The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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To answer your first question, no, I am not dead.  Secondly, sorry to disappoint you.  As we count down the days to draft and when pitchers/catchers report, it’s a virtual ‘pins and needles’ fest for some of the closer battles that could be looming.  Some of these battles are going to be very interesting, ’cause battles are awesome and make fools of everyone.  Let’s dive into some of those battles, shall we? The Cubs and their smoke-show of a bullpen is first and foremost. Jose Veras looks to be the guy, until Pedro Strop‘s me-mah gets all free paella for every manager named Sveum.  The Orioles still really don’t have a closer, and until free agency is kaput, Tommy Hunter is the guy. And the other one to keep an eye on is Colorado… I mean my name is Smokey… so I am firmly entrenched in the bumper crop going on there.  LaTroy Hawkins has been called the “closer” for now.  I have a feeling that the Rockies, at some point, get all nepotistic and gives it to Rex Brothers. The last situation I would monitor is the effectiveness and trust level that Pittsburgh has with Grilli, who is getting back into the saddle.  Mark Melancon is arguably the first non-definite closer for me that is draft worthy over some guys who are low on this list that have the job.  So stay tuned conclusionary fans, it’s early and things are always a changin’.  Like last year, I will be doing an off-week Holds post to keep all things relievers up to date.

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Oh, how we are going to miss Mariano Rivera. I’ve never owned him, but always wished I did. Personally, I’m a Yankee hater, but I always enjoyed watching him work his ninth inning magic like a smooth pick up artist. So now we are left without one of the greatest closers to ever play the game and a permanent fixture on the $12 salad menu. But like all things fantasy, we must move on and start prepping for next season by keeping our minds sharp and our cheat sheets easily accessible. The great mix up called free agency and the winter meetings are just a stones throw away and will hopefully give us some clarity into what comes next.

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So the end is Bill Nye the science guy. The last hurrah for the year of 2013 in regards to bullpens. Don’t be upset, you won’t even know that I left, I’ll even make it less awkward and do the Irish goodbye and just sneak off to the bathroom and never come back. So, it has been a fun year from start to finish, it wasn’t as exciting as last year but we still had 19 guys over 30 saves as compared to guess what from last year. The suspense isn’t that awesome because it’s also 19. Crazy how things change but never ever really change, stats are a finicky bunch all muddled with consistency. Damn you numbers and your ever chronologically ordered entanglement. So it saddens me as a Yankee fan to have to write the final time the name of Mariano Rivera. There is nothing else to say about Mo that hasn’t been said by numerous other more famous sites. The stats are crazy and to me he is my Tawny Kitaen crawling across the hood of that car looking all 80’s, but an awesome 80’s. Unfortunately that makes Joe Torre David Coverdale and that just ruins it all. So happy trails GOAT, it’s been real and we appreciate your fantasy aptitude for as long as you have supplied it. So have at the final rankings of the year for the closers and the dudes who wait for injury or next year.

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Ahh..the refreshing feelings of a vacation high-a-tus really slows down the passion for fantasy baseball. Not helping it at all is the beginning of footieball, which turns the baseball week from 7 days to 6 now with all of our attention to fantasy football. A shout out to the fellas as Razzball Football who straight up kill it from week to week, and if you aren’t reading it daily then you suck and I hope you get stalked ritualistically by carnies. So back to the grind of the final few weeks here and the state of the bullpens are pretty stagnant. The only situation that I see taking a chunk of fantasy value is the situation in Pittsburgh (which is a great situation for actual baseball cause it’s great to see the ‘burgh with playoff intentions). Jason Grilli returned from the DL and has jumped into a set-up role for now and Melancon is proving to be a Cy Young type reliever this year. He won’t win but his numbers are stupid great. Like a really dumb Tony the Tiger great, so insert that image in your head, and play over and over again. Addicting isn’t it. I can see Grilli getting a chance this upcoming week to garner some save chances, mostly in an alternating role so if you cuffed yourself right then pay attention to the day before and insert into roster accordingly. Stick around for some goodies, and maybe a chance for some punch and pie.

