Please see our player page for Zack Britton 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.

Austin Nola was diagnosed with a fractured middle finger. The worst injury that’s ever befallen a truck driver. That’s how they speak! Honestly, it’s how I speak on the road too. Cut in front of me and I go from “One to road rage” in a half city block. Then again, I cut people off all the time too. Just a generally terrible driver, I am! My favorite is when I cut someone off, then can sense them giving me the evil eye or middle finger, and don’t give them the satisfaction of looking over. Stew on that! So, Austin Nola will undergo a couple of days of treatment before they announce a timetable. I’ve still adjusted him a bit in my top 20 catchers, and that could change further. In the mean’s time, you know who this is good for? *saddles up to the bar* “Give me a martini with two carrot sticks.” That’s right, Yu’s personal catcher, could be yours. Victor Caratini will move into the everyday catcher job and this could mean time for Luis Campusano, who is cut from the same white-linen tablecloth as the $54 Vending Machine Steak, Franmil Reyes. In addition to my updated catcher rankings, I’ve also updated the top 500 for 2021 fantasy baseball. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holds Ain’t Got No Face! 

These poor schlubs. No one’s favorite player is a middle reliever. The middle reliever never gets the girl. The signed middle reliever rookie card never fetches more than a buck-fifty on eBay. 

Yet these working-class heroes continue to go out every day and grind away to bridge the gap between the billion-dollar, sexy starting pitchers and the dark, mysterious closers. 

So here’s to you Graeme Lloyd! Here’s to you Mark Eichhorn! Here’s to you Matt Thornton! And MY personal favorite player of all time — here’s to you Jeff Nelson! 

 

From a fantasy perspective, the middle reliever has been a non-factor since the beginning of roto baseball. In your standard 5×5 leagues there’s just no room for a player who barely contributes in any of the 5 pitching categories. However, after years and years of heart attacks from being forced to draft Fernando Rodney because they missed the closer runs — cardiologists have created a new fantasy category to prevent such cardiac conditions: saves + holds 

Below I’ve ranked the top-40 non-closers for saves + holds leagues. In true Kerry-fashion, I’ve manufactured my own ranking system. I’ve ranked these guys out into three categories: sv/hlds, limiting runs, and K/9 — the three categories that middle relievers can consistently help you in. Limiting runs is a combination of ERA and WHIP — basically, in one inning, a reliever needs to keep guys off the bases — and if there are already guys on the bases — keeping them from scoring runs. You know — like the job of every pitcher! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“I should have four remotes.” That’s Mark Whiten as he clicks on his TV remote, and breaks it because of his strength. He was going to check out, Alex Dickerson (5-for-6, 5 runs, 6 RBIs and his 5th, 6th and 7th homer, hitting .261) to make sure Dickerson didn’t hit four ding-dongs in one game like Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten. For some reason, I’m hearing Lil Wayne sing, “She Alex Dickerson,” and it’s making me horny as my daydreams dance to Alex Dickerson actually on any of my fantasy teams. Take a lap around your desk on your office rolly chair if you were one of the 1.9% who owned Dickerson last night. You’re living right. If you’re a time traveler who came back to a pandemic just to roster Alex Dickerson for one game, then you are an absolute nutbag, but props. Also, in this game, everyone had bazinga glory, except Jon Gray (2 2/3 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 6.69). Between him and Sonny Gray, I might take my cue, and not go outside the rest of the week. Brandon Crawford went 3-for-6, 3 runs, 6 RBIs with a slam (4) and legs (1), hitting .280. “I’m drunk, man.” “Yeah, you’re on a Bra-Craw.” Also, Donovan Solano went 4-for-6, 2 runs, 6 RBIs, as he hits .345. Donovan then sang, “It’s the Season of the Pitch, but not for you Rockies.” Yes, there were three guys in the Giants’ lineup with 6 RBIs. Wait…666…And you can’t spell San Francisco Giants without Satan. AHHH!!! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It turns out the area around 161st street that Yankee Stadium was built on was home to an ancient Indian burial ground, or is the new home of the Bermuda Triangle, or was cursed by witches in the 1600s, because that’s the only explanation for the injury plague the Yankees have dealt with over the last two seasons.

