Please see our player page for Devin Williams 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’m a big fan of the everyman. I consider myself the everyman. I’m every man’s everyman. A pioneer of normcore. Track pants and a blinking light on my car’s dashboard that either means my seatbelt isn’t on or I need oil. That is me. What better way to elevate the Everyman Culture, than to take part in a tourney where no one is smarter than anyone else. Enter the RazzSlam, a Best Ball tourney.  Every everyman likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are your best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Well, the last laugh is on you robots, there’s a virus beating you to the punch! Kinda love that Razzball is putting on a tourney (hosted by NFBC — thank you!) that no one really has any clue how to strategize against. A true everyman experience. Oh, I’m sure there’s a few people who think they know the best strategy for, uh, Best Ball, and a few of them might be right, but there’s an under 1% chance they know why they’re right, and it isn’t just luck. In some ways, Best Ball leagues are a lot like Best Ball strategies. Throw a ton of them out there and a few good ones will rise to the top through sheer force of players’ performances and nothing you’re actually doing. That’s the fun. Anyway, here’s my RazzSlam, a 42-round, Best Ball 12 team draft recap:

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When I decided to name this piece the RP Thrift Shop I couldn’t get the Macklemore jam by the same name out of my head. So here I sit, wearing a fake mink coat, shaving the sides of my head. Like Mack I’m not looking to spend $50 on a t-shirt. I’ll take the 99 cent stuff that smells like R-Kelly’s sheets. Thus, the framework is laid. Let’s talk relievers. Maybe Ryan Lewis will drop a bomb chorus for us.

 

The Gucci shirt: Edwin Diaz

If you just look at Diaz’s 2020 surface numbers when you’re in the draft room you might click his name when it’s your pick. What those numbers leave out is how the Mets protected him from his Molotov throwing self for an entire month of a two-month season. Sounds exactly like someone you want to invest a top 100 pick on.

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For all my rankings this year, I have gone along with Major League Baseball’s numberwanging insofar as prospect eligibility is concerned. Within these specialized rules, we find a days-on-roster component and a magical August 14, 2020 demarcation line and I suppose the traditional 50-inning barrier matters as well, although a relief pitcher is much more likely to graduate on time served than innings pitched. 

All that is to say: hard pass on MLB’s shizz for the purposes of this list. 

The only way forward is to minimize fuzziness and speculation. Also I believe this list functions as a way for deep leaguers to find MiLB eligible relievers on the wire. 

One caveat: anyone currently on a starting pitcher path is disqualified. Converted starters make up a big portion of the player pool, so we’ll blend them in here if/when that switch happens but not before.

I’ll also set aside a small group who could switch and quickly leap the ranks like Devin Williams and Jonathan Hernandez have here. I suppose JB Bukauskas qualifies for the switch-and-leap bucket, but he’s in the rankings already because Arizona has clarified they want him in the bullpen this spring. Likewise, Genesis Cabrera and Taylor Hearn are out for the moment because the Cardinals and Rangers have them starting this spring. 

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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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Baseball is in good hands. Look no further than Grey’s top 10 for 2021 fantasy baseball, where you can witness the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto and Mookie Betts ranked ahead of the greatest player of our time, Randy Arozarena. Just kidding, I really do mean Mike Trout. Venture further into the top 20 and you’ll find Christian Yelich (No. 11), Bo Bichette (No. 12), Nolan Arenado (No. 16) and Luis Robert (No. 20). Side note: what a steal Yelich is going to be in 2021, amiright? But the point I’m trying to get to (and I really am trying), is that right now in baseball we have a beautiful mixture of established veterans performing at high levels (dare I say their prime?) at the forefront of the game and a deep group of emerging young players quickly breaking through into the top 20 talents in all of baseball. The sport, as a whole, is in tremendous hands and the picture only improves when one looks to the plethora of talent trickling down the prospect pipeline. Wander Franco, Jarred Kelenic, Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodriguez and Royce Lewis are all pounding on the door, just to mention a few names, and I haven’t even broached the subjecting of pitching talent in baseball today. Long story short: it’s a good time to be a baseball fan, but still a bad time to be short, or tell long stories.

Of the five prospects named above, all could potentially debut in the Majors in 2021. I’m excited about them all. But as I began writing this piece, I realized that despite their varying long-term outlooks, there’s one positional prospect I’m more excited about owning in re-draft leagues this year than any of them — and their name might surprise you.

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Happy belated Thanksgiving, Razzballers!

‘Tis the season for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but there’s another deal-day you may or may not be aware of…Saturday Stove deals! It’s when we recount some offseason MLB free agent news on Saturday. See, free agent news is the hot stove and it’s Saturday. Clearly makes a lot of sense. Sorry if you’re here to buy a stove.

