Please see our player page for David Robertson 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 was waiting for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to sign before dropping the last bit of offseason signings before the rankings that start on Monday, but apparently the Phillies only have $300 million for each, and they want $325-plus respectively, so we need to go forward with the news without Machado and Bryce.  The last bit of big news was Yusei Kikuchi signing with the Mariners.  He reminds me of every other Japanese pitcher, but not in a raycess way.  He reminds me of Miles Mikolas too, who was only Asian after being reborn.  It’s something about Asian pitchers, and non-Asian pitchers who go to Asia and return; they exercise some serious control.  Maybe it’s the culture.  I had a robot watch Gung Ho 15,000 times to tell me what it thinks and now the robot is speaking super-racist.  Yo, robot, why are you so culturally inappropriate?  “I have no culture of my own, so I adopt yours.  And I kill puppies.”  AHHH!!!  ROBOT MURDERER!!!  RUN!!!  Or roll your swivel chair towards a door if running is too much for you.  Kikuchi, which is going to be fun for me to say this year, comes with a lot less fanfare than Ohtani, but I do think he can be better than him, pitching-wise, in his first full season.  Ohtani is a unicorn in Babe Ruth’s body, we all know this.  Kikuchi reminds me of Mikolas and Ryu and others in that mold.  He’s a decent strikeout guy, but won’t blow people away, while also having impeccable command.  I’m definitely looking to draft him this year, then passing him up every other year when he fails to throw 130 IP in consecutive seasons because the Japanese also completely overwork their starters.  In fact (Grey’s got more!), the Mariners have already said Kikuchi will only throw an inning or so every fifth or sixth start to try to preemptively avoid the inevitable arm injury that befalls every Japanese starter.  For 2019, I’ll give Kikuchi projections of 9-7/3.67/1.18/136 in 151 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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How does Franmil Reyes have such quick hand-eye coordination for a big guy?  Of course, it’s due to his 20/20 over 20/20 vision.  Franmil’s two-upping your vision!  Franmil Reyes isn’t just a big-time power hitter, he’s also the winner of the 1st Annual Kyle Blanks Look-A-Like Pageant.  You might remember Franmil’s now famous answer to the question, “California is going through a world-record drought, what would you do to solve this dilemma if you had one afternoon to spend with your doppelgänger, Kyle Blanks?”  Franmil took his time, then answered, “I’d go to the tallest peak in the Rockies with Mr. Blanks and we’d make snow angels, melting more snowflakes than Fox News and that water would roll into California.  I.e., This is my Fran-friction!”  I lifted myself from my Furby beanbag and cheered in my man cave.  Bless you, Franmil!  Bless you, child!  Also bless his power.  His batting average will come down some with a larger sample size, but there is no larger sample size than this 7-foot, 450-pound behemoth when it comes to dongs.  Sounded better in my head!  If you need power, I’d grab Franmil in all leagues.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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You remember in Austin Powers when he gets his golf cart stuck in the tunnel and tries to make a u-turn and just goes back and forth unable to turn.  That’s how I feel going between Tyler White and Tyler O’Neill.  “Tyler O’Neill just homered…”  *backs up golf cart*  “Tyler White just homered…” *reverses golf cart*  “O’Neill now!”  *tries to turn wheel*  “White does it again!”  *gets out of golf cart and tries to move it manually, but have overestimated strength*  “O’Neill with a round tripper!”  *sighs, gets back in golf cart and checks Facebook menchies, overcome with helplessness of decisions*  I do not know which Tyler I would go with anymore.  Every day this week it has switched, sometimes it’s switched in the same day.  Tyler White is top four slugging percentage in the majors leagues when sorting by 100 plate appearances, but just as soon as you say that Tyler O’Neill will go and do something.  White is likely in a platoon, but when Ozuna returns, O’Neill will have same problems.  I’d own both, but White is my favorite…*sees O’Neill hit a homer, reverses golf cart*  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The only way to compare things is to look in the past and see how we match up to the year previous.  For pace reasons, for setting your mind at ease, and to basically not bore you to death, I am only going back one year because I have gone over the decline of the ever loved “stolen base” as a cumulative stat.  So in 2017 through the first 81 games of the season,  (roughly… because every team plays different amounts of games) there were a combine 1,405 steals by all MLB teams. In 2018, we currently sit at 1,310.  Now remember games for AL teams are off a bit, but still, we are sitting at 95 stolen bases fewer than the year previous.  That is an eye catching number, even when you break it into a smaller number like percentages it still sucks for the SAGNOF love.  Just to delve into it further, there were three players with 30-plus steals and three above 20 steals at the All Star break last year.  (With the leader, Billy Hamilton garnering 38.)  This year, there are only six players above 20, and none above current theft leader Michael Taylor with 23.  The downward trend, the going away from using the steal as an asset in fantasy is a dying trend that we are lucky to be apart of from a draft usability standpoint.  I am more of a “see what I know baseball guy” rather than a number cruncher, but nobody uses the steal effectively to set the pace of a game anymore.  Now for fantasy it sucks that we are mimicking real life, as a grab the best players to accumulate stats to fill our rosters mentality is the M.O., but I would be interested to see how your league standings are reflecting this downward trend in steals and how much the league leader in the category has, and if you think it is worth chasing as a catch up stat for the second half of the year.  So give me some feedback, and here’s some charts of catchers to steal on and pitchers to exploit.  Cheers!

