Last week I recommended Shawn Tolleson, a player that seemed on the cusp of closerdom.  The closer’s role is now his and even though they have a player in Keone Kela that is being groomed for the role (thanks for the tip, Smokey!), it is my belief that Tolleson will stay the closer until he loses the job by blowing saves, but that could be said of just about any closer.  This week it’s time to turn our attention to the happenings in Seattle, where Fernando Rodney has an ERA of 6.23 so far this year.  I’ve previously recommended Danny Farquhar but he’s been almost as bad as Rodney. Both of them sport BABIPs of about .350 so it’s been some bad luck in addition to bad pitching.  Your answer:  Carson Smith.  Some of you have caught on already because his RCL ownership is up to 39% but it should probably be near 100%.  His ERA is 0.90 but his FIP and xFIP are 2.40 and 2.36 because his BABIP (.182) and LOB% (95.6%) are unsustainable.  So now you know where all of Rodney and Farquhar’s luck went.  The sustainable part is the solid 23:5 K:BB in 20 innings.  That’s closer material.  He could, in theory, be named the closer any day now, but unfortunately Rodney has been given a long leash so it’s not likely to happen until after the next blown save or two.

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What an eventful SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) week it was.  Shawn Tolleson, who was originally a high priority SAGNOF Special recommendation two weeks ago, now looks to be in a position to steal some saves from Neftali Feliz or possibly take the job outright.  Feliz is in serious trouble and it will probably be either Shawn Tolleson or Keone Kela that takes over if Feliz is in fact removed.  Right now the word is that Rangers manager Jeff Bannister is going to use whoever he fancies on any particular day to close out games and that leaves the door open for just about anyone, including Feliz.  I find it hard to believe that anyone other than Tolleson is capable of running away with the closer role so he’s my heavy favorite.  If I’m wrong, call me bad names, but try to make it funny at least.

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This week I’ve got two really ugly recommendations for those of you in need of stolen bases.  The first player has been slumping badly, the second is Public Enemy No. 1 as far as some Rusney Castillo fans are concerned… Adam Eaton or considering how he’s (not) hitting lately, Adam “I haven’t Eaton in days”.  Ok, he’s not exactly old yet and his 59/5/37/14/.264 ROS (Rest Of Season) Steamer projection (R/HR/RBI/SB/AVG) is actually quite good and is in fact better than the projections of some of the younger players I’ve recommended previously.  Secondly, we have Shane Victorino aka Rusney Castillo’s wet blanket (well to be fair, Castillo’s inability to stay healthy has been his own wet blanket, but let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story) who is back from injury.  He might not be worth owning if he’s only going to start 4 times a week but if he’s starting 5-6 times a week, well, he’s better than a lot of other players out there.   Before dismissing Eaton and Victorino keep in mind veterans Nori Aoki and Angel Pagan have fared pretty well this year.  And let’s face it, I’m basically making recommendations here for your last roster spot.  These are all players that are fairly expendable, that’s why they are out there in so many leagues.

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It’s been a busy week for SAGNOF (Steals/Saves Ain’t Got No Face) as we’ve seen the demotion of one closer (Miguel Castro), the injury of another (Adam Ottavino) and we’ve had some demotions and call-ups of base stealing prospects. Firstly, I just want to brag a little bit because I told you to pick up Jake Marisnick.  Okay, so I called him Jake Marsinick at first, but hey, let’s not be picky here.  The fact is, I first recommended Jake Marsinick, or whatever his name is, three weeks ago here.  That was back when he had one home run and two stolen bases.  Since then, he’s basically gone one to destroy MLB pitching.  Well anyway, hopefully this will help make up for any calls I’ve gotten wrong over the past few weeks… (and truthfully, I would consider Marisnick a good sell high right now, maybe you can get Brandon Moss in return if you need power).

