Please see our player page for Emilio Pagan 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.

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH OR $13/MONTH WITH AN EXTRA WEEKLY PODCAST.)

I enter a cave in the coastal region of the Sierra Leone, wearing a pith helmet and other garb you’d see on someone butterfly hunting. Only I’m not searching for a Pussycat Swallowtail. I press my hands to my mouth and call out, “Hey, Buy/Sell column, hey, are you in here!” My echoes reverb back to me with not a sound more. No indication it’s here. Then, suddenly, the Fantasy Baseball Buy/Sell column rises like the WWE wrestler, The Undertaker, and holds a flashlight to its face for great effect, “What do you want?” We need you for another year of fantasy baseball Buy/Sell columns. “Okay, I was bored just laying here under an inch of dirt.” To get in the Buy section of this post, a player needs to be rostered in less than 50% of leagues, and more than 50% for the Sell side, i.e., Welcome back to another year of, “This guy is only owned in 7% of ESPN leagues?! WUT DA WUT!?” Or simply WDW. Okay, enough dinging-a-linging on the side note tip, let’s get down to bidness. Our first buy of the year is Andrew Vaughn. There’s Hobbs’s Andrew Vaughn fantasy, which I won’t be able to supplement in any meaningful way. He covers the stats. The White Sox are on the cusp. They had nothing to wait for in promoting Vaughn, and they didn’t wait. It’s White Boy Summer and Vaughn Chets all the boxes. T. Hanks. The projections don’t love Vaughn — 20/6, .215 average. Yes, that’s 20 homers and six steals in 500 ABs. But there’s not one league where I wouldn’t take a Vaughn flyer. With Eloy going down, the White Sox need all help they can get and they’re not turning to utility man Mendick to starch their socks, so to speak. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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I don’t get it. This…this…this “pitchers have to be drafted early” …thing! Am I the only one who lived through the last baseball season? Even if you were to say to me, “I always draft starters early,” I’d say you’re living in some kind of goofball world made out of unicorns and iPhones that don’t correct the F word to duck. But fine! If this were a normal year. “If this were a normal year” is the ying, the yang, the sun and the moon. No pitchers are going to throw a lot of innings. Less innings means Gerrit Cole, if he’s the best pitcher, and the tenth best starter are going to be closer together. Pitchers as pancakes. Have one, and it’s Yum City, population: You. Have two, and it’s solid, great. Have three and it’s, “Do you have blueberries or something for these?” Have four and it’s, “Well, I liked my first two.” Have five and it’s, “I want bacon.” Have six and it’s, “I don’t even remember liking the first two anymore, and I never want to see another pancake.” All these guys taking starters crazy early are eating pancakes. Before I even drafted a starter, one team took Cole, Woodruff and Glasnow! “Cole…cool, cool. Yum City!…Woodruff…Um, yeah, but maybe I can get some blueberries or something…Tyler Glasnow? Stop! I’m diabetic!” For those unfamiliar, this is a standard 5×5, 16-team league, and, since it’s Yahoo, it’s 4 outfielders and two UTIL. As always, I used Rudy’s War Room, which is available with a subscription to our Razzball Tools. Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family draft recap:

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And the men who hold high places

Must be the ones who start

To mold a new reality

Closer to the heart

 

What? You didn’t know that Toronto-based prog rock band Rush were huge roto baseball fans? That song was released in 1977 — the same year the Toronto Blue Jays played their inaugural season. It’s actually about their love for under-appreciated closer Pete Vuckovich who saved 8 games for the blue birds that year. A lot of us have that same love for certain closers and when it comes to draft time we think with our hearts rather than our heads. 

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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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All in all, the MLB trade deadline wasn’t an all out bullen nuke. We have some spots that need updating but nothing more than 2020 has been throwing at us. If you’re falling behind in a category you need to attack it with an all out assault from multiple angles. See if some of these cheap sources can help you out.

  • After trading away Archie Bradley we have an opening for the Diamondbacks closer. Two young names with a shot are Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel. I’d have bet good money Ginkel was the guy prior to the season. He’s had lackluster results, however. Crichton has been solid on the other hand and building trust. Junior Guerra and Hector Rondon probably get the first opps but they should be moved aside fairly quickly.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been suspended three games for throwing at Mike Brosseau. Zach Britton gets a little extra life if you were holding him on the chance Chapman stumbled.
  • We’re still trying to figure out the Cubs bullpen. Jeremy Jeffress seems to be the flavor of the week after Rowan Wick had some hiccups and Craig Kimbrel is still serving meatballs. I’m still holding out hope that Wick can rise to the top of this foul brew.
  • The Padres trading for Trevor Rosenthal makes more sense with them sending Emilio Pagan to the IL. They want a RHP compliment in the ninth for Drew Pomeranz. Pagan’s shoulder fatigue isn’t a great sign for his 2020 prospects.
  • Two relievers are getting close to return from the IL and may be worth a stash where available in Nick Anderson and Wade Davis. Anderson is less likely to be out there and may not get saves even upon return. Davis will almost definitely get back into the ninth but may not have great results aside from saves. Pick your poison.
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It turns out the area around 161st street that Yankee Stadium was built on was home to an ancient Indian burial ground, or is the new home of the Bermuda Triangle, or was cursed by witches in the 1600s, because that’s the only explanation for the injury plague the Yankees have dealt with over the last two seasons.