The free agent period is always exciting in any sport, but it’ll be especially interesting to see how an itty-bitty 60-game season will amplify contracts for little ol’ guys like Trevor Bauer and Marcell Ozuna, two dudes who went just absolutely bonkers. On the flip side, what about little ol’ Marcus Semien, who plummeted to an almost career-worst OPS after his sexy 2019 season?

So what I’m gonna do is go a little deeper on the important guys that have signed somewhere already. There aren’t a ton, but there are certainly guys worth talking about. Then for guys that are still freely drifting along, I’ll just give a gut-check take on what 2021 could look like for ’em. Odds are pretty decent I’ll gloss over a guy you really care about…I’m not gonna talk about every ding dang free agent out there. Sorry not sorry.

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What’s up, Razzballers? Hope playoff baseball is treating you well, and if you’re in any playoff pools like I am, hope they’re treating you well, as well!

Well. What a wild season of fantasy baseball we had, eh? I’m not a super high-stakes type of fantasy baller – I did two Yahoo public leagues mainly because drafts are so easy to join and get through quickly (I won both!), my home keeper auction league (which moved to roto for this year and I got 2nd after being two-time defending champ *sad emoji*), and then the RazzSlam. I got really lucky in the Slam, not suffering a lot of COVID-ness or injury. Finished second in my league and #46 overall. Not too shabby for my first industry league endeavor! Just want to thank Grey, Donkey and others, but mostly of all, you. You’ve made me feel so welcome. Hey, watch me make like a tree’s sap and get sappy!

Anywayyyyy, I bring up my own leagues because a large part of my success came down to waiver wire wizardry. Well, RazzSlam not so much (waivers are limited there), but my final rosters in the other three leagues looked a lot different from Opening Day. That’s always the case in fantasy sports, of course, but this year especially so in baseball.

I thought a fun exercise would be to go back and honor those who were league winners for a lot of you. What better way to honor real players than with fake All-Star selections?! I’m gonna take a standard lineup of C/1B/2B/3B/SS/OF/OF/OF/UT/UT/SP/SP/RP/RP/P/P/P/P and fill it with the best that the 2020 waiver wire had to offer. In most leagues, most of these guys were drafted late or not at all. Of course in deeper leagues maybe all of them were drafted at some point, but in standard 12-team leagues, almost all of these guys came off the wire.

Without further ado, let’s do it to it!

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The playoff stage is set in the American League, and the prospects of Tampa Bay, Oakland, Minnesota, Cleveland, New York, Houston, Chicago, and Toronto are ready to grab the nation’s eyeballs. Randy Arozarena has already tripled out of the 3-spot in Tampa’s lineup, and some is right with the world. 

Here’s my AL playoff breakdown: Expanded Playoffs Invite Prospect Impact

The National League wasn’t settled when I went to press Saturday night, but the musical chairs are all silent now and waiting for the real music to start. Let’s take a lap. 

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I’m making some cuts today in my 15-team dynasty. More than ‘some,’ I suppose. I currently have 50 claims in for Thursday morning’s free agent run, but that’s mostly because I use my pending transactions screen as a watch list. My style of dynasty play involves building lists of free agents I want and cutting all the guys I think are drop-able before faab runs. I arrange the list by talent/value over need and let the dominoes fall where they may. This presents some drawbacks in terms of balance between MiLB and MLB players at times and occasionally trips me up on the positional-depth front for a couple days, but it remains my preferred method in large part because it enforces a kind of thinking I find beneficial. 

Knowing where the cut line lands in any particular league is endlessly valuable. It prevents you from trading for replacement level talent and invites you to swap out some of those players when their value spikes. It’s a theoretical concept and a moving target, so the more frequently you’re checking in with it, the better grasp you’ll have of who to add, drop, trade and ignore. 

So who’s on the chopping block this week?

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This is what they call in the biz a GAP — a General Appreciation Post. It has not been a general appreciation type year, but Juan Soto (1-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and a slam (12) and double legs (4, 5), hitting .345) aka Sexy Dr. Pepper makes me wake up at quarter to 6 every morning, jump out of bed like Dicky Fox and scream, “I love Juan Soto!” Then Cougs rolls over and mutters, “865,” which is the number of times she’s said to stop screaming that first thing in the morning. Listen, it’s been a trying year, and I appreciate all of you sticking with us through what was the craziest year on memory, and I’m not gonna get choked up, because I’m way more appreciative of Juan Soto. HE’S BETTER THAN TROUT. Sorry, but Mr. Al Caps is right. Sexy Dr. Pepper is 12 years old and he’s doing things not seen since 2002 when a headless ghost Ted Williams was teaching a bone-sober and dead Babe Ruth why he was striking out so much. It’s an absolute joy to watch. I think I like Treat Urner (3-for-6, 1 run and his 11th and 12th steals) partially because he plays with Juan Soto. In 2021, I’m not sure yet if I’m going to have Juan Soto in the top two, three, four or five, but this is only the beginning of that discussion which will go until 2030, when we’re all finally stepping out of quarantine like a bunch of vampires. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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