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I think the biggest question I always get when I’m out for dinner trying to inconspicuously eat is: Who should I cuff and when should I start drafting handcuffs for the inevitable closerpocalypse?  My advice is always: As soon as I am done eating, I will tell you.  I then proceed to give them the Irish goodbye and smile as I gleefully think that I got the best of them.  But in all seriousness, the biggest question is: Do I cuff myself or do I cuff someone else’s closer?  Me personally, I am a “cuff someone else’s” kinda guy.  This way, it gives you better odds to have another closer.  Where as if you cuff yourself, you are only replacing what you already drafted to expect.  So in theory, look for the best cuff options that you currently don’t own and steal them from someone else.  Leaving them short and for you, the possible plus one.  So with this theory in mind, I have made a list of the guys that I would want to draft first, second and so on.  I have done closer lists with their back-ups, holds guys, and the pecking order and now you get the best handcuff options to draft and sit on.  Enjoy!

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  1. Nate Jones – D-Rob isn’t going to be around for ever.
  2. Carter Capps – Screw the wind-up hullabaloo, dude can straight up pitch.
  3. Matt Bush – Dyson looks cozy, but call me crazy, it eerily looks like the Tolleson situation to me from last year.
  4. Daniel Hudson –  I just talked the other day about it.  Long story short, Watson is a better reliever than closer.
  5. Hector Neris – Everyone is convinced that he is already the closer, I am not.  Gomez needs to not pitch like he ended the season.  Until then, I see Jeanmar being the guy until he isn’t.
  6. Kyle Barraclough – I was going to put Zig-zag in here, but he’s boring.  Bear claw is the closer goods.
  7. Greg Holland / Adam Ottavino – Whomever wins it, loses it.  So better for you.
  8. Sean Doolittle – Too many cooks in the A’s cupboard for me to trust anyone.  His injury history isn’t so warm and fuzzy either.
  9. Arodys Vizcaino – Which Jimmy Johns is going to show up?
  10. Corey Knebel – Is Mr. Happy really going to be the closer for a rebuilding club all year?
  11. Jake Barrett – It’s Fernando freaking Rodney for Christ’s sake.
  12. Joe Jimenez – K-Rod hasn’t looked like anything concrete, since the teamsters were the teamsters.
  • I didn’t include Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, because if you are in a league and they are still on the board before any of these guys, quit the league drive to Reno and get a tattoo.
  • Until the situations in Washington and Cincinnati become more unmuddled we can narrow in some names.  Treat them all as ownable.

 

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Kenley Jansen – (Sergio RomoPedro Baez)

2. Aroldis Chapman – (Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard)

3. Zach Britton – (Darren O’DayBrad Brach)

4. Edwin Diaz – (Steve Cishek – INJ,  Nick Vincent)

5. Craig Kimbrel – (Tyler Thornburg, Joe Kelly)

6. Mark Melancon – (Hunter Strickland, Derek Law)

 

Donkeycorns

Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.

7. Seung-hwan Oh – (Kevin Siegrist, Brett Cecil)

8. Ken Giles – (Will Harris, Luke Gregerson)

9. Wade Davis(Hector Rondon, Koji Uehara)

10. Roberto Osuna – (Jason Grilli, Danny Barnes)

11. Cody Allen – (Andrew MillerBryan Shaw)

12. Kelvin Herrera – (Joakim Soria, Matt Strahm)

13. David Robertson(Nate Jones, Dan Jennings)

14. Jeurys Familia – (Addison Reed, Fernando Salas)

15. A.J. Ramos– (Brad ZieglerKyle Barraclough)

16. Sam Dyson– (Matt Bush, Jeremy Jeffress)

17. Cam Bedrosian – (Andrew Bailey, Jose Alvarez)

18. Alex Colome – (Brad Boxberger – INJ, Xavier Cedeno)

19. Francisco Rodriguez – (Bruce Rondon. Joe Jimenez)

20. Tony Watson – (Daniel HudsonFelipe Rivero)

 

Employed

These guys are the men that make the save market go round. They punch in, punch out. Have the job, no real threat to speak of, and are basically just there to collect great benny’s so they can take care of their crippled brother. Who is only really crippled because he is scared of the sun.

