Please see our player page for Wade Davis 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.

All in all, the MLB trade deadline wasn’t an all out bullen nuke. We have some spots that need updating but nothing more than 2020 has been throwing at us. If you’re falling behind in a category you need to attack it with an all out assault from multiple angles. See if some of these cheap sources can help you out.

  • After trading away Archie Bradley we have an opening for the Diamondbacks closer. Two young names with a shot are Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel. I’d have bet good money Ginkel was the guy prior to the season. He’s had lackluster results, however. Crichton has been solid on the other hand and building trust. Junior Guerra and Hector Rondon probably get the first opps but they should be moved aside fairly quickly.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been suspended three games for throwing at Mike Brosseau. Zach Britton gets a little extra life if you were holding him on the chance Chapman stumbled.
  • We’re still trying to figure out the Cubs bullpen. Jeremy Jeffress seems to be the flavor of the week after Rowan Wick had some hiccups and Craig Kimbrel is still serving meatballs. I’m still holding out hope that Wick can rise to the top of this foul brew.
  • The Padres trading for Trevor Rosenthal makes more sense with them sending Emilio Pagan to the IL. They want a RHP compliment in the ninth for Drew Pomeranz. Pagan’s shoulder fatigue isn’t a great sign for his 2020 prospects.
  • Two relievers are getting close to return from the IL and may be worth a stash where available in Nick Anderson and Wade Davis. Anderson is less likely to be out there and may not get saves even upon return. Davis will almost definitely get back into the ninth but may not have great results aside from saves. Pick your poison.
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The changes to bullpens week to week this season will probably never cease to amaze me. It’s the damn wild west out here. Why anyone would pay for saves is beyond me. With the trade deadline looming it’s also a good time to take stock and maybe stash some of the next in line guys if you have the room. Tiers are day of the week themed since everyday is Wednesday now.

  • I thought Joe Jiminez had one of the safest jobs in baseball. He did everything he could to lose it. The team has announced his removal as closer and a committee going forward. Gregory Soto is probably the only one of the lot with enough upside to make it worth the chase.
  • The Rays traded Emilio Pagan and were cursed to never again find a closer. It seems like Diego Castillo is the reliever due for an injury. He a plenty capable reliever. We’ll see what the usage looks like soon.
  • Daniel Bard snagged a pair of saves for the Rockies. As a righty, he has a lead on Carlos Estevez for manager decision making. We’ll see if that holds up until Wade Davis returns.
  • The Blue Jays are a full blown committee now. Anthony Bass didn’t do much to lose his grip but Jordan Romano is converting some opps, as well. Ken Giles is throwing so it may not matter much longer.
  • The Cardinals placed Andrew Miller on the IL. Giovanny Gallegos is kind of the guy by default at this point. Team management is still trying to stop one step shy of committing to him fully but whatever. Until Ryan Helsley is back I’m not sure anyone else earns a save.
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You all can blame me for the weekend bullpen chaos. I said last week was a relatively calm one on the saves front and as soon as I typed the words the baseball gods launched a comet of calamity at MLB. I shall do may best not to draw their ire again anytime soon.

  • The Phillies traded for Brandon Workman to come in and close over the struggling Hector Neris. We’ll see how this goes. Workman has better results than peripherals. He may be a time bomb. He’s 1/2 for saves on Philly already. Matt Barnes was named sort of the closer but like only if he’s being cool about it. Maybe Ryan Brasier finds himself in the ninth again at some point.
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On Saturday, Isan Diaz opted out of the season. Someone doesn’t want to sneak out to the strip club anymore. Then, on Sunday, the Marlins said they would bring up Monte Harrison and summon a bunch of journeymen to Baltimore for their next series, starting on Tuesday. I don’t care if they have one player, as long as that player’s Monte Harrison. Outside of Harrison, it sounds like their lineup might be filled with Matt Joyce, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla. “Bah gawd…it’s Ricky Nolasco’s music!” Last year, Harrison went 9/20/.274 in 56 Triple-A games. *does the robot as I head to my waiver wires to pick up Monte Harrison in every league* Robot voice, “Don’t…mind…if…I…” Damn, I was messing around, and someone got him before me. Stupid slow robot! So, grab Monte Harrison in every league for some power and great speed, though he might hit .210. I’d wait and see on Jorge Cantu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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We got a week in the books, folks, and I didn’t think I’d being doing another post this year after the unthinkable, unspeakable, most-obvious-thing-to-happen happened when a good quarter of the Florida Marlins team tested positive for coronavirus. Most would think when a worst case scenario like this occurs, the season would be halted, or at the very least restructured. (After watching some NBA last night, the bubble certainly appears to have been the way to go). But no. It’s just the Marlins, right? Who cares. I wonder to myself, “Self, would the reaction have been the same had 15 Yankees tested positive.” But they didn’t, it’s just the Marlins. The “worst” team in baseball. Besides this was a one off thing, right, what are the odds another team gets it? *Fast forward three days* Oh, three teams have it now, you say? Welp. And Commissioner slash idiot Rob Manfred claims he could shut down the season Monday if the “players aren’t more careful.” L-O-L. Careful like sending hundreds of players and workers back into situations where they not only have to travel, but its often impossible to maintain social distancing? So now we have six teams not even playing, teams that actually “matter”, and its an absolute mess not just for players and fans, but anyone trying to field a daily fantasy line up. Phew. OK, sorry for the tangent but this could very well be my final post of 2020, so I’m going to write about what I want, and I want to write about Taijuan Walker’s best start and first win in almost four years! After missing the majority of the past two seasons due to Tommy John, Taijuan Walker returned “home” to start in Seattle for the first time since 2016 Friday night. Walker looked dominant pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, two walks and striking out eight A’s. Tai consistently threw strikes and used his fastball effectively, topping out at 95 mph. Sweet sassy molassy! His Jordan cleats were hitting different, too. It’s always the shoes! The cutter was cutting, his breaking ball had good movement but it was really the way he commanded that fastball that made the difference. After a rough first start in Houston last week, it was an excellent rebound for Walker to get him and the M’s back on track. Rotoworld called a Walker add quote “risky” today, but as I ranted above, this season is all about risk, so why not take a risk on Taijuan Walker!

