With the season winding down and most H2H leagues in full-on go mode, this week’s holds post will be the last one of the year.  I know, so sad, right?  It has been a 25-week journey into the pits and pendulums that are fantasy bullpens.  But with the conclusion, it is always good to look ahead to next year for everyone in keeper, dynasty or just anyone looking to get a jump on next year now.  I mean, I never stop really doing bullpen research all year, I drink one can of beer at a time and then look to the bottom of the can to see if the answer or answers are printed on the bottom.  Alas, I haven’t found one yet, but that won’t stop me from trying again and again in my ever search for bullpen enlightenment. Things to look for late in the year for future bullpen potential; high leverage usage, a great success with stranded runners and a great situational involvement in that teams bullpen moving forward. Just a P.S., those are the things I give you with every bullpen piece in my helpful chart. Yes that last one is tough because we never know who will be traded and add or subtract value from another, but great bullpen arms on one team with potential for holds, saves and just overall decent fantasy return are very rarely ever traded and don’t return to same spot with new team.  So put your feet up, I have 10 more beers left before this post is done…

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In order to be competitive, the Marlins would need All-Stars at every position all farmed from their minor league system.  Sorta like what the Cubs have managed to do.  Not impossible, but that’s what it would take for the Marlins because they are cheap AF.  By the way, AF is my favorite acronym.  Props to whoever first started using it.  Feels like it started on Twitter because of the character limit.  Keeps shizz short and simple AF, kinda like me (short and simple).  Any the hoo!  I was saying the Marlins need to be precise AF (I’m overusing it now) with their minor league system like they were with Jose Fernandez.  He’s AF as AF comes.  His nickname should no longer be Jo-Fer but AF.  Or maybe AF-Fer.  Nah, that looks like a trade union.  A-Fer?  That looks like algebra.  Fernandez should own Abercrombie & Fitch he’s so AF.  Yesterday, Jose Fernandez went 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks and 12 Ks.  He has 253 Ks in 182 1/3 innings.  Seriously, digest that for a second.  WTF AF?!  Of course, I wish the Marlins would shut him down until 2017, but I have no chance of owning him next year.  Not that I don’t love him.  He’s the best pitcher in the game if I’m building a dynasty league.  Yeah, I said it.  I want him over Kershaw.  Kershaw has been durable up until this year, but all pitchers are durable up until the point when they’re not.  At one point, Jake Peavy was durable AF, too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If history teaches us anything about fantasy baseball, it’s that the proof is in the pudding.  If history actually teaches us anything, it’s that Brad Pitt killed Hektor.  See what I did there, I pulled the ole okie doke.  It’s a favorable trick passed down through the years of dudes who vape and like to talk about how a dime won’t even buy a nickle anymore.  Those first few sentences are brought to you by filth and non-sense, because life isn’t fitting if there isn’t filthy or nonsensical.  So onto Holds, which about six actual readers, and one of the female variety still get all excited about.  The title says it all this week for the lede, Hector Neris has been carried in most formats all year because he brings some fantasy goodness to the table.  As a handcuff, there’s no way he can do it for the whole year, even with Jeanmar, or the fact that he has sexy enough reliever numbers, 11-plus K-rate, under 3 ERA.  I could go on and on and bore the crap out of you, but let’s just put it this way: he has 27 Holds behind a closer that has 34 saves for a surprise bullpen asset in the Phillies.  So in the last two weeks with the Phil’s getting there fair share of victories he has been an augmenter to your hold total notching a league high 5 holds.  He is a key cog down the stretch for not only the Phils , but for your fantasy team regardless of format.  So go take a look, just in case the late year shuffle has thrown him by the wayside.  After you do that follow the bottom for some Holds, set-up and other relief goodies…

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Over the past few seasons, the blueprint for the New York Yankees franchise has been a predictable one: assemble an aging, overpriced roster, finish a few games over .500, rinse, repeat. Reload rather than rebuild. However, those days appear to be coming to an end. 41-year-old Alex Rodriguez and 39-year-old Carlos Beltran are gone. 36-year-old Mark Teixeira has been reduced to a part-time role. High priced relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller have been traded away for a boatload of prospects to restock the farm system. The youth movement is officially underway. One of the newest youngsters on the Yankee roster is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, 24-year-old outfielder Aaron Judge (34.8% owned; +31.1% over the past week). Judge’s 6-foot-7, 275 pound frame and impressive raw power have drawn comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. Stanton already had 154 homers on his MLB resumé by the end of his age-24 season while Judge is just getting started. I think that more reasonable comps would be along the lines of players such as Richie Sexson and Mark Trumbo – big, powerful righties who have racked up some impressive home run totals throughout their careers. Another trait that Judge shares with those sluggers is his propensity to strike out, as he’s whiffed in 24% of his plate appearances this season after doing so in 26% of his PAs last year. The homers could come in bunches at times, but there could be some cold streaks as well. A .250ish average with plus power is a reasonable projection for Judge moving forward. He’s worth an add in all leagues for his power upside alone.

