Please see our player page for Darwinzon Hernandez 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.

Holds Ain’t Got No Face! 

These poor schlubs. No one’s favorite player is a middle reliever. The middle reliever never gets the girl. The signed middle reliever rookie card never fetches more than a buck-fifty on eBay. 

Yet these working-class heroes continue to go out every day and grind away to bridge the gap between the billion-dollar, sexy starting pitchers and the dark, mysterious closers. 

So here’s to you Graeme Lloyd! Here’s to you Mark Eichhorn! Here’s to you Matt Thornton! And MY personal favorite player of all time — here’s to you Jeff Nelson! 

 

From a fantasy perspective, the middle reliever has been a non-factor since the beginning of roto baseball. In your standard 5×5 leagues there’s just no room for a player who barely contributes in any of the 5 pitching categories. However, after years and years of heart attacks from being forced to draft Fernando Rodney because they missed the closer runs — cardiologists have created a new fantasy category to prevent such cardiac conditions: saves + holds 

Below I’ve ranked the top-40 non-closers for saves + holds leagues. In true Kerry-fashion, I’ve manufactured my own ranking system. I’ve ranked these guys out into three categories: sv/hlds, limiting runs, and K/9 — the three categories that middle relievers can consistently help you in. Limiting runs is a combination of ERA and WHIP — basically, in one inning, a reliever needs to keep guys off the bases — and if there are already guys on the bases — keeping them from scoring runs. You know — like the job of every pitcher! 

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At the end of my last post, Baseball is Back with a Whimper: Pandemic Draft Week Recapa Razzballer named Homer’s got the runs asked if Austin Martin might spend some time in the majors this year, and I had no idea. Well, I had some ideas, but they mostly circled the spires of HellifIknow Mountcastle, the official building of Major League Baseball in 2020. 

We got another noise out of Manfart this week completely disagreeing with the sounds Manfart made last week. Now he says there might not be baseball at all after saying there would definitely 100,000 percent be baseball in 2020. Hindsight, man. Farts. 

Main reason he said anything is the players were like, okay, we’ll play, let’s get started, and ownership was all, but wait, we’re not ready, and you might sue us because we don’t know if what we’re doing is legal. The players wouldn’t sign waivers that said it didn’t matter if the owners were street legal or not, so the owners trotted out this fool who gave away leverage on national television because he momentarily forgot every syllable is a war aimed at the 2021 Competitive Balance Agreement.

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Oh, hello random blog reader. I didn’t see you there. Don’t mind me, I’m just doing early offseason fantasy baseball research while listening to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” on a loop. It gets me in the proper mindset to tackle bullpens. I generally find few fantasy positions that elicit more angst than relievers. Nevertheless, I’ve hit the double-digit mark on BoP and am feeling all kinds of weird. It’s the perfect place to dip a toe into choppy reliever waters. I’ve broken down the roles while unveiling my new “Razzers” rating system (base 1-5). Is this a ploy to trick search engine’s into redirecting users searching for Brazzers? Yes. Yes, it is.

Ok, now that you’ve returned to this tab from your incognito browsing session, the Pens!

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Grey is alone in the desert, well that’s not true. He’s there with Ted his faithful, yet hateful pooch, and a few thousand virtual friends. To give the Fantasy Master Lothario some reprieve from his isolation, we hopped onto a podcast and talked about some of the last week in fantasy baseball. Granted that happens every week, but it means a little more now. This man needs us, he needs to talk about Marcus Stroman, the desert heat, Bo Bichette, and going to the movies just for the A/C. Show the man some love and lend your listening ears. Or you can just listen and laugh at him, that works too.

