Please see our player page for Sergio Romo 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.

We know spring training is fully underway when a bunch of arms break. We’re sure to see more as soreness becomes less general and more devastating to our early drafts. The four-tier format is back for our closer report. This week, pandemic foodstuff themed tiers. I’d laugh but for fear that might cause me to cough resulting in those nearby turning mob justice on me. Let’s get to some news and notes on the reliever front first.

  • Emmanuel Clase – He of the hardest cutter in baseball is starting his Cleveland career off on a sour note. A back strain will likely sideline him for 8-12 weeks. This opens the door for fellow reliever wunderkind James Karinchak to solidify a leverage role. If you want a job relieving for Cleveland just have a hard to spell name, throw gas, and be in your early 20’s.
  • Jose Alvarado – Don’t look now but Alvarado looks sharp as ever. But Roto-Wan, Nick Anderson is *the* it closer of draft season?!? I have no issue with Anderson’s stuff, just his role. He factors into their ninth inning, no doubt. Let me ask you this, though. He saved some games for them last year since they’re a team that’s the most progressive in leverage roles, right? No? Ok, well he came over from Miami, who’s bullpen was a collection of molding leftovers. He racked up a bunch of saves there, surely? How about one save. Well, at least he’s a young prospect? Turns 30 in June. I don’t mean to rain on your Nick Anderson parade, and by “don’t” I mean I do, but he’s far from a lock. I’m betting on Alvarado seeing some of their saves as the lefty side of a committee in every league I draft that uses RPs.
  • Brandon Kintzler – Things are not off to a great start this spring for the presumptive Marlins closer. Like, walking four straight batters bad. I’d consider a spec play on Ryne Stanek early on.
  • Ryan Helsley – I’m not the Helsley guy but some people I respect (see: Matt Thompson, Nick Pollack) have made it a point to draft the young Cardinal in the late rounds. Their ninth inning is a mess to predict, as usual. Helsley also has an outside shot at the rotation it seems, depending on the health of their assumed starters.
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Rosie is the latest zombie reliever. He’s always been able to light up radar guns. He just has zero command at times, as in most of the time. The command seems to be there this spring, however. KC would love to add any talent it can to baseball’s most mediocre bullpen.
  • 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?

