Please see our player page for Jordan Hicks 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.

For a two-time World Series Champion with over 40 years of experience in MLB front offices, Dave Dombrowski gets a bad rap. The consensus on the baseball operations veteran seems to be that his only formula for success is to either ink big contracts or swap top prospects for elite talent that comes accompanied with hefty salaries. However, Dombrowski’s maneuvers have largely come as a result of the hands he has been dealt and the relative competitiveness of his various organizations at the time of his hire. He turned the 1997 Florida Marlins, a 1993 expansion team, into a World Series Champion. He built one of the greatest starting rotations in modern history in Detroit. He came to Boston in 2015 with a mandate to take the Red Sox to the top and did just that in 2018. Is he perfect? Far from it. Can he win a championship? Clearly. You should desire the same.

I say this to explain why I frequently refer to my strategy in dynasty leagues as Dombrowski-esque. It is not simply because of Dave’s suave, shiny gray hair to which I look forward to sporting myself in my mid-50s. In these formats, managers are drafting using such polarizing strategies that the key is to seek out excess value by pitting your opposition’s own intelligence (or so it may seem) against them. Seek opportunity where it presents itself, and if that means honing in on proven talent to win now, then do so. There will always be newer, shinier (but not as shiny as Dave’s hair) prospects to target in these leagues down the line. That’s why today I will be reviewing my selections in the 12 team, H2H points dynasty startup mock that fellow Razzballer Dylan Vaughan Skorish and I partook in this past week. Although I will reveal all of my selections, my focus in this piece will be to review my strategy and discuss the prospects I targeted in this mock draft.

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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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SAGNOF has a new Daddy! Or I guess technically Step-Daddy — this will always be Grey’s baby. That’s right — this year I’ll be slipping into those SAGNOF slippers each week to tell you who will be doing the saving and who will be doing the stealing! 

“So like good guys and bad guys?” asks my wife as I explain to her what I’m writing about this year. 

*Sigh* “Yes…like good guys and bad guys…” I wept.

Let’s get this SAGNOF off to a great jump-off. Lo! Below are my top-30 closer rankings! 

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Dusty Baker, making an art of not saying a player has Covid while saying a player has Covid, hired an airplane to drag a banner in the sky proclaiming, “Yordan Alvarez is out for an unspecified amount of time for an unspecified reason.” Then another plane flew past with the banner, “Read the context clues here, guys.” Dusty Baker has the most subtle touch with Covid, and that’s why I love him. Unless it’s not really Covid and Yordan just has something else mysterious. MLB should hire Scooby and his Gang (but not Scrappy, he can get f*cked) to try to figure out all these mysterious IL stints. Maybe the league isn’t haunted, but it’s some old-timey guy with a top hat who is just trying to live in one of the stadiums without being hassled. So, Yordan Alvarez hit the IL and this is now me expressing full-throated concern. I moved him down in my top 100, top 500 and top 20 outfielders. Hopefully, he’s okay and can get back out there quickly, but he seems assured to miss the start of the season. This might just be the opening Kyle Tucker needs to get everyday at-bats, which is what we say right as Dusty Baker names Aledmys Diaz the DH. I kid. Kinda. Anyway, here’s what I saw for fantasy baseball:

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Sometimes you have to just keep scrolling.

These will be our draft rooms, and we’ll have to adapt on the fly.

For the past few seasons, I’ve been playing extremely early NFBC Draft Champions leagues with Donkey Teeth. Have gotten into Fantrax of late, too, with B_Don and DT setting up Best Balls of multiple shapes and sizes. This allows us that Red Dead sensation of fresh powder. Open prairie. A drafter and his wits. I was shocked to learn they update the ADPs even during the first few drafts and think the drafts should maintain the starting ADPs throughout, though I suppose it only makes an impact that first month or so, and I suppose not many people are handwriting and color-coding their positional breakdowns. 

I was always a geek for a deep-sea diving book or TV special. Find the Giant Squid, kind of thing. These past few years, I’ve become a geek for the depths of these draft rooms, and just this week I’ve geeked out a little getting a look at DT’s battle of the podcasts draft just now exiting round 36. I’m seeing a lot of fun names on the board beyond the 600s, so that’s where I’ll set the arbitrary line for this article.

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Well, this is icky. I don’t know what MLB is doing by reporting that they’re not reporting Covid cases. I mean, I think I get it. It’s icky and it’s tricky and — “Shut up, brain, don’t start singing Run-DMC.” — and AND and I don’t know! But not reporting it is doing what exactly? They report injuries to Mitch Haniger that make you want to cross your legs. They report injuries about how a guy fell in a bathtub with a deer — hello, Clint Barmes! — but they don’t report Coronavirus? I just…I don’t know. Not sure it’s the answer. With that said, the Phillies placed Scott Kingery, Hector Neris, Tommy Hunter and Ranger Suarez on the IL yesterday without even a press release. Someone just happened to notice the roster moves. Does that mean they have Covid? Again, I don’t know. Since they announce literally every other injury, one can conclude. How serious is their symptoms? Again, no idea. This is gonna be one helluva 60-game season, huh? My solution is, if you really don’t want Covid speculation, just don’t announce any injuries at all. Change the IL to the ILL and whether it’s a hammy or Covid, don’t say anything. Just say they’re ILL. As for fantasy, Neris’s loss for saves could be huge, but we don’t know yet he’ll miss any of the season. I’d hold him. If you want to speculate, I guess Adam Morgan or a committee (which is atrocious for a 60-game season). As for Kingery, again, we don’t know how long he’ll be out (or why he’s out), so hold. This could be a boost to Adam Haseley. He could be a top 60 outfielder with everyday at-bats, and worth a shot. Or not. Wheeeeee! A 60-game season! Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

