Please see our player page for Steve Cishek 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?

So there I am — minding my own business after putting the finishing touches on a blurb about Leury Garcia and Razzball’s CEO, COO, CFO, HMO, RKO, HBO, Master Lothario, his royal Greyness himself drops this bomb on the Twittersphere: 

“#1 rookie who is not being drafted high who will end up being picked up in 75% of leagues the 1st week:  Nick Madrigal. White Sox added Yasmani, Edwin, signed Lou Bob and they’re going to give the 2nd base job to Leury Garcia? Cmon. Read writing on wall.”

What do I do? I wasted so much time justifying Leury as the lone sleeper bat on this team. Everyone else in this lineup is being appropriately drafted or is a prospect that everyone knows about. There’s Nomar Mazara I guess — but he’s got a Khris Davis-like consistency to not hit over 20 HRs. Do I embrace the potential roasting I’ll receive from Grey? Do I delete the 450 words I wrote about Garcia and lie to myself about some other player? Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I! I will survive! If things go south for Garcia — Madrigal is obviously sitting there in waiting — but I’m still a believer in the potential of Garcia. 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

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?

Minnesota’s resident bad boy Miguel Sano continues his triumphal return to crushing baseballs and dinging dongs Friday night with his fifth home run (a solo shot) off Reynaldo Lopez in the third inning. Let it Sano. Let it Sano. Well, you get it. It seems like everyone on the Twins is having a career year so far, and Miguel has returned from the IL just in time to get on this sweet 2019 Twinkie action. He’s now slashing .250/.333/.857 with five home runs and nine RBI through seven games. Yes, you read that correct, five home runs in seven games. Extrapolate that. Calculating….calculating…calculating. Let’s see he’s on pace to hit 76 home runs from now until August. Hmm, wait that seems wrong. Irregardless! He’s 7-for-28 in the past week and five of those seven hits have gone yard-o, folks. If that doesn’t make your happy memorial day I don’t know what can. Sure, he’s got 11 strikeouts already, but he’s also slugging .857. This is Miguel Sano. This is what you’re signing up for. He swings and misses with the best in and biz but when he connects *kisses fingertips* mmm, grazie.  He’s available in over 60% of leagues, but that number should shrink quite a bit once the Minneapolis die-hards wake up. He was a BUY and he’s definitely worth a flier if you need power, especially while he’s sending every baseball he touches to the moon. Pick him up, Sano you want to!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the time when prospects are called up fast approaching, it’s appropriate for us to take this time to walk past the fallen rookies of the past. Sorta like the Rites of Passage walk on Survivor when they burn all of the Survivors’ belongings that didn’t make it to the end. When I write it out, it sounds like something Germany did in the 1940s. Any the hoo! I’m feeling nostalgic as we look ahead to some young players.  So, here’s what I wrote about what Keith Law wrote back a few years, “Here we have the number one pick in the 2008 MLB draft, Tim Beckham. Actual Keith Law quote, ‘(Beckham has) the best chance of anybody in this draft pool to be a superstar.’  Good stuff, Keith, thank you.  Next up, Jesus Montero and Zach McAllister. Actual Keith Law quote from a chatscript: Question, ‘Could Montero be an All-Star level 1B?’ Answer from Law, ‘Yes.’ So succinct, have to love that when you’re right. Question, ‘How do you project McAllister?’ Law answer, ‘At least a #3.’ At least! Hashtag nailed it.  These are fun, let’s do more! Another question posed to him, ‘I’ve heard contrasting things about Dustin Ackley’s power. Based on what you’ve seen what is Ackley’s ceiling in terms of HR/year?’ Keith, or Klaw as he calls himself, said, ‘I could see 20-25. I’d say Ackley’s chance for 30 HR power is 20%.’ Okay, one more (though I could do this all day) actual Keith Law quote, and this one is classic because he name drops his alma mater. In 2009, someone asked him, ‘Shouldn’t Teheran be higher on (Law’s prospect) list than Jeff Locke?’ Keith said, ‘Are you asking me or telling me? When I first got to Harvard, there was this variety show that some upperclassmen put on during freshman week, and one guy had a funny routine about ‘flexers’ — students who would ask bogus questions that were really designed to state opinions or try to show off knowledge. (Grey comment, “Sounds like a riot!”) Obviously, the answer is ‘no,’ since I ranked Locke over Teheran. It’s incredibly naive to ignore probability when ranking prospects.’ I do enjoy a pompous ass. I wonder if he has a post.harvard.edu email address. Of course, he does! His email is likely [email protected]”  And that’s me savoring in the deliciousness of Keith Law’s perception and humbleness!  This brings us to Tyler White and Yuli Gurriel–Wait, no it doesn’t.  It brings me to Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, the guys we’re hoping replace White and Yuli.  By the way, Yuli’s impersonation of a white man’s eyes — not cool.  Why do we care so much about Yordan and Tucker?  I mean, I even put them in the video at the top of this page.  We care because their Triple-A numbers are on par with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s.  Yordan and Tucker are flat-out raking.  Yordan has been otherworldy; Tucker is on the 40-man roster and been other otherworldly for the last month.  Both guys should be up very soon and owned in all leagues until they’re either promoted, untenable to hold, stop hitting in the minors or are traded for Jeff Locke. Don’t make me do my funny routine about flexers.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The damn is breaking on many bullpens, with holes springing in a good amount of others. If you landed a top tier arm consider yourself immensely lucky. The rest of us schmoes will be in the bullpen garbage heaps looking for a few cans to trade for a nickel. The tiers are GIF themed this week, so no one has to think too hard.