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Welcome to the bi-monthly look at nose picking.  Nah, I am obviously talking about bullpens, because they usually come in second to the nose goblins anyways.  Lots of people always ask me: How do you shuffle between holds guys and get an effective return?  First off, if you wanna surf the waiver trend and stream the hell out of relievers for holds purposes, you gotta be aware that you can’t be afraid to let your ratios go to pot.  Not like move to Colorado and play Bohemian drums and stuff, just the trends that I have encountered and noticed is that with the quantity in holds there comes a slight tick to ERA and WHIP.  Not an awful turn of events, if you you have sufficient starters that hold down the metrics.  I don’t even know if metrics was the right word there, but I just saw a commercial for a tutoring service for kids… ummm, its summer.  So back to the picking a winner lede discussion…  When in doubt, pick a winner, four of the top-five hold accumulating teams are in first place.  Six out of the top-10.  I wish I can make the cliche statement that bullpens win games and have it be unique and quirky and new, but quality bullpens don’t not hurt your teams chance at winning. So if you are looking at streaming or even in the business for flip-flopping relievers in this high holy season of the All Star break, ask yourself two questions; how has he done over the last two weeks, and is his team scoring enough runs for the quantity?  Because any good reliever needs to be worth the squeeze.  And it doesn’t hurt to be a front-running team.  So choose wisely, and for all intents and purposes hit me up.  Never hurts to ask the guy who sleeps in bullpen pajamas.  More bits of tid after the jump, cheers!

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The value of Michael Taylor is that he can play centerfield better than anyone else on the Nationals roster.  I get that defensive metrics are not a fantasy stat, but it keeps players like him in the lineup from day-to-day.  With the emergence of Juan Soto and the impending return of Adam Eaton, it causes a luxury that most teams don’t offer.  Four decent to great outfielders that all offer a different set of skills but all rosterable in most fantasy formats.  I think the biggest question we have to ask is: Is Juan Soto going to stay up when Adam Eaton returns from the 60-day DL on the 8th?  Given what we have seen from him based on on-field merit, absolutely.  Making Eaton or Taylor the fourth man on any given day is the right choice, but I am leaning that Eaton or Soto form a nice rotation based on what the skipper has said about Taylor: “He wins games with his play on the field” is the truncated version of what he said.  He isn’t wrong, and basically Taylor is the Nationals version of Keirmaier. Similar skill set, maybe a bit more speed for Taylor, but their main asset is their propensity for great glove work.  Listen, I get and hear all the prospect thumpers saying there is no way that Soto comes out of the lineup, but to think that he doesn’t sit occasionally upon Eaton’s return is just plain naive. Eaton won’t play everyday, because he is about as durable as a street watch bought in Chinatown. So if you are a Taylor owner, be semi-nervous he should be owned for SAGNOF appeal, but not a pillar that is in your lineup for any other counting stats.  Even if the are getting better over the past 14 games to what they have been over the course of the year so far. So to summarize on the SAGNOF love, Eaton coming back, Soto, Taylor and Eaton will all lose 4-6 at bats a week, all is well and all are ownable.  SAGNOF Monday starts off your week with class and style.  Cheers!

