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Well hello there, Razz-folken!

Sorry, I’m working my way through Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (on Book 6 of seven — fantastic, trippy, masterful stuff), which contains some very interesting folken indeed. So that’s where that came from.

I’ve got some news for y’all. I am no longer the Injury Guru around these parts. I had my fill of ’em last year, let me tell you. Not sure my brain could handle tracking all that madness for another season (assuming we even get a full one…). Alas, the ever-so-talented-and-witty Keelin Billue will be manning the Ambulance Chasers column. Instead, I’ve become the official Bullpen Guru of Razzball! In addition to the weekly SAGNOF recaps, I’ll be in charge of our brand-spankin’ new Bullpen Chart, tracking who’s closing and who’s setting up across the MLB. Side note: I’m still waiting for the day SVHD becomes the standard category.

What I’ve got for y’all is just a good old-fashioned tiered ranking (catered toward the 12-team standard 5×5 audience). I could pretend I’m doing this for the people, but really this is as much for me as it is for you, dear reader. I’ve had my fantasy hockey helmet on, helping Viz over the on the Razzball Hockey side of things. Haven’t paid the best attention to the goings on in MLB — I could use a little brush up on how bullpens are looking.

Welp, I’ll quit dillydallying and get right to it. I’ll update these rankings eventually as things change throughout the course of the offseason. Some big names are still homeless as of now (you can find notes on them under the rankings themselves). These rankings stem from a combination of my genius brain and Rudy’s projections, which of course you can see over on the World Famous Razzball Player Rater.

I lied; I’ve got a little more dillydallying to do. I want to make it clear this is a focus solely on guys in closer situations. I’m looking at this through the lens of saves. I would personally rather own a Devin Williams type than a crappy closer like Cole Sulser in most instances, but I didn’t want to jumble up my tiers with guys who aren’t likely to get saves with any kind of regularity. Devin Williams, Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Loaisiga, etc. do not appear in what you’ll see below. Maybe I’ll get around to some HAGNOF rankings, but you can always pop over to the Bullpen Chart and the Player Rater to find guys to help you with holds. And one last note: even though you see numbered rankings, they’re more of a formality. I treat everyone pretty much equally within their respective tiers, and it could shake out to where any one of them could out-rank the other. Is that a cop out for “hindsight is 20/20” purposes? Maybe! Oh, and the stats you see are 2021’s totals. Duh.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here you will find bullpen charts for each team. Bullpens are a messy business to track, but the purpose here is to highlight each team’s closer(s) and setup men. You can more or less expect the chart to read left-to-right in order of importance, but again, it can be a fluid situation day-to-day, week-to-week (looking at you, Tampa Bay Rays!). So, not only are we highlighting saves options, we’ve got you saves+holds folks covered, too! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Tigers must be picking my brain, because Eduardo Rodriguez was on my short-list for a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper post. I am asking the Tigers politely: Please, stop picking my brain, after just recently going on a Scarecrow-esque spiritual journey of going from no brain to a half brain to a full-full brain. People with full-full brains call them “full-full brains,” right? Yes? Cool, thanks. So, last year, Eduardo Rodriguez went 13-8 with a 3.32 FIP, a 10.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. If you’re like me — a full-full brain person — then you’re likely thinking, “Hey, this guy never mentioned his ERA or WHIP!” Smart, we are. Talk like Yoda, I do. I didn’t mention those stats, because I wanted you to see how good Eduardo Rodriguez was before telling you how bad Eduardo Rodriguez was. If you just saw those numbers, you’d be like, “This guy with a full-full brain is telling me Ed-Rod is good, and those numbers are showing me Ed-Rod is good-good, so how would he even be a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper?” Good question for someone who doesn’t sound full-full in the head like me. Ed-Rod had a 4.74 ERA last year in 157 2/3 IP. Ha, that’s awful, and why I think a lot of people will be ignoring him. Eduardo Rodriguez was very unlucky in 2020, then in much different ways he was unlucky again in 2021. Focus on his xBA numbers, because that’s what’s gonna f**k us (pun points!):

Look at those xBA’s. That’s crazy. Every single pitch should’ve produced better results, except his slider (more on that in a second). His velocity was down a hair in 2021, but it was really down in April, after a full year off, then it hovered up. Not quite reaching 2019 levels, but close enough. I’m not worried about velocity losses. Fenway is not a great park for BABIPs, so can dismiss some his bad luck across the board, but *that* much bad luck? Did he walk under a ladder on the way out to the mound every game? If he were traded after 2019, and he had a new home park in 2021, I might say these BABIPs might not regress, but this guy is clearly being unlucky and that will correct itself. Quick take away unrelated to the xBA numbers is he’s starting to figure out his slider, which has been a long time in the germination pod. Since 2015, he’s been throwing a slider and the values that it’s produced are all negative, which makes me chuckle a little. He’s still trying it, and it still is not great. Either way, last year was the best, uh, negative it’s been at -0.14. To give you an idea of how to compare that, in 2019, it was -2.31. That’s very bad. Don’t think that means a lot, but if his slider becomes a positive pitch for him to go with his cutter, fastball and change, three pitches that were all extremely positive as recently as 2019, Ed-Rod’s not going to be a sleeper that becomes a number two, but he’ll be an ace.

