Please see our player page for Joe Kelly 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.

This draft is a crock pot vs. a microwave.  A love sesh vs. a ‘hold the moan.’  A nature hike vs. “I’m gonna sit in the car as we drive past some mountains.”  Guys and five girl readers, it’s a slow draft.  This slow draft took about eighteen days, 3 hours, four minutes and–okay, only a lunatic counts seconds.  Not almost 18 days of straight drafting, mind you.  I don’t need to ice my clicky finger.  It’s five minutes of drafting, twelve hours of waiting.  It does allow you to second-guess your picks.  Actually, more like triple-guess.  (Who are we kidding, you quadruple-guess, fiveruple-guess, sextruple-guess, ochocinco-guess your picks.) For those not in the know, it’s a weekly, 15-team, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers.  Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

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The hot stove has been bubbling this winter, mostly thanks to Jerry Dipoto. Bullpen arms tend not to rank all that high in offseason coverage, so I cobbled together the notable moves for your reading pleasure. I know, I know, you’re thinking seriously ‘Wan, I’m not anywhere near the state of mind you need to think about the saves chase. There’s no rest for the closing wicked when it comes to the bullpen landscape, I’m afraid.

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The Winter Meetings called it quits this week, and that was perhaps the worst Winter Meetings on record.  Was it because it was in Vegas?  Maybe there were a bunch more trades, but they all “stayed” in Vegas.  The Mariners kept busy gathering veterans who will never play for them, as they grabbed Edwin Encarnacion from the Indians for Carlos Santana.  You remember Santana, he was the last vet that the M’s traded for that won’t play for them.  If the Mariners are trading for vets who won’t actually play for them, they should grab Harold Baines so he can’t go into the Hall of Fame, because last time I checked active players aren’t allowed into the Hall.  Or why bother sticking with baseball players.  C’mon, Mariners, trade for Michael Jordan or Big Show or Turtle from Entourage.  It’s not like you have any expectation of them donning an M’s uniform.  So, the assumption is that Edwin will go to the Rays to bury their recently acquired Yandy Diaz.  You’d think a guy with guns like Yandy Diaz would be doing the burying.  If you don’t know what I mean, see the picture below.  If I don’t bring out the Crisco and apply the shortening, this post will be longer than The Fountainhead, so let’s just say you know Encarnacion, whether he’s on the Rays or Mariners.  For my Encarnacion projections I am assuming he’ll be on the Rays, and putting him at 78/33/91/.241/2 in 523 ABs, and I already gave you my Carlos Santana projections after his last trade, but am upping him slightly to 74/24/84/.232/2 in 563 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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You know what is fun this time of year?  The bullpen shuffle.  Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases.  Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians.  The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now?  I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man.  Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation.  Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club.  Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now.  In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go?  He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name.  So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait.  Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential.  More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump.  Cheers!