21. Jim Johnson –  (Arodys VizcainoMauricio Cabrera)

22. Brandon Kintzler – (Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers)

23. Neftali Feliz – (Corey Knebel, Carlos Torres)

24. Jeanmar Gomez   (Hector NerisJoaquin Benoit)

25. Fernando Rodney– (Enrique BurgosJake Barrett)

26. Ryan Madson – (Sean Doolittle, Santiago CasillaRyan Dull)

 

Brain Freezes

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Carlos Marmol– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Castro in the head with a pick-off throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

27. Adam Ottavino  / Greg Holland – (Jake McGee)

28. Brandon Maurer (Carter CappsRyan Buchter)

29. Shawn Kelley /  Koda GloverBlake Treinen

30. Raisel IglesiasDrew Storen  / Michael Lorenzen

   
  1. Clive says:
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    Great write up – thank you!

    I’m in a 10 team H2H where pitching cats are W, QS, ERA, WHIP, SV and K/9.. I ended up going heavy on RP with a few big SP.

    Bumgarner/deGrom/Tanaka/Duffy/Paxton
    Chapman/Diaz/Betances/Holland/Bedrosian/Glover

    Should I ditch some RP for guys like R Ray? Or can I win with this strategy?

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Clive: I wouldn’t personally ur relievers are all studs and should make up for any k problems

  2. Cronut Burger says:
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    I have my 11-team $260 AL-only keeper league auction this weekend and could really use your feedback. I’m going in without a closer, and fear that the prices on RP will be astronomical as there are only 7 closing situations up for grabs. For context, the available guys are Chapman, Britton, Kimbrel, Herrera, Robertson, KRod and Kintzler. Would you:
    a) Pay the likely required $30 for one of Chapman/Britton
    b) Target Herrera and hope his price doesn’t get driven up to Chapman/Britton levels
    c) Pay something like $10 for Kintzler/Pressly, and also pick up specs like Bush and Doolittle
    d) Other
    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Cronut Burger: I think you need a top guy but at some kinda deal if possible. Def need to get good cuffs like bush and Doolittle. Go stars and scrubs…sorta

  3. Jake says:
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    What’s the knock on Colome? His k rate and whip were awfully sexy last year

    • Goldirocks says:
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      @Jake:
      I wondered the same…? I figured he was right with Cody Allen/Osuna ? Colome seems safe with good ratios/K’s. Wade Davis I don’t trust that much anymore. Familia..I don’t know…? Robertson, Ramos, Dyson… Forget it!
      Colome is great deal if you get after all those guys!

    • Steve Stevenson says:
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      @Jake: cuz there’s an 80% chance he gets traded somewhere he doesn’t close.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Jake: I’m leery. Wanna we him do it from beginning of the year for a month. His skill set us closer to Allen then dyson

      • Blind Umps have rights too (seriously their union is that strong) says:
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        @Smokey: yeah and allen is a much better pitcher than dyson

  4. PD says:
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    Our 8 team AL only keeper draft is tomorrow. I’m first up and got my teeth kicked in on saves last year.. thinking to nominate Herrera or Robertson to kick things off and set the market.. kimbrel I’m gunning for as he’s the only salad left. Thoughts?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @PD: good to have targets. But Herrera is plenty good.

  5. Rabbit says:
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    Thanks, Smokey, this is exactly what I was looking for as my league’s free add/drop period opened today, and I need a third pitcher who can get me saves at some point. Grabbed Hudson and Knebel as the best of the available handcuffs (already have Vizcaino and most of the others are already taken in my league). I’m going to be trolling the waiver wire for saves this year.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Rabbit: my pleasure sir. Good luck being a troll

  6. Dan says:
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    Any reason why some names are bolded and others arent?

