Please see our player page for Tommy Hunter 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.

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

As the resident save chaser, I feel it’s my duty to give you some names that you maybe don’t expect to get shots at saves this year. Bullpen’s are more volatile than the fake friendships on the Real Housewives programs my wife watches to get back at me for monopolizing the TV during the NFL season. I did this exercise last spring and Wily Peralta was in there. I almost didn’t publish it after including him, if that gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. I’m not talking the closer in waiting or guy that got 30 saves two seasons ago. I’m going to do my best to write a name so repulsive you consider never reading my column again. We’ll go division by division, starting with the NL East.

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This week is all about securing a closer for the end of the season. There are a host of names that could fulfill this role depending on availability in your league. Some of the guys I’m looking at this week are Mychal Givens (FAAB: 3%), Nate Jones (FAAB: 3%), Tommy Hunter (FAAB: 2%), and Ty Buttrey (FAAB: 2%). All of these pitches are providing saves in their current bullpen situations. I’ve listed the players based on talent and opportunity.

Givens and Jones are easily the most skilled of the bunch. Both were vying for the closer role even before other names were traded away from their respective teams. Givens was an add when he secured 8 wins in two-straight seasons as a dominant long reliever for the Orioles, and Jones is always a name people will grab as a high-level 8th inning arm.

Hunter and Buttrey are new to the equation.  I’ve speculated on Hunter multiple times throughout the year when the Phillies bullpen was in flux. He is providing a ton of value the past two seasons without being relevant in the fantasy community whatsoever. Now that Seranthony Dominguez seems to be out, Hunter should be the guy for the rest of 2018. Buttrey is in the same situation with Angels closer Blake Parker being relegated to the 8th inning role. He is a very unknown name that is now saving games and could go overlooked in FAAB this weekend.

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Oakland A’s rookie outfielder slash speed demon slash rocket arm slash hot shot Ramon Laureano hit two home runs Friday night including his first career lead off bomb to which even Ricky Henderson nodded in approval. He became the first A’s player with two multi-home run games in his first 30 games and the rook upped his slash to .309/.387/568 with five bombs, 13 RBI, and let us not forget, a perfect 4-for-4 in steals chances. Yes, hashtag SAGNOF. That’s why we’re talking about him for 2018. Ramon lead off for just the second time in his young MLB career (he doubled twice leading off Wednesday) but considering such positive results, it’s likely he’ll see a lot more time there throughout the remainder of the season. Laureano held an .895 OPS with 13 homers and 11 steals in 63 games at AAA before his call up and has done nothing but excel since he got here. Everybody loves this guy! Is it because he delivered a game winner in his MLB debut? Is it because he has the potential to be a real life 5-tool player? Or is it because he plays defense like a gold glover and has an absolute cannon of an arm that would make Tom Brady blush. Sweet sassy molassy! I’m sorry I have to watch that again. And you’re sure I don’t get fantasy points for that? If, like most people, you’ve already moved on to fantasy football and are sad about your Leveons or your McKinnons, try to remember Ramon Laureano for your 2019 sleeper radar. But if you are still with us, and you need some speed and runs and average in the stretch run, go grab yourself a bowl of Ramon while he’s hot!

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

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Hello again, deep-league friends! Get your calendars out and get ready. If things aren’t going exactly as planned as far as 2018 fantasy baseball goes, don’t sweat it — in case you haven’t heard, next year’s MLB season-opener will be the earliest in MLB history (not counting games out of the country). New baseball that counts will be here before you know it, with all thirty teams scheduled to play on March 28, 2019. And if that news isn’t exciting enough, there’s also going to be actual baseball even earlier than that: speaking of baseball games out of the country, the A’s and Mariners will be playing real games in Tokyo on March 20th and 21st. Just a little something to look forward to if your 2018 fantasy players haven’t been treating you so well (or even if they have). For now, let’s take our customary look at a few players from each league that might be of interest to those in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues as we head into the final few weeks of 2018 major league baseball.

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Count me among those who think we should put the save out to pasture. If you’re interested in holds, you clearly play in a superior league. There’s such a minimal difference between a save and a hold, that they should be treated equally for fantasy purposes in my book. Pat yourself on the fantasy back for being an elevated fake sports mind. We’re looking for reliable roles in high leverage situations. Plus strikeout rates and friendly ratios help, too. Below is a table that includes those opportunities. A few of the more notable middle relievers below, as well.