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The Miami Jeters are currently cruising on a sub-60 win pace.  Nice if you look at the investment value in terms of dollars and the amount of talent on the field.  Now the once or semi-reliable closer, Brad Ziegler, has puked up another save chance and seen his ERA climb a blood alcohol level of 8.44.  That is a Cherynoblian level that usually results in a quick change, minus Bill Murray dressed as a clown. In the wings are two decent enough options that in most leagues should be owned for their K prowess.  They being Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough.  A change is coming, as the soft-tossing Ziegler can’t rely on sorcery and garbage to will him through save chances, no matter how few and far between they are.  The Marlins, from a standpoint of we are only winning X amount of games, and can’t afford to lose Y because of a closer who can’t shut the door is just bad for business. I am grabbing Steckenrider before Barraclough just based on games and position of appearances of date.  It is really tough to say though because they have 7 wins, and neither guy has featured more than 4 appearances when the team has been leading.  But Steck has seen more 8th innings, and I like him better because he has a closer makeup. So add accordingly if save speculating is your bag, but with success in closing comes success in the setup game.  And don’t ignore Barraclough either, because he will be in elevated positions as well and since this is the Holds portion of the week, go get him if free.

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Earlier in the preseason, I delved into the holds tiers for fantasy bullpens.  It exists right here in the Fantasy Relief Pitchers for Holds.  That was more a broad brushstroke of fantasy bullpen goodness that goes on here at Razznation.  Now that we are thumbs deep in draft season and the players being more prominent in roles are starting to show their purpose we can get a better grip on who to won and who to covet for the ugly step sister of saves the hold stat.  In more cases than not, following a “drafting for holds model” holds true, but holds are such a fluid stat… more fluid than the closer role.  So drafting the elite guy every year looks like a great idea, but name the guy who lead the league in holds multiple years in a row or, hell, twice in their career?  It’s a short list, whose names are not that awesome or even around anymore.  So for drafting for holds, whether it be in a straight holds league or a saves+holds league having the edge up on bullpenery is key.  The strategies for each of those leagues is basically the same as the elite holds category earners and they should be drafted after the last “donkeycorn” closer to come off the board.  If you draft an elite closer, always cuff your closer with the top holds candidate on that team. Next, do what I just said twice and grab your second closer’s backup/holds guy.  That will give you two closers, their back-ups for the “just in case” moments and holds.  Then your last pick for your bullpen will be an independent guy that has a K/9 rate over 9.  That is my finite strategy for drafting holds in any league. It gives you five guys that you can bank on every day in a “set it and forget it” type situation.  Don’t fall in love with your options, as like I said, bullpen fluidness is blah and you can find a hot hand on an off day.  So now that strategy is out of the way, let’s look at the more finite tiers of holds!

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Just finished my first draft if you’re reading this as I type it, and other than one shirtless man in yellow sweatpants standing behind me in this internet cafe, I don’t think anyone’s reading this as I type it.  Unless, of course, there’s micronauts living inside my brain watching as my inner monologue is sending info to my fingers.  Gadzooks, I got micronauts in my brain!  I wonder if these micronauts made me draft eight Twins and White Sox players.  I need to delve deeper into this subject.  Maybe I will in my pastel journal that is covered in Giancarlo’s picture from ESPN’s nude magazine.  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an AL Only league that was hosted by Scott White of CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Or closet buddies, if you’re reading fast and/or experimenting.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team AL-Only team and some thoughts:

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The most important thing in fantasy baseball relief-dom in terms of holds is consistency.  Without consistency of opportunities, of placement in the bullpen, and a team’s consistent success in utilizing their bullpen to your fantasy advantage… you get left out out in the cold when it comes down to accumulating a stout holds based relief pitching corps. Until there is a shift in the utilization of bullpens for the benefit of fantasy, more so, the leagues that use the hold stat.  I will admit that I am more of an eye test person than a numbers guy.  Numbers scare me.  They prove too many things that don’t factor in the human error factor and the good ole eye test.  So against my better mental state, I used numbers from the past five years to show that the bullpens are being used more frequently.  Not just by some teams, but by all teams.  I know, duh.  This is something that we all eyed to be happening than Smokey goes in the opposite direction like a dyslexic salmon and gets some data to prove the incline of a stat that he holds so near and dear to his fantasy bear heart.  Well sit back, relax, it’s going to be a fun ride on the holds bus this week as we do some research and than put the top-50 relief pitchers into hold tiers.  Enjoy!

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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