Now to finish out the positional rankings for 2018 with my favorite: the relievers!  I may have went a little crazy here, 3000 words on closers and one stat fellas is just bonkers to think about.  I could have just used “save potential” and “hard hit percentage in medium leverage situations” about 40 times in my rankings, but I didn’t.  Ranking relievers is an ever changing game of robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.  There are always going to be injuries and attrition, which lead to relievers getting changed and making the preseason rankings look stupid in hindsight.  Last year there were 40 relievers that garnered 10 saves or more.  Now, if you are keeping track, there are still only 30 teams so my previous sentence about replacement value in relievers is very true.  That is why handcuffs and secondary bullpen pieces on draft day are important, not only for saves but to help your cranky ratios that creep up from day-to-day.  This ranking is just based on relievers with potential for saves and how they will stack up in that department.  Holds post will be something separate and should be forthcoming, though you sure as hell aren’t getting 3000 words on Holds because I’d rather blow my brains out.  Still love the Holds game as much as, or even more than any other fantasy writer, just gotta temper expectations as not many other sites give you so much bullpen love as we do.  So enjoy the rankings of 2018 fantasy relief pitchers.  (It says 50 but I went ahead and did a little extra.)  Enjoy!

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Alex Reyes is the guy that’s going to be the difference maker on my points league teams this season. Well, except in any league where any of my opponents read this post. If I’m thinking outside of my “points league box”, he has the potential to make a difference in all fantasy formats this season. I see him as a mid-season sleeper that’s going to take up a roster spot for at least one or two before you have a chance to see if holding him will pay any dividends. This is a risk I am willing to take, and is one I’m recommending to the rest of you.

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As I sit here and awake from my winter’s hibernation, I search for and do only the essentials.  Gold chain, check.  I also tell myself that the transition from Fantasy Soccer to Fantasy Baseball will be as easy as riding a bike.  But you forget, I’m a bear.  Nonetheless, here we are fantasy folks and four female folkers.  Baseball 2018 is already in high gear with posts from the usual gaggle, and as always my contribution is at the back-end of ball games.  Namely saves, holds, and relief pitchers that have intrinsic mixed league value and individual league value heading into the draft stages of this new and bright year. So keeping it simple, I formed a chart that will be included it in every week’s post that will have the bullpen pictures of all MLB teams, updating it with every sleeper or bullpen post… because I am a giver.  That and who knows what will happen in the forthcoming weeks that may skew the dynamics of the bullpens around the fantasy world?  Once Grey starts doing his pitcher rankings, I will then drop my own rankings in  proper fashion.  Til then, sit back relax, ask questions about almost anything relating to bullpens or closers, as I will gladly be here as always for my ninth season here at Razzball.  So it is with pleasure that I can bring you the first bullpen related post of the year.  Individual closer and reliever posts are on the way. Enjoy!

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The season to date leader in holds heads to the DL and one of the better bullpens in baseball is in a tailspin… not so fast!  The Rockies have reliable arms that can cement games just as well as Adam Ottavino has done for the year.  With the likes of wily veterans in Mike Dunn, Chris Rusin, and even a little smattering of Jake McGee, the sedimentary bunch is going to attempt to hold down the fort. The comforting thing is that the Rockies lead MLB in holds as a pen, least amount of blown saves and have the most games pitching with a lead with 99 total.  The scary thing with the shoulder injury is that Ottavino is a stash, or a dash, and replace with new military holds parts made from recycled relievers.  Wait a week, see if the 10-day DL stint is a pain in the tuther end, and I can see if you need the space in Holds leagues, the move make sense.  I would most likely grab Dunn, Rusin, and McGee in that order, as the setup game in front of the Dutch Master is going to be pieced together differently than what we saw so far.  No need to panic though, there are tons of saves in the 6-8 innings to go around.  Speaking of which, let’s see what is going down in the neighborhood of hold-dom…

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What I particularly like about relievers is versatility.  The situation in San Diego is the one in particular I want to discuss.  We were all lured into the Carter Capps preseason love, and I was on the wagon driving the horses as well, but his injury and the results that we expected aren’t coming as fast as we hoped.  He isn’t bowling over anyone in the minors, sporting a 6-plus ERA, and the obnoxious K-rate hasn’t materialized.  Now onto the major league roster which isn’t lighting any fires.  They are second from the bottom in bullpen ERA, have only 12 holds on the year, and now their closer has hit the skids.  He being Brandon Maurer.  Enter who I think should, could be the next man up while we wait (forever) for Capps.  Brad Hand offers that former starter turned good.  I may just call him the Vigilante of holds and possibly saves very soon.  He has the K-rate, the BAA and the moxy to do the job… it is just a matter of if SD is ready to pull the trigger on something because Maurer looks cooked.  Regardless of his situation moving forward or your league perimeters, Hand is worthy for a spot because of speculation and the K’s that he will produce.  This is the bullpen report for this week, so let’s see what’s happening in the setup game and the hold chase…

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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!