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Nick Kingham, the Bucs newest hot-shot rookie pitcher, notched his second win in a row last night pitching six and a third innings allowing just six base runners (5 hits) and striking out nine Brewers for his fourth win of the year. Back in Pittsburgh, they treat themselves post game to some of the finest foods available using only fresh local ingredients–then they put cole slaw and fries on it to make it even better. Since flirting with a perfect game in his April debut, Nick Kingham’s stock has slowly fallen, but I’m telling you now he just had a handful of fresh french fries dropped on top of him and its time to eat. We’re talking about a post post hype pick up here, folks! That’s two posts! He looked more than comfortable Friday night, coasting through the first five innings without issue before giving up solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Taking on the Brewers is a tough assignment for any pitcher, let alone a n00b like Kingham, but he pitched admirably finding the strike zone consistently and working into seventh. Real talk, I’m not telling you to add Kingham because he throws strikes, it’s that 51/12 K/BB in just 50.2 IP that’s got me all “In My Feelings” like Drake. Ignore the 4.26 ERA, the 1.13 WHIP is looking pretty regal, no? If it’s not clicking let me spell it out for you. A 26-year pitcher with a 22.2 K% is locked into that number five rotation spot. That means IPs and Ks and possibly even Ws. Lots of letters, people! Kingham is available in over 80% of fantasy leagues. I’d pick Nick everywhere I needed starting pitching help for the strikeouts and the upside and if we’re lucky we might even get a handful of fries with that.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Welcome to the bi-monthly look at nose picking.  Nah, I am obviously talking about bullpens, because they usually come in second to the nose goblins anyways.  Lots of people always ask me: How do you shuffle between holds guys and get an effective return?  First off, if you wanna surf the waiver trend and stream the hell out of relievers for holds purposes, you gotta be aware that you can’t be afraid to let your ratios go to pot.  Not like move to Colorado and play Bohemian drums and stuff, just the trends that I have encountered and noticed is that with the quantity in holds there comes a slight tick to ERA and WHIP.  Not an awful turn of events, if you you have sufficient starters that hold down the metrics.  I don’t even know if metrics was the right word there, but I just saw a commercial for a tutoring service for kids… ummm, its summer.  So back to the picking a winner lede discussion…  When in doubt, pick a winner, four of the top-five hold accumulating teams are in first place.  Six out of the top-10.  I wish I can make the cliche statement that bullpens win games and have it be unique and quirky and new, but quality bullpens don’t not hurt your teams chance at winning. So if you are looking at streaming or even in the business for flip-flopping relievers in this high holy season of the All Star break, ask yourself two questions; how has he done over the last two weeks, and is his team scoring enough runs for the quantity?  Because any good reliever needs to be worth the squeeze.  And it doesn’t hurt to be a front-running team.  So choose wisely, and for all intents and purposes hit me up.  Never hurts to ask the guy who sleeps in bullpen pajamas.  More bits of tid after the jump, cheers!

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The news that Hunter Strickland has fallen down and needs a time out for punching a door has sent a reliever ripple effect down the closer ranks.  Since this is the Holds week and this is the most pertinent info going, I figured we would roll with anyways.  So roll with the suspenseful animation of holds love and glory for a little bit, and while you are at it, temper your expectations of reliever-dom as we dive into the Giants reliever sitch.  So Strickland got all mad, punched a door, broke his hand.  The Giants are not short of ex-closers that have had time in the limelight.  Sam Dyson gets the first look as expected, because Mark Melancon is not ready for prime time… yet. Dyson got the first save chance, nice!  Smooth sailing.  Then on Thursday?  Yaks up 2 runs and gets yanked for a guy I just brought to light in Reyes Moronta.  The story isn’t that intriguing as I wish there was some Usual Suspects twist where Mark Melancon was Bruce Bochy all along and he just uses the nickname ‘Verbal’  from his me-ma.  Dyson seems to be the guy, until the trust level is at a reasonable level of fortitude for the previous 52 million dollar man in Melancon.  The Giants aren’t going anywhere fast, so involving assets of tradeability like MM and Dyson are a boon to not only your fantasy team, but real life baseball.  So the Giants may start to implore an Oprah approach to saves.  You get a save, and you get a save, and you get a save!  The save chase is great and fun until you are on the losing end of it.  So enjoy the stat heist that you may have with Dyson, soon to be Melancon, and eventually everyone.  More saves and holds goodies after the bump.  Cheers!

