Please see our player page for Rafael Dolis 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.

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?

So, I got the 5th pick. How’s your day going? At the Winter Meetings? That’s cool, same. Maybe you’ve seen me in the lobby, I’m wearing a floral arrangement on my head while I hide in a pot. Wait, there’s no Winter Meetings, that’s right. I mean there is, a group of billionaires are Zoom’ing into the Winter Meetings where the hottest commodity is a guy who was a backup catcher last year. Hey, Jon Heyman, stop leaking McCann news. I ate a few too many Olestra-laden potato chips and McCann is leaking! It’s none of your business! Last week, I took part in an NFBC team league, and here is, as the people say who are trying on hats, my recap. For those not in the know, this is a 15-team, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. You draft it, and manage it. Weekly moves for pitchers, bi-weekly (rawr!) for hitters, changing out on Monday and Friday. I didn’t want the fifth pick. I wanted any pick but the fifth pick. As I see it, there’s an obvious top four (Sexy Dr. Pepper, Tildaddy, FTJ, Mookie Best), then…Dot dot dot…Question mark. What now? I didn’t want to think for the 1st pick, but the automated draft picker thing (that’s its name) said I was the most qualified to think, so I thought. Or I just screwed up my pre-draft rankings for which pick I wanted. Like a teamster, I’m leaning on the latter. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

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Rookie Alec Bohm continued his explosive September Friday night going two for three with a run and an RBI in game one and one for three with a run and his first career steal in the second game. Oh my, did he just steal a base! *swoons* Alec’s underwhelming power to start his career has made it hard on hilarious jokesters like myself who just want to pun all day and improv all night. No bombs for Bohm? What about a nice lip balm? Does that work? Fret not, Bohm-dot-com has picked it up lately with two Bohm-bombs in the past week. So maybe Alec is more of an opposite field contact guy than a  ding dong dinger guy? Or maybe it’s his first year in the league and once he adjusts he’ll be a monster and yes I’m absolutely going to draft him everywhere in 2021? Melikes the latter one most. His manager thinks he’s a future 40 home run hitter and Gabe Kapler seems to know exactly what’s up. *hard cough* But forget about the power for a sec, Alec has multi-hit games in nine of his last 20 starts, and has hit safely in all but two games this month. He’s slashing .359/.400/.551 with three Bohm bombs and 14 RBI in September and that’s no joke! I almost wrote this lede about another scrubby Red Sox prospect, but I didn’t (you’re welcome!) because I noticed Bohm was a BUY and was still criminally under owned at less than 35%! What gives? He should have been scooped up in August. Bohm could be the dot, dot, dot…spark your team needs to dot, dot, dot…explode in your final week of fantasy. I’m sorry, I have t,–and you have to pick up Bohm and win your final week. This kid’s gonna be a star–ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Am I recycling a headline pun? Yes. We have two weeks left in the baseball season, are you going to hold it against me? Oh, you are? Fine. I don’t blame you. Just as long as you don’t hold it against me when the closers I offer up gash your ratios. The 2020 season has been very, well 2020-ish in regards to bullpens.

  • Stefan Crichton was the reliever that made sense to get the Diamondbacks closer gig based on performance so of course, they handed it to the struggling Kevin Ginkel. That experiment turned bad quickly enough. Crichton has gotten the call since to earn three straight saves.
  • Ken Giles goes back to the IL just as quickly as he returned from it. That does it for his 2020. Rafael Dolis should stay firmly atop that pen.
  • It appears more is going on with Brandon Workman than Joe Girardi just trying out all his closer options. He came in to a tie game last night and served up a homer and RBI triple. Workman had last appeared in the seventh (of a nine-inning game) and walked two while giving up three hits. Hector Neris has moved back into the closer role but literally dropped the ball in his last appearance, resulting in a balk that led to that runner scoring from second. Something is barking in his kinetic chain if I had to guess.
  • Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the San Francisco waters Gabe Kapler starts getting all Gabe Kaplery. He used Tony Watson to face the bottom of the order in the seventh and went with Sam Selman for the ninth. G’abe la vie.
  • There’s no lack of blown saves for the Cardinals back end options. I really can’t tell you who gets the next crack it. Maybe the just say yolo and try to let Alex Reyes cook in the ninth.
Please, blog, may I have some more?

