Please see our player page for Taylor Rogers 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?

Head-to-head fantasy baseball encompasses some of my favorite parts of fantasy – rivalries, strategies, and ties. Okay, maybe not that last one, but overall, it’s my favorite format to play. Like in roto leagues, you’re focused on compiling stats in your scoring categories (homers, runs, steals, strikeouts, etc.), but your matchup resets each week and you’re on to the next opponent.

Punting is one of my favorite strategies in H2H Categories, mostly because it allows me to not pay a premium for saves or speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a) punting both or, b) fully punting either, but I do recommend a version of punting that I feel gives you an advantage over your opponents.

Here’s our disclaimer – This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You know your league and your in-season management ability. If you’re an owner who is excellent at scooping up new closers, then punting saves is a reasonable strategy to explore. These strategies are also not meant to be half-assed. If you’re leaving your draft knowing you need to find steals on the wire, take the time to find those steals. Now that you’ve been warned, enter the punting dungeon……if you dare.

 

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?

Generally, when it comes to closers I’m not interested in blowing too much draft capital. There are two reasons why. First, closers lose their jobs so frequently—by virtue of injury, poor high-leverage performance in small samples, or trade deadline deals—that it’s not worth investing too much draft capital in them. Second, because so many lose their jobs, others will always be available on the waiver wire at various times throughout the season. Look no further than 2019’s top two closers who both lost their jobs: Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen. They not only lost the closer role, but they also wasted top-75 picks for their fantasy owners.

Recently, I took part in a mock draft where I selected three closers: Brad HandTaylor Rogers, and Ian Kennedy. I got them at picks 113, 176, and 224, respectively. After the draft, I wrote about my picks, which required me to research them in greater detail. And diving deeper into Hand, Rogers, and Kennedy only strengthened my resolve not to draft closers early.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know how you bought that prosthetic pierced nipple in college? Then, one day, you were at a strong-in-energy kegger and everyone was screaming for you to jump in the pool, but you knew there was a 99% chance your prosthetic pierced nipple would come off and everyone would know you’re a fraud? But you jumped in anyway, and your prosthetic pierced nipple floated away, but, to your surprise, everyone liked you still, without the prosthetic pierced nipple. Lucas Giolito is your tan-lined nipple without the prosthetic piercing. He may get hit around occasionally, he might not always get Ks, but, at the end of the day, Lucas Giolito (6 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA at 3.42) is a great, bare-nippled pitcher.  His 11.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.35 FIP tell me next year he’s going to be a sneaky top 15 starter in 2020, who is forgotten like a prosthetic pierced nipple. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Had our 1st mega trade. Or as far as Trevor Bauer is concerned, might be our first MAGA trade too.  Take it easy, it’s a joke.  An everyday occurrence and tempers flaring might be hard to distinguish for Trevor Bauer since he will now see red all the time. Interestingly, Bauer wasn’t throwing his last pitch for the Indians the other day, he was throwing his 1st pitch towards Cincy. The Indians should be embarrassed of themselves for selling off their big frontline pitcher as they hold their Wild Card chances in their hands.  Notice I didn’t say the Indians should be red-faced.  Hey, they’re the ones still with the name. Bauer has been down a tad this year compared to last. Not just obviously in ERA, but his Ks are down, walks are up, homers are way up, which won’t play well in Cincy, but I will say he was way over his head last year with a 2.21 ERA, so he’s likely still a 3.50-ish ERA pitcher with great Ks in Cincy and the NL.  He should be able to chuck balls over Great American’s fence with greater ease too. So win-win.  Going the other way and the rest of the news, well…Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Jurickson store called and they’re out of you so please report back to your nearest Jurickson store, because the A’s called up Franklin Barreto, who was named PCL Player of the Month. I just want to see Barreto on top of a Caprese salad, and then I’m going to dream I’m in Tuscany with Diane Lane and will hang a Do Not Disturb sign from my door for three whole minutes.  “Diane, did you enjoy that as much as I did?”  “I’ve never been satisfied.  Can I call you Hugh Jack-in-the-Box?”  “I’d be honored.”  Then we return from Tuscany and get bogged down in bills…stress…PTA meetings, but we’d always have three minutes in Tuscany to remember fondly.  In June, Franklin Burrata collected nine homers, three lasagnas and 13 doubles, and he hit .387 with 32 RBIs. His overall minors numbers were 65/12/48/.296/13 in 277 ABs.  He’s now on his 3rd call-up to the majors, and each time his Ks have skyrocketed like the fireworks that Diane saw in her eyes after our three minutes.  Franklin Barreto will be the A’s regular second baseman moving forward, and Bob Melvin is excited to see what he can do. I’m with Bob!  Which is what I say in every south Florida massage parlor, after explaining I want Lui-Sue to pretend she’s Diane Lane.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

