The Cheap Seats: Which pitchers could surpass 200 IP, when to trust a reliever and more

George Kirby #68 and Logan Gilbert #36 of the Seattle Mariners
Will these two top-tier fantasy pitchers from the Mariners be workhorses in 2024? (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

I've worn many different hats in my time at Yahoo, and we've produced different kinds of content. Articles and blogs, podcasts and digital shows, live chats — I suppose it's about time we gave a fantasy baseball mailbag a try.

The Cheap Seats mail bag. (Banner by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)
The Cheap Seats mail bag. (Banner by Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

The Cheap Seats will come your way every Tuesday through the heart of the baseball season. Baseball and fantasy baseball questions go to the front of the line, but we can talk about all sports, life, music, food, travel, pets, movies, just about anything. Catch me at @scott_pianowski on X/Twitter, and away we go.

We talked extensively about the RP/SP landscape on Monday, but I'm happy to continue it here. Every April I am determined to beat my opponents to the punch for the Next Nick Anderson, a reliever out of nowhere who identifies himself through an outstanding K/BB rate. That ratio takes on significance early in the season — you hit the keyword, stabilize — and it enables us to make an intelligent guess on pitchers before the answers are obvious to the entire world.

Never forget, K/BB ratio is the water of fantasy baseball stats. Keep refilling your bottle.

As for specific names, we've talked about Reed Garrett most of the spring, though he's still available in about three-quarters of Yahoo Leagues. He looks like the favorite for the Nick Anderson Award, the most impactful reliever who comes completely out of nowhere. But if you missed out on him, there are several other reasonable names to try: Fernando Cruz, Hunter Harvey, Cole Sands, Hunter Gaddis, Yimi García, A.J. Minter and Justin Slaten will get you started.

Great question. Fred Zinkie's fresh market report talks about Carroll, and for my money, nobody manages the shifting player market better than Zinkie. Go read that, then rejoin me, here. I'll wait.

Remember, Carroll had a power dip in the second half of last year, something that was blamed on a shoulder issue. His batted-ball metrics are a mess right now. There's no proof that Carroll is hurt — and obviously, the sample is still modest — but I can't rank him at full value right now. We're doing a start-from-fresh Friends & Family Draft next Monday (and we'll use it for content as well), and I can assure you I won't consider Carroll in the first round.

I realize the save is far from a perfect stat, but I'd argue the hold is a lot worse. Did you catch Aroldis Chapman back on Monday? He faced four batters: three walks, one strikeout. He then walked to the dugout, with a minted hold in his back pocket. Ridiculous.

Of course, saves can come in junky packages, too. Nobody disputes that. And if you want to play in a hybrid format where saves get full credit and holds get partial credit, I don't mind it. But giving holds full credit will never sit well with me.

I'd also like to see MLB's official scorers get smarter with the win designation. Although it's seldom used, there's a loophole that allows the scorer to steer a win away from a reliever who is "brief and ineffective." Perhaps the rule could be sketched out even more broadly where win designation is based on the judgment of effectiveness and not merely a timing case among relievers. I doubt we'll ever see it, but my dreams belong to me.

And while we're at it, this "everything is a hit" stuff has to go. It's fine to hand out errors! I suspect the official scorers side with hit-over-error because you keep two people happy, the hitter and the fielder. I feel sorry for the pitchers, honestly.

Logan Webb was working his magic again Tuesday and he's so easy on the stomach. Strike, strike, strike, all those grounders. He can put a pitch anywhere he wants, dotting that i. Innings are about efficiency and volume. Webb led the majors in innings last year and is an excellent bet to do it again.

Seattle's staff is filled with control masters who also work deep into games. There's nothing to worry about with George Kirby's slow start; if your league is even the slightest bit concerned, start slyly working on a deal. Logan Gilbert did his thing Tuesday, pounding the zone and working deep. All of these pitchers — Webb, Kirby, Gilbert — are also aided by their roomy home parks; they can work in the zone consistently without being paranoid about home runs.

It might be time for Hollywood to give us another NFL Draft movie. Right now we're limited to two, the very good Jerry Maguire and the so-bad-it's-almost-good Draft Day.

I try to rewatch Jerry Maguire about once a year. Although the emotional hook between the two main characters is a little trite — Maguire is the get-it guy professionally who has no idea how to handle personal intimacy; Rod Tidwell is a perfect soulmate but a lousy teammate — they help each other! — Cameron Crowe simply doesn't make bad movies. So what if it's not another Say Anything or Almost Famous? There are some great cameos and musical callouts as well; I love Glenn Frey as the Arizona general manager, and Bob Sugar's character (marvelously played by Jay Mohr) is probably a subtle callout to Bob Mould of Sugar.

Draft Day is one of those so-bad-it's-almost-good movies, but the likability of Kevin Costner goes a long way. It also gives us one timeless piece of drafting wisdom: don't pick a quarterback if his teammates skip his birthday parties. I hope tomorrow's decision-makers did their homework.

The world was a pretty scary place four years ago, around this time. You needed excuses to huddle with your friends and talk about fun stuff. That's when Frank Schwab, Kevin Kaduk and I did an enjoyable Sopranos Character Draft. The draftniks have commonly said I crushed the exercise, but you can grade it how you see fit.

Of course, Mount Rushmore discussions need to be four-pronged, and we have to start with Tony Soprano. If he's not impeccably cast, written and acted, the show falls apart. I then like Carmela Soprano in the two-slot, someone who cares about Tony but will also call him on his BS. Whitecaps, the Season 4 finale, best illustrates the power of Tony vs. Carmela. Go watch that brilliant episode again (the lede in particular is perfectly constructed).

Christopher Molisanti is an easy pick for the third spot, but then things get difficult. Junior Soprano? Johnny Sack? Paulie Walnuts? I give the nod to Paulie, who is quirky but likable. I can't imagine anyone not loving that character.

Silvio Dante and Jennifer Melfi are two Sopranos characters I don't enjoy as much as many others do. I realize the initial hook of "The Sopranos" is "Mob boss steps into the psych office," but I'd posit David Chase and his writing team do such an outstanding job crafting the nuance of Tony Soprano, that the therapy angles aren't needed as often as they're used.