Already down Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Tommy Kahnle, and Zack Britton, the Yanks put two other stars on the shelf this week.  Gleyber Torres went on the IL with a hamstring injury that looks to keep him out for 2-3 weeks after an MRI revealed no structural damage.  We gave you Tyler Wade and Thiaro Estrada last week for DJ’s injury fill ins and the same names apply here.  James Paxton is also on the IL with forearm discomfort.  He’s avoided a worst case scenario, as an MRI revealed that there’s no tear that would lead to Tommy John surgery.  His timetable is still unclear for return.  The Yankees have been reluctant to bring up top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt due to the fact that they’d need to make a move to their 40 man roster to do so, but he’s the most fantasy relevant arm on the horizon.  Deivi Garcia is the other big time prospect to watch here if this injury keeps Paxton out for a while.  There’s also been heavy rumors of trade activity for the Yankees to get an arm with Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Zach Plesac being the mosts talked about targets.

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You all can blame me for the weekend bullpen chaos. I said last week was a relatively calm one on the saves front and as soon as I typed the words the baseball gods launched a comet of calamity at MLB. I shall do may best not to draw their ire again anytime soon.

  • The Phillies traded for Brandon Workman to come in and close over the struggling Hector Neris. We’ll see how this goes. Workman has better results than peripherals. He may be a time bomb. He’s 1/2 for saves on Philly already. Matt Barnes was named sort of the closer but like only if he’s being cool about it. Maybe Ryan Brasier finds himself in the ninth again at some point.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

After blowing the game in epic fashion Thursday night and then blowing another game same-day, hours later even epicly-er the Philadelphia Phillies have finally said enough is enough. Their relievers are rocking a icy 8.07 ERA, with an even more inflated 10.93 ERA in the ninth inning. Wow. That’s like Red Sox-relievers-bad. So who did they reach out to? Who else but the awful reliever experts, the Boston Red Sox, and Philly acquired Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree Friday night in hopes of bring some stability to the late inning relief. In return they send RHPs Connor Seabold and Nick Pivetta to Boston. Pivetta, a sabremetrics darling, will likely slot into the starting rotation immediately despite his ugly 15.88 ERA, 1.94 WHIP. He’s given up 10 runs in just three games this year so he should fit right in with this pitching staff. Still, dude strikes out everyone. A 10.32 K/9 in 2018 shows flashes of what could be a valuable starter some day. I have streamed him many times in the past and he’s burned me even more times, and I look forward to this happening again real soon. Connor Seabold (2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 58/11 K/BB in the minors), could also likely find his way into the rotation at some point this year, given the lack of competition at the big league level. Back to Phillies, Workman should immediately take over as closer and could see a boost as he’s better than his 4.07 ERA and 1.80 suggest and has converted all four of his save chances this year. The Phillies are a considerably better team so the save opportunities should be more frequent. Workman is likely already rostered in most fantasy leagues, even though he probably shouldn’t be. However, his successor in Boston, Matt Barnes, is still unowned in most leagues, and that is likely to change quick. If you’re as desperate for saves as I am for positive feedback Barnes and his 5.59 ERA are the obvious choice for save chances for Boston going forward. He notched his first save of the year Friday night allowing just one hit. Pick him up if you really need the saves or you just hate yourself.

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I was about to fall off my chair if Sixto Sanchez‘s parents knew when he was born that he would be 6’2″, but it turns out they overshot by two inches. Prolly best. My mind couldn’t have handled that kind of freaky-deaky shizz. So, Sixoh Sanchez was called up–What? We have to call him that now. We can’t perpetuate fake news. Wanna be called Sixto? Then grow two more inches, you big phony! Unless…Oh crap. I just realized something. Every game he starts the score is going to be 6-2. Hopefully in his favor then, I guess. So, Marlins called him up and here’s Prospect Itch’s last words on him, “Sixto Sanchez gives Miami exactly what (Marlins’ front office exec) Denbo wants:  a fastball with enough pace to live atop the zone and a curve change slider off-speed compliment to get hitters chasing down and out. His strikeout numbers haven’t been elite, but everything else has, and he’s always been young for his level. Also, I’d like to level Grey.” What the heck, man?! Prospect Hobbs gave you about 1200 words on Sixto Sanchez in his Cristian Pache fantasy. As for this year, rookie pitchers are tantalizing, and I did grab Sixto, but, honestly, I might drop him before he even pitches. In a short season, a guy like Danny Duffy is likely better than a rookie pitcher, who could be an ace in two years. It is nice to see the Marlins kicking it from the six-fingered Alfonseca to the Sixto’d one. Sixto Sanchez isn’t in this afternoon’s Buy, but could’ve been for the upside flyer. To see who is in the Buy/Sell before it’s released on Razzball, join our Patreon. It’s $5/month, or the price of enough gas to get your lawnmower to run for 12 minutes. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Welp……whatever was in the water in the Bronx last year that led to one of the most ridiculous injury riddled seasons ever apparently is still sticking around, because the Yankees just keep taking hits left and right.

Last week, we chronicled Giancarlo Stanton’s hamstring issue, and a week later, the Yankees are now down two more stars, as DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge have both landed themselves on the IL.  Judge has a calf issue that SEEMS minor, but this is Aaron Judge and the Yankees we’re talking about here.  The hope is that he’ll only miss a couple of weeks, but these things have a tendency to snowball in this training room.  With LeMahieu, it looks like he’ll be able to avoid surgery after an initial scare with his thumb injury.  His timeline is also 2-3 weeks at the moment.  So all three big Yankee hitters are slated to come off the IL in 2-3 weeks.  Until then, we gave you Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier last week, but adding Tyler Wade and Thiaro Estrada in deeper leagues makes sense as fill ins for LeMahieu.  Guys like Miguel Andujar and Mike Ford should also see some boost to their value with an OF and DH spot opening up full time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?