Please see our player page for nick wittgren 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.

Yesterday, Stephen Strasburg went 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 walks, 8 Ks. And, um. That’s roughly one-thousand percent surprising. Take every cat that’s every jumped out of a closet in a movie and put ’em together and you have a catomic bomb of shock and it’s less shocking than how well Strasburg pitched. Take the “I see dead people” twist and put it in The Crying Game “ding dong” twist and that’s nowhere nearly as surprising. Take a surprise party where the guest of honor has a heart attack and you have something, okay, about that surprising. Yet. Dot dot dot. Still don’t trust Strasburg. If you have him, then I wish you well, but it would not be me. Now I’m simply second-guessing whether or not my fears were for naught. By the way, try to say “naught” without sounding like you’re in a movie in South Boston with Ben Affleck. You simply cannot. “Where’s my munchkins?” “I went to Dunkies and they were out.” “Naught?” “Naught.” See what I mean? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH OR $13/MONTH WITH AN EXTRA WEEKLY PODCAST.)

I enter a cave in the coastal region of the Sierra Leone, wearing a pith helmet and other garb you’d see on someone butterfly hunting. Only I’m not searching for a Pussycat Swallowtail. I press my hands to my mouth and call out, “Hey, Buy/Sell column, hey, are you in here!” My echoes reverb back to me with not a sound more. No indication it’s here. Then, suddenly, the Fantasy Baseball Buy/Sell column rises like the WWE wrestler, The Undertaker, and holds a flashlight to its face for great effect, “What do you want?” We need you for another year of fantasy baseball Buy/Sell columns. “Okay, I was bored just laying here under an inch of dirt.” To get in the Buy section of this post, a player needs to be rostered in less than 50% of leagues, and more than 50% for the Sell side, i.e., Welcome back to another year of, “This guy is only owned in 7% of ESPN leagues?! WUT DA WUT!?” Or simply WDW. Okay, enough dinging-a-linging on the side note tip, let’s get down to bidness. Our first buy of the year is Andrew Vaughn. There’s Hobbs’s Andrew Vaughn fantasy, which I won’t be able to supplement in any meaningful way. He covers the stats. The White Sox are on the cusp. They had nothing to wait for in promoting Vaughn, and they didn’t wait. It’s White Boy Summer and Vaughn Chets all the boxes. T. Hanks. The projections don’t love Vaughn — 20/6, .215 average. Yes, that’s 20 homers and six steals in 500 ABs. But there’s not one league where I wouldn’t take a Vaughn flyer. With Eloy going down, the White Sox need all help they can get and they’re not turning to utility man Mendick to starch their socks, so to speak. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have waited a very long time to say this, Happy Opening Day!  Now, with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.  Your H2H league has drafted, we have an 11-day Week 1 (in most formats), and I am here to help you tighten up those categorical needs to help you win every week.  In this weekly segment, I am going to give you some players that can help you win your categories. Contrary to ROTO, you need to strike while the iron is hot on a week-by-week basis!   While I would love to help you out in your 6-team 15×15 with caught stealing and crotch grabs, I am simply going to look at Runs, RBI, HR, Wins, and Saves.  The Ratios will get some love here and there!  Without further ado, let’s get started!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Early on Saturday, I heard the news that Jay Bruce made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, and I was like, “Cool, if this is 2012.” Then I thought, “Is this 2012? Am I time traveler?” Turned out it was not 2012, and I was not a time traveler. Double bummer there. Somehow, Jay Bruce is still only 33 years old, so he might be a time traveler. After my brief flight of fancy through a time portal that didn’t exist, I thought, “That sucks, keeping Bruce over Tauchman. He can’t catch a break. That’s not the bee’s knees, that’s BS.” Then I thought, “I can just curse in my own head, I don’t need to spell out BS.” Then, out of nowhere, I saw the Yankees were keeping Mike Tauchman on the Opening Day roster too, and things began to peel away from my very logical brain. How were the Yanks keeping three 1st basemen? Was everything fine with Luke Voit? Welp, turned out it wasn’t. The Yankees were watching a triple feature of Luke Skylimper; Luke Cool Hand, But Torn Meniscus and Luke Voit in Meniscus Cowboy. After disowning Angelina Jolie, Voit will be undergoing surgery on his torn meniscus in his knee, and will miss at least April and May. This puts the spotlight on Bruce to reclaim his Glory Days, when every speedball wasn’t thrown right by him. Whereas, Tauchman is interesting in AL-Only leagues, if he can get in the lineup. I’ve added neither to my 2021 fantasy baseball rankings, because they might only be platooning for six to eight weeks. In the top 20 1st basemen, I lowered Luke Voit, taking roughly 200 ABs off his projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And the men who hold high places

Must be the ones who start

To mold a new reality

Closer to the heart

 

What? You didn’t know that Toronto-based prog rock band Rush were huge roto baseball fans? That song was released in 1977 — the same year the Toronto Blue Jays played their inaugural season. It’s actually about their love for under-appreciated closer Pete Vuckovich who saved 8 games for the blue birds that year. A lot of us have that same love for certain closers and when it comes to draft time we think with our hearts rather than our heads. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first time in the history of Torres, yours truly will be participating in the NFBC Main Event.  I didn’t do anything to earn that entry, I just decided that it was more worthwhile to invest a lot of money in a fantasy baseball tournament than it was to put food on the table or replace the holey underwear I have on right now. But what if I win? Well, I’ll still be wearing holey underwear but at least I’ll have an extra $150,000 to invest in fantasy baseball next year! While taking down the Main Event would be fantastic, I also recognize that it’s not the most likely outcome.  See, the people I’m playing against are the best of the best, the “sharks” of the fantasy baseball world. A minnow like me is going to need to really prepare and come up with a solid game plan to stand a chance here. So why not kill two birds (or fish) with one stone by writing an article about it and including you in that process?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holds Ain’t Got No Face! 