Already down Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Tommy Kahnle, and Zack Britton, the Yanks put two other stars on the shelf this week.  Gleyber Torres went on the IL with a hamstring injury that looks to keep him out for 2-3 weeks after an MRI revealed no structural damage.  We gave you Tyler Wade and Thiaro Estrada last week for DJ’s injury fill ins and the same names apply here.  James Paxton is also on the IL with forearm discomfort.  He’s avoided a worst case scenario, as an MRI revealed that there’s no tear that would lead to Tommy John surgery.  His timetable is still unclear for return.  The Yankees have been reluctant to bring up top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt due to the fact that they’d need to make a move to their 40 man roster to do so, but he’s the most fantasy relevant arm on the horizon.  Deivi Garcia is the other big time prospect to watch here if this injury keeps Paxton out for a while.  There’s also been heavy rumors of trade activity for the Yankees to get an arm with Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Zach Plesac being the mosts talked about targets.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All in all, this was a relatively calm week on the bullpen front. At least by 2020 standards. That’s always a good time to go find the next man up and consider being a week early on a buy. Even better if they can provide an extra service like strikeouts or ratios in the mean time.

  • The Mets are right on schedule with the disaster that their rotation typically becomes. That’s required Seth Lugo to be transitioned from the bullpen to a starting role. On top of that they’re game Thursday was canceled due to COVID concerns. If they get back on the field soon expect Edwin Diaz to split closing duties with Dellin Betances. Jeurys Familia is a dark horse to mix in.
  • Hector Neris is lucky the Phillies have no one behind him to threaten his role. He blew another save Thursday. David Robertson has clawed his way back from injury and is close to pitching in the MLB again. You’d expect it to take a while to return to form for him. The threat is out there to Neris, though.
  • Color me unimpressed by Craig Kimbrel’s save this week. Rowan Wick had pitched back to back days. Kimbrel’s fastball is still not getting by anyone. The bottom of the Cardinals order was fouling off every two-strike fastball he fired. Better hitters are taking it yard.
  • Zack Britton is hitting the IL just as Aroldis Chapman makes his return. That’s one closer role that should sort itself out naturally barring Chapman being unable to shake off the rust quick enough.
  • Even as a skeptic of Nick Anderson’s role I’m starting to feel frustrated with the Rays. They’re costing themselves games at this point. Stop trying to be so smart and just save your best reliever for the ninth. It’s not like there aren’t other good pitchers in their pen.
  • Jairo Diaz has fumbled the Rockies closer gig into a committee. Carlos Estevez notched their last save. I have very little faith Estevez is the guy. Maybe if Daniel Bard continues to deal he’ll get the job.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was about to fall off my chair if Sixto Sanchez‘s parents knew when he was born that he would be 6’2″, but it turns out they overshot by two inches. Prolly best. My mind couldn’t have handled that kind of freaky-deaky shizz. So, Sixoh Sanchez was called up–What? We have to call him that now. We can’t perpetuate fake news. Wanna be called Sixto? Then grow two more inches, you big phony! Unless…Oh crap. I just realized something. Every game he starts the score is going to be 6-2. Hopefully in his favor then, I guess. So, Marlins called him up and here’s Prospect Itch’s last words on him, “Sixto Sanchez gives Miami exactly what (Marlins’ front office exec) Denbo wants:  a fastball with enough pace to live atop the zone and a curve change slider off-speed compliment to get hitters chasing down and out. His strikeout numbers haven’t been elite, but everything else has, and he’s always been young for his level. Also, I’d like to level Grey.” What the heck, man?! Prospect Hobbs gave you about 1200 words on Sixto Sanchez in his Cristian Pache fantasy. As for this year, rookie pitchers are tantalizing, and I did grab Sixto, but, honestly, I might drop him before he even pitches. In a short season, a guy like Danny Duffy is likely better than a rookie pitcher, who could be an ace in two years. It is nice to see the Marlins kicking it from the six-fingered Alfonseca to the Sixto’d one. Sixto Sanchez isn’t in this afternoon’s Buy, but could’ve been for the upside flyer. To see who is in the Buy/Sell before it’s released on Razzball, join our Patreon. It’s $5/month, or the price of enough gas to get your lawnmower to run for 12 minutes. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not that long ago, I remember hearing a story. One I will recount for you here, but you can’t tell anyone else. Promise? Okay, there was this guy Brandon Bielak, and he was real into attachment parenting and had to put up with his stupid father, Nick, and dopey brothers, Tony and Joey Lawrence — Whoa. Well, the Teen Beat on, and I’m reading this from an old TV Guide with Miss Piggy on the cover, can you tell? Brandon Bielak is an enigma. Nothing exists on him, besides Matt Roush’s blurbs. Confession Alert! I used to collect TV Guides. What an absolute nerd. Any hoo! Bielak was found on waivers by me (or was it in an abandoned refrigerator — wait, wrong show), and he went 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 1.76. He works with a 94 MPH fastball, and a ton of secondary pitches with the curve hooking hard, and looking especially nice. He’s very serviceable, bordering on more. He could be a back-end fantasy starter for years to come. Now, I’ve streamed this guy a few times, and Streamonator thinks Bielak next start is even better — with no Big Bang in sight. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to your first Bullpen Report of the season. How’d day one of your season go? You know, besides losing two top 30 players moments before lineup lock. Unfortunately, that’s more likely to be the norm than the exception. If you didn’t already (you donkey), build any flexibility into your fake teams that you can. On the pitching side that means having a reliever that can juice a category for you when a body is needed in a pinch.