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So I was semi-bored this week, only semi, because I am a guy and porn still does exist. I was looking at the save totals this year as compared to last year, so I went to my local library and to my surprise it still exists, although I had to google directions on how to get there. So, the numbers this year through Tuesday — that’s 8/26 for all of you keeping score on your watch calculator — are as follows: there have been 1971 games played, 1971 wins and losses (if they don’t equal then something is wrong) and the total saves for MLB to date is exactly 1,000. You’re asking yourself how does this help you? Well this is a numbers game where the games left play against you in order to move up in the standings. So, if save totals are averaging at 50.8% of the wins, and this number is fairly consistent (2012: 51.4, 2011: 51.1), and there are 459 (there are 2,430 wins and loses every year, minus rain outs) wins left to garner a save in, that gives you 233 saves left to collect in your league. That may look like a lot but you prolly only have anywhere between 2-4 closers on your roster, so the accumulation for your gain may be slim. Stick around for some opines on some closers, I can’t promise there won’t be anymore numbers though.

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Winning is defined differently through the annuls of our time. I mean Chuck Sheen uses it because winning is banging a gaggle of porn stars. Winning in fantasy baseball is fake, but it really isn’t. It’s getting with the trends and knowing when to throw out your IOU sweatshirts because Champion ones are cool now. Winning NSVH and straight holds leagues is no different. Follow winning trends. Look at the schedule, who plays Miami or Houston. What bullpens have been cold blooded, or just be lazy and ask me. I have useless amounts of brain… wait check that. I have a dwindling amount of brain cells at your disposal. So go with the trends of who is garnering holds, and don’t be afraid to add/drop a ton, they are only RP, a new one comes up every other week that gets 3-4 holds in a week then fades into the blue like the end of “Shane”. So enjoy the week to come and good luck.

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Blown saves suck, but thankfully for some, not all, that stat doesn’t count. I mean it does affect you in some regard but 1 inning of bad numbers is far better than a SP taking a steaming dump on your ERA over a 5-inning debacle. The past weeks of Mo and Jim Johnson have given us zero to look forward to from either guy, but Johnson has been doing this all year long. That’s why I am here to say that K-Rod is going to be getting more looks going forward (or so I think). Johnson leads the league in saves but also leads the league in Blown Saves. He offers little to no K value and his team is in a pennant chase. Now play manager for a second, go get your little outfit, whistle if you think it’s necessary, and let’s go manage. You want a guy who is getting it done, and is best for your team. Not whether I have to start getting ritualistic mani/pedi combo because you start chewing on your digits… all 21 of them. It won’t be a foreva-eva type thing in Charm City but I bet my Omar whistling down the street ringback that it’s going to happen. Enjoy the week to come and good luck as the playoffs for you H2H peeps creeps closer.

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Hot teams equal scorched buns, no that’s not right. Hot teams are where holds go to fall in love, it’s like the Sadie Hawkins dance or the Enchantment under-the-sea thingy. The ATL is hot for holds right now, win streaks are a harbinger of fantasy goodness. Stat wise, the team is 15-3 since the AS break, producing 2 guys with 7 holds — Jordan Walden and Luis Avilan (whose name sounds like the Feliz Navidad song if you sing it.) That’s a crazy amount for one guy, let alone 2 guys. To put that in better perspective, they Each (emphasis on each) have more Holds than 12 other teams. More than 3 freaking first place teams to make you feel better in case I missed your favorite tickle spot. I mean, Atl is looking awfully tough right now so why not get on the stats that mean something. Enjoy the week to come.

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Out of the fire and into the Frieri pan, or as the Sciosciapath would say, buffet Thursdays. Ernesto Frieri has imploded you ratios the past 10 days and has been put into a closer-by-committee type situation. This is ungood for fantasy purposes twofold; first no one wants to roster the remaining parts of the Angels bullpen, namely Dane de la Rosa or the like. Second, after he has taken a steaming pile of feces on your team, do you really want Frieri to remain. Well Daniel Bryan is currently a yes man so think of him on opposite day. The Angels best option to take the job is currently back in the rotation; Garret Richards was doing swell in the pen until the Angels were sucking fumes in the first 6 innings of games and needed some youthful infusion. So now we are stuck in a CBC holding pattern until Frieri figures his hiccups out or some one like “Chaka” Kohn or the loosely translated “damage of the rose” emerges. Stay tuned or don’t, I have plenty of Dipsy Doodles to occupy my time.

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