I’m still not convinced Yermin Mercedes isn’t a LARP. Or a Transformer. His name really is Yermin Mercedes? Just out here with a name that sounds like a German saying German Mercedes? And he doesn’t wear a Mercedes emblem around his neck like Flavor Flav? Is this real life or a simulation? The White Sox lost Eloy and just randomly found a guy who can do exactly the same? Right, right, okay, so the story I heard about one fantasy baseballer hearing the news of Eloy’s injury while on the Mercedes-Benz factory tour and crying onto a C-Class, and that transforming into Yermin, was a lie? I don’t hear lies, I hear truths! So, Yermin Mercedes went 2-for-4 and hit another home run (2nd) yesterday, and has basically done what we would’ve hoped for from Andrew Vaughn in our wildest dreams. But can it continue? Ah, excellent leading question! Yes, Yermin can hit .550. No! Of course not! He does have a solid hit tool (can hit .280) and good power (20-ish homers). The moment he slumps and Vaughn hits (it’ll happen — hopefully for my teams) Yermin will be on the outside, while Vaughn moves in. There is a chance Mercedes could hit 25 homers/.280, which is essentially Trey Mancini-type projections, so he’s worth rostering for now. tl;dr: Mercedes goes vroom, vroom, make room. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Well, here we are again friends. Another injury article, another lead off for Aaron Judge. Judge made it halfway through a single game off the IL before re-aggravating his calf injury last week and has been promptly put on the shelf again. This time, it seems like the Yankees are going to take their time with their start outfielder to make sure they don’t run into any more setbacks. At this point, everyone worth grabbing on this Yankees squad has been profiled already, but these are no longer fluke issues with this team. Even upon the return of Stanton and Judge to the lineup, I’d hold onto Clint Frazier (who’s flashing some impressive leather lately) and Mike Tauchman as it’s only a matter of time until they hit lineups again.
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.
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.
Contracts, the lifeblood of Major League Baseball. If you’re good enough, after you put in your time making nothing and riding on buses, the team owns you until you run through the rookie contract. Of course teams want to protect themselves from paying the next Jon Singleton, and this is how contracts end up with options. Some favor the team and others the player. It usually boils down to who has more leverage at the bargaining table.
Vested options are typically put on the back end of contracts, especially for older players. Some of these milestones might mean that a guy pushes through a minor injury. Others may put the club in a position where they prefer a player miss their vested option. The team can control the likelihood of completing the option.
For instance, Wade Davis has a vesting option to finish 30 games this season. Given his performance last year, the Rockies are more likely to find an alternative option should he falter or give him more days in between closing opportunities even if he returns to form.
What does this mean for you in fantasy? It means Scott Oberg, Jairo Diaz, and Carlos Estevez become interesting options at the back end of the draft. Oberg had the best numbers last year, but underlying numbers show he might have been lucky and has lost velocity on the fastball the last 3 seasons. Jairo and Estevez both throw upper 90s with sliders.
I regret to inform you, my fantasy friends, that even fake jedi get the flu. That’s right, Roto-Wan is coming to you today from a Sudafed laced haze that would make Jesse Pinkman proud. Stop interrupting me pink elephant, I’m trying to get a preamble together here. At any rate, we’ve reached the NL in our bullpen previews. Let’s kick it off with the very in flux NL East. My advice is to exercise even more caution with these names than we usually do.
Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Jays. That’s…interesting. *scrambling to see Ryu’s interleague ERA vs. AL teams* 3.84 ERA in 86 2/3 IP with a 8.8 K/9 and this is still too small a sample. Plus, as I always say, you can’t just say a guy’s away stats are what he’d now do when he’s calling a place home. Also, what is going on with Ryu’s early draft price? Maybe it’s still early for ADP and I shouldn’t assign any real truth to where guys are going, but like Hugh Jackman’s marriage to his grandmother, it’s very real how late Ryu’s been going so far this year. I get it, I get it, I GET IT! He’s not a 1-something ERA pitcher, so y’all are compensating for that, but like me with my Happy Socks in my pants, you’re overcompensating. He didn’t just have a Cy Young-type year last year. He had a 1.97 ERA in 2018, too. In six seasons, his career ERA is 2.98. Okay, fine, ERA is stupid. He has a 1.01 WHIP two years in a row. WHIP’s stupid too? Fine, but these are two of the categories you’re hoping to get from your starters. Wins are just stupid stupid. Nothing can be figured from those. So, that leaves us with Ks. He has a 8 K/9 and a 1.2 BB/9, so, you got it, you’ve figured out a reason to not absolutely love Ryu. He’s merely a 2.75/1.01/150 guy. Shucks, what a shame. For penance, I will dye my skin whiter and cat-o-nine-tails my back like a villain in a Dan Brown book. Even if you think the AL could be less kind for Ryu, how much worse will he be from a 2.75/1.01 ratio guy? Fifty points on ERA? Sixty? Five points on WHIP? Ten? He suddenly won’t have one of the best walk rates in baseball? I’m going to be conservative with his projections and they still look great. For 2020, I’ll give Ryu projections of 13-6/3.32/1.09/153 in 167 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:
