Please see our player page for Jared Hughes 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.

Tap on the shoulder, now tap on the other shoulder.  Swords and knights yadda, yadda.  Pun joke and title inclusion over.  I could probably draw it out to upmost degree, but I’ll just end it and rip the bandaid off and jump into the welcome back Kotter bullpen of Philadelphia.  If the collective bullpen in Philly isn’t called the Sweathogs, they are doing something wrong.  The Vinnie Babarino that is emerging as the future leader is most definitely Seranthony Dominguez.  Dude set a record with hitless streaks to start the year for a rookie and is now the go to, end all be all holds guy for the Phillies.  His arsenal screams future closer, but Kapler’s fear of commitment and Neris owning pictures of some relative of his.  Dominguez is the guy, for now and for later.  With 5 holds and 1 save in his last 6 appearances, he is involved in almost every winning game the Phillies are.  He checks all the proverbial boxes that we have previously discussed when looking for a reliever to roster.  Plus he has the save appeal, which is similar to curb appeal, minus the fact that you don’t need shrubs or a Chinese maple tree to accent how dominant he has been. Holds for now, saves for later for the Sir of the Cheesesteak. Roster with confidence as his results are great, but be patient as Kapler is a mad scientist with his bullpen decision making skills.  Holds week brings the best out of all of us, because you play in a league with holds.  That’s why we are fake internet friends.

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In the spring of 2018, the Catholic Church summoned Father Carmen Sandiego to the Vatican to give him the job to investigate miracles, supernatural signs and apparitions.  Unfortunately, Father Carmen Sandiego, who wasn’t very good with his GPS, got lost for four days in the Steven Avery car lot in Wisconsin, then ended up in Milwaukee.  When he wandered into the parking lot of Miller Park, and Brewers fans tailgating with MGD and cheese curds, everywhere Father Carmen Sandiego turned he heard about the resurrected Jesus Aguilar, so he chose to investigate.  He found a player who had lowered his strikeout rate 8% from last year, upped his walk rate, cut his soft contact and could be a sneaky 25-homer, .275 guy.  Jesus didn’t appear to him in a vision, he was flesh and blood, like the Lenny & Squiggy cosplayers he also encountered.  However, Father Carmen Sandiego didn’t report back to the Vatican, instead he grabbed Jesus for his fantasy team.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Visual Metaphor Alert!  When a boat sinks, you can avoid sinking longer if you scramble to the stern of the boat.  As the boat sinks, you will be out of the water longer.  The Orioles have started playing baseball on that stern of the Titanic.  Of course, then the whole thing snaps in half and drowns you anyway.  “Hey, there’s Machado floating by with six life vests on, and there’s a different team insignia on each life vest!  Hey, Machado, can I get the Yankees’ life vest?  Machado?  Hey, Adam Jones!  Do you need that Nationals’ life vest?  Adam?   Aw geez.”  That’s Dylan Bundy wearing the Orioles’ life vest, as Mancini sinks holding onto Bundy’s ankle.  Yesterday, Bundy went 9 IP, 3 ER, 3 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA at 4.45, throwing 121 pitches.  *uck Showalter really wanted to get Bundy the complete game, huh?  It’s not like he had a no-hitter going, he surrendered a homer in the 4th inning.  The Orioles also had a six-run lead and were going for win number 16.  Showalter prolly just had a senior moment.  “How do you get this motorized scooter up the dugout steps and to the mound?”  That’s Showalter.  Bundy’s peripherals are actually gorge — 11.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 3.85 xFIP.  Thus far, he’s been unlucky, which goes without saying because he’s on the Orioles.  Hard for me to get excited for that reason, too.  Of course, his numbers say he should be owned everywhere.  Good luck with that!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Bullpen situations, speculations, and basic wherewithal are always a conundrum.  Much like trying to figure out the size of Bruce Bochy’s head.  Quick answer? It is bigger than normal, and not in an intelligence-type way.  It is more of a cro-magnon way.  Manager decisions aren’t always made by choice, but by no other better outcome.  Hence why we have Hunter Strickland as the interim closer for the Giants.  This is only because Melancon is injured.  Dyson is just abysmal, and Watson has that whole lefty moniker attached to him (plus he hasn’t looked spectacular either leading up to opening day).  Here’s the thing that worries me about Strickland being the guy whether it be temporary or more of a permanent basis; he has problems getting the left-handed hitters out.  Like, it’s really bad.  Just go ask Bryce Harper about that.  Lefties hit .333 last year and for his career, hit almost 50 points higher against Hunter.  Now this is sort of a normal occurrence with opposite handed hitter/pitcher splits, but not for pitchers who are uber successful in closing situations for a long period of time.  The time table for Melancon to return is spotty with arm inflammation, so he could be there for a few weeks or until he falters.  Regardless, saves are saves and he should be owned universally.  Don’t show a blind eye to Dyson or Watson though if the waiver wire show their faces, because this situation is going to be a fluid one if and when Melancon returns for most of the year.  Hunter Strickland rant over. Let’s see what other bullpen and closer news is on the docket for this week…