I’ve been a fan of Ed-Rod for so long, I painted his face on a kitchen cabinet that I call my Ed-Rod cupboard and it’s where I store my Top Gun-themed collectible Big Gulp cups. He’s rewarded me with two seasons of 3.82 and 3.81 (who are you, Khris Davis with the number .247), then I was out last year, due to him missing 2020, but it’s time to get back in. 2022 might be the year where we finally see him realize the immense upside. For 2022, I’ll give Eduardo Rodriguez projections of 14-7/3.77/1.24/217 in 191 IP with a chance for more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Usually I take Saturday pretty light. Wash my hair, get a pedicure, the normal things, but holy schnikes?! Corbin Burnes did what? Mr. Burnes made a vest out of Cleveland. That’s what he did. On Saturday, Burnes went 8 IP, 0 ER, 0 hits, 1 walk, 14 Ks, ERA at 2.25, and Josh Hader (1 IP, 0 ER) finished the no-hitter. Can a guy win the Cy Young off of one start? We have a tool for the best starts of the year, and are you surprised to see Burnes in the top four? (Side note, interesting to see Triston McKenzie up there in the top 10. Side side note, lots of early in the year starts before they checked for Spider Tack. Side side side note, it was also before pitchers were exhausted. Side side side side, look at all those no-hitters.) As far as FIP is concerned, Corbin Burnes is having the best season since 2000. It’s not even close. It’s truly remarkable and if we talk about it from now until next March, we will not have talked about it enough. His 1.50 FIP is the best pitching season for a starter since 2000. The 2nd best is 2014 Clayton Kershaw with 1.81 FIP, and there’s only three starters below a 2.00 FIP. Of those, Corbin Burnes has the best K/9, and the 9th best K/9 since 2000. There’s no starter with a 12+ K/9 with a sub-2 FIP. His K/9 and BB/9 are 12.4 and 1.7 BB/9. Those Burnes numbers are legitimately some of the best I’ve ever seen. Let’s do a thought experiment: With deGrom injured-slash-saying-he’s-not-injured, there’s a table for one at the top of starters for 2022, does Corbin Burnes sneak into the number one slot for top starters for 2022 fantasy baseball? Even if deGrom’s healthy, I’m not sure he’s above Burnes for 2022 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy, Razzfolks!

We’ve reached the end, just about. Playoffs start Monday in Yahoo standard leagues. Kudos to you if you’re still alive and breathing, and I hope us ne’er-do-wells here at Razzball helped you along the way. Or at least I hope we entertained you, if nothing else!

Chicago White Sox fans have a lot of good news coming their way, and doubly so if you’ve got one or more of these guys on your fantasy teams. Let’s see what else this week brought us on the injury front:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy, Razzfolks!

Well, *insert “San Andreas Here We Go Again” meme*

So, we know Thursday’s NYY/BOS game was postponed due to a few positive COVID-19 cases with Yankees players. There were actually more before the All-Star Game. Six in total, and three are fantasy relevant names: Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Jonathan Loaisiga. Now we’ve got an issue with the Rockies, but so far no one terribly fantasy relevant is affected. But the point is this: COVID is absolutely a thing again. And it will continue to be. This delta variant ain’t no joke; be careful out there, y’all.

This week is a quality-over-quantity type injury report. Not as many names as in past editions, but this week’s names are big ones. Arguably the biggest of ones.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello again, Razzgals/bois.

Welp, odds are you done got rekt this week with some injury news one way or the other, especially if you’ve invested heavily in Blue Jays players and a certain MVP candidate on the White Sox. The latter is true for me. Good news is I have my Hardwood Hogs playing for an Elite 8 berth to look forward to tonight. And honestly, if Oral Roberts shocks the world once again, the March Madness fan in me isn’t gonna 100% hate it. I might cry, but some of those tears will be of joy for ORU. Maybe.

Enough about me. Let’s get to those injuries:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Early yesterday, I was staring out my window, the rain slowly rolling down the glass, and from the outside it looked like tears were rolling down my cheeks. From the inside, it also looked like I was crying, because I was. I dramatically turned away from the window, put my hand to my forehead and fell into my Giancarlo beanbag. “Cuddle me, Giancarlo Beanbag,” I whispered into the beanbag I had dressed in a Yankees jersey. On the stereo, Rob Thomas scream-sang, “I want to take you for granted,” and I thought about that. Had I taken Eloy Jimenez for granted? Was this…that? As the wait for injury news dragged on, I wandered out onto the road and stopped a car to ask them if they heard anything on Eloy, and they said, “Are you crazy get off the freeway?” Was I crazy? Was that what this was? So, Eloy Jimenez is out for the year with a ruptured left pectoral tendon. Now allow me to return to playing terrible Matchbox Twenty songs and sobbing IT’S 3 AM AND I MUST BE LONELY. Obviously, my top 500 and top 20 outfielders were updated. Who knew I’d prefer Alloy Jimenez who has been blended with sturdier metals to improve wear. I wonder if CVS has condolence cards for fantasy teams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?