Please see our player page for Joakim Soria 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 little team that I always forget about until the regular season is over and ask myself “wait — the Athletics made the playoffs?!” This team is filled with exciting fantasy hitters at their top of the lineup who will provide solid fantasy production to your team. Marcus Semien and Ramon Laureano both should go 20/20 with great run totals (80-90) and decent RBI totals (65-75.) Then they’ve got the three burly sluggers in Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Khris Davis who could all flirt with 40 HRs and 100 RBI.  They’ve also got three starting pitchers with sexy names who could break out in a big way this year in Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo and Frankie Montas — but everyone is drafting them as such. And at the end of the game they have Liam Hendriks, he of a career 4.72 career ERA before 2019, who came out of nowhere to close out 25 saves with a 1.80 ERA and 13.1 K/9. These guys have postseason written all over them in my eyes. But you guys already know about all of them! Below you’ll find a few sleepers I think could have solid fantasy value in 2020 based on their ADP. 

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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.
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We close out the American League bullpens with the AL West. It feels like all of these teams have something to offer either in closer speculation or high wattage non-closers. Remember the golden rule of the saves chase: don’t overpay for closers. Opportunities come if you’re active on the wire.

I didn’t realize how upset I was about the sign-stealing scandal until I started writing this. If you’re an Astros fan and I’ve offended your delicate sensibilities below, you can go and discard them along with your stolen championships.

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The sun is setting on the final days of fantasy baseball in 2019. If you’re fending off the wolves here are some relievers with a shot at a sneaky save over the next few days. Cut the fat and for that matter, any player not likely to get you a stat in a category of need no matter how big the name. Adding these names is the fantasy equivalent of Bran’s time travel/warging of Hodor. They probably stem the tide but may ruin something (like a ratio).

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Cougs’ brother bought a place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; I mentioned to Cougs at one point in the last five years of marriage I skied once twenty years ago, and that’s the story of how I drafted a fantasy team falling graciously down the side of a mountain.  That’s right, ya boy went skiing this past weekend, and was drafting from a ski lift!  Thankfully, Geronimo Berroa is no longer in the league, because I might’ve ended up with him on my team because I kept screaming out his name during each round.  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an AL Only league that was hosted by Scott White of CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than your aunt after two cocktails.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Or closet buddies, if you’re reading fast and/or experimenting.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team AL-Only team and some thoughts:

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The trade of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood to the Reds means one thing, the Dodgers are signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.  I’m kidding, in the non-funny way.  Maybe it means that, but I kinda hope it doesn’t, so Muncy, Pederson and others have room to play.  Not sure why the Dodgers rehired Dave Roberts, but I’m impressed the Dodgers realized that Dave Roberts had zero capacity for managing a team.  “What’s he doing?”  “I don’t know.”  That’s two Dodgers execs watching Dave Roberts juggle three VHS copies of the movie Platoon.  “I don’t think he understands what we meant when we asked him to juggle platoons.”  “Yeah.”  “So, we should trade Puig?”  “Maybe trade like five guys.”  “Okay.”  So, Puig goes back to the Reds, but they’re no longer an island nation in the Caribbean.  Now, they’re in Ohio.  In five years, people will be like, “I forgot Puig played for the Reds for three months.”  Yes, I think he’ll likely be traded in July.  Either way, he will get everyday at-bats and should get a nice boost in fantasy value.  The Reds were surprising solid last year on offense, and I see no reason why that would end.  For 2019, I’ll give Yasiel Puig projections 73/27/83/.273/11 in 502 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason in 2019 fantasy baseball:

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The trading deadline is days away and the roles they are a changing.  In comes one out goes the other.  Closers losing value left and right while the waiver wire warriors of the world are circling like buzzards for the SAGNOF scrap heaps. The latest in the foray of closers to go is Joakim Soria, now a Brewer.  The White Sox closer role is likely to go to Jace Fry or Juan Minaya.  Not an awesome situation or a good predicament to be in, but a closer is a closer.  The SAGNOF model should be: “Leave no good save behind”.   Similarly, the Orioles traded Zach Britton to the Evil Empire, Brad Brach assumes the role there for the time being or until he gets traded for assets that the Orioles can ruin.  The trade winds and finalized deals don’t help the set-up man either, as key components to the back-end game have been replaced by acquired talent.  This is life for the ever building bullpen foundation of playoff contending teams.  Build from the back, because the girth of talent that exists in the starters just isn’t there. So if you are currently zonked from losing a closer that no longer has a professional job of closing, it is time to speculate where speculating looks speculative.  Look at guys on the secondary for teams that are rumored to be wheelin’ and dealin’.  The Rangers, Nationals, Twins, Rays, Tigers, and to a lesser degree maybe the Cardinals… Be ahead of the curve instead of being caught looking at Uncle Charlie.  Closer news is fluid this time of year, and by the time this gets posted there could be 2-3 more trades that make me look even dumber than I already do.  More after the jump, with success stories and diminishing returns.  Cheers!

