Much like the famous Doors song that shares it’s name, bullpens are drawing near.  (Minus the Oedipus complex that the song explores.)  I mean, it may… but that is gross and I don’t wanna associate my bullpen goodies to that.  Moving on, shall we?  This year has been the SAGNOF-fest that we always come to expect.  Closers up, closers down.  Trades and attrition.  It happens every single year and it is the reason why the waiver wire is what it is: So we can get the new third closer for the Twins.  The chase for saves never ends, well, I mean it ends for season-long leagues, but for dynasty and keeper leagues, the times never change.  Saves are a category.  A deeply hated and often cursed at category that will always be debated about.  Whether or not to invest earlier picks then normal to get a stud, or just fill in with hope-so’s and also rans.  There unfortunately is no right or wrong answer because both strategies work as long as you are a waiver goblin.  So with the final post of the year, much like the other years that I have done this, we look to next year…  This year’s counting stats and information don’t matter, we want to know what lies on the horizon. So let’s find out!

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The trade deadline usually makes a real hash out of bullpens, and this year was no different.  Closers become just ordinary relievers.  Ordinary relievers become closers on teams punting.  Even further down, the holds through the obtuse guys now become a usable commodity.  Fantasy baseball with hold leagues, catch the spirit!  So like I was just saying, we have seen 5-6 teams rip apart their pecking order for hold-dom, and in some cases muddle up the closer order by trade, attrition, or subtraction.  This is a good thing, makes decisions easier.  Aim for guys on teams that are still getting you save opportunities. If you can’t find the stat, always fall back on the standings to guide your waiver wire hand.  Or even more finite, look at that teams W/L record over the last 10 games.  It is no coincidence that the top three teams in save opportunities since the All-Star break have winning records (Dodgers, Mariners, and Blue Jays).  Also, if you haven’t been streaming Holds yet this year, there is no better time than the present.  The list of holds leaders over the last 15 games is littered with names that weren’t even in print by me for the whole year.  So don’t be afraid to roster the unknown rather than a commodity because with the season basically over in six weeks (three if you have playoffs), every one counts and every H2H win counts.  Cheers!

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This is the best time of the year, next to when Shark Week is on TV.  All the movement in real baseball sends a ripple throughout the fantasy universe and in most position player cases, the player is owned to the moon or already a contributor.  Not so much in the realm of baseball’s forgotten warriors: the setup men.  As teams scramble for bullpen help, it creates an everlasting (not really forever) waterfall effect that resonates to the new and old team.  Take for example the Yankees/White Sox trade it has created job questions for five separate relievers: Betances, Robertson, Kahnle, Clippard and Swarzak.  Now with all the hype surrounding trade rumors, it is best to identify the team who gets the bullpen help first, than the trading team second.  Because the trading team usually is where the goodies are at.  Anthony Swarzak looks to be the biggest beneficiary in the setup options, and yes, Clippard will be closing, but Swarzak will be there when Clippard gets dealt again whether it’s before or after the non-waiver trade deadline.  So to summarize here, be speculative but not crazy.  Pay attention to the reliever deals in place and realize that some pitchers get moved down a few pegs, but on the reflexive, some move up. Have at some juicy reliever tidbits, Cheers!.

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At some point, the bullpen levee is going to break for the Nationals.  Never in my fantasy existence have I seen such blahness, injury, and utter roster futility like I have seen with the first place Nats. I don’t know if they are lucky or good…  they have had six guys garner saves this year.  Already had three closers changes by injury or attrition, and are still collectively better than the sum of their parts.   They have the second worst bullpen ERA sitting in the low 5’s, allow the second highest BAA at .273, and have the worst OPS against.  Oh, and just for giggles, they have 11 blown saves.  So how are they doing it you may ask?  I haven’t the foggiest idea. But in a weird case of scenarios, the Twins are equally as bad in almost all the same categories.  Re-inventing the winning relief ways, I guess. What I do know is Enny Romero over the past 15 games has been the bull’s balls, or lack there of if you are into those kind of delicacies. After the rise and fall of Koda, the fluctuation of weight by Albers and the over-hyped value of Kelley being the wily veteran, Romero has stood out.  His K-rate is pushing 11 on the season and it’s even better over the past 15 games as it pushes 14.  This is the bullpen post, so relievers are what make my pants miraculously disappear and I love me the hold stat.  Enny Romero looks like the match-up proof guy that even Dusty can rely on until the relief relievers are acquired via trade.  So if you wanna capitalize on a winning team, which is a positive in hold searching, and need to zero in on a guy to maybe get a ton of high leverage situations, please go take a gander at Enny Romero.  So while you go search the waiver wire to see if he is available, stay here as we get some intimate details about late inning goodies…

