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I only drafted Yasiel Puig in one league (that I remember) and it was a 12-team NL-Only league! *humps the air a’la Ace Ventura* I have exorcised the demons! That’s a new reference, right? What’s that, Inner Monologue, I only drafted Puig because the day I did it it was reported he was being signed by the Rockies? Yeah, so? Get out of my mentions, Inner Monologue! Okay, not to move from humping the air to getting sprung, but the Braves are making me hot under my Skidz. Thank God, they’re drawstring! Can we talk about the Braves’ outfield? Yes, please. Tildaddy, OZUNA and Puig. *gulps* If I were in 8th grade and asked to go to the chalkboard, I’d have to make up an excuse. “Sorry, Teach, my foot fell asleep, and I’m not just saying that because the Braves’ outfield is dirrrrrrrty with seven R’s.” I’d be happy with just Acuña in any outfield. That’s all you need. Throw in OZUNA and I’m starting to sweat, and then you see Puig and it’s time for, “Cougs, I want you right now but lit by the shine of the Braves’ depth chart.” So, I updated my top 40 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball, and Rudy updated all the hitter projections. Funnily enough, I predicted back in January that Puig would not sign until June, but little did little ol’ me know that he wouldn’t miss any actual games. I was so right, yet so not really right at all. Well done! (Not really!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When it comes to fantasy baseball, there may be no position where player values vary more from shallow league to deep league than that of middle reliever.  Even if your league doesn’t use holds, a middle reliever that wouldn’t be draftable in standard leagues — even if roster size doubled — can provide some nice value in deeper leagues.  Last year, I drafted Hector Neris and Nick Anderson at the end of all of my very deep and NL-only leagues — both were available for a buck or in the free round of even my deepest, 15-team NL-only auction league. Both pitchers ended up helping me immensely, Neris by pitching well (his season was underrated in my opinion:  2.93 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 89 Ks in 67 innings) and ultimately assuming the closer’s role and notching 28 saves.  Anderson, on the other hand, while pitching in many high-leverage situations, never got that closer gig in 2019 that I thought he might, either with the Marlins or after he was traded to the Rays.  He ended up with one measly save — but that didn’t stop him from being a useful part of my NL-only pitching staff; in fact, in at least one league he was one of the only players who was in my active lineup from day one through game 162 last year.  The solid ratios, five wins, and whopping 110 Ks in 65 innings were enough to make a difference of a few points for me across those categories, which ultimately helped lead my team to a money finish.  If I’d been messing around with junk starters in that spot, I may have gotten some wins and Ks, but that progress would have been offset by the damage to my ratios.

With the current corona timeline that baseball is (hopefully) on track for, I’m guessing that middle relievers who are trusted near the end of games may even have a small spike in value — at least if anything close to expanded-roster teams playing 8 games a week and lots of doubleheaders into November becomes a reality.  (Please let it become a reality!)  Here are some true deep leaguers to look at, all outside of the top 500 NFBC ADP (with the exception of my first entry, Hunter Harvey, whose ADP is 475 — and probably only that high because of how many times I’ve drafted him!)

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I consider myself a fairly optimistic person. Take this whole coronavirus thing. I don’t have it (or maybe I do — or maybe I do and don’t know it — or maybe I don’t and do know it and now you have it just from reading this article.) It’s a scary time, but I’ve tried to remain looking on the bright side that we’re all washing our hands, self-isolating, and wiping our butts so well that this thing will pass quickly. Then I started looking at the Mariners projected lineup, rotation and bullpen for 2020. Now I’ve covered the Tigers, the White Sox and the Royals to prove you can mine for fantasy gold in the darkest of baseball caves. But the Mariners might be my hardest task yet. It’s hard to be optimistic about this team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

The ax fell yesterday on Luis Severino‘s elbow. That ax was wielded by Dr. James Andrews, who was wearing a Jason mask at the time of the news conference. A reporter stands, “Doc, do you think Severino can avoid Tommy John surgery?” Dr. James Andrews, breathy like Kathleen Turner with an unmistakeable Charleston accent, “I do declare,” Dr. James Andrews pats his mask with a handkerchief, “Severino’s time under the knife will be short, but his stay on the Injured List long.” He then scratched his arm with the ax and accidentally ripped his doctor’s lab coat. “If there’s no further questions, I will be going,” Dr. James Andrews stood, sticking out his arms in a Jason pose, and slowly left the stage. So, Severino and Dr. James Andrews have been acquainted and if you drafted Severino early, you’re ess oh el as they say in Acronyms R’ Us chatrooms. I’ve removed Severino from the top 40 starters and top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason in fantasy baseball:

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The best 2020 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer. Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means. Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?” Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint. Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature. Any hoo!  So the title is a bit of a superlative. What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?” You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you. This is the best 2020 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change. If I took Trea Turner in the 1st round, everything after would change. I’ve previously gone over my 2020 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Fernando Tatis in the first, because, well, people complained previously I always did this post by taking the first pick, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover your hair right instead of left. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Gerrit Cole and deGrom in the first two rounds and I was able to take Trevor Story in the 2nd round (which is likely), but since Tatis and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free rein to fill up my team after pick 200. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky. It should still be my ideal team…or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up).  Anyway, here’s the best 2020 fantasy baseball team:

