Whenever spring training starts to wind down and the closer spot is yet to be determined, it’s never a good thing.  It causes rosters to get fat off the land, and wastes your draft picks on no-news type situations. I will turn my one good lazy eye to the Minute Maid conundrum of “who closes for the Astros?”  Some may ask: “who cares?” But this is the essence of SAGNOF believers. Cheap closers are what makes the fantasy world get on a sit, spin, chug a beer, and scream obscenities at trolley cars.  So from the beginning of the hot-stove baseball season, and even after they signed Luke Gregerson, I believe that it’s still Chad Qualls‘ job.  No news is good news for the incumbent… Even though the news all across the reliever landscape is all speculation, “he said this” and “the beat writer said that”.  Well, the only person who actually knows is the manager, Hinch.  So I am going to do my best to break it down from my ivory soap tower.  Stick around, there may be something fun or edible once you get inside.

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I swear to you with the sincerity of someone you’ve never met, I woke up yesterday and saw the news about Zack Wheeler and decided it wasn’t a catastrophe for my already-drafted teams. At least I only drafted him in one of three leagues. I liked him a lot, so things could’ve been worse. I felt downright well-adjusted. Breathe in, breathe out, Grey’s fine. So, I went to my car to go on my morning trip to Starbucks, where I have the pleasure of buying an overpriced coffee and having my name misspelled, but, when I got in my car, it wouldn’t start. The car’s not a clunker, never had problems before. Then I realized something very profound. There was a higher power that would not let me be well-adjusted to Wheeler breaking down. A higher power that insisted I mourn the lose of my Wheeler even if it meant hitting me over the head with sad, sad irony that my four-wheeler wouldn’t start either. That higher power’s name, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Now I have no car and no number two starter on one of my teams. As I said in yesterday’s podcast that was taped on Sunday prior to the official Wheeler news breaking, the Mets said Wheeler’s elbow was fine so that meant he’d need Tommy John surgery. I was being facetious at the time, but is there any such thing as being facetious when talking about the Mets? Not to answer, but to ponder. Terry Collins said on Sunday, and I quote to let you absorb fully what teams say vs. what is actually going on, “There is nothing alarming or different from what’s been going on before. I know (Wheeler)’s got some issues with the finger (a blister). Other than that, just a little rest and he’ll be fine.” On Monday, Wheeler’s UCL was fully torn and needed Tommy John surgery. That’s one heckuva blister! Wheeler’s biggest challenge will now be finding time to see Dr. James Andrews. He’s getting booked up quickly! I’ve removed Wheeler from my top 40 starters and my top 400. To add insult to Wheeler’s injury, the Mets will moved Dillon Gee into the rotation and not Noah Syndergaard. Gee, terrific. Gee’s a 4+ ERA, 6+ K-rate guy that I won’t add into the rankings because he’s a streamer in most mixed leagues. Also, he’ll be bumped in June for Syndergaard, assuming no more Mets pitcher injuries– Ha! Damn, almost got through that last sentence without laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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I swear to you, they’re gonna drive me nuts. All of them. Mookie and Rusney and Victorino and Hanley and everyone in that dugout that gets a preseason talk from Schilling about all the good PR you can get from ketchup on a sock. I’m gonna go stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign that reads, “Will work for clarity on the Red Sox outfield situation.” Hey, H&R Block, can I write off clarity on my taxes? The Red Sox said early this week that Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo will split time in center to see who will win the job. I originally placed Betts at a 10 to 1 long shot to win the job, pun intended and noted. Then Castillo strained his oblique. Oblique with no clarity is just perfect. As I mentioned in our first podcast of the year, the Red Sox are gonna be a mess for fantasy value vs. playing time. There’s so many scenarios that could happen — Hanley can’t play outfield, goes to short and Bogaerts goes to the bench; Rusney and Betts platoon; Betts looks great and Rusney gets benched; Rusney looks great and Betts goes to the minors; Rusney and Betts both look just okay and Nava plays well; Victorino gets hurt and Rusney and Betts both play; Allen Craig looks good and Betts and Rusney are benched. Okay, the last one has no chance, but you get the idea. Rusney’s health should be fine by Opening Day, but the oblique injury obviously puts him behind Mookie now. I’ve lowered Rusney into my top 60 outfielders and changed his projections. I’m sure this will change again by tomorrow. Brucely, I think the only one guaranteed playing time in the outfield is Hanley (assuming he can handle it, and doesn’t Hanley it), unless there’s injuries, which there likely will be. It’s a shituation of Old Testament, swarm of locust proportions. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We now get to the ugly step-sister of rankings and the waiver darling position that we all chase.   The relief pitcher is by far the most debated position on who to draft, where, and when.  For the most part, I agree with you (with whatever you think), but the guys you want…if you get them where they are being drafted, usually beat or exceed value.  Injuries suck and do happen, you just can’t prevent them. You just have to be in a position of favor and hope that you land his replacement.  Sucktitude, i.e see Joe Nathan last year, is just a roster burden and usually drags you down all season because he isn’t someone you can just drop, but he makes it awfully hard to roster.  It’s a catch-22, to stat or not to stat.  Last year saw an unforgivable 10 closer changes in the first six weeks. That is not something you can pad your roster with enough save-cuffs for.  So let’s get to the first set of rankings of the year.  I will get into draft strategies for them, and as always, cover holds in the countdown to the season.

Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Ralph and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out…

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I wonder if Jake Smolinski had a sister that put out in high school. I could’ve swore I hooked up with an Eva Smolinski after her friend Dawn rejected me. Were my Cavariccis cuffed a little too high for you, Dawn? My B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt too faded? I still hate you! Well, enough about me! *smacks self* Get a grip, man! Smolinski is hitting .408, and crushing pink cookies in a plastic bag since his call up, going 4-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday. The Rangers are like a prisoner with a life sentence (no offense to some of our readers; I believe you’re innocent!). Rangers have nothing but time on their hands to play their guys. Is Smolinski anything but a hot schmotato? God, no, but no one is this late in the year. I’d grab him if you need a hot bat, and who doesn’t? Dawn apparently! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This late in the year, Big Head Bochy minus his monsters goes and has to be all “I am changing it back to the way it used to be when all was being drafted and confidence in February Grey was at an all-time high.”  So the news that Santiago Casilla will now be in a co-starring role this late in the season just sucks for all parties involved.  Sergio Romo gets back into the fray as the closer situation is all muddled now in the city by the bay. Whoa, whoa, whoa-o.  Even Steve Perry hates this idea. Don’t believe me? Go ask him, as he seems like he’s over Sheila and prolly all good in the wits department.  Now I can see if Casilla was pitching awfully, which he wasn’t… well not completely, but come on Bruce.  You can’t do this and actually sleep at night knowing you torture fantasy line-ups the way you do, and I for one am writing a letter. No, an email, screw that a petition!  You hear that Bruce? A petition… so get yourself ready, I may even sue you. Smokey smash. So if you saw the writing on the wall from this, you already had Romo stashed. Let’s see what the jumbled up rankings look like with the injuries, demotions, and the rigmarole that is involved in the Saves of Thrones.

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For some strange reason, I have the great Willie Nelson song in my head… On The Road again.  Why, you ask? Because I am out perusing the great country of ours and doing fantasy football’s 32x32x32 with Nick.  I may be thinking football, but my heart is in San Francisco… rather bullpens.  So it was all quiet on the savedom front til recently, when some usual save stalwarts stubbed some toes.  While some repeat offenders… yeah you Joe Nathan just continue to lull us into a state of perpetual eye-rolling… all of these issues are no bueno for the push to make playoffs in some formats, or those pining for the stat push in point leagues.  I am personally not too worried about the married guys, they are there for good reasons; they do it all year and you have them for saves or to save not.  I am more throwing my ire towards those middle guys, the Steve Cishek‘s and Rafael Soriano types who have  given us decency all year and then have recently given us both ERA’s over 7 a piece the last 2 weeks.  So buyer beware at this point for stat purposes with these guys they aren’t going to be replaced but the production is on the level of a doozer on light duty. Stick around for some tid-bits of knowledge or  stay to just say high. [Jay’s Note: Oh… I get it.]

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It’s way too quiet in here… I need a sniper to take out a closer or something. Maybe a team of trained Labrador assassins [Jay’s Note: Everyone knows that Labradoodle assassins are better.], no one would expect that.  The “Seeing Eyes of Terror” would be their name. Speaking of which, I want to concentrate this week on the under-ratedness of Huston Street. The trade that helps him, the new ballpark that allows his team to actually score runs, and the ability to be that close to Mike Trout. So we are going to venture back through time and space, steal some plutonium from some Libyans, and go back to stats for 2012 to the present day. Confused? Good, me too. So, since 2012, Huston St. is top-10 in saves (86), tops in save % with only 4 BS in 3 years, at a 95.3% clip. And he also has had a resurgence in K Rate to push it over 9 K/9, but for a better perspective, he K’s batters at a 26.5% rate. Hold on, I’m not done yet. He is also one of only four RP with a K rate of over 9 and a walk rate under 2.1.  Add all that up, and I love Street for this year, and next year well he will probably be over-drafted based on this post alone. Catch you all on the flip-flip, meaning comments.

Psyche! Before you go further, you should take me on in our Fantasy Football RCL’s for chances at some really neato prizes! (Or commish one for a chance at a Best Buy gift card!)

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In school they teach, or try to teach, in most of our cases for the ADHD crowd, the essentials of a good curriculum. Reading, Writing and arithmetic. We can apply that to the closer situation in Arizona.  Addison Reed is the closer, but for how much longer?, is the key conundrum. He see’s the writing on the wall, but he also has the backing of his manager throughout the season (and again on Tuesday), and has since blown 2 more saves. Though the way the D-Backs are going, would it be optimal for them to ground an asset, or a “sort of asset” now, and then try and go a different direction later via trade?  Cuz let’s be honest, they aren’t going anywhere, and have capable arms in the majors and minors to jump in if necessary.  Now the math part, well that is why we do fantasy baseball, it’s all about the numbers.  Which, in Addison’s case, really sounds like a totally hot chicks name, prolly drives a Jeep Wrangler, wears her dad’s old jeans as cut-offs, basically a goer if you catch my drift.  [Jay’s Note: I really don’t.] Where was I and why am I all sweaty?  Oh…numbers.  Reed’s K’s are up and walks are down from his career numbers… but but but Smokey, those are good things.  Right?  Well, technically yes, but when luck runs out you go to Zig-Zags, and by that, I mean Brad Ziegler, (the next guy up in the event of  a change). Yes, even with the escape-goat win on Wednesday.  I mean, Addison has done really nothing wrong besides blow 5 games, and sometimes looks about as hittable as Rihanna.  So sit on Addison, but cushion the blow with B-Rad, and for dynasty lookers, take a look at Jake Barrett.  Let’s see what other geniuses of truth happened in the last week or two.

Please, blog, may I have some more?