Please see our player page for Michael Feliz 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.

Choosing the right closer is hard enough when there is only one to choose on draft day.  Tons of factors to guide your hand…  Jump forward 50-plus games and when the situation has multiple faces and not a ton of situations from which to choose: is it worth the squeeze?  The White Sox closer situation has gone from one, to a few, and back again multiple times this year, and now it has swung back to Joakim Soria after garnering the last two saves.  The conundrum here is that Nate Jones had gotten the previous three save chances.  Than if you scroll the calendar even farther, Jace Fry got a save and retread Bruce Rondon also factored in on one occasion in mid-May.  So with a team that only has 13 saves all year, better than only one other team, the Marlins (who are a complete and utter disaster for saves). So when chasing saves, and we all do it, even you, the guy who can’t make eye contact way in the back…  It is part of the FAAB chase and the most alluring I might add and frequent drain of funds. So with a team that has flip-flopped three times in 50 games, with 13 saves and on pace for a MLB bottom-three in save chances, is it worth the headache of this guy or that guy?  I wanna root for the Mexecutioner, and some guy named Nate, but they are basically like part-time lovers, and I would rather stream the spot with great counting stats that matter.  Soria’s K/9 is in the mid-10’s which is admirable, but on a game-to-game basis, the save chase comes down to volume, not the here and now.  Yes, Soria should be owned, and yes Jones should be owned.  But I am just bringing this up for your sake of saves hope.  If you can pair either one of them at the right time, obviously when they are on a hot streak of two saves in 10 days, do so and upgrade your save booty.  Advice over, bits of tid to follow.  Cheers!

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Forget about raising the Jolly Roger, let’s just salvage the poor thing.  The closer there, Felipe Vazquez, or the artist formerly known as “One Inning Willy” is struggling.  Which sucks for me personally because I tabbed him and the suspended one preseason to be the valued goods in the ranks of relievers.  Welp, you can’t predict injury, criminal activity, or attrition.  Judging that one closer is bad compared to if one is good, the eye test always wins out.  But Vazquez has been bad, and with an injury asterisk.  Blowing 4 saves in the last 10 games is just bad karma regardless of if your name is Mariano or not.  Bad luck, sure.  Injured…?  More likely, which is bad.  The propensity for him to be a every day or two out of three closer may be changing within the near future, not only to ease his pain with the stress of pitching the ninth, but to get a second look at one of the viable arms that has the look on paper of a closer.  That triumvirate of Michael Feliz, Edgar Santana and Richard Rodriguez have pitched spotty the last few times out, but should be owned in deeper leagues where saves are like the Sahara.  Cuffing yourself, even though the news on Felipe has come back clean, is the best advice I can give as a bullpen junky.  Just in case is better than a dollar short.   Other bullpen and closer bits of tid on the way.  Cheers!

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Tap on the shoulder, now tap on the other shoulder.  Swords and knights yadda, yadda.  Pun joke and title inclusion over.  I could probably draw it out to upmost degree, but I’ll just end it and rip the bandaid off and jump into the welcome back Kotter bullpen of Philadelphia.  If the collective bullpen in Philly isn’t called the Sweathogs, they are doing something wrong.  The Vinnie Babarino that is emerging as the future leader is most definitely Seranthony Dominguez.  Dude set a record with hitless streaks to start the year for a rookie and is now the go to, end all be all holds guy for the Phillies.  His arsenal screams future closer, but Kapler’s fear of commitment and Neris owning pictures of some relative of his.  Dominguez is the guy, for now and for later.  With 5 holds and 1 save in his last 6 appearances, he is involved in almost every winning game the Phillies are.  He checks all the proverbial boxes that we have previously discussed when looking for a reliever to roster.  Plus he has the save appeal, which is similar to curb appeal, minus the fact that you don’t need shrubs or a Chinese maple tree to accent how dominant he has been. Holds for now, saves for later for the Sir of the Cheesesteak. Roster with confidence as his results are great, but be patient as Kapler is a mad scientist with his bullpen decision making skills.  Holds week brings the best out of all of us, because you play in a league with holds.  That’s why we are fake internet friends.

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I mean, who doesn’t like a good old Kenny Rogers reference?  I appreciate it, but was more keen on Islands in the Stream, which in reality still works for this post.  This week, I wanna focus y’alls attention on when to keep relievers of hold value or when to fold them and grab someone new.  I wanted to bring this up because the near-leader in holds currently is Juan Nicasio.  (Who for all intents and purposes is a fantastic Holds pitcher when you just take into account the hold total of 12.  Which trails only Archie.)  The hold total is great for holds leagues says captain obvious.  The peripheral stuff is absolutely poop though. Commander Poop, for the full nautical theme.  He checks none of the boxes from the non-hold league boxes, his  K-rate is just a tick above 9, HR/9 at 2.0, a BAA over .300 and an ERA over 6…  Those are not the four checks that I was referring too.  So for mixed leagues, the guys you want to own are all over these standards: The K-rate has to be at or above 11 K/9, which includes over 60 relievers in baseball. HR/9 has to be tiny, think under 0.50, BAA against has to be anything at or below league average of .243.  And lastly, the ERA has to be respectful, but not the end-all-be-all of determinations, because unluckiness does happen with relievers.  So when doing your homework for reliever adds, make a checklist of those three stats and let the ERA be the tie-breaker in determining your add.  In holds leagues, quantity does matter, but if you are only going to eat one banana why buy the whole bunch and let them ruin all the other categories?

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Another week, another FAAB run. Happy Cinco de Mayo for those of you who remember what happened this weekend, and Happy Cinco de Cuatro for fans of Arrested Development. As with every week, I bring you my five FAAB picks. These are players that most people will be looking at this week along with others that can be had for cheap, off-the-radar, stabs. I will also provide a few names for those ONLY-league players at the end. All FAAB percentages can be applied to leagues with any budget.

