By now you’ve probably seen Giancarlo Stanton in ESPN’s magazine completely naked. Coincidentally, I looked at the pictures completely naked. Did I say looked? I meant took with a telephoto lens. In all seriousness, I know ESPN loves to copy other people’s successes, but if they’re going to blatantly try to do an equivalent of SI’s swimsuit issue, can they at least do a bikini issue or a thong issue or a Brazilian wax issue? Does the majority of their audience have any interest in seeing guys naked, showing their muscles? If I did, I’d subscribe to Men’s Fitness or Playgirl. I mean, for serious, who do they think is buying their magazine? Wait, a bigger question, who even buys magazines? Any the hoo! So far Giancarlo hasn’t been the hot butter slicing through a fat man’s veins that we’ve come to expect. He had a near-pulling a Kotchman hamstring injury where he went from fundamental crawling to fundamental running to fundamental running away from me as he exited the shower. It was all very tedious, but he’s healthy now and simply slumping. If he can get over the hump with my help, there’s very few players that could have the type of 2nd half Giancarlo is capable of. You can count on one hand the guys capable of a 25+ homer 2nd half. Giancarlo would be the player sitting on my thumb. At this point, a down season seems impossible to avoid, but 30 homers overall wouldn’t surprise me. That means 22 more. 35 homers would surprise me, but it wouldn’t be out of the question. I’d absolutely buy him, and I hear you can get him cheap. What? I’ve been inquiring. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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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.

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First, Erasmo returns for our rookie nookie needs, then Adam Eaton is called up to see if owning rookies can be better than Viagra. They can. I asked your grandpa. What? We talk. Adam Eaton has that built in ability to…Ugh, I just started singing Invisible Touch in my head. Phil Collins, wherever you are, you’ve polluted my mind! I love Adam Eaton like a brother I never had and never wanted, but would hang out with if I had time between telling Mom that he was wearing her clothes and doing a runway show in the living room. Eaton has 30-ish steal speed and 10-15 homer power over the course of a full season. Well, that full season went out the window with his injury, and now there’s a Native American crying because someone littered with Adam Eaton’s full season. In a half a season, he could still have a huge one. A Starling Marte-type half wouldn’t completely surprise me. That would be the absolute best case scenario. More likely, he’ll get 4-7 homers and 12-15 steals and be primed for a huge breakout next year. I’d still grab him in every single league because he’s got something you just can’t trust. Something mysterious. And now I’m falling, falling for him! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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

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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.

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Chris Perez has been shut down for 3-4 weeks. The Indians are saying it’s due to a shoulder strain. Seems pretty coincidental that Chris Perez rocks a mullet and there’s a guy with a “business on top, party in the back” haircut on The Amazing Race this season. I’m calling BS. “Yeah, what’s up?” Sorry, didn’t mean to actually call BS. “Cool, now you’re wasting my time. I’m gonna call myself on you!” So with Perez out, a giant gaping hole opens in Cleveland, and I don’t mean when Drew Carey is eating. Vinnie Pestano should take over the closer role in the mean’s while. Unfortunately (depending on how you’re looking at it), Perez went down so early that he could return as soon as the first or second week of the season. That means you need to draft Perez and Pestano. My advice is to wait two seconds after someone drafts Perez then take Pestano. This will be real cute in auctions. They’ll either have to spend $15-ish to have both Indian closers or they’ll be stuck without one. If I could only draft one, I’d take a late flyer on Pestano. As with most things SAGNOF-related, there’s no sure thing in the bullpens and the cheaper way to get saves is always the most preferable. Anyway, here’s all the closers for fantasy baseball:

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I was trying to insert that catchy Beastie Boys song in your head, so if it worked, hooray for you. Go ahead and try and pat yourself on the back with your baby T-Rex arms. So we come to this, it has been much ballyhooed and asked for frequently. I figured I would take some time away from inoculating babies in third world countries and devout my charity work to you all.

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Unlike other 2013 fantasy baseball rankings posts, I’m just gonna rank all of the closers in the format of every Closer Look I’ve done in the past. Unlike other Closer Looks, I put projections in. The setup men are in order in parentheses, and the relevant ones have projections, as well. Once Brian Wilson and Jose Valverde sign, I’ll add them; neither are much more than end of the staff flyers. You should draft saves first and foremost in all but Holds leagues. Ratios for relievers are very fickle. Ratios for middle men are all over the map. Every year middle men come out of nowhere. Just because Venters is with a top reliever does not make him the number one middle man. David Robertson would be that. When I rank my top 400 on Friday, I’ll have everyone in there. Closers as of right now are listed first even if I think someone else will get more saves; as with the Tigers shituation. The other day Smokey did a top middle relievers for the NL post (AL will be up shortly); Rudy also has all of the Holds projected in the 2013 fantasy baseball projections. My biggest problem with ranking Holds is there’s no rhyme or reason from season to season with closers, then take that fickle fluidity (fickidity?) and multiple it by five when you start to go further into bullpens. Last year, the Holds leaders were Joel Peralta, Pestano, Mitchell Boggs and Dor-K (for our dyslexic readers). The year before, only Pestano made it in the top 20 and he ranked 16th overall. Tyler Clippard was the best in 2011, where was he in 2012? 66th overall after he took May thru August off to captain a ship in America’s Cup. If getting saves is about opportunity, getting Holds is about opportunity plus a coin toss. Anyway, here’s all the closers for 2013 fantasy baseball:

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Bullpens. I couldn’t love them more. They are good and good for you like a bowl of prunes or a pile of old Mad magazines. So with the season approaching I delve into the Hold guys that you want to focus on if your league is awesome enough to include them as a counting stat category. Today is the NL edition, personally I like taking pitchers from the NL to add depth to my bullpen. They have to face weaker line-ups and more pinch hitters. So enjoy who I think you should own in the Who You Want category. I also added a few from each team for you to keep an eye on (but not get noticed doing it by your leaguemates) in the Peeping Tom category. By the by, Rudy just added Holds to the 2013 fantasy baseball projections.

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