Please see our player page for James Karinchak 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.

The rocky start to our baseball season continues. The Cardinals are fighting outbreaks. Cleveland is grounding pitchers for breaking protocols. Fernando Rodney is preparing to debut. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. Sorry, I went full Venkman for a second. Let me wipe the ectoplasm off. There. Now to the prognostication.

  • You can write Rafael Montero’s name in pen as the Rangers closer. He’s been the only one they’ve called to close out games since his return. Seems rash I know. Welcome to fantasy baseball in 2020. Raf may have been everyone’s least favorite TMNT but he may be the best reliever to pop in the SAGNOF scene all year if he stays healthy.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back to JKJ’s School of Waiver Wire Wizardry. It’s time for Lesson Two, where I hope to improve upon my decently successful Lesson One.

James Karinchak doesn’t have the closer gig like I and many others thought he would, so that’s a big time bummer, not only as-an-analyst-wise, but also multiple-Karinchak-owner-wise. Still worth a stash because Brad Hand really isn’t all that great anymore, and Karinchak is a good ratios and strikeout guy, and holds if your league counts ’em. Hand’s K-rate is still very healthy, but man he’s given up a lot of barreled balls already and the xERA is over 4. I really think it’s only a matter of time.

Colin Moran predictably has gone cold. Teoscar Hernandez a little bit as well but the BA is still healthy (for now). JaCoby Jones has been holding up nicely, at least. Oh, and that Trent Grisham guy is raking. He’s looking like a budding superstar, with the rare power and speed combo we just don’t see much in baseball anymore. I tossed in a quick note about Donovan Solano at the end, and he’s been smacking base hit after base hit since. Planned to cover him this week but his ownership rates ballooned.

Nothing to write home about with my other picks from last week. Let’s see if I do better this time around.

Remember, students, 2020 is a weird one. The hotties need to be given a shot. Don’t be the guy who looks back at the missed opportunities that could have given you your asterisk-laden fantasy baseball title! Just kidding, for the record. No asterisks this year. We’re all in this same crazy boat together.

Note: Only players in the 30th percentiles (39% or below) on either Yahoo! or ESPN are considered. All stats as of 8/7/2020. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Having fun chasing pitching yet? At least this short season won’t be boring. There has been no shortage of actionable bullpen moves. They’re not likely to slow down anytime soon. Get aggressive on middle relievers and closer spec plays.

  • Somethings not right with Ryan Pressly. He blew the save in his first opportunity for Houston without recording a shot. Andre Scrubb worked a clean inning and a third before that. Cy Sneed and Blake Taylor gave up a bunch of runs prior to that. We’ll see which way the wind blows next time the ninth comes up with a lead. Brad Peacock is probably worth a stash as he works his way back from arm soreness.
  • The Cardinals are going to need Kwang-hyun Kim in their rotation upon their restart from quarantine. That leaves the closer role open. Giovanny Gallegos should be ready to go at this point. Many fantasy managers have also made a bet Ryan Helsley will get opportunities.
  • Poor, cursed Nick Burdi has been placed on the season-ending 45-day IL with an elbow issue. At least he was able to earn his first career save before being struck down again. Richard Rodriguez should get the ninth until Keona Kela returns shortly.
  • Brad Hand has shown us the rumors of his demise were somewhat exaggerated. He’s notched two uneventful saves this week. I’d still expect Cleveland to try and rest him between appearances when they’re comfortable with James Karinchak handling the ninth.
  • The Angels are an unexpected dumpster fire in the backend of their bullpen. Hansel Robles has washed out as the closer. Ty Buttrey is filling in but has 1 K to 3 BBs in 6.1 innings. Kenyan Middleton is serving up gopher balls. Felix Pena is the only one treading water.
  • Jairo Diaz is cementing himself into the Rockies closer gig. His Ks and ratios don’t blow you away but the job security is nice.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ll give the 2020 baseball season credit for this: it’s going to make us feel like it was 26 weeks. Illness, injury, and outbreak have not been in short supply. FAAB periods have been wild. Here’s my corner of the internet to help keep you afloat in this sea of change.

  • Turns out Craig Kimbrell is shot after all. Rowan Wick is the assumed closer now, though Jeremy Jeffress has a recent save and will be called on for high leverage spots, as well. There’s more strikeout upside to Wick.
  • James Karinchak did, in fact, eat a save opp from Brad Hand last week. Karinchak is going to have to show he can consistently control his wipeout stuff. But if he does…
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to JKJ’s School of Waiver Wire Wizardry. This is Lesson One. Please, take your seat. Feel free to drink adult beverages in class. I encourage it.

It’s been a good while since I’ve blessed your brains and your eyeballs with my writing. And I’ll be honest, in the meantime I wasn’t fully confident we’d have baseball at all. But yay! I was wrong! For now…several teams didn’t play at all this weekend, and I just can’t see this being the last time something like this happens. Maybe I’ll be wrong again. Hope so. First the Marlins, now the Cardinals, maybe still the Phillies, but it seems they may have dodged a giant bullet. Time will tell.

For now, though, we still have baseball, which means we still have fantasy baseball, which means you lucky folks get to read the first of my brand-spankin’ new weekly column here at the Razzball on fantasy baseball waiver targets.