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You remember in Austin Powers when he gets his golf cart stuck in the tunnel and tries to make a u-turn and just goes back and forth unable to turn.  That’s how I feel going between Tyler White and Tyler O’Neill.  “Tyler O’Neill just homered…”  *backs up golf cart*  “Tyler White just homered…” *reverses golf cart*  “O’Neill now!”  *tries to turn wheel*  “White does it again!”  *gets out of golf cart and tries to move it manually, but have overestimated strength*  “O’Neill with a round tripper!”  *sighs, gets back in golf cart and checks Facebook menchies, overcome with helplessness of decisions*  I do not know which Tyler I would go with anymore.  Every day this week it has switched, sometimes it’s switched in the same day.  Tyler White is top four slugging percentage in the majors leagues when sorting by 100 plate appearances, but just as soon as you say that Tyler O’Neill will go and do something.  White is likely in a platoon, but when Ozuna returns, O’Neill will have same problems.  I’d own both, but White is my favorite…*sees O’Neill hit a homer, reverses golf cart*  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Christian Yelich hit for the cycle, going 6-for-6, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 26th homer, hitting .319.  Yelich has been sexier than that random porn that was released of him.  Speaking of porn (always a great intro to a sentence), you know you have a cougar problem when…True story, I woke up yesterday morning and Googled to see if there ever was a movie made called, Call Me By Your Ma’am with Kimothee ChalaMILF.  That feels like too much information, but I trust you with everything, except any identifying details about me in real life.  Any hoo!  Yelich!  Are you kidding me?  Keyword is kidding, because he looks like he’s 12.  Yo, you super pre-teen?  You in Stranger Things?  We’re at the point now when I’m starting to think about 2019, and Yelich, well, is there any way he’s not top 20?  Yelich or Springer?  Gotta be Yelich, right?  Yelich or Bregman?  Okay, tough call, but damn close.  He’s definitely better than Kimothee ChalaMILF!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Matt Olson, affectionately known as Allahson by people in Middle East Bay, hit his 22nd homer yesterday.  An inconsequential home run to the game, but it’s a part of a larger tapestry.  Khris Davis hit his 31st homer, his 4th homer of the week, but, again, pull back, view the larger picture.  That home run didn’t matter!  Speaking of a matter, Matt Chapman hit his 15th homer, as he hit out of the two-hole, because the A’s can.  Sure, the A’s can and two-hole are synonymous.  But, of course, all of this happened.  Look at the larger picture!  Trevor Cahill went 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.12, which is exactly what was always meant to happen.  Don’t you see it yet?  On Saturday, Edwin Jackson went 6 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 2.87.  No one on the A’s will have a bad game this year.  Know why?  Are you pulled back far enough to see the larger picture?  No one will have a bad game because no one sells their soul and doesn’t specify they want to be good until the end of the season.  “Hey, cool horns and pitchfork.  So, yeah, here’s my soul, and can you make me pitch well until the first week of August?”  That would never happen!  The A’s aren’t the best team in baseball without serious voodoo, soul-selling!  I have it on good authority someone was seen in the A’s clubhouse with a 1970’s-style mustache hiding horns on top of their head!  That’s the devil, unless Rollie Fingers remodeled his face.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Just for reference, as I was out and about, the “cult” classic by Lisa Lisa was on.  Now you can admit it or you can lie about it, but if you hear this song on in the privacy of your own aloneness, and you turn the radio up.  I’m sorry but it’s true.  If not, it is completely just me and I have some severe music intangible listening ability that is slightly off.  Where was I?  Bullpens you say, bullpens I say.  The first real bullpen post after the trade deadline is always a tough tell.  The good contending teams basically stack up the depth of their pens and make the most unique and usable reliever an after thought, or a “questionable” own in holds leagues.  I hate that this happens, because you roll along all season with a set it and forget it holds option and poof, they go to a contender and now are fourth fiddle.  And nobody remembers the fourth fiddler in the Charlie Daniels’ band.  If you do, climb out the basement and stare at the sun awhile, you two have missed each other’s company.  So if you are sitting on names that changed to a contender that are now tertiary in line for a hold, move on.  Grab a first-chair guy maybe on a lesser team, or even from that guys old team.  This time of the year, if trying to capitalize on the utmost hold capabilities, there can be no allegiances.  No saluting your past accumulation and move on.  I am adding in a chart this week that shows holds and chances for the last 30 days to lessen the load on your research ability.  After all it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, why not stay and hang out with Smokey?

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You know what is fun this time of year?  The bullpen shuffle.  Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases.  Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians.  The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now?  I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man.  Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation.  Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club.  Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now.  In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go?  He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name.  So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait.  Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential.  More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump.  Cheers!

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