There’s gonna be a lot of haters out there about Jose De Leon.  It’s the times we live in.  His great-great-great-great grandfather was the original body-shamer.  Ponce De Leon set out about five hundred and fifty years ago looking for the Fountain of Youth because, his words, “my old bitty needs to go bye-bye if she continues to sag in the FUPA area.”  He was also the originator of the common 1500s phrase, “Ponce upon a time you looked good, girl.”  A phrase that has rightfully disappeared from common speech before any more women were hurt by vernacular manslaughter, so to speak.  As for Jose De Leon, he’s got the youth thing for days, but he’s not quite as young as Julio Urias, which I’m gonna say is a good thing in this case, because Urias is so raw he may as well be carrying botulism.  De Leon, 23 years old, is destroying Triple-A on the current — 13.8 K/9, 3.06 ERA — which is more or less same-same what he’s been doing for the last two years.  Even more importantly, the Dodgers have an immediate need with their rotation a M.A.S.H. unit, a Jamie-Farr-kin joke.  I’d grab De Leon now in most leagues for his impending arrival.  And, yes, even if Chris Archer’s in Dodger Blue, De Leon should be up. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Earlier this week, we looked at some lightly owned hitters in ESPN leagues who could be potential difference makers in fantasy baseball over the second half of the season. Today, it’s time to focus on some pitchers who can give your fake teams a boost down the stretch. Even if your team’s ratios look more unsightly than a Meg Ryan facelift, there’s still plenty of time remaining to fix those issues. So put down those Francisco Liriano and James Shields voodoo dolls people, and let’s go to work.

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After swinging a deal for Aaron Hill on Wednesday, the Red Sox have beefed up their bullpen trading for Brad Ziegler. Ziegler was rocking a 2.82 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 18 saves with Arizona but he will likely be relegated to set up duty in Bean town. This is not to say his value is completely shot…yet. With Craig Kimbrel crying about his sore knee, Boston may be in need of an interim closer. Koji Uehara is the obvious first choice but his 4.96 ERA and 8 homers allowed in 32.2 IP make it seem like the choice ain’t so obvious. Still Koji’s 46/9 K/BB ratio makes me happy, and he notched the save Friday night (after surrendering a home run), so he’s the best bet for saves if Kimbrel misses any time. As for your new closer in the land of the rising sun? Tyler Clippard is the most likely candidate if you need saves or a buzz cut. He’s got a 3.06 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 32.1 IP, and saved 19 games for the Mets and A’s last year, but his career 57% save conversion rate certainly doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence. Daniel Hudson is the ideal saves candidate in Zona but has struggled mightily over the past month (12.96 ERA, 2.40 WHIP in 8.1 innings). Regardless, if you need a save and a haircut, I’d grab Clippard and Hudson in that order. And if you’re a Boston Red Sox team that desperately needs starting pitching, I’d recommend trading for a infielder and a relief pitcher.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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So this year, like so many before, the closer trade market is always an interesting cocktail mixer of events that shake things up.  The Padres waited to be first, which makes zero sense… but also makes total sense.  A conundrum wrapped in bacon as they traded Fernando Rodney to the ever more deadly bullpen in Miami.  He will not be closing there, but will basically make that bullpen just deeper and taking value away from great holds guys on the year in David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough.  Rodney brings his glistening 1 earned run on the year, to a situation behind the Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, who hasn’t blown a save to date.  So now the ramifications don’t just stay with the Marlins, their bullpen is solid.  The Padres, however, are like the movie Thinner, a cursed bunch of unprovens, which is sometimes good and bad.  Ryan Buchter is the first guy up, as he has carved out a decent set-up niche there.  After that, it is a bunch of Quacks, Villas, and BM’s.  Buchter has the K-rate, just not the pedigree… yet, to be a closer.  He has the job as they say in fantasy, which is better than being fantasy homeless or unemployed. So Buchter is the add. Maurer and Quackenbush are on ready five.  Here what else is happening in the game of final bosses.  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend!

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Yesterday, Brian Dozier went 3-for-4, 4 RBIs with two homers (11, 12).  Dozier’s quietly had a great June (7 HRs, near-.350), after having a miserable May (2 HRs, .215) and an atrocious April (3 HRs, .191).  Who knows what July holds?  Which sounds like the title for a piece of art done by Daniel Johnston.  Let’s see, Daniel Johnston describing Dozier.  “June is Fun!  Fun!  Fun!  If I ever thought I could be happy, it was from Dozier.  Fun!  Fun!  Fun!  Oh!  That rock and roll!  It saves my soul!  Owning Dozier in June, it must’ve been a happy time, Kool Aid flowing like wine, the bubble gum, forever-ever-ever-ever-ever-ever after!  Now I will get on a random bus in Austin and ride to New Mexico.”  Oh, Daniel Johnston, you were taken from us way too soon.  *sees he’s still alive*  Okay, moving on.  So, Dozier has turned his season around and is close to the same pace as his previous season stats (28 HRs, 12 SBs).  Moreover, Dozier has cut his Ks by a lot, so he could hit for a better average this year (.250 vs. .235).  Daniel Johnston might be onto something.  About fun, fun fun not about getting on random buses.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The save buffet line in Minnesota is becoming a tiresome “wait-and-see who gets the chance today”.  We all sit there and wait to own all the bullpen condiments that they offer, whether it be Brandon Kintzler, Fernando Abad, Trevor May, Kevin Jepsen, or Michael Tonkin. Including Perkins, those are the names that have been gifted a precious save chance for the occupants of the Twin Cities.  A save opportunity total that is second to last in the league (18), in front of a surprise first place team in the Cubs.  The Cubs are only there because they are beating everyone up and don’t have the late-inning chances that other losing teams do.  So back to the Twinkies… they have the least amount of saves, holds, and have the least amount of appearances by relievers with the lead.  All those things are so bad for roster space that you are speculating it to get you a save. They are on pace to average less than 3/4 of one whole save a week.  But if people want to keep roster shuffling, looking for the odd save here or there, who am I to judge?  I mean, some people say cucumbers taste better pickled.  The fortunate thing for you is that I am here to guide that steady hand and give you astute advice for a nominal (not nominal, it’s free) fee.  So here the rankings of closers for week 11, now with more added snippets of goodness!