Here are a couple of other recent Yankee call-ups who have drawn the attention of fantasy owners over the past week:

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Rough year to be a Prince.  Watch yourself William, Henry and the kid who played Fred in the atrocious Scooby-Doo movies.  Prince Fielder is done from baseball with 319 homers.  Of the tens of thousands of other baseball players that have played the game, the only other person retired with exactly 319 homers is Cecil Fielder.  They are also the only two members of the 300-300 club — 300 HR/LB.  This also leads me to believe we’re on an 18-year loop with 1998.  Wait until Hillary Clinton meets a young Jewish intern in the White House who is just back from Cuba with some cigars.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Manny Machado put up his right hand yesterday to measure it against a hand drawing every clubhouse has posted on its wall.  The drawing is of Mark Whiten’s hand that once held four baseballs in it.  Four baseballs for the four homers he hit in one game.  In the Padres’ clubhouse, this hand has been removed because it’s just a not-so-subtle reminder of what will never be.  In the Indians’ clubhouse, the hand is made into a turkey to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.  In the Astros’ clubhouse, the hand has been cut out and fashioned into a t-shirt for Altuve.  Imagine if Donald Trump wins the presidency and throws out a first pitch.  He may never make it to the field, too distracted in the clubhouse by measuring his hands against Whiten.  Yesterday, Machado came a fingernail short of the hand, hitting three homers with seven RBIs.  Now has 25 homers on the year with a .307 average.  Terrific, stupendous, adjective!  What’s more remarkable is he does not have one steal all year.  Almost as crazy, he’s only attempted three.  Did he have a knee transplant this offseason with McCutchen as the donor?  Machado stole 20 bases last year.  To go to none?  Wow, his feet definitely don’t measure up to the Rickey Henderson foot drawings in each clubhouse.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Steve Cishek hit the DL with the same injury that sounds like it once affected Nadia Comaneci –a torn labrum.  Grey’s got Olympics fever!  Which this year sounds like it can be transmitted by a mosquito.  “I’m not wearing my Brazilian national flag t-shirt to sit in the room all day!  Actually, I feel a little woozy too.”  That’s a family of four coming down with the Zika Virus at this year’s Olympics.  With Cishek likely out for the year, grab Edwin Diaz in all leagues.  On a related note, I’ll leave you with the Double Dutch Bus, a song that Missy Elliott later made famous on Gossip Folks.  The chorus for Double Dutch Bus sounds like it’s just me trying to say the name Steve Cishek.  Fast forward to 2:15 if you’re not feeling early 80s funk and just want the guy to say Steve Cishek repeatedly.  

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Indians traded Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen for Andrew Miller.  A regular Thanksgiving bounty to the Yankees as the Indians received SAGNOF and smallpox.  Hopefully, the Indians don’t have reservations later about those prospects they sent for Miller and want them back like, um, a regretful trade partner.  For a second this weekend, it appeared that the Indians traded for Miller and Jonathan Lucroy, but Lucroy vetoed the trade.  Looks like Milwaukee is a bunch of Brewer-givers.  Will say this, it was a bold trade by Cleveland vs. sitting around Indian-style as they did all offseason.  So, Miller becomes the de facto closer in Cleveland, and remains a top five closer in fantasy.  Cody Allen gets his value boinked on the head and it’s now seeing stars.  Mean’s while, in New York, Dellin Betances becomes the 9th inning man for the Yankees and, taking over setup, is their newly acquired, Tyler Clippard.  That’s right, the Yankee Clippard!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I was going to just delay this post due to inclement weather, but Grey’s super Doppler 5001, which is also a giant B.S. detector, wouldn’t let me.  So here we sit, some 48 hours before the list that you are about to see means about as much as single-ply toilet paper…  Really, what cheap s.o.b. concocted this idea of pinching pennies?  I mean everyone has had a run-in with it at some point.  Awful.  It’s part of the reason I have a salt-water bidet in all three outhouses at the Smokey compound.  So back to the deadline… closer gossip teams are lining up other contenders closers in such a bullish market, namely the rumors surrounding Mark Melancon.  The market and teams that need reliable relievers, let alone closers, is the Nationals, Indians, Rangers and Giants.  It is just the land of confusion and there is not enough LOOGY’S to go around.  I will touch on who I can see where after the bump to prolong the suspense, but the teams I just mentioned are teams to monitor on the opposite end of closers, because if the big names start rolling, all but Cody Allen looks to be out of a job.  Here’s what I can see going down by the deadline in the bullpen game, plus some rankings and next in line stuff.  Plus, Razzball Soccer has started pumping out quality, so go over and check it and join the official game…

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Shaba Antone in the know knows that I am all about Jamaica.  Love to visit the place.  I also have several friends that reside on the isle and like to partake in the national festivity of… well, you know, don’t make me say.  The Dodger pen has been a flux of capacitors all year, and I think at some point I’ll bet a sixer on the leading hold leader from them being someone who may have contracted a melanoma.  Enter Joe Blanton.  The resurrection project of all resurrection projects.  Not only has he flourished in the role of set-up to the stars, but he doesn’t seem to have any competition to say the opposite.  In his last 30 days, minus a week off for the All-Star break, he has a one-off the pace total of 7 holds, a K/9 rate of above average, and an ERA of two bills.  All this for a team that has lacked stability setting up the dude who sounds like someone you would rent a kickboard from in Jamaica.  Now, he isn’t the only reason for the Dodgers having a top-5 bullpen ERA in the last 30 days, but he isn’t not-not the problem.   He is someone you may need to own though, add in the fact that in some leagues, I have SP eligibility, and he looks even sexier.  So now that we have got the lede out the way, let’s get to the milk and cookies of the bullpen report.

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