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Choosing the right closer is hard enough when there is only one to choose on draft day.  Tons of factors to guide your hand…  Jump forward 50-plus games and when the situation has multiple faces and not a ton of situations from which to choose: is it worth the squeeze?  The White Sox closer situation has gone from one, to a few, and back again multiple times this year, and now it has swung back to Joakim Soria after garnering the last two saves.  The conundrum here is that Nate Jones had gotten the previous three save chances.  Than if you scroll the calendar even farther, Jace Fry got a save and retread Bruce Rondon also factored in on one occasion in mid-May.  So with a team that only has 13 saves all year, better than only one other team, the Marlins (who are a complete and utter disaster for saves). So when chasing saves, and we all do it, even you, the guy who can’t make eye contact way in the back…  It is part of the FAAB chase and the most alluring I might add and frequent drain of funds. So with a team that has flip-flopped three times in 50 games, with 13 saves and on pace for a MLB bottom-three in save chances, is it worth the headache of this guy or that guy?  I wanna root for the Mexecutioner, and some guy named Nate, but they are basically like part-time lovers, and I would rather stream the spot with great counting stats that matter.  Soria’s K/9 is in the mid-10’s which is admirable, but on a game-to-game basis, the save chase comes down to volume, not the here and now.  Yes, Soria should be owned, and yes Jones should be owned.  But I am just bringing this up for your sake of saves hope.  If you can pair either one of them at the right time, obviously when they are on a hot streak of two saves in 10 days, do so and upgrade your save booty.  Advice over, bits of tid to follow.  Cheers!

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After hitting 6 HRs and stealing three bases with a .254 average in his first 17 games, Franchy Cordero (OF, Forearm Strain) has slowed down considerably hitting only 1 HR and stealing 2 bases with a .222 average over his next 23 games with a 30:9 K/BB ratio. With Hunter Renfroe returning and Wil Myers due back soon — I’m afraid it’s the guillotine for Franchy. Stash or Trash: I’d be thinking of trashing him unless you’re in a deep league with not a lot of options. Fill In: Daniel Palka (2.1%.) Palka has been filling in for an injured Leury Garcia for the Chi-Sox and has been doing pretty well lately. Who is Daniel Palka? He’s a former third round pick who hit 34 HRs in 2016 in the Twins AA and AAA program. He’s also a guy who hit 29 HR and stole 24 bases the year before that. What the hell? Why isn’t this guy being added in all leagues? Well throughout his minor league career he’s had a strikeout rate in the high 20% with a contact rate in the 60’s. So far this season in the majors he has 23 strikeouts to only 3 walks so he’s performing pretty on-brand. After an 0 for 8 start to his major league career, Palka has 26 hits in 85 at bats with 4 HR, 15 RBI and 2 SB. If you need help in deeper leagues take a chance on Al Palka.

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Earlier in the preseason, I delved into the holds tiers for fantasy bullpens.  It exists right here in the Fantasy Relief Pitchers for Holds.  That was more a broad brushstroke of fantasy bullpen goodness that goes on here at Razznation.  Now that we are thumbs deep in draft season and the players being more prominent in roles are starting to show their purpose we can get a better grip on who to won and who to covet for the ugly step sister of saves the hold stat.  In more cases than not, following a “drafting for holds model” holds true, but holds are such a fluid stat… more fluid than the closer role.  So drafting the elite guy every year looks like a great idea, but name the guy who lead the league in holds multiple years in a row or, hell, twice in their career?  It’s a short list, whose names are not that awesome or even around anymore.  So for drafting for holds, whether it be in a straight holds league or a saves+holds league having the edge up on bullpenery is key.  The strategies for each of those leagues is basically the same as the elite holds category earners and they should be drafted after the last “donkeycorn” closer to come off the board.  If you draft an elite closer, always cuff your closer with the top holds candidate on that team. Next, do what I just said twice and grab your second closer’s backup/holds guy.  That will give you two closers, their back-ups for the “just in case” moments and holds.  Then your last pick for your bullpen will be an independent guy that has a K/9 rate over 9.  That is my finite strategy for drafting holds in any league. It gives you five guys that you can bank on every day in a “set it and forget it” type situation.  Don’t fall in love with your options, as like I said, bullpen fluidness is blah and you can find a hot hand on an off day.  So now that strategy is out of the way, let’s look at the more finite tiers of holds!

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