Please see our player page for Joely Rodriguez 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 was the hardest draft of my life. I kid sometimes you can draft something like four of five guys in my top 20 overall, unless you’re in a league with 11 other Greys. Well, this league felt like I was in a league with 14 other Greys. This draft was like everyone was sitting in my head and moving my arms and I was Howdy Doody and my team turned to doodie and GET OUT OF MY HEAD, I scream as I take two Dusty Baker collectible toothpicks and jam them into my ears. Honestly, this league kinda filled me with joy. Y’all are so good. I was very impressed with everyone’s drafting. No teams jumped out as complete messes. Well, except for mine. It was like you flew out of the nest, turned around to me your Daddy Bird, smiled, and then motioned for a woodpecker to take out my branch so I would fall to my death. Why are you working with woodpeckers behind my back?! (By the by, we just added ten more RCL leagues due to demand — Play against a hundred of your greatest frenemies! — signups) Anyway, here’s my 15-team, mixed league, NFBC Draft Champions recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’d been thinking this would be a Sunday feature, but that’s partly because alliteration is word-weed for the brain, and Sunday Stash List feels like a party and mainly because I thought making the list once a week might naturally accommodate the list’s inherent turnover. 

Well this week brought a bit more turnover than the typically three-day window, so we’ll reshuffle the stashes like a 70’s skin flick and bump prospect news to Sunday.

NOTE: This ranking is focused on redraft impact of players who’ve yet to debut in 2020. It’s a snapshot of all the information I can synthesize as of today.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Spring Training Sleeper Watch: American League West Edition

One of my favorite traditions as a young fan was Peter Gammons profiling each team’s spring training focus points. 

I loved the spittle and shake of his voice, the depth of his details, and especially how he always shot the segments in front of people playing catch, gloves popping symphonically as we imagine the impossible topside of Rich Harden.

It’s in that spirit that I begin our next prospect series—one that works in concert with Razzball’s Gammonsian team previews and one that involves a few nods to some non-prospects. Graduating from eligibility requirements doesn’t mean you’re a known quantity, nor that you’ve graduated to an everyday opportunity. Yesterday’s failed prospects are often tomorrow’s sleepers, so let’s take a lap around the division looking for some fantasy profit. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Which position would you say has gained the most value over the past decade?

In MLB? In fantasy?

Maybe it’s shortstop. 2020 might be the best shortstop season of all time, whatever that means.  

And that’s pre Wander. 

But this winter saw Emmanuel Clase traded for Corey Kluber. I know Delinosaur Jr. is feeling the pain of everyone there, too, and the old Klubot has been in the shop for a hot minute, but to say this trade made waves is an understatement.

The conversation began in alarmist, anti-ownership fashion and ended in hushed admiration of Clase’s cutter and consideration of the relative values of their contracts and remaining innings, especially in the context of a team with a pitching surplus such as Cleveland’s. 

Felt like a signpost to me.

As did Tampa Bay’s trade of top 50 echo chamber prospect Jesus Sanchez for erstwhile bartender Nick Anderson. 

As have the contracts dolled out every off-season, even in the miserly winters of 2017-18, when bullpen pitchers were signed early in the cycle for near-record middle-relief contracts. 

I might be kicking the horse a bit at this point when all I really want to do is share my work-intensive relief prospect rankings. More and more leagues are incorporating holds, either as its own category or a combination category with saves. Given the dominance of hot relievers, all these guys gain a lot of value in saves+holds leagues, where their barrier to helping you in that category is all but erased. In the dynasty game, they can be swapped in and out of your minor leagues to expand your active roster and suppress your ratios while snagging some strikeouts and the occasional win. 

Without further ado because we’ve had plenty of ado because hey I worked on this one all winter, the following humans are my top 20 relief prospects for 2020. 

B_Don and Donkey Teeth welcome back an old friend of the podcast, Prospect 361’s Tim McLeod. The podcast duo run Tim through the regular gamut of Asian players, new and old for the upcoming season.

Tim gives us his opinion on Shohei Ohtani’s value in different league formats and whether there’s any hope for Donkey’s man crush, Yusei Kikuchi. Then, the Canadian wizard gives us the 411 on the players that were posted and signed this off-season including: Yoshi Tsutsugo, Shun Yamaguchi, Shogo Akiyama, Josh Lindblom, Joely Rodriguez, and Kwang Hyun Kim.

There were some audio issues as Tim was giving us some names to watch for next season in Kodai Senga, Yasuaki Yamasaki, and gets down right giddy talking about the newest member of Donkey Teeth’s Prospect Live Dynasty Best Ball squad, Seiya Suzuki.  Tim re-joined the podcast to talk about some prospects he’s looking forward to owning in redraft leagues and a couple that might be overvalued in your drafts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Jose Berrios went 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks, bringing his two-game ERA to 0.59.  Hi ho the Berrios, snitches!  Here’s what I said previously on Jose Berrios (because this is instructive, and not out of laziness), “In Triple-A, Berrios threw 75 2/3 IP and had a 2.62 ERA with a 9.9 K/9 and a 1.7 BB/9.  That’s Sizzlean that you leave on top of your camel’s head as you gallop through the Sahara heat.  You don’t usually see that kind of sample size — that’s what she said! — in Triple-A.  You know why?  Most major league teams promote guys who are as good as Berrios.  Most teams also don’t tie a player’s paycheck to a string then drag said check right in front of the player’s feet, just out of their reach.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Here’s the kicker.  That was from two years ago!  I’ve loved this guy for a long time — that’s not what she said!  His first two games I’d describe as ‘a little difficult’ to pretty easy.  His next start at Baltimore will be the true test.  If you’re in a competitive league, you need to own him now before he goes out and throws a gem in Balty-more (they call it that, right?).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?