Please see our player page for Craig Kimbrel 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.

The MLB trade deadline is today. So far the fireworks haven’t been overly bullpen related. We’ll see if that holds true as many teams fashion themselves plucky upstarts in the mix for expanded playoff spots. As far as rumormongers go, Jeff Passan is really the only name I put any stock in at this point. Evening-bird and Yo-dude are banned from my twitter feed.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All in all, this was a relatively calm week on the bullpen front. At least by 2020 standards. That’s always a good time to go find the next man up and consider being a week early on a buy. Even better if they can provide an extra service like strikeouts or ratios in the mean time.

  • The Mets are right on schedule with the disaster that their rotation typically becomes. That’s required Seth Lugo to be transitioned from the bullpen to a starting role. On top of that they’re game Thursday was canceled due to COVID concerns. If they get back on the field soon expect Edwin Diaz to split closing duties with Dellin Betances. Jeurys Familia is a dark horse to mix in.
  • Hector Neris is lucky the Phillies have no one behind him to threaten his role. He blew another save Thursday. David Robertson has clawed his way back from injury and is close to pitching in the MLB again. You’d expect it to take a while to return to form for him. The threat is out there to Neris, though.
  • Color me unimpressed by Craig Kimbrel’s save this week. Rowan Wick had pitched back to back days. Kimbrel’s fastball is still not getting by anyone. The bottom of the Cardinals order was fouling off every two-strike fastball he fired. Better hitters are taking it yard.
  • Zack Britton is hitting the IL just as Aroldis Chapman makes his return. That’s one closer role that should sort itself out naturally barring Chapman being unable to shake off the rust quick enough.
  • Even as a skeptic of Nick Anderson’s role I’m starting to feel frustrated with the Rays. They’re costing themselves games at this point. Stop trying to be so smart and just save your best reliever for the ninth. It’s not like there aren’t other good pitchers in their pen.
  • Jairo Diaz has fumbled the Rockies closer gig into a committee. Carlos Estevez notched their last save. I have very little faith Estevez is the guy. Maybe if Daniel Bard continues to deal he’ll get the job.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

For as batshizz crazy 2020 is, I will say that it is exciting. Maybe exciting isn’t the right word. Maybe batshizz crazy is the right thing to say, and leave it at that. Every day we have another rookie callup and I’m here for it, even if it might lead to roofies and waking up to wonder why a member of al Qaeda is making a lampshade out of your back skin. “Que quiero mi torso…lampshade?” Al Qaeda, “We don’t speak Spanish.” So, yesterday the Padres called up Luis Patino. My mom is always telling people about her kitchen cabinets’ faux patina, so this must be good. Check it out: Here he is in Prospect Itch’s top 25 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball. Also, Prospect Hobbs wrote about 1200 words in his Luis Patino fantasy. I’m jazzed like hands and psyched like a shrink! Here’s a small snippet from PH’s post, “Even with just two refined pitches (and another two in the making), Patino has completely baffled right-handed hitters, as they produced a meager .163/.259/.220 slash against him in 2019. Clearly, Patino could step into a big league bullpen tomorrow and be elite. Like, ya know, the opposite of whatever Grey is.” Oh, man, cmon! So, is this the end of Joey Lucchesi of the Doing Crimes To Your Fantasy Team Crime Family? Not sure, but even if Patino is a long man in the bullpen, he’s worth a flyer in leagues 12-team mixed and deeper, depending on needs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We got a week in the books, folks, and I didn’t think I’d being doing another post this year after the unthinkable, unspeakable, most-obvious-thing-to-happen happened when a good quarter of the Florida Marlins team tested positive for coronavirus. Most would think when a worst case scenario like this occurs, the season would be halted, or at the very least restructured. (After watching some NBA last night, the bubble certainly appears to have been the way to go). But no. It’s just the Marlins, right? Who cares. I wonder to myself, “Self, would the reaction have been the same had 15 Yankees tested positive.” But they didn’t, it’s just the Marlins. The “worst” team in baseball. Besides this was a one off thing, right, what are the odds another team gets it? *Fast forward three days* Oh, three teams have it now, you say? Welp. And Commissioner slash idiot Rob Manfred claims he could shut down the season Monday if the “players aren’t more careful.” L-O-L. Careful like sending hundreds of players and workers back into situations where they not only have to travel, but its often impossible to maintain social distancing? So now we have six teams not even playing, teams that actually “matter”, and its an absolute mess not just for players and fans, but anyone trying to field a daily fantasy line up. Phew. OK, sorry for the tangent but this could very well be my final post of 2020, so I’m going to write about what I want, and I want to write about Taijuan Walker’s best start and first win in almost four years! After missing the majority of the past two seasons due to Tommy John, Taijuan Walker returned “home” to start in Seattle for the first time since 2016 Friday night. Walker looked dominant pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, two walks and striking out eight A’s. Tai consistently threw strikes and used his fastball effectively, topping out at 95 mph. Sweet sassy molassy! His Jordan cleats were hitting different, too. It’s always the shoes! The cutter was cutting, his breaking ball had good movement but it was really the way he commanded that fastball that made the difference. After a rough first start in Houston last week, it was an excellent rebound for Walker to get him and the M’s back on track. Rotoworld called a Walker add quote “risky” today, but as I ranted above, this season is all about risk, so why not take a risk on Taijuan Walker!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Live for today. That’s what they tell me. “They” are BASE jumpers, so I’m not listening to them, which is why I’m living in a bubble with the NBA players. “Hey, LeBron, where can I get some bubble tea?” “Ah, man, I hear ya, players be gossiping like crazy.” “What are you talking about? I want boba.” So, the Marlins vs. Orioles and Yankees vs. Phils had to be canceled due to an outbreak within the Marlins’ clubhouse. The Marlins couldn’t play back in Florida vs. the O’s, and might’ve infected the Phils’ visiting clubhouse, so the Yankees weren’t going in there. All in all, a totally well-functioning pandemic. By which I mean, it’s terrible for us, but this virus is doing well for itself. “Manfred, man” hasn’t been uttered so much since “Blinded By The Light” was a hit in the 70’s. Now PPD stands for Pandemic Please Desist. Right now, the MLB is waging an age-old war:  Everyone’s safety vs. Capitalism. Not to impersonate the Garbage Pail Kid, Nihilistic Ned, but capitalism usually wins that. Of course, don’t misunderstand my glibness for not caring (that sounds like a Common lyric); I’m just trying to be real with you. As for fantasy, I moved all Marlins, Orioles, Yankees and Phils out of my lineups until further notice, and tried to bench all Marlins in my weekly leagues. As they say, WHEEEE!!! Again, “they” are BASE jumpers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

