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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So down goes a top ten guy in an off week where I talk about set-up guys. Jason Grilli is beset with a forearm strain and up steps the league leader in Holds, Mark Melancon. Melancon has been spooktacular this year, and if wasn’t owned prior to the injury then your league is hot garbage. Sorry, but truth is truth. So the pecking order in the ‘Burgh now reads like this, which really isn’t devoid of good RP this year. I see Tony Watson and Justin Wilson splitting the left-handed set-up duties and Bryan Morris and Vin Mazzaro to continue their RH dominance. If given the opportunity, Victor Black could be brilliant, so keep an eye on him. Not one guy is going to run away and garner the hold chances that Melancon has gotten to date this year so it is going to be a mish-mosh of hold chances. Also factor in that the Pirates are in some trade rumors for some end game help and the rosterability of all these guys is tough to call until we know how long Grilli is under the weather. Enjoy the week to come.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So team success helps everything, from team building exercises to a secret program that siphons money into a bank account at fractions of a penny at a time. Whatever works, works, but at the end of the day the stats are what matters. Take for example the Texas Rangers’ bullpen. The trio of Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Jason Frasor are getting it done minus the flair. They have combined for 17 Holds in the last 30 days and are tied for the AL lead in Holds with 50. Earlier in the year, I was asked the best strategy for NSVH, and I said the best way is to grab a top 10 closer and 2 middle relievers from the same team. This is why this theory makes all the sense. Take a resurgent Cotts, who has dominated batters to a BAA of .187. “It’s Murda.” Thanks Ja Rule, for having nothing else to do. Throw in Scheppers and as of late a rejuvenated Frasor and you have a nice drunk punch of goodness for a Holds factory. Holds are a streaky stat, take a look at Mark Melancon, he is still leading MLB in holds only because he had 14 thru the first 30 days. The leader since then? Hmmm I betcha I just mentioned him above… Tanner Scheppers with 8. Enjoy the week to come.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So we come to another week of debauchery known as bullpendom. Yeah, I like to make up words, Dr. Seuss did it and he is considered a genius, me will settle for 700 on my SAT’s and just scraping by. What can I say – I’m a settler minus the funny hat and the flashy yet obnoxious buckle on my shoes. The Red Sox seem to be leading the pack of news this week with Joel Hanrahan being pipped by Andrew Bailey. It’s going to be a non-fluid situation when Joe-L returns as I see him setting up and waiting for Bailey to go on the rocks. It’s not a bad thing to have if you’re in Boston, 2 closers that have the ability to close out games with some sort of success, for fantasy it sucks worse then burning your toaster strudel cause it gets stuck in the toaster. Best part is there is still some of that glaze that you can just free base as a non-essential part of your daily vitamin allowance. Lots more in this week’s episode of bullpen report so keep on reading and click that red button, or gray button for our color impaired people.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As Sam Cooke said when looking at John Axford on my fantasy teams, “Change is gonna come.” Thanks, Sam. Sam also said the same thing after I gave a waiter twenty dollars on a $12 bill. Speaking of paper money, is it me or do people pull out a five dollar bill and also wonder to themselves, “Hey, when did they put Daniel Day Lewis on money?” The Brewers said we need to look at the closing situation with Axford. HAHAHAHAHA *breathe, Grey, breathe* HAHAHAHAHA *inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale* Oh, man, that it is rich. They need to look at it?! Really?! That’s like saying there’s a goiter the size of a cantaloupe growing out of your head and you might want to get it checked out. Hey, you got a goiter growing out of your bullpen, Brewers! Check on it! Obviously, you need to grab The Muppeteer, Jim Henderson. I’d hold Axford for now (on my bench), but he could be out of the mix for saves for a while if he can’t his shizz together when he enters games in the 7th and 8th inning. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s the first week of the season and there is really only one question as we enter the first week of fantasy SAGNOF-ville. What in the name of Brian Boitano are the Tigers doing with the closer situation. Well I liken it to a drug cartel, 3 Latinos and some coke, with some equal distribution until someone gets too big for their britches and knocks everyone else off. I like a good even mix of Al-Al, Benoit, Dotel and Coke to all get some run based on the situation and it being too early for Leyland to cash in his Marlboro miles for that new kayak. So with the first post of my inauguration, I am starting from scratch and the rankings start with this post so no fancy pluses or minuses until the next post. I will also try and alternate between closers and Holds guys for my weekly posts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?