The most important thing in fantasy baseball relief-dom in terms of holds is consistency.  Without consistency of opportunities, of placement in the bullpen, and a team’s consistent success in utilizing their bullpen to your fantasy advantage… you get left out out in the cold when it comes down to accumulating a stout holds based relief pitching corps. Until there is a shift in the utilization of bullpens for the benefit of fantasy, more so, the leagues that use the hold stat.  I will admit that I am more of an eye test person than a numbers guy.  Numbers scare me.  They prove too many things that don’t factor in the human error factor and the good ole eye test.  So against my better mental state, I used numbers from the past five years to show that the bullpens are being used more frequently.  Not just by some teams, but by all teams.  I know, duh.  This is something that we all eyed to be happening than Smokey goes in the opposite direction like a dyslexic salmon and gets some data to prove the incline of a stat that he holds so near and dear to his fantasy bear heart.  Well sit back, relax, it’s going to be a fun ride on the holds bus this week as we do some research and than put the top-50 relief pitchers into hold tiers.  Enjoy!

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When looking at the standings, it is usually a great indicator of how well a team is doing by looking at the Hold leaders.  It doesn’t tell you all or is the end all be all of indicators, but when you have three guys in the top-4, it speaks volumes.  It shows the team is ahead, but not by so much that they are blowing people out, have a great set of flow through the bullpen with set jobs, and they are successfully in-sync.  Not that “in-sync”, but yeah, sorta because something that included J.T. can’t really be all that bad.  So what is making the Chicago White Sox so good at what they are doing right now?  First, it starts from the last inning back.  David Robertson has the goods of what you want from a closer, he has the K-rate and decent control to limit base runners.  What I am noticing is he is keeping the ball away from the upper part of the zone, which was his buga-boo from the past; that he gives up too many homers.  In front of him, he has a trio of relievers with different mindsets.  Nate Jones is basically a closer in front of the real closer, but with a better approach of pitching to contract then K’ing everyone.  Zach Duke is by far the sexiest LOOGY in the business right now and Matt Albers is an all effort pitcher with tons of movement on his pitches.  Add in the fact that they have Putnam and Petricka as sub pieces that can fit into anyone’s role, and they have what looks like in the early stages of the season the best bullpen in baseball. That is not to say that it will last but the investment level from a fantasy level, especially from a holds league, but it is very stout.  So check out the other tidbits and bits tids that I have for you after the bump.  (Plus a chart that monitors usage and runs given up by relievers that usually lead to them losing or gaining spots in the pen.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

If someone had told me on Aug. 15, 2013 that Zack Wheeler would only be half-owned in Yahoo and ESPN leagues at the start of June 2014 I would have quit fantasy baseball immediately and wailed the loudest Nicolas Cage wail I could muster. That day was the height of early Wheeler Mania: 6 IP and 12 Ks to just one walk in a no-decision at San Diego. At the time Wheeler was not only a member of the rookie pitcher crew that also included Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha and Sonny Gray, he was arguably the main attraction. If that group was New Kids On The Block, he was at best Jordan Knight, or at least Donnie Wahlberg, but he wasn’t no Danny Wood. Control problems kept him from being all that he could be, they said. Bad catchers (John Buck) can make good pitchers pitch badly, they said.

Well, here we are in the weeds of the 2014 season and Wheeler is on the verge of getting kicked out of the group. Cole, Wacha and Gray have been, for the most part, pitching like the budding studs they were supposed to be, and Wheeler has looked more like Nuke LaLoosh before Annie had him wearing garter belts and breathing through his eyelids. Wheeler might not have found his Crash Davis in Travis D’Arnaud, but something is clicking. He got bashed around pretty good in D.C. on May 18 but he finally found the plate, walking only two guys. May 24 against the Diamondbacks was even better, as he K’ed 7 to just one walk. You can blow this K/BB ratio thing out of proportion and go ga-ga over Wheeler’s last start, a win in which he blew away nine Phillies and walked none in 6-plus innings. It wasn’t what he did in that start, it’s how he looked doing it. Wheeler had the command that scouts and experts who know way more than me said he was missing. He looked like he was pitching downhill. His curveball was wicked and his fastball was popping. I know road starts in Wrigley and whatever they’re calling the Giants’ stadium now are not ideal, but I think this is the week Wheeler returns to his place next to the Coles and Wachas of the world.

Here’s some more two-starters for Week 10:

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Gird your loins – we’re going to be navigating positions battles in each division. Last week, I covered the NL East. Today I’m talking about the AL Central, which actually looks fairly interesting this year. At first glance, the Tigers should run away with the division. At a slightly closer glance, the Indians, Royals, and White Sox all appear to be trying to contend. Who knows? Maybe Verlander’s arm will fall off after pitching over 1,000 innings across the past four seasons, while Miggy and Fielder enter a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas and never return. Anyway, here’s some of the position battles to keep an eye on in the AL Central:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Minnesota Twins 2011 Minor League Review

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:

2012 (19) | 2011 (13) | 2010 (6) | 2009 (22) | 2008 (15) | 2007 (8) | 2006 (6)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [63-99] AL Central

AAA: [53-91] International League – Rochester

AA: [72-70] Eastern League – New Britain

A+: [63-76] Florida State League – Fort Meyers

A: [69-69] Midwest League – Beloit

R: [42-26] Appalachian League – Elizabethton

The Run Down

Much of the Twins best talent is years away from its arrival in the big leagues.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?