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Oh my God, Drew Smyly is more like Smyly Corleone.  Every time you think you’re out, he pulls you right back in.  Fredo, you went against the family, and we can’t have that.  “Smyly, is that you?  Why do you keep calling me?”  That’s Alfredo Griffin getting annoyed with Smyly Corleone.  “I made them offer at a pitch they couldn’t refuse.”  Seriously, stop Smyly Corleone!  So, there’s always one pitcher (sometimes more than one) that befuddles and seduces, seduces and befuddles.  Justin Masterson carried the torch for a while when he was Justin Masterson:  Passive Aggressive Starter.  Now, Drew Smyly seems to be carrying that same damned if you do, damned if you don’t torch.  Yesterday, his line was 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners with 12 Ks.  On the year, his K-rate and walk rate are 10.3 and 2.2.  Those are ace numbers.  Unlike a lot of other big strikeout guys and actual aces, Smyly doesn’t throw very hard and seems to tire after about two starts in a row.  His ERA on the year is 4.75, but that’s absurd, as in I will absurd you while you’re on waivers.  But, ugh, that K-rate, that walk rate, it’s hard for me to resist and if he was dropped in your league, I could see giving him another chance, but I’d be wary of matchups because I just don’t see him overpowering most teams when he’s not working on ten days rest.  He just doesn’t throw hard enough.  I.e., leave the speed gun, take the cannoli.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Situations arise all the time with closers. Injuries occur, poor performance, and then the return of the incumbent.  In the preseason, Will Smith was the guy the Brewers had tabbed as the closer.  Then, like I just said, an injury happened.  So now that he is back, what goes on in the back-end of the Brewers bullpen?  Jeremy Jeffress has done a stellar job with a less than average set-up crew in front of him.  He has pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a slightly more bloated xFIP of 3.41.  For all his previous tangles with pitching, he is striking out far less then he is normally accustomed to at just a 6 K/9 rate.  Low for a closer, even from the Lauvern and Shirley state.  He has managed 14 saves in 15 opportunitioes, and for a team like the Brewers, 14 is a healthy total.  So does his reign come to an end now that the best reliever is back in the fray?  Granted, it is never a great thing when usual mop-up relievers start stealing your stats, namely Blaine Boyer and Carlos Torres, who have 3 saves between them in the past nine games.  And granted, saves are wonky and games dictate them sometimes, come from behind wins, and situational loogy-ness are also a factor.  So I think with the way Jeffress has been going, he stays there until Will comes and steals his mojo and never looks back… Until the trade deadline, which could alter things up completely and basically revert it back to the way it was.  So if Will Smith is on your waivers, do yourself a service and add him speculatively for a week or two.  If he doesn’t give you the returns that you expect, then, well, the opposite happened of what I think should happen.  Enjoy Week 9 of the fantasy baseball season’s closer report!

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Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts.  The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep.  Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives.  Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role.  He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety.  Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board.  Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball.  So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so.  If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you.  So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…

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A Duvall hasn’t looked this good since Popeye starring Robin Williams.  You thought I was going Robert Duvall and I steered it into Crazytown with Shelley Duvall.  By the way, don’t look at current pictures of Shelley Duvall.  She’s a Shelley of her former self.  I have a theory.  She had to do everything just so for Kubrick in The Shining, to the point where she couldn’t even think for herself, then she started working with Robert Altman, who was like, “Do whatever you like, improv,” and going from one extreme to the other drove her crazy.  I’d put money on it that this is the biggest update on Shelley Duvall you will ever get on a fantasy baseball website.  Any hoo!  Adam Duvall (1-for-4, and his 7th homer, hitting .284) has been crushing the ball for the last two weeks.  Now seven homers in 33 games.  Fluky, right?  Not so fast, Cousin Sweatpants.  Duvall hit 26 homers in only 100 games in Triple-A and 27 homers in 91 Double-A games.  He was always a power guy, just never really had a chance to play.  He’s now getting that chance and proving he can continue to hit homers.  Will he hit anything besides homers?  That’s yet to be seen, but I’d grab him in all leagues where I needed power.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?