Please see our player page for Kyle Crick 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 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?

The Pirates have become one of my favorite teams for whatever reason but this thing could get ugly. This roster has gotten rid of players like Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows since the beginning of last season and it’s left this roster looking like a dumpster fire. That doesn’t even take into consideration that Jameson Taillon is injured too, leaving the Buccos in big trouble. I’m sorry Greg Brown but that Jolly Roger is going to stay put a ton this season.

If you have any comments or questions, reach me here or on Twitter @Bartilottajoel

Also, if you want to see some other team previews or my bust picks, click here!

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

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As pitchers and catchers report we’re beginning to be graced with some reassurances as to who certain teams will use at closer. Those are always nice. Just remember managers don’t feel beholden to what they say in February and situations can change. Not unlike myself and fellow analysts. “I don’t recall recommending Jose Leclerc as a top 10 2019 closer, Senator.” We’re all playing a guessing game. My best advice is to invest lightly and spread your exposure over as many arms as possible.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

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Roto-Wan’s wild summer continued last week when his appendix decides to swell and cause the weirdest pain I’ve ever felt. It only took until 5AM to get a cat scan and determine an appendectomy was necessary. The American medical system is a well-oiled machine! More of a Pat Burrell machine, but potato/patato. In honor of my impromptu vacation tier’s are summer vacay ranks.

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*glances at Houston score* Welp, another insane offensive night for the As–Wait a second! Make that As– into an A’s. We’ve got a barnburner like the Astros were John Wilkes Booth! (If you get that joke, you’ve also read Manhunt, to which I say — nerd!) The ALCS is going to be a series of 24-23 games that last eighteen hours. “Joe Buck, are you even watching the game or are you just reading old issues of Men’s Health with the pages stuck together?” That’s Ron Darling reprimanding Buck. It was the 4th inning and the entire A’s lineup already had multiple hits, so let’s check some boxes, shall we? Sean Murphy (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 2nd and 3rd homers, and I recently picked him up for an AL-Only league. He had ten quick homers in only 31 games of Triple-A so he’s got power to spare, and Chris Herrmann was just designated for assignment. I hope Herrmann can find peace with they’re re-assignment. Matt Olson (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) also hit two homers. What Olson is doing in 70% of a season and without a hamate is going fairly unnoticed, and I already know I’m going to be so high on him in 2020. Then, Marcus Semien (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 27th homer, because what goes up must come down with, uh, Semien. Finally, Khris Davis (3-for-6, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 20th homer, asserting he’s not really Chris Davis, but I’m not sure I believe him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Just for reference, as I was out and about, the “cult” classic by Lisa Lisa was on.  Now you can admit it or you can lie about it, but if you hear this song on in the privacy of your own aloneness, and you turn the radio up.  I’m sorry but it’s true.  If not, it is completely just me and I have some severe music intangible listening ability that is slightly off.  Where was I?  Bullpens you say, bullpens I say.  The first real bullpen post after the trade deadline is always a tough tell.  The good contending teams basically stack up the depth of their pens and make the most unique and usable reliever an after thought, or a “questionable” own in holds leagues.  I hate that this happens, because you roll along all season with a set it and forget it holds option and poof, they go to a contender and now are fourth fiddle.  And nobody remembers the fourth fiddler in the Charlie Daniels’ band.  If you do, climb out the basement and stare at the sun awhile, you two have missed each other’s company.  So if you are sitting on names that changed to a contender that are now tertiary in line for a hold, move on.  Grab a first-chair guy maybe on a lesser team, or even from that guys old team.  This time of the year, if trying to capitalize on the utmost hold capabilities, there can be no allegiances.  No saluting your past accumulation and move on.  I am adding in a chart this week that shows holds and chances for the last 30 days to lessen the load on your research ability.  After all it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, why not stay and hang out with Smokey?

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You know what is fun this time of year?  The bullpen shuffle.  Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases.  Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians.  The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now?  I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man.  Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation.  Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club.  Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now.  In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go?  He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name.  So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait.  Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential.  More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump.  Cheers!

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Today I will continue my proud tradition of not watching football and instead focus on the most notable fantasy prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization. As usual, they don’t have a true blue chip prospect. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t players on this farm who will develop into good fantasy pieces. In fact, over the past few years the Giants have been pretty good at bringing guys up that weren’t on the prospect radar and presto-changeo they are suddenly on everybody’s fantasy team. Matt Duffy comes to mind. Joe Panik is another. The pitching-friendly home park and the Giants’ success in developing arms also makes the pitching prospects a little more interesting than they’d normally be.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (19) | 2013 (28) | 2012 (21) | 2011 (24) | 2010 (29)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] NL West
AAA: [68-76] Pacific Coast League – Fresno (2015: Sacramento)
AA: [79-63] Eastern League – Richmond
A+: [73-67] California League – San Jose
A: [62-76] South Atlantic League – Augusta
A(ss): [38-38] Northwest League – Salem-Keiser

Graduated Prospects
Joe Panik, 2B

The Gist
The Giants won their third World Series title in five years thanks in part to an impressive performance from home-grown lefty Madison Bumgarner. Both Bumgarner and graduated prospect Joe Panik were first round picks for the organization. It’s mostly pitchers in the top ten here, but the Giants have been good at developing young arms to this point. Pitching in AT&T Park also helps their fantasy value if in fact they do make it to the major leagues. Two or three of the pitchers listed could see time in the majors in 2015. While the system is light on bats with potential fantasy impact, three position players did still find their way onto this list – led by the potential successor to Buster Posey behind the plate. San Francisco will have a new Triple-A affiliate in 2015 (Sacramento).

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Our offseason prospect series is through — all 30 minor league previews with fantasy-specific top 10’s are in the books.  For years we’ve written this same series, finished it, and then just sort of rolled into the regular season stuff without any fanfare.  This year, though, we’re wrapping up the minor league previews, and adding a nice little bow on top.  This post will serve as the bow.  The purpose is twofold: (1) For the first time we have links to each of our MiLB previews all in one place, and (2) we’ve ranked each farm system from a fantasy perspective, giving you a simple guideline as to which orgs are stacked with fantasy impact, and which orgs are virtually void of it.  Let’s cut to it:

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