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.

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:

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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:

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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?

As pitchers and catchers report we’re beginning to be graced with some reassurances as to who certain teams will use at closer. Those are always nice. Just remember managers don’t feel beholden to what they say in February and situations can change. Not unlike myself and fellow analysts. “I don’t recall recommending Jose Leclerc as a top 10 2019 closer, Senator.” We’re all playing a guessing game. My best advice is to invest lightly and spread your exposure over as many arms as possible.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I teach in China for a month every summer, and all I really have access to for that month, entertainment wise, is baseball and whatever I can download or arrange ahead of time, so that leads to lots of podcasts and audio books.

The books I repeat most feature a certain group of young wizards invented by J.K. Rowling, and during this summer’s listen-through the whole Potter series, I had some new thoughts.

First, poor Filch. I mean what a awful gig that dude has. Whole castle full of magic, and he’s on his hands and knees scrubbing vomit and blood and snot and who knows what all.

Second, Summer for Harry Potter is a lot like Winter for baseball fans. Harry just sits around waiting for news. All. Summer. Long. So every little snippet of something takes on extra meaning. And The Daily Prophet has its head so far up it’s cauldron that even the snippets are just glances through a cracked mirror.

So who’s ready to fire up the rumor mill and speculate our way through the off-season!?

Not me.

I’m hanging onto Fall as long as possible.

If that appeals to you, let’s hop on a Thestral, fly over prospect country and pretend it’s still Summertime.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rarely does a fantasy season derive itself from an actual fantasy. An honest-to-goodness, real-life, sleepwalking-in-your-pj’s fantasy. A I-walked-in-on-Marisa-Tomei-and-she-was-like-come-join-me fantasy. Ronald Acuña Jr. aka Tildaddy comes home with Brillo pads you have to use your favorite shirt to clean the dishes aka The Truth is having a fantasy fantasy season. Can’t even remember the last time someone was a top fantasy player and seemed to be trying to accumulate stats. That is an absolute treat. Yesterday, he hit his 40th homer, and now his likely sole goal is to get to 40/40. Who wants to get stats for us, fantasy baseballers? No one usually! They’re all bastards!  But Acuña does! He has 123 runs and 99 RBIs from predominantly the leadoff spot. I’m sorry, I’m going to kiss my computer screen where you reside. He’s averaging 418 feet per homer; Trout and Gallo ‘only’ averaged 419 feet. Speaking of Trout, Acuña or Trout for 2020? On the Player Rater, it’s clearly Tildaddy. At an ADP of 5 this year, he was a steal! If only I owned him in one league…*wavy lines starting a dream sequence* Hey, look, I have Acuña on all of my teams. *turns to mirror* Oh my God, I’m bald! Damn you, O. Henry! *wavy lines* I hate ironic dreams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Pirates organization should be on an episode of Botched. Are they the worst organization or what? Hint:  The answer is not ‘or what.’ Let’s do a brief recap of what a giant POS team this is. Pirates’ closer, Felipe Vazquez, decided to try to bite off Kyle Crick’s finger last week. A giant piece of garbage move? Well, gee, Wally, I don’t know, it seems like that’s not a nice thing to do. The Pirates are dead-last in the NL Central, as they’re wont to be, so suspend the giant festering wound that is Vazquez, right? Gosh, Ms. Molly, that seems obvious.  Well, no, of course not. The Pirates are trying to avoid losing 95 games and only lose 94 games instead, so the Pirates made the chickenshizz move to stick with Vazquez. This is, after all, the club that didn’t want to trade Felipe Vazquez for prospects at the trade deadline. Finishing in last with 94 wins instead of 95 must mean a lot to them. Now, the jagoff that is Vazquez is arrested for being the worst type of human and looks like he’ll never pitch again. No wonder Felipe Vazquez changed his name last year, he’s a giant pedophile creep!  You did good, Pirates! Maybe to go with your pitch-to-contact pitching coach, your clueless manager and your maybe-we-can-lose-only-94-games team, you can find another awesome trade like sending Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer. Any hoo! I’d guess Keone Kela or Richard Rodriguez is the closer for the final week-plus, in that order.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Eloy Jimenez went 1-for-4 and his 28th homer, hitting .259, as he marches to the finish line on a mediocre year…Or was it?!  Damn, reversal question, you always scare me. It’s worth noting, Jimenez struggled with injuries a bit this year and he only has 430 ABs. He’ll get roughly forty more at-bats this year, so figure 32 HRs in 470 at-bats (this math totally tracks; don’t come for me, nerds!). Give him the standard 570 ABs and he would’ve hit roughly 38 HRs in his rookie season. Geez, it doesn’t sound so bad when I put it like that. Wait, I can do more, he was playing injured a bit so 50 more healthy at-bats and Eloy Jimenez hit 40 homers in his rookie year. Want me to keep going, because I can get him to 73 homers? No? Suit yourself. Think people are looking at Eloy as having a poor rookie year, and the shine’s off him for 2020. However, I see a guy who almost hit 73 homers in his rookie year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?