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We’re getting close to the re-launched opening day, so any serious knocks guys are picking up in camp now are going to start impacting playing time.  That also holds true for new, positive, Covid tests that might pop up.

Eduardo Rodriguez is currently on a throwing program away from the team as he awaits clearance from a positive Covid test.  From a physical standpoint, this is all good news, but he’s still up in the air until he tests negative.

DJ LeMahieu, Salvador Perez, Kenley Jansen, and Joey Gallo were both back in camp this week after clearing Covid protocol.

One guy not back yet is Freddie Freeman.  His case was originally thought to be more serious, and he has not been cleared to participate yet.  The Braves think there’s a chance at opening day for him, but at this point, if he’s still feeling symptoms, I’d put that timeframe at doubtful.

Along with Freeman, Yordan Alvarez, Austin Meadows, Aroldis Chapman, Jesus Luzardo, and Howie Kendrick are all also absent from camp.

Alvarez and Chapman have both been put on the IL, signaling their cases may be a bit more severe than others.  I’d expect Zack Britton to get the first shot at saves if Chapman can’t get cleared for a bit.  On the Astros front, you’d have to imagine Kyle Tucker has an easier path to ABs with Alvarez sidelined.

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In Sunday’s introduction to the top 50 relief pitchers for 2021 dynasty baseball, I explored how Rolaids may have played a role in early analytics by assigning point values to relief pitching events in their quest to annually reward each league’s best pitcher in the 1970’s. 

During these years, Rolaids commercials claimed that their company name spelled relief. Now I know it was just a bit for a commercial, and I appreciate Rolaids bringing shine to an oft-shadowed position (especially to that point in baseball history), but I don’t appreciate—as an English instructor and father of an almost two-year-old human—that a company can build its core marketing strategy around obfuscating the spelling of words. Morphemes matter, y’all. Mastering the English language is heartburn-inducing enough without Rolaids playing fast and loose with phonics.

This reminds me of major league managers playing fast and loose with bullpens while the rest of us scramble to figure out how that team is going to spell relief for the next few weeks. 

But scramble we must, and relish the hustle I do, so let’s get to the list.

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No one is playing baseball, which means there’s a lot of wives around the country telling their husbands to stop scratching themselves, and that’s just the wives of fantasy baseballers. Imagine those poor ballplayers’ wives. “Why do you keep spitting into my potted plants?” and “Stop with the complicated signs when you’re calling in our basset hound. He doesn’t understand.” We should be complaining about Bud Black not playing Sam Hilliard or Raimel Tapia while opting for Ian Desmond, but instead Bud Black is home deciding to go with mustard on his hamburger for the last 17 days and refusing to give ketchup a chance. Ketchup is good, Bud, give it a shot! New things don’t have to scare you! Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should be on the field, reminding everyone of his father, but instead he’s home reminding his father to wash his hands. After 1st hearing about the restrictions, Vlad Sr. replies, “Forget shaking hands, I wouldn’t even elbow bump with Moises Alou.” Since everyone has been home for the last two-plus weeks, we’ve culled all the important player news from around the league for your fantasy teams and bring it to you now:

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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.
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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!

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