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J.A. Happ might’ve realized he wasn’t staying with the Jays much longer when guys in the front office kept asking him if he liked the team’s new jersey and it was the same jersey he had been wearing but a small man with a goatee, who said he worked as Peter Dinklage’s stunt double for parts of season 2 and 3 of GOT, was standing with his hand over the ‘Ja’ of Jays.  Happ tried to understand, “Do I like the Blue Ys?”  The front office exec tried to lead him to the answer, “If there was no,” motioning to Dinklage’s stunt double’s hand covering the ‘Ja,’ “In the Jays, would that be okay with you?”  Rather than the low-rent game of charades, they just traded him to the Yankees.  Happ should be happy to be out of Canada, we have a burgeoning coal economy.  No idea what Happ will do on the Yankees, but what he SHOULD (caps for emphasis, not due to a sticky keyboard) is be great.  His 10.3 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 3.63 xFIP makes him easily the 2nd best pitcher on the Yankees and around that of a top 30 starter.  Also, the AL East is like this:  J.A. Happ mimes wiping dandruff off his shoulder.  Nothing to it, kid!  Of course, it’s been like this all year and he still has a 4.18 ERA, so ‘should’ and ‘would’ can have a baby and it will still be, ‘who knows?’  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The closer cavalcade of debauchery is well in season.  Rewind four months ago and look at your team…  If you drafted Jeurys Familia, Alex Colome and Bobby Osuna, you probably came out of the draft smiling like a freshly picked peach.  Now you look at your team today for the first time in a month, because you most likely let the ship sail on the season because of injury, attrition or trades to your bullpen.  The last two names have been done ad nauseum by me and other bullpen savants around the web…  So now we look at Jeurys Familia.  Or a tale of losing a job do to injury, returning, and basically sucking all the trust out of even owning him.  From the beginning of the season until June 7th when he went on the DL, he posted good numbers by Donkeycorn standards; 14 saves with K/9 rate above 10 and ERA of 2.48 and a BAA of .245.  All within the strain of imagination as a set it and forget it closer.  Now we sit here on June 29th, and in six appearances since, he still sits at the same save total of 14, K/9 of 6.35, ERA of 9.53 and BAA of .357.  Now, I am no math whiz, hell I am barely even knowledgeable about what actually is cheese whiz, but those numbers are awful and garbage.  Add in the fact that the Mets as a team are in the toilet, have fired their GM, and have a worse record than the punting from day one Marlins….  Trade-value wise, he has zero in fantasy and almost in real life, because teams aren’t going to trade for a guy who can’t get outs. As an impending free agent, he should and will be traded, maybe to a team that has an opening in middle relief, but I don’t see him gaining closer status for the near future with the Mets or another team.  So if you are a Familia owner and holding out hope for some sort of revert to the former here, I am unfortunately going to tell you that he gets less than 5 saves the rest of the year it looks like. More closer news and views, read on or don’t.  I will continue to sit by the pool regardless!

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Cleveland Indians rookie Shane Bieber was dominant Friday night in just his third career start, pitching seven innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out nine for his second win. Talk about a reason to Love Yourself. The Biebs now holds a 2.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through his first three starts (18.1 IP) and his 22/3 K/BB is Despacito–at least I think it’s despacito, not 100% sure I know what that means. I’m saying it’s flames. Shane Bieber is striking out lots of batters. Oh Baby, Baby. Baby sign me up. Wow, you sure do know a lot of Justin Bieber songs. What do you mean? I make it my business to know all about the Beibebers. For example, in the minors this year Shane was 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and a 72/6 K/BB. If those numbers make you scream like a teenage girl and and write Shane’s name is cursive flirty letters on your notebook you’re not alone, Beiber’s got the stuff to be a bonafide heart throb. He will likely see the usual rookie pitchers highs and lows, but he’s looking like the favorite to run away with the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland. He’ll get a rougher assignment than Detroit next time out taking on the Cardinals in St. Louis but I’d grab Shane for the upside alone and hope he can make a Belieber out of all of us.

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

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