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Rajai Davis is, once again, a SAGNOF-ian legend.  Again, again, again, was exactly what he did on Saturday when the 34-year-old outfielder stole 3 bases.  This year he might just be the best fantasy player of all those playing only part time (the other player fighting for this honor, in my opinion, is Alex Guerrero).  He has 6 stolen bases despite starting in only 9 of 18 games through Saturday for the Tigers.  Digging up some career stats I see that he’s never needed much playing time to rack up the SBs.  Since he broke out with 41 stolen bases in 2009 he’s averaged 42 steals per season while at the same time averaging only 124.5 games played.  And many of those games weren’t starts.

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I’m a value oriented fantasy manager.  I’m not a believer in positional scarcity and I take that approach (aka meritocracy) to my draft by relying largely on projections.  When evaluating my slumping players I look at their projections and peripherals to see if the slump means anything.  When looking at the hot players in the player pool I take the same approach.  I am going to make recommendations to you based on these approaches.  For the next in line closers it means recommending players with good projections but also considering each players chance to close in the future.  For base stealers it means making sure the player won’t destroy your AVG or at least letting you know if he’s going to.

This week in SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) Recap: Early last week Adam Ottavino ascended into the closer role for Colorado and it looks at the very least to be semi-permanent.  He was previously my 7th best next in line closer to own.  Formerly my 2nd best next in line closer to own, Joakim Soria had ascended due to an injury to Joe Nathan, who should be back soon and will regain his closer role.  Jordan Walden notched a save last night but it appears Trevor Rosenthal was being given the night off.  Now onto this week’s recommendations…

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Why does it seem like there’s always more closer situations in flux in the first week than at any other time?  Well, whether that’s true or not, this year was no different.  Don’t even try to think about what that actually means.  Here’s your sumary: By Thursday there were already three new closers, then Sunday we had two old guys getting worked like speed bags at your local gym.

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Saves can often come from little known sources.  That concept is something we Razzballers call SAGNOF – Saves Ain’t Got No Face.  I played in one RCL (Razzball Commenter League) last year and in that league I owned Sean Doolittle from Sunday March 30th until the last day of the season.  I didn’t draft him.  I picked him up because I was looking for someone that could help with ERA and WHIP as well as adding some additional Ks (the latter of which can’t be bolstered through extra starting pitchers because of the games started limit) and his projections indicated he was worth it.  I didn’t really care about whether he was going to contribute any saves because I had David Robertson, Steve Cishek, and a DL’d Aroldis Chapman which seemed like a good group for a 12-team league.

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The season is nearly upon us, and as Jay put it on Saturday, this is what this series is about in a nutshell: Lance will then take you on a SAGNOF journey, so special, we’re calling it the SAGNOF Special. For those not initiated, SAGNOF stands for Steals/Saves Ain’t Got No Face… because they don’t. It would be creepy. Like J-FOH. During this series, Lance will go over some attractive and available options for your team if you are in need of steals or saves. If only he could do that for my dating-life.” Remember, they “ain’t” got no face because there is speed and potential saves everywhere, and like Jay said, I’m here to help you find them… (not dates though, those are all for me.)

Here are some speedsters I think you should be aware of before the season starts (I’ll start including some bullpen targets next week.) Draft them or pick them up, the power of the SAGNOF Special is in your hands.

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Value.  It’s the essence of fantasy baseball draft strategy.  Some players are draft day values, while others might not return value.  When you read an article and the writer speaks of “value”, the writer is trying to tell you he likes that player and thinks you should be targeting him in your drafts.  It is often his or her subjective view of a player’s value compared to the common perception of that player; a perception that may exist in the form of other rankings and engendered through ADP.  I believe very strongly in using perhaps the most objective means of player valuation available: Algorithm based player projections.  So when I say a player is a value based on his ADP it’s because the projections suggest it.  And that means I am presenting you this information without favoritism towards any particular player.  By their very nature the projections have no favoritism and a player’s ADP is simply a fact.

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