Down the stretch we come. Two weeks remaining of the MLB season and hopefully, this article finds you in the playoffs. I’ve tried to recommend relatively low-owned options all year long and that’s not changing at this point. This week the juggernaut offense of the Miami Marlins gets eight games over the next six days. I jest a little by calling them juggernauts, but over the last 14 days, the Marlins have posted a team wOBA of .334 – good for 11th in the league. Their opponents in this stretch are the Red Sox (3) and the Nationals (5). While they do face Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, none of the other starting pitchers is anything to be scared of. Shoot, even Scherzer and Corbin have combined for a 4.07 ERA this year. After the starters, the Marlins bats will face bullpens that have posted 5.00+ ERAs on the year. So, who can help us this week from the Marlins? Since Jon Berti hit the IL, Corey Dickerson (25.8% ESPN, 35% CBS) has been leading off against right-handed pitchers. Jesus Aguilar (20.1% ESPN, 45% CBS) has quietly had a really nice rebound season. He’s reduced his strikeout rate for the 4th consecutive year and can help you in every category other than stolen bases. Miguel Rojas (10.3% ESPN, 18% CBS) returned from an IL stint and has batted close to .400 and has chipped in a pair of steals over the last two weeks. If you’re desperate at catcher, Jorge Alfaro (7.1% ESPN, 31%) has posted a decent batting average and has chipped in a pair of stolen bases. Finally, Garrett Cooper (10.2% ESPN, 22% CBS) provides multi-positional eligibility and has mashed three homers over the last two weeks. If there’s a specific category you feel that your team is lacking, pick your favorite Marlin. Let’s take a look at some other options to help you out down the stretch.

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Two weeks of baseball left, kids!  If you’re still in the thick of things in your fantasy league, congrats — and if you’re not… well, maybe you actually still are, because things can change in a hurry in a 10-week season.  Let’s peruse a few names that may be of interest as we approach the end of the year, particularly to those of us in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues.

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(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

Andujar could be used to describe the entire Yankees team this year. Not Miguel Andujar, but just walking around, looking at the team and saying, “Andujar?…Andujar?…Andujar?” It’s like a family reunion that you don’t want to be at.

“I’m Tyler Wade…Andujar?”
“That’s right, I’m Miguel Andujar.”
“I just said, I’m Tyler Wade.”

Their bullpen is especially, “And…u…jar?”

“I’m Adam Ottavino.”
“You sure don’t seem like ujar.”

If anyone were asking Miguel Andujar, “Andujar?” He could say a 2018 breakout, who had his 2019 cut short to only 12 plate appearances, so should be totally thrown out. How he went from a 2018 breakout to completely ignored by the Yankees in a Year of “Andujar?” is surprising, but likely has to do with his inability to play defense. Since the Yankees are all “Andujar?”, they don’t have many options to not Andujar, and he could be a solid bet for power. In a small sample — that’s what she said! — he has a ~43% Hard Hit%. His swing is kinda flat, bordering on ground ball-heavy, but well worth the flyer that he can hit more flyers. So, stop asking “Andujar?” and starting stating, “Andujar.” Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Are you tired of me complaining about how drastically so many bullpens are changing week to week yet? WELL GUESS WHAT? I’m gonna do it again. And probably again next week. Just assume I do it until Grey agrees to kick me a bonus for every change to the closer board. Even with the upheaval, most of it’s at the lower rungs. Which is nice at least. Tiers are football slate themes with the NFL kicking off last night (all you baseball purists making a face at the mention of football can go watch a Colts-Jaguars TNF game).

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In the first of sixteen doubleheaders yesterday, we were treated to The Bobby Dalbec Show, starring…Bobby Dalbec. *Bobby enters stage right and the crowd quiets* One boy in the front row of the black & white audience stands and points, “It’s the resurrection of the great Red Sox legend, Bobby Doerr!” Then an usher points, “Oh, my God, Dalbec is present tense for Doerr!” Another argumentative guy screams, “Yo, Bobby Dalbec, what’s the deal with Red Ruffing? He die from huffing? From being a Red? Screw socialism!” Yesterday, Bobby Dalbec, local hero, and all-around Red Sox player, went 3-for-6, 4 RBIs with his 4th and 5th homer in, like, two games. His power isn’t without its ceiling, but that ceiling is on the moon. He could be a 35-homer guy in the majors. The big drawback is–Wait a second, did he have a 50% strikeout rate going into the doubleheader? Hey, Dalbec, B. Doerr, don’t B. Don’ter. Dalbec might hit .205 for the immediate future, but he eventually finds contact once he gets comfortable in a league. For this year, Dalbec or Moistasskiss? Ya know what I’m saying, go with the hot hand and Bobby Doerr’s present tense. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Have you seen A Bronx Tale

If so, perhaps the $20 lesson is enough to share the moment in my mind with your mind. 

If not, I am morally obligated to recommend that film and writerly obligated to describe a small scene that has stayed with me across two decades. 

Our main character sees a guy who owes him 20 bucks. The guy sees him too and takes off running. Our main character is stopped from pursuing by his, let’s say mentor, who asks if he likes this guy with the 20 bucks. No. Not at all. He does not like him. So the mentor re-framed the context. Our main character paid $20 to get a guy he doesn’t like out of his life forever. Seems like a small win in that light to our character in that moment, but to me, it landed like few lines of dialog ever have. Perspective. It’s a kind of magic we could cast a little more often with a little help from our friends. 

Atlanta has decided Mike Foltynewicz can keep the 20. They’re moving onto bigger and better things. Things like Tucker Davidson throwing 100 miles per hour from the left side.

Please, blog, may I have some more?