The end of the year is always fun for me when it comes to the race for holds, and the guys getting them.  The names that appear on the leaderboard for the last 14 days of games looks like a Dateline special of guys who were abandoned by their actual parents, and just appeared in the majors.  For instance, of the top-20 Hold garnerers [Jay’s Note: garnerees? garnerererers? gonorrhea? Eh, let’s just go with garnerers…] over those same last two weeks, only three are in the top-20 for the year (Clippard, Cecil and Watson).  On a side note, these are guys for you in dynasty leagues and deeper keeper leagues to pay attention to…. wink-wink.  That right there echoes the fact of something, oh I don’t know, two weeks ago, where you should just stream the hell out of RP down the stretch to maximize everything. And by everything, I mean appearance, grooming techniques, hell, it’ll probably allow you to take better pictures to update your Tinder account.  Maximize is the name, and maximizing was the game. You see that boat in the distance?… That’s me sailing off into the sunset telling you au revoir, and that I told ya so.  I don’t make this stuff up, there are years and years of stats and performance charts that are readily available on the Google machine to prove my point.  So with that tangent concluded, here is the last bullpen/hold chart of the year, basically showing you who wins. Sort of. If winning holds is an actual award, that is.

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The problem you’re having with your innings limit is everyone’s problem with just five weeks to go. The combative strategy against this is to use a familiar SP option for streaming, but this time, use it for RP.  The concept is sound, and is an effective method for leagues without limits, kinda like doctors without borders, but with mitts and jerseys.  So here’s how it goes: find the guys you’re streaming on your roster for SP, but instead, find an effective middle reliever or two or three. Get greedy, as they help in groups, kinda like the non-anime version of Voltron.  These RP stream guys don’t have to be elite names, as most of them are going to be owned already, but if they aren’t, lets start there.  You wanna focus on guys that have a K-rate above 10, which cuts the available guys you want in half. Next, pay attention to their opponent and their teams record… both important. Guys on contenders get used more frequently in better situations. Lastly, and this is important, as soon as they pitch, dump them and pick up a guy who hasn’t pitched that day or the day before to maximize your usable stats. I don’t care how well they did in the game you streamed them in.  He pitched? Now he’s is gone. Forget about em. Pretty simple. No? I’ll draw it in crayon, but put on this helmet so we don’t have any liability issues. (If you pick the right guys that is.)  Stick around for some pretty charts and tidbits of fantasy goodness…

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If there was a NBA Jam version for relievers, it would go to the Royals bullpen.  They are the hottest team since sliced pimento loaf, and as of this typing, are finding themselves tops in the AL Central.  I have said it before and I will say it again– play the hot hand until it slaps you where it shouldn’t.  They are led recently and not recently, as in all year, by Wade Davis. Davis, on the year, has been just stellar: 6-2 K rate over 13 and has allowed only 5 ER all year. That my friends is about as robust as the McRib sandwich being not not real rib meat. Over the last two weeks Davis has lead the world in Holds with 7.  His subtle sidekick has been a nice mix of Jason Frasor and Kelvin Herrera, both garnering fantasy value in their own way. Frasor notching 2 wins in relief and Herrera grabbing 4 holds for himself… both guys also have the same ERA as Davis during the last 2 weeks. It’s zero, so stop with the guesses. Ride the lightning here as the Royale’s w/o cheese are scorching the universe like a bikini waxing store. Stay tuned for more middle relief haps and slaps.