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Chris Archer (6 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 5.73) allowed four homers to the first five hitters he faced in the 2nd inning.  The only way things could look worse for Chris Archer and, specifically the Pirates, is if Austin Meadows hit all four homers wearing different colored sombreros.  “Hola!  I am Austin Prairieritto!”  “Hola!  I am Tijuana Meadows!”  “Hola!  I am Roberto Hernandez!”  “Hola!  Imagine my exclamation marks are in the front of my sentences but upside down!”  Okay, I’m Daffy like a duck talking about a Spanish Meadows when it was the Braves who mollywhopped Archer.  A Spanish Robert Loggia, “Archer is a pitcher that don’t throw straight.”  As I said yesterday, it’s not whether the record of four straight hitters with a home run is going to fall this year, it’s only how soon and with how many homers total.  8 straight hitters with a homer?  9?  12?  Yesterday, Brian McCann (2-for-4, 4 RBIs) hit his 4th and 5th homer, going Yardo Montalban hitting them where da plane da plane goes.  Josh Donaldson (1-for-4) hit his 9th homer, managing to control his Hulk-smash anger until the appropriate time — at the DMV.  Nick Markakis (1-for-2, 2 runs) hit his 6th homer for his 2nd Sparkakis in two days, and Ozzie Albies (1-for-3, hitting .270) hit his 10th homer, 3rd in two games.  ProContractsAreWhatWeKnow dot com said Albies earned $17.87 between homers.  Albies looks like he’s come out of his May funk, but he still has no place to move up in the lineup.  Well, maybe he can replace Austin Riley, whose average has dropped eighty points in a week.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Imagine discovering a band forty years after their relevant period. Then imagine you’re Grey Albright. Your mustache is thick and handsome, you run a fantasy baseball empire, and you just discovered the Blue Öyster Cult! Did anyone ask for more cowbell? Well, unfortunately we can’t provide you any sweet, sweet cowbell, but we can take you through the week in Fantasy Baseball, one outlandish conversation at a time. We of course spend half the show discussing recent call-ups, before diving into Josh Bell’s breakout, Brandon Woodruff coming of age, and if Rafael Devers is a top three round pick in the making. While we’re in good spirits I encourage Grey to take a victory lap for Adalberto Mondesi’s early returns, before running through some good adds for the week ahead. It’s the Razzball podcast, we don’t need no stinkin’ badges!   

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Snap out of that egg nog coma…we’ve got more prospects to cover! Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy holiday. The Red Sox are the next minor league system to step to the plate, and while it’s not exactly the sexiest system in town, it’s doable. It’s corner infielder heavy with all three Grade A specs manning either first or third. After that, it gets a bit pitching happy with a few more corners mixed in for kicks. Maybe we’ll get a Christmas miracle and Prospector Rowf will chime in. I hear he’s a big Sawx fan!

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Luis Robert will rank highly in the White Sox top ten, which happens to be the system on deck to publish here. The outfielder extended his AFL hit streak to 14 games on Friday with three hits, two runs, and a steal for good measure. This raised his average to .386 – good for second in the league behind Tyler Nevin. Where you at Vlad Jr.? Step it up! Robert is an easy like for fantasy players with the ability to contribute in all five categories. He draws comps to fellow Pale Hoser Yoan Moncada, and while the profile right now is centered around his speed, he projects to trade some of that for power as he matures. With only one week left in the Arizona Fall League, there’s a good chance he’ll finish as one of this year’s top performers, sending his offseason stock even higher. Here’s what else happened in the desert this week…

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Two weeks ago the 2019 Astros prospects list published. One of the more difficult players to figure from that group was Forrest Whitley. He’s one of the most talented arms in the minors, but simply didn’t pitch much in 2018 due to suspension and injury. That’s where leagues like the AFL (Arizona Fall League) and LIDOM (Dominican Winter League) come in handy. They give us an extended look at prospects that would otherwise be haunted by question marks heading into spring training. So far, Whitley’s numbers in the AFL should quell any fears. Through two games started with the Scottsdale Scorpions, he’s struck out 14 batters in seven-plus innings while allowing just three free passes and two earned runs. Those are the ace-like numbers his fantasy owners need in their life, and they were enough to earn him Pitcher of the Week honors. Here’s what else is happening around the offseason leagues…

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No matter how bad the Red Sox farm system is it will always have a place in this Prospector’s Heart. Despite his best efforts, David Dombrowski has not stripped the joy out of Red Sox prospects just yet, and to celebrate this I’ve brought along not only my brother from another Lance Brozdowski, but also “boots on the ground, eyes at the park” prospector John Calvagno of @SallyNotes on twitter, and NotesfromtheSally.com. Before John, Lance, and I dig in on the Sawx. I wax poetic about my days as a young man running amok at McCoy Staduim. We then dive into the big names (Michael Chavis, Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Tanner Houck) and then move onto the plethora of future middle relievers, and utility bats. It’s a labor of love, but we managed to give you an hour and a half of Red Sox Prospects takes.

Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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