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Brewers manager Craig Counsell announced Friday that after Thursday’s blown save, Neftali Feliz would be given a break from closer duties. Why are you like this, Craig? Do you not care about my fantasy team even a little? Feliz has blown just one save this season. Sure, he’s sporting an ugly 6.19 ERA, and 1.31 WHIP, and 4 losses but I didn’t draft him for his ratios! I drafted him for his those stinky, stinky saves. Mmmm. His eight of which currently leads my team! Regardless, Jared Hughes  (0.2 IP, SV (1)) notched the save last night for Milwaukee, but it sounds like ex-stuntman Corey Knebel will get the next chance. Corey is rocking a 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 29/8 K/BB rate over 18.0 innings this season and seems like the most logical choice to replace Feliz mostly because Counsell mentioned Friday he’s been “outstanding.” That’s high praise from skip, folks! Hughes, Jacob Barnes and Oliver Drake could also see chances. This is not to say Feliz is out of the ninth inning role for good, but I could definitely see Corey running away with the job if he continues to pitch like he has been. If you’re looking for saves I’d add Evil Knebel everywhere, and if you’re looking for someone to jump over 20 mack trucks in a motorcycle, you might consider Bumgarner or maybe the another stunt guy.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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It’s telling over a period of time, taken into account the teams success rate naturally, how well their bullpen is performing. Take a look at the Texas Rangers over the last 30 days.  They are a 19-10 and steaming toward playoff relevance… maybe.  During that time they had 17 save/hold situations.  Those of you that can’t count well, that is a lot. Leading the charge for them has been bullpen recall and future closer dubbed by me Keone Kela, who over that same 30 day period is contributing a hold basically every third game with 8.  As a team, they have 28 team holds which is more than the White Sox, Orioles, Phillies, Athletics and Mets… combined.  So basically they are the Costco of holds for those who like to buy in bulk.  Kela isn’t alone in his fantasy hold-em,  Sam Dyson has kicked in 7, Jake Diekman 6 and Sam Freeman with 4.  The best part of this whole thing is that the latter three guys were not on the roster to start the year.  I love that kind of stuff, that’s like wearing matching t-shirts with your friends whether it be on purpose or not.  Awesomely awkward.  Stick it here for some more bullpen tidbits and a fancy chart with gadgets and numbers that show an order.  Cheers!

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When your team is battling for a playoff spot, what’s the most important thing?  Winning.  Winning out of the bullpen is a thing that is not predictable, I get it, but when your team goes 7-0 from the bullpen in the last 14 games, that is just a damn near beautiful thing if you love bullpens as much as I… I mean, you may not, but that’s cool (maybe).  You have your love interests… invested in beanie babies or all your Gregg Jefferies’ rookie cards that your whole childhood fortune is invested in… Just saying, you should probably move out of your mom’s basement or branch out from the family business for a bit.  As a whole, the Pirates are a top-3 club for bullpen ERA, and are led by the king of Holds currently: Tony Watson.  Him and his merry men of “set-uphood” have completely just wrecked shop out of the pen lately, their ERA is 1.21 and they have allowed just a measly 34 hits in 52 innings.  Take it from me, that is getting the job done.  The addition of Joakim Soria has lengthened their bullpen to the point where Jared HughesJoe Blanton, and Arquimedes Caminero are in prime win plucking spots.  Yeah, I just used Joe Blanton in a fantasy write-up, and no it’s not 2000-never.  So stick around as I wax symbolic about other bullpen situations arising as we stream towards the fantasy baseball playoffs.