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:
Andrew McCutchen is out for the year with a torn ACL. To borrow a phrase often quoted in the White Sox bullpen box score, that’s A. Bummer. On the bright side, Cesar Hernandez (1-for-5) isn’t some obscure Roman emperor, you’re thinking of Nero Antivirus and Flavor Flavius! Last year when Cesar Hernandez had 563 at-bats in leadoff, he was a sneaky top 50 bat. Before last night, he had only 5 at-bats at leadoff. Well, all that’s about to change for the better. Then you have the new Phils’ outfielder, Jay Effin-Up-My-Paddack Bruce (3-for-4, 3 runs, 6 RBIs and his 15th and 16th homers). Also, Adam Haseley (0-for-4) suddenly has value as the Phils’ center fielder, when two days ago you thought Haseley was the singer of Ghost. You say you’re no good for me, I like it ANYWAY! What, I have to work the five-lady crowd too. As I said yesterday, “(Haseley is the) Phils’ 2017 1st round pick. Prospectonator doesn’t love Haseley, giving him 15/7 with little average over the course of a season (by the way, if you click on Haseley’s name, his projections are there for free — like every player). I will say this for Haseley, he looks ready to contribute in the landmark case of sooner vs. later since he played college ball. In NL-Only leagues, I’m interested since McCutchen looks out for a while, but wait and see in mixed.” And that’s me quoting me! The Phils also said (This Phil character has a lot to say!) Scott Kingery (2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 4th homer) will be getting regular starts at 3rd. When asked about Maikel, they said, “…” Oh, now you have nothing to say! But Maikel hit a pinch-hit homer, his 9th. Still nothing? “…” Damn. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
On a new true crime podcast, Murdered By The Numbers, the host and a former FBI agent discuss the murdering of baseballs. A serial offender coming into this year was Martin Perez. “The recidivism rates for Perez were due to his 5-ish K/9 and high-3 BB/9,” the host points out. Then the FBI agent takes us through a personal anecdote about how he captured The Golden State Killer, which ends in a Blue Apron ad. “The bloody body laid there like a halibut in a summer tomato bouillabaisse, which is just one of their great options!” Yesterday, Martin Perez showed us once again that no one is too old to be new again. Except Felix Hernandez, he’s not getting new again. Perez went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.83, as he changes all preconceived notions. His velocity is up 2 MPH and his cutter looks filthy, a pitch he is throwing nearly 35% of the time this year, because of the results he’s getting. A pitch he added just this year. See how obvious this narrative is? Pitcher adds filth and gets results. He’s not quite an under-3 ERA pitcher, but he’s usable for all leagues. He left his old crew in Texas that was a bad influence and he’s now done murdering baseballs. From RIP to rehabilitated FIP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Not Your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers… It was established in the first edition of 2019 Top 100 Pitchers: starting pitchers are much like grandparents. Exciting when they’re young and healthy, disheartening when they’re old and feeble. No reasonable mind would dispute the likeness between our elders and dudes who grasp and thrust balls for […]
Well the first for-sure, definite, 100% confirmed, future Yankee free agent signing has signed with the Padres. And this kid is now every Yankee fan:
That was definitely me back in the early 90’s when my favorite player was Don Mattingly (because he lead the league in having a walrus mustache just like my Dad. Runner up: Dennis Eckersley.) Like all Yankee fans and the bandwagon Yankee fans, I then went through the arrogant highs of the late-90’s dynasty. Followed by the dark, lonely era of the Aughts which turned me into the bitter, jaded fan who grew sick and tired of the high-spending, future-sacrificing ways of the overpaid Yankees that I am today. My writer photo above is a sarcastic response to the Yankee fans who never grew out of the dynasty era and still yell “COUNT DA RINGS BRO! DEREK JETAHHH BABBYY!!!” Despite the Yankees only winning one championship in the last 19 years. But there is now a light at the end of that tunnel! Five of the players in the Yankees starting lineup are home grown players! Our ace came up through our own developmental system and wasn’t just plucked from some poor, small market, podunk team like the Reds! Our bullpen is TERRIFYING!
The eyes of Yankee Nation are set on only one thing: adding another championship ring to the trophy case. The team, fans and front office will accept nothing less. Right now, many experts have the Bombers tabbed as the World Series favorite — we’ll see how that all shakes out in October. I talked to Callen Elslager from the Fantasy Life Blog who just had his 2019 Yankees Team Preview published. Here are his thoughts on a few key questions the 2019 Bronx Bombers are facing:
A little birdie told me our 2024 Fantasy Baseball subscriptions are live. The little birdie also said it includes our Draft War Room. You really wanna lose in a fantasy baseball league to a little birdie? Would be kinda embarrassing, tbhhttps://t.co/1ag7IFSYS0