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The Miami Jeters are currently cruising on a sub-60 win pace.  Nice if you look at the investment value in terms of dollars and the amount of talent on the field.  Now the once or semi-reliable closer, Brad Ziegler, has puked up another save chance and seen his ERA climb a blood alcohol level of 8.44.  That is a Cherynoblian level that usually results in a quick change, minus Bill Murray dressed as a clown. In the wings are two decent enough options that in most leagues should be owned for their K prowess.  They being Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough.  A change is coming, as the soft-tossing Ziegler can’t rely on sorcery and garbage to will him through save chances, no matter how few and far between they are.  The Marlins, from a standpoint of we are only winning X amount of games, and can’t afford to lose Y because of a closer who can’t shut the door is just bad for business. I am grabbing Steckenrider before Barraclough just based on games and position of appearances of date.  It is really tough to say though because they have 7 wins, and neither guy has featured more than 4 appearances when the team has been leading.  But Steck has seen more 8th innings, and I like him better because he has a closer makeup. So add accordingly if save speculating is your bag, but with success in closing comes success in the setup game.  And don’t ignore Barraclough either, because he will be in elevated positions as well and since this is the Holds portion of the week, go get him if free.

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Earlier in the preseason, I delved into the holds tiers for fantasy bullpens.  It exists right here in the Fantasy Relief Pitchers for Holds.  That was more a broad brushstroke of fantasy bullpen goodness that goes on here at Razznation.  Now that we are thumbs deep in draft season and the players being more prominent in roles are starting to show their purpose we can get a better grip on who to won and who to covet for the ugly step sister of saves the hold stat.  In more cases than not, following a “drafting for holds model” holds true, but holds are such a fluid stat… more fluid than the closer role.  So drafting the elite guy every year looks like a great idea, but name the guy who lead the league in holds multiple years in a row or, hell, twice in their career?  It’s a short list, whose names are not that awesome or even around anymore.  So for drafting for holds, whether it be in a straight holds league or a saves+holds league having the edge up on bullpenery is key.  The strategies for each of those leagues is basically the same as the elite holds category earners and they should be drafted after the last “donkeycorn” closer to come off the board.  If you draft an elite closer, always cuff your closer with the top holds candidate on that team. Next, do what I just said twice and grab your second closer’s backup/holds guy.  That will give you two closers, their back-ups for the “just in case” moments and holds.  Then your last pick for your bullpen will be an independent guy that has a K/9 rate over 9.  That is my finite strategy for drafting holds in any league. It gives you five guys that you can bank on every day in a “set it and forget it” type situation.  Don’t fall in love with your options, as like I said, bullpen fluidness is blah and you can find a hot hand on an off day.  So now that strategy is out of the way, let’s look at the more finite tiers of holds!

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The theory of SAGNOF is simple, don’t pay for saves on draft day.  This theory is, well, in theory, correct in most instances.  Saves and Holds categories are won every year by being a straight waiver wire assassin.  The “fluidness” and volatility of the position makes it such.  Saves and Holds are a success driven organization.  It is basically the frozen concentrated orange juice stat of the MLB.  So fortunate for you, I am sorta of your Billy Ray Valentine.  I agree in principle with the “don’t pay for saves” theory, except I usually implore you to get one of the top-12 guys instead of filling in the holes and playing the guessing game late in the draft.  As I stated in my last post, there are easily 6-7 closer jobs up for grabs this year,  and that doesn’t even include injuries and save speculation types.  That leaves about 12-15 guys who could garner saves or gain the job even before the job is theirs.  Drafting for speculation is fun when you have a Kimbrel or Melancon or Oh in the bank already, but when you are basically relying on luck and happenstance in the save game, it basically means you are taking an early punt or hoping to be better then everyone else at the waiver wire.  Odds aren’t always good depending on waiver rules, because not everyone lives in their mom’s basement has all the time in the world to do waiver wire adds all day once breaking news erupts.  So for the average Joe’s out there, here are five sleeper save guys and five sleepier holds candidates to consider on draft day.

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Man, the sound of the words rookie sleeper pitcher just makes my skin crawl. Prospect and rookie hitters are so much more exciting to own, and just as fun to write about. Pitchers, on the other hand, not..so..moooouch. Outside of the top 100 type guys, I typically stay away from spec arms in leagues of all shapes and sizes. Increasingly, over the past few seasons, some what unheralded starters and relievers have come from nowhere and made an impact in deeper leagues and dynasty’s. So to round out our rookie sleeper posts for the pre-season, we’re going to dive into some of the off the radar arms that should reach their rookie limits this season. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about Giolito, Urias, Berrios, Snell, Glasnow, etc. You should know those guys, if you don’t, go back and read my previous posts. BTW….you should know those guys. Rookie sleepers for 2016 fantasy baseball, this time with 113% less The Band and Da Band mix ups. Seriously, I was getting attacked in the comments and on Twitter, and all over a silly definite article mixup. Is Da a definite article?

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What a wild year for the Astros. They made the playoffs, called up their star shortstop Carlos Correa, and made some big trades that have changed the look of this farm heading into 2016. It’s still very strong and full of great fantasy options, but just look at the list of players who left this system – Brett Phillips, Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Domingo Santana, Rio Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano. Not to mention losing Delino DeShields in the rule five draft and the quality graduations. That kind of hit would cripple most systems, and yet here we are with still one of the best farms in the game right now. Last year’s draft netted the Astros two top bats in Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, and they saw a big breakout in A.J. Reed, who could be in line to play first base for Houston early in the 2016 season. It’s a good time to be an Astros fan.

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