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Yesterday, Josh Harrison hit two homers (3, 4), raising his average to .313 and hitting near-.350 in the last week.  He’s hitting like two-thousand against lefties, so the Hitter-Tron was all over him yesterday, like it’s all over grease spots with its dipstick.  Hitter-Tron is a horny robot!  You think the Hitter-Tron will ever meet up with the lonely AF Stream-o-Nator?  They seem like a match made in heaven like popcorn and chicken, Kim and Kanye or Oprah and Gayle.  On a larger, more general note, on our Hitter-Tron (and Stream-o-Nator) we have the ownership numbers for our RCL leagues (12-team mixed), and Harrison is owned in 89% of leagues, so, this brings me to my long-drawn-out question, how in Jane Goodall’s understated-sexiness is Harrison only owned in 25% of ESPN leagues?  Honestly, seriously, awkward sentence introly, I don’t think ESPN updates their ownership numbers on the reg (not short for Reginald).  Guys and five gals, this is exposing some large widespread conspiracy.  Maybe we should check in with Gregory in ESPN’s “Fantasy Ownership” Department.  Gregory, what do you think? “Mike Trout just fell to 99.3% owned.”  All righty then.  If Harrison is unowned in your league, you should fix that, if for no other reason, so we can see if Gregory updates the numbers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Even being 1/10th of the way through the season, it is never too early to see some trends forming.  The trends I am learning you about are the bullpen usage rates.  Not every team follows an A to B to C type formulas, and it would be nice, but usage rates in certain situations, even 15 games into the season, peak their heads out for fantasy usefulness.  The ancillary stats that no one really notices, and that I use all year, are runners inherited and appearances with the lead.  All key factors for what a reliever is and what they are at sustaining.  The inherited runners stat is a ruiner, not only for themselves but for the pitchers they are replacing.  Basically a sad trombone in the case of reliever sad trombones.  The appearances with the lead factor is what we all eat our Holds and gravy with.  It basically says that they are pitching with a lead, granted, holds are scored the same as a save.  So all that less than four runs runner on deck shenanigans that people made up for it to qualify.  So welcome to the first Holds/bullpens post of the year as we embark on a road far less traveled then it should.  Holds matter, regardless of color.

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Yesterday (but really every time he pitches), Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA down to 0.91, and yet another no decision.  Elias Sports Bureau said, “Chris Sale had his 4th start in last five seasons on Thursday with 8 IP, 10+ Ks, 0 ER without getting win; no one else has more than one.  Also, there’s 16 different vending machines in our company to choose from, but only one has M&M’s and Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie for 50 Cent that elicits Snickers with the wrappers.”  God, what a bunch of nerds!  Not like us fantasy baseball cool kids!  I wanna tent the Elias Sports Bureau office, fart in there and leave.  Seriously, that’s what I want.  I need a wish genie, up in here!  Up in here!  So, Chris Sale is flippin’ awesome once again, and nothing can stop him except a rock vs. his scissors.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As the season draws nigh, and it comes to the point in the season when we here at Razzball use words like nigh, verisimilitude, or even rancorous.  Don’t ask me what the meaning is, because I could barely spell them without my handy speak and spell.  The whole gist of this discussion is to basically look at our roster and think diversification.  Look at the bullpen pieces that currently occupy one or several of  your pitcher spots.  I say this because we all want counting stats at all times, and in a manner… this is why come the end of the year, it is very sexy to have guys who have multiple pitching eligibility for the off chance your don’t have a starter going in a spot or on an innings limit.  These fellas help out in K’s, rates, vulture wins, and since we are here for the holds, they do them too.  Listen, this isn’t a new thing or a crazy theory that I concocted in my basement after painting too man model airplanes.  Though, the thought process after that is kinda cloudy and sorta fun? So here is a rundown of the guys with some dual eligibility late in the fame to aide in your fantasy quest. Cheers!

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Throughout my time as a dynasty player, I’ve learned that there’s one thing that’s as inevitable in this format as death and taxes….. turnover. Sometimes it’s simply because a manager no longer likes the format or league. Sometimes it’s a lack of the time element that needs to be applied to properly compete. Other times it’s an incident that disenfranchises owners, and leads them to quit. Well over the last month I’m pretty sure all of these apply to outgoing managers within our Razzball in-house dynasty the Razznasty. There’s been drama, tears, a gang-related shooting, and an arm wrestling tournament in a truck stop. Actually I think I’m confused, all those things happened during my Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws. You know what they say, “sometimes you join the Hell’s Angels, and other times you marry into them”.  Moving along, let’s discuss the standings, trades, and wavier claims for the month of May.

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If you happen to be a non-millennial reading this then you remember a time when # meant “Pound” and didn’t mean “Hashtag”.  If you are a millennial you’ve likely already skipped this intro and skimmed the rest of the picks.  After all, you’re entitled to win at DFS with minimal research and time invested.  The DFS sites owe it to you, just like your boss owes it to you to give you that raise despite the fact you don’t actually do any work all day.  We’ll be using the pound sign today to discuss how the O’s are going to # on Mat Latos this evening.  I’ve had issues with Latos for some time, I mean, what self-respecting Matt goes by Mat anyway?  This year though, the issues with Latos are greater than ever.  This guy has the nerve to masquerade as an ace with his sub 1 ERA and WHIP.  We here at Razzball aren’t fooled however.  We see the real numbers under those fraudulent ones and we are ready to pounce.  The 4.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 tell the real story, as does his 3.56 FIP.  The regression fairies are just dying to pay Latos a visit, right after they finish cutting off all their jeans into shorts for the summer.  I, for one, want to be there when this correction happens, and not just for the cut off jean shorts.  Chris Davis will be heavily owned but if Pedro Alvarez finds his way into the lineup tonight, he might be an under the radar play that could pay handsome dividends.  The Orioles don’t have much else in the way of lefty batters however Mat Latos hasn’t really shown a dramatic platoon split in his career, so just load up on every O you can get your salary cap around and enjoy the #ing.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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