Gonna keep it pretty straightforward. No particular order. Bats in one section, arms in the other. I’m only interested in players owned in the 30-range percentiles or less in either Yahoo! or ESPN leagues, but I’ll list both platforms just cuz I’m nice. That way, there’s a better shot the guys you’re reading about are actually out there for you to get. Ownership rates are always a-changin’, of course, so keep that in mind. I mean, duh, but friendly reminders never hurt. Also, keep in mind this doesn’t include Saturday’s stats since I’m writing before games have started.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

Was having a chat in the comments the other day with Razzball writer, Coolwhip, and I said to him something like, “Wonder if starters who throw weak-sauce fastballs are going to be better this year because there will be less effort, and leff esort (sic) this year is better because no pitchers can throw hard with no real ramp up to the season.” Leff esort is such a great concept. It’s like saying ‘less effort’ without opening your mouth, so it is being said with less effort — hence, leff esort. Leff esort is such an easy way to live, yet alone pitch. Could all those jacked 99 MPH fastballs be just too much this year and leff esort is the way to go? I don’t know. But it does seem like guys sneaking by on 91 MPH or slower fastballs are having a much better time so far. Aaron Civale couldn’t get arrested with his 91 MPH fastball (if there was a law against 92+ MPH fastballs), yet here he is. Giddy up, Ryan Yarbrough (88 MPH), you slow dog! Sure, you’ll do, Jon Lester (89). Hey, look at Ross Stripling (91), and you too, Matt Shoemaker (91). Merrill Kelly had moments of 92+ MPH fastballs in his first game, but he is more about his cutter (90 MPH), curve and change. Last September, Kelly also dominated, and I’m adding him everywhere. Maybe we’re all just trying too hard and we need leff esort. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Daulton Varsho was called up by the Diamondbacks. His numbers in the minors are gorge, as in they will engorge you. 18/21/.301 in Double-A, and he’s a catcher. Oh…*climbs to top of world’s tallest stack of pancakes*…kay. Yo, Varsho, you the greatest living catcher ever? Varsho! Here’s what Prospect Itch said, “Prospects don’t get much rarer than Daulton Varsho. My estimated time for his arrival says late 2020, but that might be dependent upon Arizona deciding to stop developing him as a catcher. He struck out just 13.9 percent of the time while walking in 9.3 percent of his plate appearances. That along with his .301/.378/.520 slash line and 159 wRC+ in a decent pitching environment suggests he might be ready for the leap to MLB pitching right now. Can Grey take a leap?” Not cool, man. I haven’t been this excited for a catcher since I married my Cougar. My guess is he plays DH, since the DBacks ditched Kevin Cron, and already have Total Request Live and Rock the Vogt to catch. Playing time could be an issue, which is why I didn’t grab Varsho in every league, but I did try him in one very shallow league, knowing I can just drop him if he doesn’t work out. Yo, do you even lift, bro? Also, he’ll be in this afternoon’s Buy, which you could already be reading if you subscribe to our Patreon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our long national nightmare is over (except for the actual long national nightmare that isn’t over — sigh, to be a person with parenthetical blindness and not have to read this caveat)! We did it, boys and five girl readers. We f*cking did it! Not us, per se. We didn’t do shizz, except draft some baseball players for fantasy. But, ya know what, that’s enough for me! See, with lowered goals and expectations, you’re never disappointed. It’s a zen thing; you wouldn’t understand. It was a mere nine months ago when we started talking about sleepers and rankings and…How old am I now?

Well, whatever, baseball is back and that’s all that matter. Singing like an absolute loon, “Baseball’s back and I want to get married — hey nah, hey nah — baseball’s back!” And, now in my mind, I’m married to Giancarlo Stanton. Ask yourself why you didn’t send us a wedding gift. Selfish much? Of course, Opening Day couldn’t have happened in any other way in 2020. It had to be met with cold-ass reality, which why Juan Soto tested positive for Covid. It sucks, Mr. Obvious said, but it’s also a reminder of what this year will be. It’s going to be waiver wire pickups, the Streamonator, the Hittertron and playing of matchups. If you’re curious and want to torture yourself, Juan Soto fell to 179th overall in the final 2020 preseason rankings. Stepping in to replace Juan Soto will be Andrew Stevenson, the James Spader of replacements. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I take a lot of antacids.

Rolaids created an award (not for me)–a gold-plated firefighter’s helmet–to honor baseball’s best relief pitcher every year from 1976 to 2012. The history behind this fascinates me. Feels like some seeds of analytics were born in the bowels of Rolaids’ 1970’s corporate office.

Relief pitching events were each given a point value. Three points per save. Two points per win. Two points per loss. The biggest end-of-season number won, period. 

Blown saves (-2) were introduced in 1987.

Tough saves (+4) came along in 2000. Surprises me that I’ve never seen this as an option by fantasy providers, especially in points leagues or daily games. An antacid company was using it 20 years ago ffs. Refers to any time a reliever enters the game with a tying run on base and secures a save. 

Relievers might be my favorite thing about fantasy baseball, for reasons I can’t explain except to say I love games that resist attempts to shrink/minimize/categorize/rubricate them. The more multi-layered the better. And saves bring that to fantasy baseball. (As do stolen bases.) I also love Holds leagues because they throw the math off a nudge further and open another market of elite players who just happen to pitch the not-ninth. 

Ranking RP’s is kind of a paradox. It might be the least accurate yet most useful of any positional ranking, especially for dynasty leagues.

So that’s the caveat. 

These rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, btw. Would look totally different in a holds league.

Relief pitching is a strength for me in fantasy, year over year. I tend to trade from it and trade for it on a regular basis, sometimes within the same week. Still, I’m a little leery to put fingers to keys on this one. The yearly upheaval at this position is like no other, so I’m not surprised there’s very little on the market right now covering relief pitching in dynasty leagues. 

The very thought of the task has my hand reaching for the (insert highest-bidding antacid company here).

Kidding. I love this stuff. My full geek breathes fire when researching the K-BB % leaders across all leagues, digging into their game logs, skipping to their innings, even watching/reading an interview here and there.  

Let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?