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In a crazy day of trading, the blockbuster has to be David Price heading to the Tigers. Though, I’m not sure blockbuster is the right word anymore. Blockbuster is so 80’s. Blockbuster sold out to a fro-yo chain and is Blockberry now, isn’t it? The Netflix deal of the day? The Hulu pause-for-three-ads-every-five-minutes trade of the day? The Redbox snatch and grab? See, I wasn’t even talking about the trade in that last one. I wonder if Josh Reddick ever rubs up against a Redbox. Any the hoo! The Tigers rotation is now Price, Anibal, Verlander and Scherzer. Well, you got two aces again! Unless Tim McCarver is announcing and still thinks Verlander and Anibal are aces. As for fantasy, this does nothing to Price’s value. Maybe now that he doesn’t have a manager pulling names out of a hat for a lineup, he might get a few more wins, but did his bullpen get noticeably better? Eh. Did his division become noticeably easier? Eh, his career ERA vs. the White Sox and Indians is worse than his ERA vs. the Red Sox. That’s kinda irrelevant though, these are different teams then he faced previously. In all, it’s a solid lateral trade for Price’s value, but he was already a top arm in the game. No one is happier to see Price than the Tigers Assistant GM, Ted DiBiase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Cameron Maybin has been one of the most frustrating and intriguing players to watch over the last eight years. After flying through Detroit’s system just under two years, he made his first appearance in 2007 with lackluster results. Following that 2007 season, he was the centerpiece, along with Andrew Miller, in the Miguel Cabrera deal between the Marlins and the Tigers. He opened the 2008 season with the Marlins AA team and put together his best season to date, when in 459 AB’s, he gave us a line of 73/13/49/21/.277. He followed that with a September call up where he stole 4 bags and scored 9 runs in 32 PA’s. I remember being disappointed in 2009, when after that great call-up, he was set to start the year in AAA and we all had to wait to add him when he got the call. At the time I didn’t know SAGNOF yet, but I was playing it. Always searching for the cheap SB’s or anyone playing against Chris Young when he was on the Padres. For those that forgot, in 2006 and 2007, Chris Young gave up 41 and 44 SB’s respectively, which averaged out to about one every four innings. YIKES! Sorry, back to Maybin. After that, it was just one long roller coaster of solid minor league performance followed by MLB disappointment until a trade that put him in a San Diego uniform, with a chance to start over.

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Matt Kemp is headed back to the DL. He needs Chris Brown to slap some health into him. Obviously, this a terrible sign for Kemp since it’s his shoulder that he had surgery on that is bothering him. Prior to last week, I stayed away from him all year. Teach me to waffle. Billy Butler, “Who’s making waffles?!” On the bright side, Andre Ethier (3-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday) should see everyday playing time. I’m not sure who that’s a bright side for outside of Ethier and his close relatives. Maybe in some leagues where you’re struggling to find a fifth outfielder, you give Ethier a bit of how’s your father. There’s no bright side for Kemp. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole or touch a ten-foot Pole named Stanislaw. He’s the Pole I’ve been seeing in my dreams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I have no idea of how to tie in one of the most famous AHnold soundboard choices, but like last weeks selection of ANIMAL!, I really don’t need a reason. I have established this, and it feels good to make said establishment. I also have no idea what we’re are still doing here, playing in these deep leagues. Sometimes I panic that I won’t have anything to write about, and then I remember, there’s always money in the banana stand. No, wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Ah, yes. We’ll always have Humberto Quintero to talk about. The fantasy catching equivalent of seppuku. And guess what? I haven’t even typed a player blurb on Tom Gorzelanny yet, so exciting times indeed! God, shoot me now.

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We are halfway through the fantasy season and it’s another week, another closepocalypse. Didn’t Smokey predict this back in March?! Andrew Bailey’s job was outsourced, Jose Valverde was sent packing, Heath Bell is absolutely stuffed and the Mariners closer by committee is as uncertain as a child’s bottom. That’s a straight up Ulysses quote my literate homies. SAGNOF! While in the real baseball world it has become quite obvious that saves are overrated, in our fake baseball world closers are one of those necessary evils. Kind of like root canals and prostate exams. Fortunately, I get both taken care of at the same place. One-stop shopping. Thanks ObamaCare! While closers can be a pain in the fanny perpendicular, I’m not one to punt a category. Even one as frustrating as the save. Who invented this dastardly stat? Apparently the dean of baseball beat writer’s, Jerome Holtzman is to blame. He invented the save in 1959. There wasn’t much to do in the late 50’s except “like Ike” and cower in the bomb shelter with a tin of beans and a deck of nudie cards. According to Razzball historian Paulie Allnuts, the very next year the term “Sagnoff” was first uttered by one Winston Greystone Albright II after drafting Moe Drabowsky with his first pick in the inaugural drunken fantasy draft at The White Horse Tavern in New York’s West Village. An ‘ol fashioned donnybrook soon ensued, but not a mustache was harmed according to reports. Thanks Paulie. This week let’s run down some candidates for saves that just could mean the difference between fantasy glory and fantasy defeat. Time to jam it or cram it. Dr. Pfister, I’m ready for my… Do you really need to wear the dive watch?

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As you read in the title, this is the second installment of the bullpen check-up. Today we look at the American League. (The National League middle relievers post is there, and Grey’s Closer Look.) The options seem to be less as compared to the NL, but quality is still abundant. So enjoy my targets for Holds in the American league. As per the NL post the Peeping Tom’s are guys that you want to watch from a far, but don’t get caught looking too long because it’s the clinker for you or in actuality a miss on the waiver wire.

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