  • The big free agent this week was Zack Britton with Aroldis Chapman hitting the COVID-IL. If you missed out on him I’d suggest considering Adam Ottavino. Britton is getting the first call but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ottavino gets a look if Boone feels the matchups favor him.
  • Kwang-Hyun Kim is being anointed the Cardinals closer. I’m holding my breath here. It’s hard to trust someone who’s never pitched an inning stateside to immediately walk into the closer role. To me, it feels more like they’re set on the injured Giovanny Gallegos and don’t want to disappoint Ryan Helsley with a demotion this early.
  • I’m targeting the options behind Kyle Crick as the Pittsburgh closer. Just a gut feel that Crick can’t hack it in the ninth. Richard Rodriguez and Nick Burdi get much more swing and miss with their stuff.
  • Yoshihisa Hirano is another COVID delayed player of the early year. That may give Matt Magill enough leash to take over the closer gig in Seattle. It was kind of his last year. He was kind of going to close this year. Now he can at least win or lose it on his own merit.
  • Let me remind you that Corey Knebel has nasty movement on his off-speed stuff. He’ll need to find his fastball velocity with reports of it in the low 90s thus far in summer camp. If he can get that up a few ticks he could immediately figure into the ninth for the BrewCrew.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

Hey, welcome back, Buy/Sell Column! “It’s good to be back. I haven’t been this anxious for something to happen since I was screaming for sixteen straight weeks for people to pick up Ty Wigginton.”  Yeah, wasn’t Ty Wigginton already retired, and you were still screaming about it. “I’ve made a lot of other good calls in the past.” Right, right. Like…*The Buy/Sell Column and I think for a good ten minutes about a good call it made* Maybe we should scroll through some of your old posts. “Yeah, good idea.” Hey, in the 1st Buy/Sell last year you told people to pick up Pete Alonso! “I am the best of all-time!” Yeah, then you followed that with a Clint Frazier Buy. “We don’t have to keep recalling past calls.” Fair, fair. So, who’s the number one guy I’m trying to get this week? Kyle Lewis makes me so horny! Last year in 18 games, he hit 6 homers and .268 with the M’s, and has always shown big-time power. I know, I know, I KNOW! His Double-A power numbers (11 HRs in 122 games) are confusing, but that park is one of the worst hitters’ parks in the minors, and his raw power grades out as some of the best you’ll find. I already gave you a Kyle Lewis sleeper during the shutdown, but I’m going to keep pushing the Kyle Lewis narrative until everyone gets him. He has what it takes to be a top 50 overall player in a 60-game season. As good as Pete Alonso? *the Buy/Sell Column and I look at each other* Simultaneously, “Let’s not be crazy.” All I know is Kyle Lewis is more than just what you hear when Forrest Gump says Carl Lewis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?