own aloneness, and you turn the radio up. I’m sorry but it’s true. If not, it is completely just me and I have some severe music intangible listening ability that is slightly off. Where was I? Bullpens you say, bullpens I say. The first real bullpen post after the trade deadline is always a tough tell. The good contending teams basically stack up the depth of their pens and make the most unique and usable reliever an after thought, or a “questionable” own in holds leagues. I hate that this happens, because you roll along all season with a set it and forget it holds option and poof, they go to a contender and now are fourth fiddle. And nobody remembers the fourth fiddler in the Charlie Daniels’ band. If you do, climb out the basement and stare at the sun awhile, you two have missed each other’s company. So if you are sitting on names that changed to a contender that are now tertiary in line for a hold, move on. Grab a first-chair guy maybe on a lesser team, or even from that guys old team. This time of the year, if trying to capitalize on the utmost hold capabilities, there can be no allegiances. No saluting your past accumulation and move on. I am adding in a chart this week that shows holds and chances for the last 30 days to lessen the load on your research ability. After all it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, why not stay and hang out with Smokey?
Coming off an abbreviated week of baseball, B_Don and Donkey Teeth bring to you an abbreviated (still 42 minutes) show. The Ditka duo highlights the pitching matchup from the opening game of the second half as Carlos Martinez and Kyle Hendricks squared off in a forgettable fray of divisional opponents, and podcast host favorite teams. End result? CMart is the most recent victim of the Sausage curse as he finds himself on the DL shortly following the skirmish.
Donkey Teeth then takes a break from catching fish to help you land the next big free agent in the pickups segment. This week’s targets include recent call ups Willie Calhoun, Garrett Hampson and Willy Adames. Here’s another taste of the Ditka Sausage Pod.
You know what is fun this time of year? The bullpen shuffle. Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases. Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians. The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now? I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man. Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation. Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club. Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now. In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go? He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name. So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait. Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential. More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump. Cheers!
Has anyone started calling David Dahl (OF, Broken Foot) China Dahl yet? If not, let me be the first. ANOTHER major injury for China Dahl that will see him miss 6-8 weeks. Stash or Trash: Trash. He wasn’t getting consistent playing time and now two months on the shelf? You deserve better! Replacement: You know who will never let you down? Leonys Martin (17%.) Oh god, what did I even just type? Oh well, let’s commit to the bit. Martin actually has been downright ownable in 12 team mixed leagues. 34 runs, 7 HRs, 20 RBI — only two steals which is what we all wanted — really not bad. The athleticism was always there with Martin but he never seemed to be able to get out of his own way. Well he’s out of his own way now and hitting pretty well. Leonys more than anyone else on the planet has committed to the launch angle revolution — he’s hitting a staggering 51% of balls in the air. I don’t know how sustainable that is with only a 16% line drive rate — but we’re not going to find gold on the waiver wire — only pyrite.
A no innings restriction Alex Reyes = Geez, first time that’s ever happened, usually I last much longer. Yesterday, Reyes went 4 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 2 Ks as he was activated. But his rehab told me he was supposed to throw a complete game with 15 Ks! What gives? There was some concern his velocity dropped towards the end of yesterday’s start, but it seemed to me more like a situation where he was just gassed from not being able to find the plate, and he confirmed that after the game. I’m still all-in on Reyes, but he might be more like every other pitcher who has ever had Tommy John surgery than we thought, i.e., lacking command for a month or two to regain mechanics, which is different than a bunch of balding guys at Pep Boys. That’s Rogaine mechanics. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Tap on the shoulder, now tap on the other shoulder. Swords and knights yadda, yadda. Pun joke and title inclusion over. I could probably draw it out to upmost degree, but I’ll just end it and rip the bandaid off and jump into the welcome back Kotter bullpen of Philadelphia. If the collective bullpen in Philly isn’t called the Sweathogs, they are doing something wrong. The Vinnie Babarino that is emerging as the future leader is most definitely Seranthony Dominguez. Dude set a record with hitless streaks to start the year for a rookie and is now the go to, end all be all holds guy for the Phillies. His arsenal screams future closer, but Kapler’s fear of commitment and Neris owning pictures of some relative of his. Dominguez is the guy, for now and for later. With 5 holds and 1 save in his last 6 appearances, he is involved in almost every winning game the Phillies are. He checks all the proverbial boxes that we have previously discussed when looking for a reliever to roster. Plus he has the save appeal, which is similar to curb appeal, minus the fact that you don’t need shrubs or a Chinese maple tree to accent how dominant he has been. Holds for now, saves for later for the Sir of the Cheesesteak. Roster with confidence as his results are great, but be patient as Kapler is a mad scientist with his bullpen decision making skills. Holds week brings the best out of all of us, because you play in a league with holds. That’s why we are fake internet friends.
I mean, who doesn’t like a good old Kenny Rogers reference? I appreciate it, but was more keen on Islands in the Stream, which in reality still works for this post. This week, I wanna focus y’alls attention on when to keep relievers of hold value or when to fold them and grab someone new. I wanted to bring this up because the near-leader in holds currently is Juan Nicasio. (Who for all intents and purposes is a fantastic Holds pitcher when you just take into account the hold total of 12. Which trails only Archie.) The hold total is great for holds leagues says captain obvious. The peripheral stuff is absolutely poop though. Commander Poop, for the full nautical theme. He checks none of the boxes from the non-hold league boxes, his K-rate is just a tick above 9, HR/9 at 2.0, a BAA over .300 and an ERA over 6… Those are not the four checks that I was referring too. So for mixed leagues, the guys you want to own are all over these standards: The K-rate has to be at or above 11 K/9, which includes over 60 relievers in baseball. HR/9 has to be tiny, think under 0.50, BAA against has to be anything at or below league average of .243. And lastly, the ERA has to be respectful, but not the end-all-be-all of determinations, because unluckiness does happen with relievers. So when doing your homework for reliever adds, make a checklist of those three stats and let the ERA be the tie-breaker in determining your add. In holds leagues, quantity does matter, but if you are only going to eat one banana why buy the whole bunch and let them ruin all the other categories?
This one’s a real kick in the Seagers. Right after I brought up the debate of which SS you’d rather own in my Top 100 Hitters article, Corey Seager or Didi Gregorius, the debate was settled for me. This elbow injury was apparently something that Seager battled in the 2017 playoffs and I guess his […]