Why does it seem like there’s always more closer situations in flux in the first week than at any other time?  Well, whether that’s true or not, this year was no different.  Don’t even try to think about what that actually means.  Here’s your sumary: By Thursday there were already three new closers, then Sunday we had two old guys getting worked like speed bags at your local gym.

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Saves can often come from little known sources.  That concept is something we Razzballers call SAGNOF – Saves Ain’t Got No Face.  I played in one RCL (Razzball Commenter League) last year and in that league I owned Sean Doolittle from Sunday March 30th until the last day of the season.  I didn’t draft him.  I picked him up because I was looking for someone that could help with ERA and WHIP as well as adding some additional Ks (the latter of which can’t be bolstered through extra starting pitchers because of the games started limit) and his projections indicated he was worth it.  I didn’t really care about whether he was going to contribute any saves because I had David Robertson, Steve Cishek, and a DL’d Aroldis Chapman which seemed like a good group for a 12-team league.

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bryant_park

Those of you that live in the New York City area or have visited the world’s greatest metropolis have likely walked past Bryant Park. Perhaps you even stopped to take a leak or even sat down on a nice sunny day to do some fantasy baseball research and adjust your lineup. Located between between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is actually built on top of an underground building containing the archives for the New York Public Library. I know… who gives a shift. Besides, I’m more of a Washington Square Park kinda guy anyway.

For those of you that thought Bryant Park was the name of the Chicago Cubs spring training stadium, guess again. That would be Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona, which happens to be the largest spring training stadium (by capacity) with room for 15,000 people. [Jay’s Note: Had amazing sight lines, rugged, yet modern feel. 8/10, would go again.] I think that translates into 25,000 little people, but my math could be wrong. Despite his herculean efforts this spring, not only did they not rename the stadium after him, but Kris Bryant was denied the opportunity of being on the Opening Day roster. Instead, Theo Epstein gave us all some bullshart excuse that he needs more time in the minors. Listen Theo, say what you want, but there isn’t a baseball fan north of the border that doesn’t believe this isn’t a service time maneuver. I’m not a Boras fan, but I love how he called him out on this. Even Cubs manager Joe Maddon has said that he’d love to have him in the lineup. I guess I’ll see you in a few weeks Kris.

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I’ve drafted my Razzball Commenter League team (over hundred leagues this year; crazy!), and now I’m ready for the season. All those other drafts — like Tout, Friends & Family, NFBC, yadda-whodoodie — are in the past. They were prep for this draft. This draft is the one that matters, because I’m going against, like, 1200 of youse. And youse are the ones that matter. Well, a few of youse matter more than a few of the other youse. Just assume you are part of the favorable youse. In this league was Tim McLeod from RotoRob, Mike Gianella from Baseball Prospectus, Dalton Del Don from Yahoo, Ryan Carey from Mastersball and from Razzball: Rudy, JayWrong, Sky, JFoH, Tehol, Prospect Mike, JB and yours truly. All of these people make me very thankful (that it wasn’t an in-person draft). I was drafting out of the three-hole (no relation to Tehol; that I know of), and I knew after all those preliminary drafts that I was finally going to take guys that I really, really wanted from my 2015 fantasy baseball rankings (clickbait, snitches!). Well, until around the 4th round. Okay, enough hubbub on the tomfoolery, let’s get to it! Anyway, here’s my RCL draft (5×5, roto, mixed league, 12 team, 5 OFs, etc.):

