No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

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What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

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Sneaky free K’s are all the rage for a streaming option when a starter just won’t do.  The numbers they put up are more of a collection-basis rather than a hunt, play and punt.  Relievers, not just closers, are the container that transports the glue.  Can you imagine glue not coming in a container and just being had at the local sundry store by the handful?  Messy proposition my friends.  Non-closers are what every complete fantasy team need.  They are like the egg in a good recipe – you can often substitute one reliever for another.  That’s what makes them so handy… they don’t usually carry a huge draft day burden.  They are basically free waiver-wire adds.  For those in holds leagues, that doesn’t always ring true, and when I start getting into the preseason hold rankings, some of the names will be similar.  That’s because the names you want just don’t give you holds, they give you multiple stats.  They are the five-tool performers in the industry of relief pitchers.  So here is a little preseason primer for guys who don’t really adorn too much draft day attention, but should be snagged in situations that require their services when you are short on K potential and maximizing the K/9 of your fantasy roster…

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I am a realist.  Not everyone is down with the rationale of being hip to pitching and ditching.  That statement is both literal and figurative.  We now have three weeks remaining of games.  I mean, you either want to win and go for it with whatever you have at your discretion, or you will just listen to the piper playing and roll off the side of the mountain with the other lemmings that will go by the best names possible on my roster wins.   Sorry if I stand here in my skidz pajamas and call you stupid, but you stupid.  Go to the bathroom, smash your head into the sink, and then splash some water your face.  It ain’t over until it’s over, it wasn’t over when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and it ain’t over now.  Go to our waiver wire, listen to what I have to say about streaming… It’s really simple: Pitch twice and ditch, regardless of outcome or what J-FOH says about pitching, because little league was 25 years ago and pitching donuts is different than actually knowing baseball.  So here is some late season K/9, usage and trends that I have noticed that’s going on with the bullpens in the past few days.  Cheers!

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“Hey, Intern, let’s get the Mayans on hold just in case we need them in a hurry. What? Who the hell is Ralph Mayan of the Mayan Empire and Grille in Norwalk? Your blank stare tells me nothing. Go buff out my El Dorado while I write this post!” So, I’ve seen The Theory of Everything, the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife. It touches briefly on his theorems and the universe’s push and pull. Imagine the universe breathes in and out. The in is gravity and the out is energy generated by particles. However, the Cubs would breathe in, but when they exhaled it sounded like a wheeze. For over a hundred years, people thought it was dying. That constant wheeze of death. Then, Theo Epstein came along, kicked the Cubs in the ass and realized it wasn’t a wheeze but there was something stuck in its throat. The Cubs won’t breathe easy until they win a championship again, but the signing of Jon Lester should help. Last year, Lester had a 9 K/9 and a 2 BB/9. I just touched on this with the signing of Samardzija the other day, but a difference of 7 between K/9 and BB/9 is about the most beautifulest thing in the world, Keith Murray. For K-BB, Lester was 11th in the majors last year. Top ten is a who’s who that’s more glamorous than your Who’s Who of American High School Students Who Paid $75 To Be In That Who’s Who Book. I’ll give you a little hint: if you were to just draft based on K-BB, you’d win your league. Why is K-BB so important? It’s so basically basic basically basic it’s silly. If you strikeout hitters and don’t walk them, good things will happen. For 2015, I’ll give Lester the projections of 15-9/2.92/1.08/206, which is number one fantasy SP numbers. Yup, he’s going to be solid once again. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Sell George Springer? Are you mad, man? You’re not Joan, that’s for sure. You could be Bertram Cooper, because you are dead to me. I know, it’s blasphemy of the highest order. Springer, for Chris Cooper in Lone Star’s sake, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated! Of course, that’s assuming anyone actually sees a cover of anything. Are there magazines anymore? That’s a question for Stephen Hawking’s Speak ‘n Spell! That would be a great trick question for an alien. True or false, the smartest man on the planet uses a toy for a 5-year-old to speak. Guarantee that I’d trip up Andrelton Simmons with that question. Any the hoo! Springer is striking out like an insane man. If he continues on this rate, he may not hit above .200. For serious. He’s making Adam Dunn look selective. Since 2000, he has the 15th worst K-rate. Only two guys hit above .259 in that time frame with that bad of a K-rate, and one of them needed a .404 BABIP (that means he was lucky). Most guys averaged around .220. I don’t doubt Springer will be great. Maybe even as soon as next year, but he needs to make some serious adjustments, and, with him on the cover of a magazine(!), he’s getting so much pub that you can sell him for a lot more than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Go do some dad stuff today. Put on some plaid pants, play some golf, watch some baseball, fire up the grill, drink some Schlitz, and tell them kids to get off your lawn. When it comes to Papa Guru *cue “Cat’s in the Cradle”* I got my love for baseball, gambling and fine scotch from the man we kids called “Run, dad’s home!” When it comes to this fake baseball game we spend way too much time on while ignoring our own kids it all started for me when Papa Guru introduced me to Strat-O-Matic back in the 80’s. I was forever hooked on baseball stats. It was a fun game for father/son bonding until the old man got sent to the hoosgow for safecracking – not the best profession for a man that suffered hearing damage in ‘Nam. No, he wasn’t hurt in the war, he just got a little too close to Ning Pam during her flaming ping pong ball trick. Think The Deer Hunter crossed with Porn Hub. Since I basically played Russian roulette with closers on all my RCL teams this year I’ve been getting my face blown off by the likes of Grant Balfour and Jim Johnson all season long. I’m not hurting so much with steals, but could use a multi-positional bench SAGNOFer to maximize at-bats and grab some cheap stats. Let’s fire up the Jammer Crammer© machine and see if there’s anything left for us SAGNOF! starved Razzaholics to salvage. Since it is Father’s Day, I’ll let Papa Guru give his opinion on each player – he’s going to do it whether we let him or not. It’s time for an encore edition of the SAGNOF! Jam it or Cram it.

If you’re looking for some bonus jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio where Nick and your well turbaned Guru talk jams of the week and I share why I hate the World Cup.

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See Nate Eovaldi throw 99 MPH! Stop. In a part! Stop. Never before seen! Stop. As he takes on the role! Stop. Of Stanley Fastballski! Stop. He’s got a method fastball! Stop. Adapted from the book! Stop. You Shall Know My Eovelocity! Stop. If you want to park in the underground garage! Stop. No, seriously, stop! Stop. We don’t Eovalidate that garage! I loved what I saw the other day from Eovaldi. As Alicia Keys says, he throws fiiiiiiiiiiire! Fiiiiiiiiiire! Fiiiiiiiiiiire! He averaged over 96 MPH in his first start. That’s really good. That would’ve been the best fastball velocity for any starter for all of last year. Better than Matt Harvey. I don’t think he can maintain 96, but even if it falls to 94 on average, which it has been his entire career, he’s still in the top 1% of all starters. Only seven guys threw that fast last year. The list is a who’s who of guys you want on your team — Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Samardzija, Homer Bailey, Cashner and the aforementioned Harvey. For his velocity alone, you should pick up Eovaldi in every league. Wins will be hard to come by, but a 3.50 ERA and a 7+ K-rate won’t be. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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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 start of this series will focus on NL East…

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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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