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All this talk about the Blue Jays offense is completely detracting from the fact that their bullpen to date has been mediocre-to-awful for most of the year.  The additions they have made, namely Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins, are a future holds market band-aid.  The one true positive addition for the back-end of the pen is Aaron Sanchez.  He comes in with filthy stuff, isn’t afraid to pitch inside, and gives them a hard throwing right-hander, which they’ve been lacking.  The Blue Jays, to date, have the fewest saves (19) namely because they do one of two things that both involving blowing.  (It’s either a blow-out or a blown save.)  It’s a miracle that they are where they are record-wise with the amount of blown saves they have (it’s 17 and counting).  But the team is setup to win, and they are going to score a ton of runs, so from a fantasy holds perspective, anyone outside of Sanchez is a fool’s chance at holds gold.  With 13 games remaining against front-running New York, the schedule isn’t on their side as the slugging they do takes away from the bullpen allure.

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Here I thought the Brew Crew were a dying entity this year with all this talk of punting and trading all their mid-level talent.  For soothe, they have had an impressive last 30 days in the Holds department.  It isn’t just one guy garnering them either…  It is a multi-syllabic hold dragon with three heads.  Each head is completely different and has a really cool story.  The first is the Fresh Prince of Holds, Will Smith. He has basically been what we all thought Jonathan Broxton would be this year, but probably with more success. Over the last 30 days he has 5 holds, 2 Wins, and a K/9 rate over pushing 14.  That is sassy with a Jor and extra emphasis on the dache.  The next is Michael Blazek, who in some weird way is basically Jeremy Jeffress‘s boy by name only.  I will call them Smoke, and yes please.   Common sense is there for anyone who knows dudes history.  He is my honorary hero and on the Smokey hall of fame wall with Lincecum, Chris Perez, and Dock Ellis.  So to their stats before I teeter out from pure excitement…  Blazek and Jeremy have both garnered 4 holds over the last 30 and form a power/finesse RH combo in front or beside Smith, and in front of K-Rod.  With all the trade talk surrounding basically everyone in baseball, it seems if K-Rod gets bounced out I have them Smith and Jeffress in a tie, then Blazek for saves, with Broxton on ready for that veteran preference.   So let’s see what other  bags of factoidal goodness I can come up with and of course the Holds chart for some good toilet reading…

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Well, I guess that makes all the sense in the world, because those darn Flock of Seagulls got all in your head in the 80’s.  Then they had the nerve to be in GTA and get you all singing about running.  I don’t even run when chased anymore.  It’s a big game of “ooohhh ya got me”.  So north of the border, they do it all in groups now apparently.  That group started out as a singular to start the year, then a separate individual took over only to fail himself, then they went back to the original guy who had it out of spring.  Now they are on to a group format because I am guessing “strength in numbers” is the thing.  I think “paint by numbers” should be their next move.  So if you are scoring at home, to summarize, that is Cecil, Castro, Cecil, et. all.   Yeah, I mean if I had the offensive potential that the Blue Jays have, and they are being all fiddle and benz with the end game, I would make a move to a more permanent solution.  Don’t be cheap, I think the exchange rate is in your favor or close.  So the committee we are looking at now is a group that consists of Roberto Osuna, Steve Delabar, possibly another occasional save chance for Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Optimus Prime and any prime number.  From a rostering standpoint, I would own Osuna, Delabar, then Cecil.  If you missed out on all three, just be thankful, because it’s a mess.  But saves bring all the craziness out of people, so that’s why it’s bullpen week and we are getting down to the goods of the HOLD.  Enjoy the rankings, tidbits and the casual barbs at my peers.  Cheers!

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