You ever draft, like, twelve teams and have eleven teams that are all very similar and one team that is nothing like the other teams? This, here, is that other team. In theory, this team could be my one good team and the other eleven could be garbage, but I sure hope that’s not the case. I started this draft like every other league this offseason — by taking Pete Alonso in the 2nd round. At that point, this team veered into a different direction to never return. For those not in the know, it’s a weekly, 15-team, 5×5, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. NFBC has decided to cut off new slow draft leagues like this one, so I don’t think we’re doing another one this year. Sorry, I wanted to do one more league too. I will now put on The Knack and change the words in my head to My Corona. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

You might remember ten years ago I drafted in the live LABR NL-Only auction. Okay, you don’t remember, but I do, so you’ll have to take my word for it. It was the first major league I was in. I was sailing on the wind of doves. I thought my feces smelled like Reese’s Pieces. I even joined the Local 564, a railway union, thinking LABR had something to do with that. Ah, the memories…they sure were fleeting! I was booted from the league after one year. Why? I’m not sure, but my money’s on I insulted someone. Well, ya boi’s back and he’s learned his lesson! Though, someone drafted Rhys Hoskins for $28 and I was cackling about that for a good 45 minutes. Yo, just send Rhys flowers and a ball in the dirt for him to swing through; he might respond quicker. For those of you not in the know, this is a 5×5 league with average. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds others for prizes –> Razzball Commenter Leagues.) Anyway, here’s my LABR 12-team, NL-Only draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The best 2020 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer. Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means. Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?” Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint. Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature. Any hoo!  So the title is a bit of a superlative. What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?” You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you. This is the best 2020 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change. If I took Trea Turner in the 1st round, everything after would change. I’ve previously gone over my 2020 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Fernando Tatis in the first, because, well, people complained previously I always did this post by taking the first pick, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover your hair right instead of left. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Gerrit Cole and deGrom in the first two rounds and I was able to take Trevor Story in the 2nd round (which is likely), but since Tatis and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free rein to fill up my team after pick 200. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky. It should still be my ideal team…or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up).  Anyway, here’s the best 2020 fantasy baseball team:

Please, blog, may I have some more?