It’s 1993. Funny man and lady slayer, Billy Crystal hosts the Oscars; Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time becomes a bestseller because guys buy the book to put on their shelves to be a lady slayer like Billy Crystal, and a mother and father fawn over a newborn: “What do you want to name him?” “I like the name Tejay.” “I think it’s an abbreviation.” “Does it have to be?” And with that Tejay Antone was brought into the world. Yesterday, he announced himself with a start vs. the Indians of 4 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners (4 BBs), 4 Ks, ERA at 2.08, but the line might not do it justice. He had a solid number of called/swinging strikes in yesterday’s game, and his 83 MPH slider, and 80 MPH curve really dips off the table from his 96 MPH fastball. Honestly, he looked to me like a great bullpen arm, or, if he can command his stuff, a high-upside starter. I kinda drooled at some of his offerings. Don’t think he’s there yet for mixed leagues, outside of favorable Streamonator matchups, but he went from off my radar, to definitely on it. As T.J. Lavin would say to a mirror, “You’re killin’ it, Teej!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to your first Bullpen Report of the season. How’d day one of your season go? You know, besides losing two top 30 players moments before lineup lock. Unfortunately, that’s more likely to be the norm than the exception. If you didn’t already (you donkey), build any flexibility into your fake teams that you can. On the pitching side that means having a reliever that can juice a category for you when a body is needed in a pinch.

  • The big free agent this week was Zack Britton with Aroldis Chapman hitting the COVID-IL. If you missed out on him I’d suggest considering Adam Ottavino. Britton is getting the first call but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ottavino gets a look if Boone feels the matchups favor him.
  • Kwang-Hyun Kim is being anointed the Cardinals closer. I’m holding my breath here. It’s hard to trust someone who’s never pitched an inning stateside to immediately walk into the closer role. To me, it feels more like they’re set on the injured Giovanny Gallegos and don’t want to disappoint Ryan Helsley with a demotion this early.
  • I’m targeting the options behind Kyle Crick as the Pittsburgh closer. Just a gut feel that Crick can’t hack it in the ninth. Richard Rodriguez and Nick Burdi get much more swing and miss with their stuff.
  • Yoshihisa Hirano is another COVID delayed player of the early year. That may give Matt Magill enough leash to take over the closer gig in Seattle. It was kind of his last year. He was kind of going to close this year. Now he can at least win or lose it on his own merit.
  • Let me remind you that Corey Knebel has nasty movement on his off-speed stuff. He’ll need to find his fastball velocity with reports of it in the low 90s thus far in summer camp. If he can get that up a few ticks he could immediately figure into the ninth for the BrewCrew.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Aaaand we’re back! In case you’re concerned, I’m writing this in complete isolation from any human contact, and yes, I’m wearing my mask. It has a sweet Joker smile and scares old people. 2020 has been real rough my over-the-internet friends, from George Floyd to murder hornets to tiktok becoming so popular its been bad news city, but nothing has rocked our worlds harder than you know what. I’m speaking of course, of the Red Sox heartless trade of my flame and my muse Mookie Betts. Ugh. How could this year get any worse? To boot, my hopes of Betts getting the COVID, missing 2020, and re-signing with Boston look to be all but dashed as he’s signed a lifetime contract with the Dodgers worth more than all the money me and everyone I know will ever make in their lifetimes. But fret not, wunderkind GM Chaim Bloom has replaced him with Kevin Pillar. You know, the former Blue Jay? Yeah, that guy. Welp. Give me the rona now God and end this. But wait–keep that mask on! Pillar flashed some serious leather in right field Friday night and went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI! Maybe this won’t be so bad! At least Boston won’t have to pay a 41 year-old outfielder 30 million dollars in 2031? Or will we all be d-e-d dead by then anyway? Did I mention the Sawx added utlity infielder Jose Peraza too? He went 4-for-5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBI Friday and Grey told you to BUY. Jose leads the league in batting average, folks! Peraza struggled last year but he’s just two years removed from batting .288 with 23 steals in 2018! Pillar and Peraza could be the bright spots we (I) so desperately need right now. They could do some real damage in a stacked, albeit Mookie-less, Boston line up. Who needs Betts when you got Kevin Pillar and Jose Peraza?! (Sigh, I do. I do. I really do. Come back to me, Mook!)

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

During the summer of 2019, Yoenis Cespedes was so taken with the song Old Town Road that he wanted to film his own video remix with a wild boar and Sam Elliott. Not knowing where to begin, Yoenis called Sammy Sosa to advise on costumes because of Sammy’s flair for western wear and Yoenis found the music video director in an aisle at Sam’s Club and thought he had a Sam-only clause. Sammy Sosa was blunt with Yoenis, “You’re not a vaquero, are you? Then get off that tartan bandana and put on a fringe jacket!” Yoenis feared he looked like Dolly Parton in Rhinestone Cowboy and Sam Elliott was on the phone with his agent about this gig, when it all went wrong. Cespedes fractured his ankle, going from 100 legs to 103-ish, and his 2019 was over. Cut to 18 months later (it only feels like 18 years), and Yoenis is back, and healthy. During the break, I gave you a Yoenis Cespedes sleeper, and I’m doing what they call, in rodeo parlance, filling a barrel with two clowns. Every time Yoenis has been healthy, he has been worth owning. Will he stay healthy? Who cares! In 60 games, Yoenis has as much a chance at being the NL MVP as Pete Alonso. Yes, it hurt me to say that. Obviously, it didn’t hurt as much as trying to pull off an Old Town Road remix at Ranchero de Yoenis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a blurry baseball universe, one thing that’s clear about 2020 is the numbers will look funky. 

I will miss the number 30, especially. 

We had some good times. 

And sometimes we’d double up 30/30 . . . those were the days . . .

