Please see our player page for Kenley Jansen 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.

We’re getting close to the re-launched opening day, so any serious knocks guys are picking up in camp now are going to start impacting playing time.  That also holds true for new, positive, Covid tests that might pop up.

Eduardo Rodriguez is currently on a throwing program away from the team as he awaits clearance from a positive Covid test.  From a physical standpoint, this is all good news, but he’s still up in the air until he tests negative.

DJ LeMahieu, Salvador Perez, Kenley Jansen, and Joey Gallo were both back in camp this week after clearing Covid protocol.

One guy not back yet is Freddie Freeman.  His case was originally thought to be more serious, and he has not been cleared to participate yet.  The Braves think there’s a chance at opening day for him, but at this point, if he’s still feeling symptoms, I’d put that timeframe at doubtful.

Along with Freeman, Yordan Alvarez, Austin Meadows, Aroldis Chapman, Jesus Luzardo, and Howie Kendrick are all also absent from camp.

Alvarez and Chapman have both been put on the IL, signaling their cases may be a bit more severe than others.  I’d expect Zack Britton to get the first shot at saves if Chapman can’t get cleared for a bit.  On the Astros front, you’d have to imagine Kyle Tucker has an easier path to ABs with Alvarez sidelined.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Camp is starting up and it’s weird out there folks.  Split squad positionless scrimmages, Covid tests, opt outs….baseball is back!?!  This whole thing feels like the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout from Saved By the Bell…”I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…..scared”.

First round of Covid testing is coming back and there’s plenty of interesting names that have tested positive: Jesus Luzardo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Hector Neris, DJ Lemahieu, Tommy Pham, Scott Kingery, Mitch Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Salvador Perez, and Kole Calhoun are notable confirmed positives.

Of these, most fall into the “asymptomatic” category and should return to the team soon (hopefully).  Hector Neris was already around Phillies camp this week, and Joey Gallo already has one negative test under his belt.  He should be good to go soon.

The most serious case looks to be Freddie Freemen.  The Braves are being candid about exactly what Freeman is going through, but they’re not expecting him back to camp any time soon.

There’s several other guys who are missing from camp still with no given reason why.  Some teams are releasing positive tests, some teams aren’t stating what’s keeping players away but letting us read between the lines.  This list includes: Aaron Nola (who was seen around Phillies camp earlier this week similar to Neris), Yonny Chirinos, Juan Soto, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, AJ Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.  The Astros, as well as some other teams, have had issues with their testing in terms of getting results quickly, so that may be holding up the ‘Stros players, but these are all guys to keep an eye on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I take a lot of antacids.

Rolaids created an award (not for me)–a gold-plated firefighter’s helmet–to honor baseball’s best relief pitcher every year from 1976 to 2012. The history behind this fascinates me. Feels like some seeds of analytics were born in the bowels of Rolaids’ 1970’s corporate office.

Relief pitching events were each given a point value. Three points per save. Two points per win. Two points per loss. The biggest end-of-season number won, period. 

Blown saves (-2) were introduced in 1987.

Tough saves (+4) came along in 2000. Surprises me that I’ve never seen this as an option by fantasy providers, especially in points leagues or daily games. An antacid company was using it 20 years ago ffs. Refers to any time a reliever enters the game with a tying run on base and secures a save. 

Relievers might be my favorite thing about fantasy baseball, for reasons I can’t explain except to say I love games that resist attempts to shrink/minimize/categorize/rubricate them. The more multi-layered the better. And saves bring that to fantasy baseball. (As do stolen bases.) I also love Holds leagues because they throw the math off a nudge further and open another market of elite players who just happen to pitch the not-ninth. 

Ranking RP’s is kind of a paradox. It might be the least accurate yet most useful of any positional ranking, especially for dynasty leagues.

So that’s the caveat. 

These rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, btw. Would look totally different in a holds league.

Relief pitching is a strength for me in fantasy, year over year. I tend to trade from it and trade for it on a regular basis, sometimes within the same week. Still, I’m a little leery to put fingers to keys on this one. The yearly upheaval at this position is like no other, so I’m not surprised there’s very little on the market right now covering relief pitching in dynasty leagues. 

The very thought of the task has my hand reaching for the (insert highest-bidding antacid company here).

Kidding. I love this stuff. My full geek breathes fire when researching the K-BB % leaders across all leagues, digging into their game logs, skipping to their innings, even watching/reading an interview here and there.  

Let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The prolonged delay to the 2020 MLB campaign is set to extend at least into June, and most likely July.  It’s given lots of players with injury concerns heading into draft season this year some extra time for recovery and even more preventative measures/surgeries that might have knocked their stock down a bit.  When things do pick up again, most every player will be ready to go and will be on a pretty even playing field going into the season injury free.