  • Sean Newcomb has transitioned to the bullpen well. He’s ditched his changeup in favor of his wipeout curveball. If he limits the walks he will get opportunities to close. Especially with groundball pitcher Luke Jackson finally running into so bad luck on balls getting through the infield. Managers usually feel like extreme groundballers are better eighth-inning options.
  • The Rockies will have to promote someone with Wade Davis hitting the IL. Scott Ohberg has been pretty good since last season and figures to be the fill in. Remember that logic doesn’t always apply when guessing at manager decisions, though. Bryan Shaw and Carlos Estevez have both closed before. They could be worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.
  • All signs were pointing to Jose Leclerc returning to his closing role. Shawn Kelley came off the IL and spit in the face of those hoping for a Leclerc save, closing out two straight. For what it’s worth Leclerc was warming up a few nights ago when Chris Martin got in trouble. Still, if Kelley is getting it done they may see where he takes them.
  • The Nationals bullpen has turned into a plague ship ever since signing Trevor Rosenthal. Coincidence?
  • Boston is ready to throw in the towel on Ryan Brasier as closer. They can’t seem to find any to replace him. This is obviously because Matt Barnes insulted Alex Cora’s mother. Someone named Marcus Walden blew a save Wednesday. Brandon Workman notched a save Monday but was then used in the middle innings the rest of the week. I added a couple of Workman shares since his 13.3 K/9 is stellar and the BB/9 has been better in May.
  • Steve Cishek has done a bang-up job since Pedro Strop hit the IL. Between that and Strop’s history as a setup man, Cishek may be the guy for the foreseeable future. Sorry, what’s that? They still have Brandon Morrow? I can’t hear you over my own roaring laughter.
    Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Braves called up Austin Riley this week, which is news to the guy in your league who went into shock when he realized he drafted Travis Shaw, Ender Inciarte and Rougned Odor in all leagues.  That person sounds suspiciously like me.  The Braves sharted Super Two Status as one might shart it when they can just sign Riley to a ten-year deal worth $45,000 annually.  As someone who is paid in pennies from advertisers, that sounds pretty Eflin good.  If you notice in the video at the top of this post, Riley is Anime Grey’s Buy, and that needs to be animated about a week ahead of time, so I was thinking about this Buy for some time now.  I was spurred on by Prospect Mike’s Austin Riley post last Sunday, when he alerted me that the Braves began to play Riley in the outfield.  As they say in any rest stop bathroom, the writing’s on the wall and someone’s about to get it in the rear, Ender.  In Triple-A, Riley hit 15 homers in only 37 games (144 ABs), and looks capable of 30+ homers in the majors.  Even the conservative-with-rookies Steamer projects him for 25 homers on the Prospectonator.  Ender might return at some point; Riley could slump; your degree from a liberal arts college where you majored in Wingdings font could be helpful, but for now Ender’s garbage; Riley should be owned; and you’re only qualified to work at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s getting ugly in the reliever market. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and promotions have wrung much of the top talent out of the scene.  Much like the bazaar in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle there’s stuff everywhere, but it’s hard to find what you need. Also, there’s a basket with a cobra in it. You just have to hope the Rock shows up and start throwing people through walls. I don’t actually know what the fantasy baseball equivalent of that is. I’ve gotten off track here thinking about the Rock’s ridiculous biceps, as per uzhe. I’ll wrap up this lede in ramble with a comparison Jumanji’s theme: the only way to win the game of relievers is to play and win.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hope our five girl readers had a beautiful Mother’s Day yesterday. I sent my mother a trade offer sending her Tyler Flowers and Goodrum. She appreciated the thought. Also, I wore pink the entire day for you mothers, because that is a very girly color that baseball keeps perpetuating every year. Why can’t mothers be into purple or lavender or mauve or rose or fuchsia or flamingo or other shades of a color similar to purple or pink? How about next year all players wear lavender pants suits for Mother’s Day? Ooh, I have an idea. Since all pink bats are relegated to the trash bin after Mother’s Day, how about players use them again to raise awareness to spay or neuter your pets?  Like an in-heat bitch (medical term in vet school), George Springer was hot with that pink bat (more vet med terms), going 5-for-5, 5 runs, 4 RBIs with his 14th and 15th homer, hitting .321.  The good news is he’s finally living up to his top 10 potential.  The bad news is his owners from last year are on suicide watch.  But, hey, it’s not us, right?! (Actually, it is me. Damn.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?