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Los Angeles is such an eco-friendly city that when a recent EPA report cited jet fuel as accounting for 17% of air pollution, the Dodgers went out and traded for Mookie Betts. See, this year’s All-Star Game is in Dodger Stadium, and now eleven of their players don’t have to fly anywhere for the All-Star Game festivities. Always giving, my great City of Angels, that’s not actually the city of the Angels, that’s Anaheim, but they call themselves Los Angeles and it’s nowhere near Los Angeles. Not confusing at all! Let’s just drool for a second at the Dodgers’ lineup:  Betts, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger, Pederson/Pollock, Seager, Will Smith and Gavin Lux. If they trade Austin Barnes to the Astros for a trash can, then their 2020 title hopes will be sealed! Before you laugh, the Astros could use a catcher. So, Betts’s best will be in the starry skies of Los Angeles, and Rihanna might just start liking baseball again. “You’re cute with that silliness.” “Nah, seriously, I want to go bowling.”  That’s Mookie and Rihanna on their first date. Betts is in the prime of his career, and I can’t see any chance a move to Los Angeles slows him down, however–Don’t do it, Grey! Don’t be negative here! Well, Fenway to Dodger Stadium isn’t the best move. Some of those doubles off the wall might go for deep outs to the left fielder. The Dodgers didn’t steal a lot in 2019 either, but that could be from a lack of threats. Justin Turner is running? Muncy? Bellinger did run, because he can. Betts should still be a lock for 15-20 steals, but I’m knocking his power down a tad with the park change. While his projections will change a bit, his ranking is staying the same in my top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball. For what it’s Werth, Rudy’s auction rankings changed dramatically for Betts, knocking him way down, but Betts’s projections are even better than mine, as seen at the hitter projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The sun is setting on the final days of fantasy baseball in 2019. If you’re fending off the wolves here are some relievers with a shot at a sneaky save over the next few days. Cut the fat and for that matter, any player not likely to get you a stat in a category of need no matter how big the name. Adding these names is the fantasy equivalent of Bran’s time travel/warging of Hodor. They probably stem the tide but may ruin something (like a ratio).

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Snap, snap, claw, claw, save.  That’s The Save Vulture Dance.  Sing it like it’s The Electric Slide.  The save vulture is a scavenger bird.  They see weakness in others’ misfortune.  A closer goes down or struggles or gets traded and the save vulture swoops in and gnaws on the closer’s handcuff. Snap, snap, Reyes Moronta, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, claw, claw, save.  Save vultures have trouble reproducing because they’re usually overweight guys who would prefer to listen to sports news than what the girl they’re dating is talking about. Snap, snap, Freddy Peralta, claw, claw, save. The save vulture’s claws are orange from Cheetos dust. Snap, snap, Joe Jimenez, claw, claw, save. Teams are trying to flip their closers for prospects at the trading deadline. Snap, snap, Yoan Lopez, Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley, claw, claw, save. If you can stash setup men right now, it’s advisable because over the next week closers are going to change rapidly. Snap, snap, Daniel Hudson, claw, claw, save. You may not be able to get to waivers to grab the closer replacement, so I’d forget bench bats until the trading deadline and hold some setup men in case your closers are traded. Snap, snap, Aaron Bummer, claw, claw, save. It’s especially important to make sure you have new closers coming in if you’re about to lose closers who will become setup men on contenders. Snap, snap, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Kyle Crick, Nick Anderson, Nick Wittgren, Craig Stammen, Chris Martin, Jose Leclerc, claw, claw, save. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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At this point in the season, it’s like a tag line for a bad horror film, no one is safe.  Narrator, “This fall, in a theater near you, Jamie Lee Curtis, the world’s hottest cougar.  A cougar so hot when she enters any room, a DJ plays, “Stray Cat Strut,” but the people in the room replace cat with cougar.”  Unsuspecting person, whistling, “I’m just going to open this random closet over here while this ominous music plays.  No, I’m not going to turn on a light first, that would be silly.”  Unsuspecting person opens the closet door and Jamie Lee Curtis jumps out, “Boo!”  “Boo as in you want to be my boo, because you are so hot for a 70-year-old.  How about me, you and the diner waitress who calls me sugar get a motel room?”  Jamie Lee Curtis shakes her head and walks away as people sing Stray Cougar Strut.  Narrator returns, “No one is safe, and everyone wants to sleep with the 70-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis, because she is so hot.  Has she had work done?”  No one is safe on fantasy teams either.  In the Sells, I’ll get to dropping, but this is about picking up (and not just 70-year-old women).  There’s a good chance I go all-in on Daniel Palka this offseason.  Of course, before going all-in, it’s important to get consent first.  I learned this the hard way with Giancarlo.  This post is just about what he can do over the next week.  That would be best informed by what he’s done over the last week:  4 HRs and hitting .375.  As I tell Jamie Lee Curtis in my daydreams, giddy up, sexy, we’re going for a ride!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?