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Prior to be doing my fifteen-hundredth dart throw, Bartolo Colon. “Hey, listen, if you can get him cheap and with the NL DH–” *smoke rises from RoboGrey’s ears* Seriously, could someone unplug the MLB season, blow into the cartridge and plug it back in? On phone with AppleCare, “For the last few weeks, I’ve only seen the pinwheel on the baseball season, and the big brains at the Genius Bar have no idea what to do. Any suggestions?” For those not following too closely, the MLB owners are imitating Wimpy and saying, “We will kindly pay you next Collective Bargaining Agreement for a hamburger today,” and the players, crazily enough, are saying, “Hold up, you want us to play for 80% of our salary?”  And the MLB owners are replying, “Yeah, c’mon, you crooks, you have so much money.” Then the players are like, “You’re paying us but claiming to have less money than us? Ain’t that some shizz?” I expected this to be resolved by now, but resolution at this point seems like it’s going to come down to Head Idiot Rob Manfred, and him forcing the season into existence. If I’m reading all of the negotiations correctly, Head Idiot can force a 48-game season, but can’t force players to play. Make sense? No, of course it doesn’t! The Head Idiot said last week there would 100% be a season, and this week said there wouldn’t. In other words, the Head Idiot doesn’t even know what the Head Idiot can do because, get this, he’s an idiot. Some have speculated that MLB will force a 48-game season, but it’s way too early now since they have to play until September 27th, because of TV schedules, so they’re stalling for another week or two. All of that led to this breaking news yesterday:

If a season is forced, I wouldn’t be shocked if some big names opt out like Mike Trout, Christian Yelich and, really, anyone who has plenty of ‘eff you’ money. Once we have a set number of games, we will update our rankings and possibly remove players who aren’t playing. Also, as we talk about on today’s podcast, coming later today, I was against redrafting leagues, but if a lot of players are sitting out and we’re playing a 50-game season, then, yeah, it becomes unfair to try to play out a league drafted prior to all of this. On the other hand, maybe it’ll be fun to just play it out. I’m saying that last line in case any MLB owners or players are reading. Play it out! Anyway, here’s what else I saw for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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You ever draft, like, twelve teams and have eleven teams that are all very similar and one team that is nothing like the other teams? This, here, is that other team. In theory, this team could be my one good team and the other eleven could be garbage, but I sure hope that’s not the case. I started this draft like every other league this offseason — by taking Pete Alonso in the 2nd round. At that point, this team veered into a different direction to never return. For those not in the know, it’s a weekly, 15-team, 5×5, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. NFBC has decided to cut off new slow draft leagues like this one, so I don’t think we’re doing another one this year. Sorry, I wanted to do one more league too. I will now put on The Knack and change the words in my head to My Corona. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

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You might remember ten years ago I drafted in the live LABR NL-Only auction. Okay, you don’t remember, but I do, so you’ll have to take my word for it. It was the first major league I was in. I was sailing on the wind of doves. I thought my feces smelled like Reese’s Pieces. I even joined the Local 564, a railway union, thinking LABR had something to do with that. Ah, the memories…they sure were fleeting! I was booted from the league after one year. Why? I’m not sure, but my money’s on I insulted someone. Well, ya boi’s back and he’s learned his lesson! Though, someone drafted Rhys Hoskins for $28 and I was cackling about that for a good 45 minutes. Yo, just send Rhys flowers and a ball in the dirt for him to swing through; he might respond quicker. For those of you not in the know, this is a 5×5 league with average. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds others for prizes –> Razzball Commenter Leagues.) Anyway, here’s my LABR 12-team, NL-Only draft recap:

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So, when does Brendan McKay come up to replace an Ineffective Listed Blake Snell?  Ton of people asking about McKay, so I’ll go over him briefly, because I have nothing else to do but service you.  I am a mere vessel for your wants and dreams. Bit like the Flowbee if you need a haircut.  Prospect Mike just went over McKay in his last post.  McKay is the Rays’ Ohtani.  Though if hitting and pitching made Ohtani a unicorn, I’m not sure what that makes McKay.  A Loch Ness Monster?  Seen more often, but just as imaginary?  McKay’s likely headed for a Middler role in Tampa, and maybe some at-bats.  His arm excites me more than his bat, he could have a 9+ K/9 and always has insane command (2 BB/9), but Jalen White Clarence Beeks or Brendan McKay?  Meh, I don’t think there’s that much of a difference.  Guess McKay has more upside, and love how he sounds like what a dad would call a character on 90210 back in the 90s.  Why do we even care about McKay?  Have you seen Blake Snell (3 1/3 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 5.01)?  If you have, send him back to replace the stunt double who is wearing his jersey.  “I thought when they said ‘changeup,’ they meant a changeup from pitching well, so I started pitching like garbage.”  That’s Blake Snell addressing dozens of crying Rays fans.  I know no one wants to hear this right now, but Snell doesn’t appear to be pitching poorly; he’s having atrocious luck.  Like if a ball is hit right at a fielder, a squirrel grabs the ball and throws it into the outfield for a double.  He could be a buy low, as long as he’s not hiding an injury, real or fake.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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