    • brettj72 says:
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      @Dan: the bolded players are the presumed closers or co-closers. The guys in parenthesis are set up men. It gets pretty messy at the bottom because nobody really knows who the closers are.

      • Dan says:
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        @brettj72:
        What about Herrera and Giles?

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Dan: just a format glitch it appears

  7. Now I Know Why Cram Hates You says:
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    Iglesias?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Now I Know Why Cram Hates You: like I give a shit if cram hates me. Was there must have got lost in translation. My b

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Smokey: It’s not a competition.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: haha. It’s not, not by a long shot. #dart-thrower

  8. Landisimo3 says:
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    Awesome write up … 12 team roto… keep 10… plus 10 farm… was just offered Sanchez, Mejia, 9th round pick …. ( draft is tomorrow) … For McCutchen …. What’ya think??

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Landisimo3: Aaron? Aldaberto? And a 9th for Cuthch, am I guessing the names right

  9. RobMac says:
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    Awesome stuff, Smokey. You are my go-to for closer info, especially holds.

    I am in a Sv+Hd roto league. I drafted Grant Dayton. Would you drop him for Glover, who is still available?

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @RobMac: thanks man. Final tally with it being SVH is probably minute. Just goes by desire to have a closer which always appears to be sexier in any hold and save combo format. Dayton is going to get 80 innings this year.

  10. jon says:
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    Hey Smoke, I’ve gone the old “build up Ks and ratios with guys that are proximal to saves route” in my 12-team h2h 5×5 league with 4 SP and 3 RP slots. We have daily moves, so I’m doing the following:

    Devesnki, Phelps, Miller, Jones, Barraclough

    Dev and Phelps are both SP-elig which means they can sit in those slots to accrue stats on days when my I have fewer than 2 SP going. Plus the 3 RP slots.

    My question is: does Miller, Jones, Bearclaw seem like the right three for this strategy? Or would you rather Bush than Bearclaw? I feel like Bearclaw might be 3rd in line, no? thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @jon: def right three or part of the right group. Bear claw may be third but his usage and periph numbers will be rewarding.

  11. Crabman says:
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    New to saves+holds league and I’m not really sure what I ought to be targeting. Do i pay premium for saves or go bargain shopping for holds. I feel that brad hand might be sneaky valuable in this format or am I off base? Any other later deep league suggestions I should have my eye on?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Crabman: you could go either way really, best strategy for me in those formats is pay for a high profile closer, his main cuff and the a top holds guy on another team, then depending on roster carry a sp/rp elig guy or one spot to stream a rp just for holds.

  12. Anthony says:
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    Giles or Osuna?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Anthony: both are just under the studs category and will both finish in top 10 this year, there really isn’t a wrong answer but i will take Giles cause you asked me right now.

  13. Robert says:
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    I get the Ottavino/Holland toss-up, but if Ottavino wins, why would he be a brain freeze. That 12 K/9 and good peripherals seems safer, or is it just cause it’s Colorado? Or is it because of the tossup?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Robert: its only because of the split opportunities as of right now. Otta has the goods to be a donkeycorn though. Two is a crowd when it comes to ranking though

      • Robert says:
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        @Smokey:
        Thanks, that makes sense. I’m stashing Ottavino in my league as an extra cuff and worst case scenario, he gets me great stats since it’s a daily moves league and he can help the K-9 stat which my league has

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Robert: anytime. agreed

  14. LightBlack says:
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    Dropping Thornburg after latest news. Best guys left in a sv+hold league. Seigrest/Drayton/Holland/Hand/Maurer. Go Drayton?

  15. The Flayed Man says:
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    Hey Smoky,

    We can only start 2 relievers and only count saves (no holds)

    I have Britton. Who would be best bet for second reliever?

    1. Miller
    2. Bentances
    3. Bedrosian

    Thank you.

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