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On Saturday, we closed down the Holds store, although will still field some inventory questions that some may have.  Today is the last day only for my weekly advisory role in the cheap saves/steals-AGNOF type stuff.  This year was fun doing this post, it incorporated something I already covered here at Razznation and mixed it with some track and field with bats.  This year, I covered everything from the decline of stolen bases as a whole stat, the decline of the elusive fantasy 20/20 players, pitching metrics of stolen bases allowed, and even some catching metrics.  Wrap all that up and after I am done patting myself on my own back with my baby T-rex arms, I think I did an okay job for someone thrown to the fantasy wolves of conveying good info.  Some will disagree, others will hide in the shadows with their slings and arrows, but I am satisfied.  I stole Grey’s journal and he said it on three separate occasions that he thinks my penmanship in regards to SAGNOF is worthy of a cookie or something like that.  I was too teary eyed to actually read it.  So with just over one week to play, it is an “all hands on deck” affair for saves, stolen bases, or hell, even at-bats from non contending teams.  So when searching for moves to make and not make use the first instinct and ignore the other rules like don’t get high on you’re own supply stuff.  You know the Biggie song, so just ignore those and go with common sense.  As always, it has been my pleasure and good luck the last week of the year. Cheers!

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Greetings! Back at it again with the fresh Disgrace/Delight posts. Naaaaaaasty! We are here, my goodmen, to discuss the downfalls and risings of some of the most skilled athletes on this planet. I shall do my utmost to lock the derogatory comments in my cranium and not bestow them on the good readers of Razzball, for I am not here to offend, but to teach. I am not here to decry these talented young men, only to track their progress as professional athletes and root them on towards future glory and the type of massive wealth that peasants such as ourselves could truly never comprehend. Buuuuuuuuut, you’ve got to be realistic about these things. For I, favorite son of the Elder Gods, just can’t pass up an opportunity to roast a slap-dick hitting, noodle-armed throwing, ass shaving pansy, that would be better served mowing the lawn at Beddict manor, than being rostered in our fantasy lineups.

I am Tehol Beddict, and this Disgrace/Delight. Take heed!

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When the season started, the hype was on top prospect Byron Buxton… he had the center field job won out of spring training and had the tools to be a fantasy asset.  Then he started the season going 7-for-49 with not enough counting stats to warrant him being on your fantasy team any longer, so the Bill Heywood-led Twins demoted him to Triple-A.  Down there, he worked on his composition, his derogatory comebacks, and sharped the tools in his shed.  That resulted in him slashing .336/.403/.603 with 6 homers and 4 steals in 29 games.  Now, fast forward to a week ago when he was promoted, everyone could see he was on (or most likely on) waivers, feeling burned by the failures of his previous performance.  He has gone 7-for-20 in his second chance at life in Minnesota, reaching base in every game and looking like a completely different player confidence-wise.  Because confidence doesn’t come in a bottle, which will kill all the snake oil salesman’s pension funds… but oh well.  Byron has made a slight timing adjustment to his swing and it is working wonders, and he’s, from this point on, someone to watch as he brings speed defense and youth vigor to an already “looking forward to next year” Twins team.  If he can maintain an OBP of between .320-.330, I think he can have a healthy steal total by the all-star break and be pushing 25-30 for the season.  If and buts were soup and nuts, my grandma always said, and it remains to be seen if he can be the asset we all thought, but the prospect status is almost gone from him now and he needs to show it or be buried in fantasy waiver wire purgatory.  Let’s see what else was going down on the basepaths this week in the SAGNOF report…

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Situations arise all the time with closers. Injuries occur, poor performance, and then the return of the incumbent.  In the preseason, Will Smith was the guy the Brewers had tabbed as the closer.  Then, like I just said, an injury happened.  So now that he is back, what goes on in the back-end of the Brewers bullpen?  Jeremy Jeffress has done a stellar job with a less than average set-up crew in front of him.  He has pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a slightly more bloated xFIP of 3.41.  For all his previous tangles with pitching, he is striking out far less then he is normally accustomed to at just a 6 K/9 rate.  Low for a closer, even from the Lauvern and Shirley state.  He has managed 14 saves in 15 opportunitioes, and for a team like the Brewers, 14 is a healthy total.  So does his reign come to an end now that the best reliever is back in the fray?  Granted, it is never a great thing when usual mop-up relievers start stealing your stats, namely Blaine Boyer and Carlos Torres, who have 3 saves between them in the past nine games.  And granted, saves are wonky and games dictate them sometimes, come from behind wins, and situational loogy-ness are also a factor.  So I think with the way Jeffress has been going, he stays there until Will comes and steals his mojo and never looks back… Until the trade deadline, which could alter things up completely and basically revert it back to the way it was.  So if Will Smith is on your waivers, do yourself a service and add him speculatively for a week or two.  If he doesn’t give you the returns that you expect, then, well, the opposite happened of what I think should happen.  Enjoy Week 9 of the fantasy baseball season’s closer report!

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