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You know what’s a very considerate thing to do? To tell you about some concerns I have for the upcoming season after you’ve already drafted. Due to posting my rankings in January and not tweaking things outside of injuries and playing time updates, there’s some things that I look at now and I wonder what the hell I was thinking. I could update some rankings due to spring training performances, but then I’m throwing out the countless hours (1 1/2 hours) of research I put in to do my rankings. I don’t believe in doing that. There was a reason I ranked how I ranked originally and to move a guy now because he hit a few homers in March doesn’t make any sense. I’m also not completely immune to what was going on for the last month performance-wise with players, so I’m giving you some players that I might’ve ranked slightly different if I let spring training performances come into play. If you want to bump up or down some of these guys, I could understand it. Anyway, here’s some players that have me second-guessing myself for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Leave it to the man living in Oregon, born and raised in Washington to take you to Electric Ladyland in the title. PNW represent *tries showing PNW with flashy gang sign…fails…breaks all fingers*. Fine, I’ll just throw up the West Coast symbol a la 2Pac and be fine with it. Grey originally pinged me with the idea of heading up a league for the NFBC back in February. When I said yes, I assumed we were talking ‘Norwegian Female Bikini Challenge’ and graciously accepted. I mean they’re right next to Sweden; what could possibly go wrong? Well, ALOT could go wrong, let me tell you. Thankfully, I had Rudy‘s recap of his 2013 team and the wherewithal and the guile to forge my own path for my own team. For those interested in only RCL style of play…well, first off that’s the link to sign up for one and second of all, make an about face. This ain’t it. No trades and no FA pickups in season. Nope, you play against 15 other teams in 5×5 roto set up and draft 50 players a team. That’s 750 players. There’s only 30 teams and they only roster 25 players at the major league level at a time. So basically, we’re drafting the entire MLB in one fell swoop. That’s special. And hard. And especially hard. But let’s not talk about bedroom things just yet. Instead, let’s review my NFBC team for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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As I sit here sipping my IPA, dreaming of the what ifs in life on a Sunday night before the cold reality of hits on Monday morning, I like to dream. I go back to a time when I was a mere child and I recount some of my favorite things. I used to love dinosaurs. Thought I’d be a Paleontologist when I grew up (and I may still. Fun fact! I haven’t grown up). I also loved Greek mythology. I’d sit and read through encyclopedias, going from character to character, story to story. Yeah, I was a nerd (Fun fact part 2! I’m still a nerd). But the one thing that brings me back to my childhood? The movie Young Guns. Now looking back on scenes like this, I kinda ponder how I was allowed to watch such things at such an age. Hell, I even hold a special place in my heart for Bon Jovi cuz of this damn movie series. This shizz goes deep! But why do I ramble about all this? Cuz I’m gonna refer to Billy Burns as Billy the Kid from here on out. Yeah, 150+ words about my washed up life just to get to that point. Come fight me. But at least wait until you’re done. Here’s my take on why Billy Burns could be a deep league special for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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Nothing captures a reader’s interest more than an Al Gore reference. At this point in the long fantasy baseball season you don’t need me to tell you that Jarrod Dyson is a good pickup for SAGNOF. Likewise, it’s not in anybody’s best interest for me to write a thousand words on a player who may only hold steals value in some deep AL-only league. However, there are still schedules to look at and several players that have speed were called up to their respective clubs in the past week. Billy Burns of the Athletics didn’t do much with his first stint in the majors, but could chip in a steal or three down the stretch even if his role is as a pinch runner. Likewise for Terrance Gore of the Royals. Gore stole 47 bags in the minors this season and was caught only seven times. In 2013 he swiped 68 bags and was caught only 8 times. Gore has already recorded a steal as a pinch runner and should see opportunities for more of the same in the weeks ahead. Other speedy call-ups include Jonathan Villar, Dalton Pompey, and Aaron Hicks.

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Last week was about speculating which players might be getting the call this September and providing any kind of fantasy value in redraft leagues. With September now a week old, we have the names of the players who have indeed been added to rosters. With all of these call-ups, it’s important to remember that playing time could be sparse and their impact in a 12-team standard mixed league may be minimal. However, those of us who are playing in deeper leagues or keepers may have been rostering some of these players already. In that case their call-ups are more meaningful. They can add depth to the fantasy roster and sometimes it’s just fun to get a look at someone you’ve been hoarding in your NA spot or on your farm. Additionally, just because September 1st has come and gone doesn’t mean more players can’t be added as the month progresses and the MiLB playoffs come to an end. We’ll take a look at the pitchers next time, but for now let’s dive into some of the bats that got the call to the majors this past week…

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Two of the smaller pieces that stand to gain value after Thursday’s massive trade deadline are Tiger center fielders Ezequiel Carrera and Rajai Davis. The two will see all of the starts in center now that Austin Jackson has been traded. Davis should see the majority of playing time between the two speedsters, but Carrera could still be good for SAGNOF in some deep leagues or AL-only leagues. The 27-year-old had stolen 43 bases in the minors prior to his call up and while he only played a handful of games with the Indians last season, he stole 43 bags in the minors in 2013 as well. Meanwhile Davis started in center and led off both Friday and Saturday. The Jackson trade was really a big boost to Davis owners, since playing time had been his biggest concern and now he’ll get a shot to play every day in center.

For those looking to gamble on Carrera it’s worth mentioning that he bats left-handed while Davis bats from the right side. This could shift Davis’s value in the wrong direction should he begin to yield starts with right-handers on the mound. I don’t think it happens, but it’s worth keeping an eye on if Davis slumps. Carrera could also see a few starts for defensive reasons, as Davis posted a -3.8 UZR in left prior to the trade and center field isn’t exactly easier to play. However, Davis came up in the minors playing center field so expecting Carrera to play over him for defense is still a bit of a stretch. All in all, it’s just a situation worth monitoring if you’re a Davis owner or play in a deep league (15-team+) where Carrera is readily available. Here are some other steals options for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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