These poor schlubs. No one’s favorite player is a middle reliever. The middle reliever never gets the girl. The signed middle reliever rookie card never fetches more than a buck-fifty on eBay. 

Yet these working-class heroes continue to go out every day and grind away to bridge the gap between the billion-dollar, sexy starting pitchers and the dark, mysterious closers. 

So here’s to you Graeme Lloyd! Here’s to you Mark Eichhorn! Here’s to you Matt Thornton! And MY personal favorite player of all time — here’s to you Jeff Nelson! 

 

From a fantasy perspective, the middle reliever has been a non-factor since the beginning of roto baseball. In your standard 5×5 leagues there’s just no room for a player who barely contributes in any of the 5 pitching categories. However, after years and years of heart attacks from being forced to draft Fernando Rodney because they missed the closer runs — cardiologists have created a new fantasy category to prevent such cardiac conditions: saves + holds 

Below I’ve ranked the top-40 non-closers for saves + holds leagues. In true Kerry-fashion, I’ve manufactured my own ranking system. I’ve ranked these guys out into three categories: sv/hlds, limiting runs, and K/9 — the three categories that middle relievers can consistently help you in. Limiting runs is a combination of ERA and WHIP — basically, in one inning, a reliever needs to keep guys off the bases — and if there are already guys on the bases — keeping them from scoring runs. You know — like the job of every pitcher! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I kicked off the bullpen parade last week with the AL East. It’s a safe place for us reliever analysts with mostly secure jobs and quality arms. The tradeoff for that comfort is following it up with the AL Central. The odds are far better that all five of these projected closers will be changed out than none of them being replaced. There isn’t a ton of depth either. I suppose that’s what happens when you refuse to spend money. Let’s push through this muck like a swamp on dagobah and hope a little green man imparts us some wisdom in rearranged syntax. Did no one else take a hit of acid for this? Just me? Ok. Fire up the Rage Against the Machine and on to the pens.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The end of the 2019 fantasy baseball will be no easier than the rest of it. Pitching is imploding all around us. Do what you can to stem the tide of disaster and consider an effective middle reliever over a volatile starter.

  • The Brad Hand saga continues. More positivity from the team (shocker!) as they say Hand “looked like himself” in a bullpen session. I guess that’s better than looking like Willie McGee? We’re still locked in the downward spiral of news, shaky outing, rest, repeat. The bullpen usage in Cleveland hasn’t sent any clear message about saves in Hand’s stead. Oliver Perez earned a save of the one out variety while Nick Wittgren is getting used in leverage spots but not getting the final out. Call ups James Karinchak and James Hoyt are also in the mix with Nick Goody and Adam Cimber as other possibilities. Fun times.
  • Turns out Felipe Vasquez is an asshole and a pedophile. Can’t say it was nice knowing you. Enjoy federal pound me in the ass prison. As for the shipwreck that is the Pirates Keona Kela is the lead candidate to close given his stuff and closing experience. Richard Rodriguez could see the ninth if Kela is shaky or gets hurt, as he tends to do.
  • Kenley Jansen blew his eighth save, just after a stretch of solid outings. The Dodgers seem to be committed to him as their closer and want him to get right for the postseason. When you thrive with only an elite cutter the end comes fast when the pitch loses some bite. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jansen retire this offseason when you consider his 2018 heart issue.
  • Matt McGill returned to the head of the closer committee in Seattle notching his fifth save Wednesday. He’s the favorite to finish as their primary closer if he remains healthy.
  • We all roasted the Brewers for acquiring Drew Pomeranz. Who’s laughing now? He’s been an excellent reliever and just picked up his second save. Only having to face batters once clearly suits him with 36 Ks in 21.1 IP.
  • Hunter Harvey is being shut down for the rest of the season with bicep soreness. File his name away as a late dart in the 2020 saves chase.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Was thinking how much I like Harrison Bader and how he feels tailor-made for a 2020 sleeper post, then I had a deep thought. No, not my deep thought about oat milk, but if you wanna hear that one, it goes like this. The dairy industry invented oat milk because when you order, “Coffee with oat milk,” you invariably get a coffee without milk, and it makes you appreciate dairy much more. I’m onto you, industrial dairy complex! But my deep thought about fantasy baseball sleepers was:  If every hitter is great, doesn’t it make more sense to only look at pitchers who are sleepers?  Anyone can tell you so-and-so hitter is a sleeper, because they will likely hit 30+ homers, but every hitter hits 30+ homers, so bleh! More discussion for the offseason, I guess. Yesterday, Harrison Bader went 2-for-4 with two homers (9, 10) as he hits .213. He’ll be 26 years old in 2020, and way past the point when he should have an everyday job, and we care because he has 20/15/.250 potential. Reminds me a bit of all the Bradley Zimmer/Clint Frazier sleeper posts over the years, and now I want nothing to do with him. Obviously, with three homers in last four games, he’s hot, but, as the eight-hole hitter, I’m once again wondering about pitcher sleepers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?