Oh, Marcus Stroman.  You poor, poor soul. Can we take bets on how hard the Mets tried to include Mickey Callaway in the deal? It is so Mets to suddenly think of themselves as contenders. Blue Jays to Pirates, “Thank you for making the Mets believe again.”  We’ll see how much Stroman enjoys throwing ground ball pitches with that defense behind him. Amed Rosario plays balls two feet to his left into a diving try. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if this move leads to the Mets trading away Wheeler and Syndergaard, as they change their rotation vs. thinking Stroman is some catalyst. He has a 7.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 3.52 FIP, so he’s not bad. A bit yawnstipating, but in the NL out of the AL East makes me a buyer of Stroman vs. ignoring him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At this point in the season, nearly all of the highly dependable closers are off the waiver wire. However, given the significant turnover at the closer position, there are still arms that pop up that can be a viable source of saves. The window to pounce on them can be small, so it is imperative to stay on top of who has been getting the save chances and react accordingly. Below I have 3 closers all less than 25% owned on ESPN. For those in deeper leagues these guys may be gone already, but they are all available in 75% or more of ESPN leagues. I have listed them in order of their value in my eyes.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wonder what Keith Law aka [email protected] thinks about Yordan Alvarez. *searches through transcripts of Klaw chats, which he calls a Koffee Klawtch* Hmm, that’s weird. He didn’t rank Yordan in his preseason top 100. Prospect Mike had him at 27 overall in the top 50 for fantasy baseball prospects.  “Hello, Mr. Skywriter?  Yes, can I pay you to fly above [email protected]’s home with the message, ‘Oops.’ Where does he live? Hmm, I’ve been training my dog to sniff out bad takes, so I just need a few hours and a box of Milkbones.”  On our Prospectonator, Yordan is ranked in the top 5. Again, with some stank, [email protected] didn’t even rank him in the top 100.  I get it; he’s doing real baseball vs. fantasy. The problem is real baseball has become fantasy. Do people even care about defense anymore?  The Orioles top pick overall is a catcher who is already in talks about moving off that position.  Just one more time — he didn’t rank Yordan Alvarez in his preseason top 100!  Are we even comprehending how crumby with cracker crumbs this is?  Any hoo!  Heir Yordan had 23 homers and a .343 average in 56 games of Triple-A.  I will now laugh myself into coughing fit.  Yo, Yordan, you Babe Ruth?  I know what you’re thinking, how long has he been in Triple-A, is he old?  He’s 21 years old.  No idea of the Astros’ plans for him, and, if by some stroke of the malocchio, he doesn’t hit, I guess he could get sent down. However, I think Tyler White’s done and Yuli Guli sounds like an anime character who can’t hit, so even when George Springer, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa — damn, you wrestling gators in hopes of passing the Yanks for most injured players? — return, I think Yordan is here to stay, and, yesterday, his 1-for-3 with his 1st homer is just the start.  Get him accordingly.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jordan Lyles was exceptional Friday night capturing his second win of the year going six strong innings allowing just four hits, a walk and striking out six. He now leads the league with a 0.53 ERA. Mazel tov, Jordan, and happy Pesach! Well, someone clearly did not observe the High Sabbath last night. He had better things to do, busy mowing down the San Francisco hitters. So is the Bucs pitching coach Ray Searage is a miracle worker or a Three Eyed Raven or some kind of warg magic man?? The Pirates pitching staff now boasts a league best 2.54 ERA. But back to Jordan. Lyles has now struck out 16 over his past two starts and holds some real pretty ratios like that league leading 0.53 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP with an 19/5 K/BB. Yes, more please. Put that on your seder plate. After the all star break last year, Lyles started relying more on a combination of his curve ball and 4-seam fastball and benefited from this greatly posting a 3.00 ERA with hitters batting just .213 against him. His curve ball, in particular, can be pretty nasty when its on and when he’s mixing in the 4-seamer effectively Jordan has looked like a dominant pitcher. Seems like he’s brought this strategy with him to Pittsburgh and things with Searage have clicked. He had his outing shortened Friday after taking a line drive off the hand but the injury does not appear to be serious and he is expected to make his next start Wednesday versus Arizona. Lyles is available in over 75% of fantasy leagues and worth your streaming consideration at the very least. He’s starting to look like a steal for Pittsburgh, and he seems like a real mensch you may not want to Pass over!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, Rudy says to me, “You should get into a Best-Ball league?”  And I replied, “Is that a fantasy league where everyone drafts in blue Polos like you work at Best Buy?”  Then I saw those three little dots like he was typing something, then they disappeared.  Then I saw the three dots again, and, alas, they disappeared again. Finally, he responded, “You don’t think that do you?”  After googling what Best-Ball was, I replied, “No, jokes, man, jokes!”  So, I got myself in my first Best-Ball league.  Everyone likely knows what it is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are the best players, and you get those stats.  It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Drafting with me in my league was Elon Musk, Issac Asimov–Okay, I keed.  Anyway, here’s my NFBC Best-Ball, Points League, 10 team draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NL WestNL Central | NL East | AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!  Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign… Note that those two signings can instantly eliminate some of the position battles detailed herein.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Briefly alluded to Stephen Piscotty in yesterday’s roundup and how I’d love to the see the A’s go deep in the playoffs.  Do I think they will?  Can pigs fly?  No, though, Puig can hit deep flies, and lick inanimate objects like he’s a fly regurgitating his food.  The A’s have two starters and they’re named Mike Fiers and Edwin Jackson (5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.18).  So, that’s an uphill battle as they say on the way to the soap box derby starting line.  They do have a well-balanced offense, which is a little crazy when you think about their home park.  Ron Jeremy has less foul territory.  Oakland is a top five offense, and their park, as it always has been, is a bottom five park for offense.  That’s so backwards it’s like, “I’m getting so lucky on Tinder recently!”  Then finding out you’ve actually been opening 23 and Me and you’re banging your cousins.  At the forefront of the A’s attack — A’stack? — is obviously Khris Davis (2-for-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI), but ‘a little dab will do ya’ with Semien (3-for-5, 1 run, 5 RBIs), every Semien encounter begins with a Martini (3-for-6, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer), and Matt “Thank God I’m Not Matt Olson” Chapman (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) has been on one since July, but Stephen Piscotty is having the year everyone expected from him when he was on the Cards.  I know he had some personal issues, but he might be the first player ever to not be better on the Cards vs. anywhere else they’ve gone.  Piscotty went 2-for-3, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and hit his 26th homer with back-to-back huge games, and in the last 20 games, he’s hitting .338 with eight homers and 26 RBIs.  For 2019, what can he do?  Piscotty doesn’t know!  Piscotty doesn’t know!  But I do.  He can do what he’s been doing this season, a solid third outfielder with 2nd outfielder upside.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*spraypaints Foltynewicz incorrectly on the bumper of my car*  “Okay, Cougs, now back this car up over my head.  Why are you arguing with me?  I see the way you look at me when I burp in public, just back the damn car up over my head!  I’m looking for a visual metaphor here!”  So, how was your Monday?  Mine was just terrific!  Not as terrific as Ryan Borucki, apizzarently.  On my tombstone it’s going to read, “He died from a miserable September in his fantasy leagues, of course.  Dur.”  I mean, Jesus Aguilar Christmas Effin’ Christ, what in the holy name!  Okay, okay, OKAY!  Back to Borucki.  Yesterday, he went 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.86, which is a helluva lot better than Faultywhichwhich!  Borucki’s K-rate (6.1), his walk rate (2.8) and his 4.57 xFIP leave piles and piles to be desired.  However (throw out everything Grey just said!), the Stream-o-Nator does like his next start a teensiest bit, and I could see streaming him.  “Now back up the car!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?