I suppose we could rally around 30 Runs or RBI? 

Nah that’s ridiculous, and only Kyle Lewis or apex Giancarlo could hit 30 home runs in 60 games, so we should probably say our goodbyes to those curvy round benchmarks. Funky numbers only from here on out! 11? Come on down! 17? Wow that’s a lot of whatevers in 2020!!

As part of this ongoing effort to make my funk the P funk, I’m building rookie leaderboards with concrete Miss Cleo numbers. Projections, if you’re nasty. 

Here’s a funky song to play while you imagine the future. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Brett Anderson hit the IL with a blister on his finger. Shame really. Super, super sad news. *watches two-hour VHS titled, “Fist Pump Like Tiger Woods,” ejects the tape, stands up awkwardly, raises hand and FIST PUMPS* I’m doing it! I’m fist pumping! So, little ol’ Anderson was willing to play through it but the coaches were worried the compromised grip would affect him. Little ol’ Anderson said, “Gonna have to leave it to the other four horsemen.” Corbin Burnes wasn’t in my rankings, but if I were adding people, I would add him. (At this point, I’m only removing opt outs and seriously injured players, because it’s too late in game to be adding guys for drafts. If you’re following along, you know which guys I like more now.) So, Burnes works off three-point-seventy-five pitches. Not quite four, and operates in the fast lane with a 95+ MPH fastball, and a babymaking slider that produced a 52.1% strikeout rate and .188 BAA. The Milwaukee Burnes’ers’ Burnes had a 12.9 K/9 last year and has great command, though he didn’t show it. Looking for a breakout that is likely available in most shallower leagues? Burnes said, “Say goodnight, Bretty,” and you say hello to Corbin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Top 100 Starting Pitchers Graphic

 July 20-July 26, 2020

Well, hello everyone and welcome back to your favorite place to hear about split fingers, Razzball’s Top 100 Starting Pitcher List! If you’ve been a good fantasy baseball manager, you’ve already bookmarked the previous article while you were drafting your teams and social media should be cheering your wise moves. If you’ve been a bad manager and Grey put you in his basement, well, you’re probably sitting next to me right now eating from a hoarded supply of Pop Tarts. Leave me the strawberry!

Before we get to the list, let’s check up on a couple of important news bits. If you follow me on Twitter @everywhereblair, some of these updates are already old stories for you. In case this is your first time here, I’ll catch you up: I update the Google Doc below daily in response to hearing about Covid news, rotation management, and summer training performances. Bookmark this page and check it out to get the most up-to-date pitcher rankings for your drafting needs. By following me on Twitter, you’ll hear first when I update the Top 100 Starting Pitcher List.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

[places soapbox on ground, stands tall]

Starting pitchers are more important this year. But you should still take hitters first. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

For most fantasy league formats, you are chasing wins in 2020. Thus, WAGNOF (Wins Ain’t Got No Face). With starting pitchers, you’re looking for #1/#2 starters on good teams, who will pitch a lot of innings and contribute to Wins, ERA, WHIP, and K. Relievers with great K/9–even middle relievers–will help immensely with ERA, WHIP, and K. But wins? Welcome to the Twilight Zone. Whereas wins used to the be the domain of starters (and Twins’ middle relievers), we’re already getting reports of top pitchers having inning limits and pitch counts. So, we’ll be seeing a lot of wins going to middle relievers, which makes it much more difficult to predict that category (unless you’re a lifelong Twins fan, holla!). If you don’t believe me on this, then take the advice from three-time Trout Fishing Champion Grey Albright. If you’re in a league that uses Quality Starts, the top three tiers of pitchers are even more valuable because you’ll be relying on pitchers who stay in games AND who don’t give up earned runs. The coronavirus and the style of play in 2020 placed a high scarcity on pitchers who meet these requirements. That said, crafty managers can combine mid-tier pitchers with relievers who provide elite ratios and make an effective pitching staff that will win leagues. So, let’s teach you to be a crafty manager.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On our Steamer Fantasy Baseball Rankings, which have been updated to a 60-game season, we have 1,310 players ranked. 645 of them gained value. Some, for unstints, gained $0.1 of value like Juan Soto. Another hundred had zero value change like Christian Yelich. Another 600+ lost value. These are their stories. *Law & Order sound effect chung-chung* This post will feature the top 20 players who lost the most value from doing nothing but bingeing Netflix for the last three months. Who knew Love Is Blind could hurt one’s fantasy value? “I’m gonna go with George, he’s so funny.” “Okay, Jenn, here’s George…He’s a sign spinner for State Farm!” Anyway, here’s the top 20 biggest negative value changes for fantasy baseball pre vs. post-shutdown:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

True story: DonkeyTeeth calls me up on the ol’ Twitter machine this morning.  Me, I’m just awake from dreaming of 5-year-old Blair riding out in my dad’s Buick Skylark into the Minneapolis night to celebrate the Twin’s 1987 World Series win.  Suddenly Donkey’s typing: “Top 100 Switchers.” And I’m like, “Donkey, it’s 7AM, I’m not ready for that!” He types into the Twitter machine, “TOP 100 PITCHERS!” So I say, that’s fine, here: 1) Beer, 2) Sangria, 3) Margarita… . Donk does it. You know. He starts typing, but doesn’t finish. The little dots on the bottom of my Twitter machine beep out in morse code–or whatever code Jack wants to call it–that causes mental insanity among so many people. I’m transfixed. The next use of a nuclear code, you know it’s going to be preceded by those little waiting dots. President Swift will have to verify the code with Vice President Lovitz but only after they clear their notifications. Finally, Donkey’s message comes across. “2-for-1 pitchers at BWW if you get there before 9AM. See ya.” That’s the level of training they give here at Razzball. I tell ya, I get no respect at all. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?