Please see our player page for Jonathan Hernandez 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.

In case you missed the opening frames, here’s a link to the Top 25 Relief Pitcher Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022.

Of all the positions I’ve ranked, this one feels the strongest from 26-50, relatively speaking, held up against the elite players at that position in the majors. For example, Eric Orze could be pitching late innings in front of Edwin Diaz as early as April this year. Domingo Acevedo is at 26 here, and he could be universally rostered as the closer in Oakland at some point this season. Not, like, a one percent chance, either. We’re talking 25-plus percent, in my opinion. In a saves-only league, I’d have him on speed dial and maybe stashed away in my minors. Heck, they could clean house in the bullpen shortly after Wayne and Garth say “Game On.” Relief is a wonky endeavor. Wyatt Mills was cartoonishly dominant in AAA, with a 38.6 percent K-BB rate. It feels endless. You click in to watch someone then see a different guy come in throwing fire and have to go look him up. Rinse repeat. Lotta nasty stuff in the game today. Tough time to be a hitter. 

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Here you will find bullpen charts for each team. Bullpens are a messy business to track, but the purpose here is to highlight each team’s closer(s) and setup men. You can more or less expect the chart to read left-to-right in order of importance, but again, it can be a fluid situation day-to-day, week-to-week (looking at you, Tampa Bay Rays!). So, not only are we highlighting saves options, we’ve got you saves+holds folks covered, too! 

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Howdy, folks!

Oh how joyous it is to have baseball back! Lineups galore need setting! Waiver wire races have already started! What a time of year.

I’m just glad some of these injured guys have finally hit the IL so I can stash them and scoop up some replacements. Pretty peeved that some guys didn’t hit IL until it was too late to do anything about it for Opening Day.

I hope you had a successful first couple of days. Mine was a mixed bag, but I’m ready for Byron Buxton to go so ham. I know it’s easy to fall victim to inflated hype, but how can you not love this guy for fantasy? If healthy, of course; I imagine he’ll find his way into one of these updates sooner or later…

Alrighty, enough blathering. Let’s get yinz caught up:

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Hello again, Razzgals/bois.

Welp, odds are you done got rekt this week with some injury news one way or the other, especially if you’ve invested heavily in Blue Jays players and a certain MVP candidate on the White Sox. The latter is true for me. Good news is I have my Hardwood Hogs playing for an Elite 8 berth to look forward to tonight. And honestly, if Oral Roberts shocks the world once again, the March Madness fan in me isn’t gonna 100% hate it. I might cry, but some of those tears will be of joy for ORU. Maybe.

Enough about me. Let’s get to those injuries:

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For all my rankings this year, I have gone along with Major League Baseball’s numberwanging insofar as prospect eligibility is concerned. Within these specialized rules, we find a days-on-roster component and a magical August 14, 2020 demarcation line and I suppose the traditional 50-inning barrier matters as well, although a relief pitcher is much more likely to graduate on time served than innings pitched. 

All that is to say: hard pass on MLB’s shizz for the purposes of this list. 

The only way forward is to minimize fuzziness and speculation. Also I believe this list functions as a way for deep leaguers to find MiLB eligible relievers on the wire. 

One caveat: anyone currently on a starting pitcher path is disqualified. Converted starters make up a big portion of the player pool, so we’ll blend them in here if/when that switch happens but not before.

I’ll also set aside a small group who could switch and quickly leap the ranks like Devin Williams and Jonathan Hernandez have here. I suppose JB Bukauskas qualifies for the switch-and-leap bucket, but he’s in the rankings already because Arizona has clarified they want him in the bullpen this spring. Likewise, Genesis Cabrera and Taylor Hearn are out for the moment because the Cardinals and Rangers have them starting this spring. 

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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! 

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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:

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Major League Baseball dropped a bomb this week, introducing a new playoff structure that invites 16 of the 30 franchises to participate in 2020. 

Gone is the one-game, wild-card playoff. 

In its place is a best-out-of-three, on-the-road showcase for middle-tier teams. 

The higher seed will host the three-game, first-round series. Home field advantage will be nice–always good to have the last at bat–but without fans in the stands, top seeds are newly vulnerable in 2020.

Over the past decade or so, baseball has shaped itself around demands of the previous post-season: superteams jockeying for wins at the top because winning the division meant avoiding the do-or-die wild card playoff–perhaps the most exciting wrinkle baseball has introduced in my lifetime. 

If an organization’s front office didn’t see its club as division-winning material, it frequently decided to lose as much as possible, altering the free agent market and prospect timeline universe in ways people are still grappling with.

That’s all different now.

MacKenzie Gore is coming up soon, is what I’m saying. A.J. Preller doesn’t have much incentive to worry about seven years from now if he can push for a playoff berth by trading Zach Davies for perhaps the game’s top pitching prospect. 

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It’s FanDuel slate value starting pitching time and today’s contestant is Jonathan Hernandez ($5,500) of the Texas Rangers.  He’s facing the Baltimore Orioles and their 12th ranked offense.  Now on to the rest of the picks to use up all those free dollars.

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I haven’t slept since Red Dead 2 came out, so I’m probably going to confuse these Ranger prospects with actual Texas Rangers galloping around with Litchfield repeaters, shooting deer, and antagonizing passersby. There’s something about virtual cowboying that brings me joy. It’s all of the glory and none of the chafing! I’m rocking a $300 bounty in Strawberry, but we have business to take care of here and I’m willing to risk my hide for my tens of readers. We’ve reached the border of the AL West, and this Rangers system features a trio of Grade A outfield prospects inching their way closer to the bigs. After that, it gets a bit pitching heavy. So down a pint of whiskey, grab your revolver (aka PS4 controller), mount your horse (aka couch), and let’s ride through the 2019 Texas Rangers minor league preview!

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