There are a couple of updates to share on guys who are on longer recovery paths as well as some things to keep in mind when looking forward to this season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It’s the age, I’m told. Then, with only the faintest of amber glowing from behind my Squidward Tentacles nightlight, I catch a glimpse of myself. It’s the middle of the night, yet my hair is still perfectly coiffed; my mustache tenderly manicured; my eyes a dazzling shade of hazel, and I can’t help but be taken aback by my handsomeness. Well, instead of myself greeting myself every night from now on, I’ve printed out my Tout Wars team and hung it from the mirror, because it is sexier than even I could ever hope to be. Frankly, I’m worried that I might be in my office when nature calls for a twinkle, and head into the other room to find my much older wife making out with my printed-out team. “Get off the printed name of Juan Soto, Cougs! That’s my fantasy team you’re dry humping!” For those unaware, it’s 5×5, with OBP instead of AVG, two-catcher, 12-team NL-Only league, so don’t ask me how much Mike Trout went for. Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Much like the classic Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) PC game, The Oregon Trail, we finish our bullpen parade out west. Apologies if the research in this post is light, I stayed up all night playing TOT on the Wayback Machine. Suck it deer, I shot so many of you I can’t even carry all the meat. Much like the game, your journey to saves accumulation is a series of decisions fraught with peril. Do your best not to die of dysentery. In this example, Wade Davis is dysentery.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I got owned. I was razzing Donkey Teeth about his NFBC league draft (use promo code: Razzball25 and get $25 off at NFBC). I told him his team stunk. I didn’t trust his pitchers. Didn’t love his drafting of a top catcher. Felt he had some injury risk in Gallo and Mondesi, but I didn’t hate the team. It was just so…harmless at the time. Then, he put it out there…out to the hoi polloi, asking who had the better team, and that was when I got owned. No one, and I’m not being dramatic, liked my team. At one point, I think Cougs used her burner account to log in and dismiss me. Here is the carnage:

I can’t remember such ownage happening to little ol’ me in such a devastating, emotionally crippling way before. It was like my dog spoke for the 1st time (while I wasn’t on drugs) and said, “My name is Albert, not Ted, and I hate you.” That was the disrespect I felt! This was many weeks ago, and I am still sighing that long, hard sigh that can only come from knowing years of hurt and ridicule. Like a character William H. Macy would play. Well, life goes on, ob la di, ob la da. For those not in the know, this is a 15-team, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. You draft it, and manage it. Weekly moves for pitchers, bi-weekly for hitters, changing out on Monday and Friday. Most of the draft happened prior to the Winter Meetings, so who knows with playing time. I did it as an experiment to see what would happened if I stopped being polite and started–Wait, that’s the Real World opening. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The end of the 2019 fantasy baseball will be no easier than the rest of it. Pitching is imploding all around us. Do what you can to stem the tide of disaster and consider an effective middle reliever over a volatile starter.

  • The Brad Hand saga continues. More positivity from the team (shocker!) as they say Hand “looked like himself” in a bullpen session. I guess that’s better than looking like Willie McGee? We’re still locked in the downward spiral of news, shaky outing, rest, repeat. The bullpen usage in Cleveland hasn’t sent any clear message about saves in Hand’s stead. Oliver Perez earned a save of the one out variety while Nick Wittgren is getting used in leverage spots but not getting the final out. Call ups James Karinchak and James Hoyt are also in the mix with Nick Goody and Adam Cimber as other possibilities. Fun times.
  • Turns out Felipe Vasquez is an asshole and a pedophile. Can’t say it was nice knowing you. Enjoy federal pound me in the ass prison. As for the shipwreck that is the Pirates Keona Kela is the lead candidate to close given his stuff and closing experience. Richard Rodriguez could see the ninth if Kela is shaky or gets hurt, as he tends to do.
  • Kenley Jansen blew his eighth save, just after a stretch of solid outings. The Dodgers seem to be committed to him as their closer and want him to get right for the postseason. When you thrive with only an elite cutter the end comes fast when the pitch loses some bite. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jansen retire this offseason when you consider his 2018 heart issue.
  • Matt McGill returned to the head of the closer committee in Seattle notching his fifth save Wednesday. He’s the favorite to finish as their primary closer if he remains healthy.
  • We all roasted the Brewers for acquiring Drew Pomeranz. Who’s laughing now? He’s been an excellent reliever and just picked up his second save. Only having to face batters once clearly suits him with 36 Ks in 21.1 IP.
  • Hunter Harvey is being shut down for the rest of the season with bicep soreness. File his name away as a late dart in the 2020 saves chase.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello, Newman! Newman goes into Colorado and gets tangled up with Kramer as he tries to sell his newest invention:  Oregano that smells like weed. It’s called Mario Bluntali. Or is it weed that smells like oregano? Or did he already say that? Newman and Kramer have forgotten. Yesterday, Kevin Newman went 4-for-4, 4 RBIs with his 8th and 9th homer. Sure, it was in Coors, but it’s time we start considering Newman as more of a one-trick pony that annoys Jerry, and flush out his character. He had 28 steals last year in Triple-A, and 13 this year in just under 400 ABs. His lack of Ks are also interesting. He has a top ten strikeout rate (11.6%), so his BABIP is high (.334), but his .302 average might be close to repeatable in 2020. Say 12/25/.290 for what will almost be a bargain price in 2020? Is that far off from what you were hoping from Lorenzo Cain? I wrote Kevin Newman in this afternoon’s Buy column, then deleted him because he has to be owned in a majority of leagues by now, but if he’s out there, absolutely grab him, like Newman would help Kramer grab some Kenny Rogers Roasters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?