¡Hola!  Me llamo es Gris. ¡Bienvenido! Hoy en el SuperMercado Barridos tenemos una venta especial. The Bumblebee Man runs through screaming, “¡ESPECIAL!” ¡Gracias, Señor Miel! Ahora, cuando digo ir, tienes que correr por el SuperMercado y encontrar un bateador que te pueda dar poder y velocidad. “¡ESPECIAL!” Okay, Señor Miel, eso es suficiente.  “¡ESPECIAL!” Rápidamente se está volviendo claro por qué te vas a extinguir. “¡ESPECIAL” ¡Hayzeus Cristo, callate la boca, tienes tiempo sexy con tu madre! So, Oscar Mercado has 8 homers, 20 steals and a .305 average in 59 games, which is, ya know, your standard top 10 outfielder pace of 22/54/.300. You didn’t know he played that many games?  Well, because he didn’t.  I was combining his Triple-A and major league numbers, but, with how the ball is jumping out of stadiums, I think that’s fair. Don’t agree?  Don’t care.  Mercado is ESPECIAL!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s not easy writing a post about a hitter that went bingo-bango on your pitcher three times. Why the hell was Trevor Bauer in the game for 119 pitches?  Did Bauer invite Tito Francona to his house for one of his baseball player meet-and-greets and serve him coconut water? Cause if he did that, then hell hath no fury like someone served coconut water.  “Is this sweet…perspiration?”  That’s me drinking coconut water.  Trevor Bauer (8 IP, 5 ER, 8 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.93) has the Twitter handle BauerOutage and, gotta be honest, it’s meaning something that he’s not intending this season.  It’s like 1977 in New York City power outage and Son of Sam is talking to his dog about what a mess my fantasy pitching is, due to Bauer.  Any hoo!  Max Kepler went to-the-window-to-the-wall three times yesterday (4-for-4, 4 RBIs, hitting .266) with his 13th, 14th, and 15th homer, and is doing what I always dreamt of, only I was dreaming about it in 2017. See, I’m accurate about everything, except years.  Right now, on our Player Rater, Kepler is around the 25th best outfielder.  However, before his home run yesterday, he was hitless for close to a week, so it shows you his hot and cold natural.  Right now, it’s Max Power:

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This weekend Jay Bruce was traded to the Phillies, because, as the front office in Philly put it, “We’re sick of our autocorrect writing Bruce Harper.  Now we write Bruce Harper and rather than backspacing we can just continue on and we’ve typed out two-thirds of our outfield.  Next we have to try to get Michael Chavis, for our issue with the autocorrect Michael Franco.”  Guys and five girl readers, the Phillies have a plan!  This move also kills two birds with one stone since now Bryce Harper will look so much better by comparison.  Before, “Man, Bryce stinks.”  After, “Man, Bruce stinks.”  Autocorrect and by comparison — done and done!  This likely puts David Herrera’s time all but done on the Phils and maybe baseball until the Astros take a chance on him.  Yes, Odubel’s real name is David, which is now what we, like the cops, call him.  As for Bruce, this is a boost up for him, due to park and lineup.  Now he’s a 30-homer hitter with a .225 average and better runs and RBIs.  Can I get a middle-case yay?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?