We are going to take a break from the closenado news to bring the middle-reliever news and updates for those of you that are in Holds and NSVH leagues. While it’s not as sexy as the closer news that you usually expect, it is still fundamental in forming a well-balanced pitching staff. It has been a bizarre season, as far as Holds go, and no one person is showing their stoutness and running away with being “that guy”.  The usual candidates are lying in the weeds [Ed. Note– you haven’t smoked it all?] waiting to jump out and show you how to make balloon animals. So here are some snippets that I’ve noticed so far this year, though the season is still short ‘n sweet. There’s a long ways to go my friends. So be patient when it comes to the dudes who pitch after the dudes, but before the dudes that really matter.

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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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*sings Kelis song in head for five minutes before starting post* Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can teach you, but I have to charge. Stupid brain! Denard Span has been hotter than something that’s hot in a situation that’s even hotter. I’m thinking he’s hotter than a stolen wallet that fell into the crack of the world’s fattest man. You can fill in a better allusion if you’d like. I’m empowering you, my prematurely balding men readers. Let’s go back to the beginning of the season, March Grey drafted Denard Span in his last draft of the year, an NL-Only league. I, Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario, was happy to get him, figured he could give me solid counting stats and 20-25 steals. Five months later, I was benching him for Eric Young, Garrett Jones, Reymond Fuentes, really anyone. Then Span decided to reach my projections in the final month. He’s hitting over .400 in September and has stolen more bases this month than all of August (yes, he only stole one base in August, so it’s not that spectacular of an achievement). If you’re struggling for runs, steals and average, I’d grab Span in every league. The only way he could get hotter is if the world’s fattest man farts. Allusion callback! Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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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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Tyler Chatwood continued his red hot play last night pitching seven innings, surrendering just six hits, two runs, and walking none while striking out 11 Brewers for his seventh win. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate with 2 RBI because apparently he is Tyler the Run Creator now. How about that headline, you guys? I woke up in the middle of the night and saw it in bright lights. And as much as I kept telling myself it was really, really bad — sometimes these things are too bad to be denied. Back to Tyler Chatwood. Hello there, strikeouts! Have we met? You’re just visiting for the weekend? Oh, that’s too bad. The Ks may be a bit fluky and that Milwaukee line up is inspiring fear in no one these days, but Chatwood’s success over his past few starts can’t be denied. He lowered his ERA to 2.48 and has allowed 2 ER or fewer in his past four starts. He has also managed to notch three wins in those four starts, with the tough luck loss coming after pitching 8.0 innings of one-run ball. He is a great option on the road and is at criminally under 10% owned in RCL. I’d absolutely grab him for his start in Atlanta next week if you need starting pitching help. He cannot be stopped right now! I better go knock on Chat-wood.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball last night:

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The week was going swimmingly, with inflatable swim muscles, I may add, then Kevin Gregg showed up and said “Oh, I thought everyone wore these glasses now.” I don’t trust Kevin for 2 reasons, closers come and closers go (Kyuji is coming back) so add that into your closer entree like a good splash of adobo. The second reason is he has two first names, I’m sorry, it’s a phobia of mine ever since I went to school with a kid named Ferris Ferris. No I didn’t stutter, that’s a true story. Next we move to Boston, where Joe-L is returning from the DL; John Farrell has said what is typical, we will see what happens. My 2 cents is that Bailey keeps it until he falters or Hanrahan whines enough to make a stink. If I could call Joel, this is how the convo would go. Sup Joel. Who is this? Then I would hang up and not answer when he star 69’s me. I do that cause I don’t like people messin’ around on my phone. Lastly this week, I have moved Jim Johnson, minus his cult following, into the top tier. He has shown me enough to warrant a bump up. The games he pitches in are showing the confidence that Buck has in him, like a great illegitimate dad would in his Maury Povich type son. The bump over Papelbon is based purely on stats and accumulation right now, Paps just isn’t seeing the chances that some other closers are seeing and that inevitably hurts my feelings and his stats/value. Enjoy the week as if you were listening to the soundtrack from Rocky 4, what could get better than that.? If you said that talking robot Pauly got, then we are on the same page my friend.

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I wish I was a mathematician or at least had one of those rad looking calculator watches. For now I will remain myself and take random, yet seasoned guesses at this thing that we covet so much, the save. It’s the only position that every person garnering save capability is owned in every league no matter how big or small, which makes it fun. They say all the fun is the chase, I guess that’s why I am bored with so many people tied up in my Gam-Gam’s basement. Digression, segue, punctuation. The Royals, or for better reference, Greg Holland, has figured out his mojo, while all of us hoping for a heated up Kelvin to pounce are reduced to wait for a Holland-days off. I am glad that Holland has shown what we all thought he could be, albeit for one glorious day. Two in a row is a winning streak, so said Lou Brown. So onto the rankings of closers and some of their ‘cuffs. This week’s random weird but true factoid, the Phillies are 13 games into the season and do not have a hold by any pitcher on their team. Put that in your cheese steak and smoke it

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Much like the more ballyhooed Closer Report, the alternate week Bullpen Report covers everything that those dudes who get quality starts don’t. It’s starting again, in case you haven’t noticed, and no, I am not talking about those unfortunate flare-ups that you cover with medicated ointment, bullpens are in flux. So you get a little of the saves, some of the holds, and some of me just ranting. Ugh, the situation for closers is an ugly ever-changing conundrum. This week’s cluster F belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals. Mitchell Boggs goes all Chernobyl on your weekly ERA and just falls apart. Have no fear as Trevor Rosenthal didn’t look much better. Boggs is still the guy you want here, Motte isn’t coming through that door anytime soon and no one else has the label as go to guy in the bullpen yet. So sit tight and just enjoy this closer-coaster with no seat belt. Here’s what I got this week, some sleeper Holds guys with improving, yet slightly arousing situations, and some other run downs on teams’ closer situations.

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