If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out 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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The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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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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Oh, how we are going to miss Mariano Rivera. I’ve never owned him, but always wished I did. Personally, I’m a Yankee hater, but I always enjoyed watching him work his ninth inning magic like a smooth pick up artist. So now we are left without one of the greatest closers to ever play the game and a permanent fixture on the $12 salad menu. But like all things fantasy, we must move on and start prepping for next season by keeping our minds sharp and our cheat sheets easily accessible. The great mix up called free agency and the winter meetings are just a stones throw away and will hopefully give us some clarity into what comes next.

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Colicky Fuddruckers jumped three spots to become the third different overall leader in the last three weeks. They are running away with the title in Razz Canada, a league which includes Razzball writer Mike and yours truly. The Fuddruckers had the 6th pick in the draft and took Andrew McCutchen, followed by Adam Jones, Ryan Zimmerman, and B.J. Upton. 97 RBI from 5th round pick Allen Craig helped make up for those 3rd and 4th picks, as did the acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion for 7th and 8th picks Jonathan Papelbon and Jordan Zimmermann. With three weeks to go, the battle is heating up!

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Am I original? Yeeeeeah.

Am I the only one? Yeeeeeeeah.

Beddict’s back, ALLRIGHT!!!!

Greetings Beddict lovers! Tis I, Tehol, here to assist you with squeaking into the playoffs and hopefully make you say “LOL, OMG” a few times throughout the post. Unless you’re a troglodyte you know that I’ve utterly shamed the other writers in The Razzball Writers’ League and because of that wondrous fact I don’t even need to pay attention to it anymore and even more of my focus can be put forth on you, oh beautiful readers. You already know that I’m the resident points league expert, (if you don’t know, now you know) but I play in all formats and believe in nothing but absolute domination. Ask Nick Capozzi. Oh you did? And he called me a D-bag? Well, there may be some truth in his words but obviously I’ve been called far worse in my lifetime of stripping, donkey shows and man-kini modeling, so that’s no skin off my sack.

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The Pirates are in it to win it, y’all! Maybe too aggressive. Okay, the Pirates are in it to make it seem like they’re in it to win it, y’all! Yeah, that’s probably a closer approximation. If we’re sitting here in October and saying the Pirates couldn’t have won the World Series without the help of Marlon Byrd, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle and pay for my monkey nephew to go to college, which is a lot of money. Luckily, I think they can win it with or without Byrd, as a Nikki Dinki-hosted show would say. Thankfully, none of this matters for fantasy, so why are we even talking about it? I don’t know, clunky expository question! Byrd will likely prop up the bottom of the Pirates lineup when he plays and prop himself onto the mascot’s shoulder on off days. Byrd gains a tad bit of value with this move since the Mess offense was nothing to write home about unless you were locked up abroad and ran out of things to write on postcards, and ‘Hitters Are Better Outside Of Metco’ is a bumper sticker I don’t own, but endorse. Also, going to the Pittsburgh Bucs is John Buck. Buck will change his New York nickname of “Midnight Cowboy” to “Swash,” and steal some looks behind the plate from Martin. Going the other way is Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Unless that player is Andrew McCutchen, there’s not a whole lot to talk about on the Mets receiving end. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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All the time in Los Angeles I’ll see older women who have had way too much plastic surgery. Trying to hold on to their youth. It’s sad. It’s a never-ending cycle too. One older woman gets her face done, then her friends are pressured to do the same. But never, and I mean never, have I seen someone get plastic surgery then try to rearrange someone else’s face. Yesterday, was the first time I’ve seen it as past nose job recipient (Niese) tried to fix up Jason Heyward‘s schnoz. Jon Niese is a danger to himself and others. What if your proboscis is walking along the street and you run into Niese? If he doesn’t feel it’s worthy of his new nasal perfection, he will punch you in the face. God forbid he ever runs into Barbara Streisand. Heyward ducked at the last second and took the brunt of the pitch off the ear flap and jaw, but he’s still gonna be out for the better part of the season, maybe returning for the last week to tune up for the playoffs. Not your H2H playoffs, the Braves playoffs. In his stead, B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis. Because they’ll all be sharing time, it’s hard to say there’s one guy that gets a boost in value. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You wrote a letter to your leaguemates, but before you sent it to them, you asked me to proofread it but not share it. Too bad, here it is, “Yo, what’s up, snitches?! I have six closers and am sticking it to the rest of the league in their whole bum, then acting that out like Knight from MTV’s The Challenge. I don’t need no one! All I need is Huston Street, Kevin Gregg, Ernesto Frieri, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Ziegler and this chair, I need this chair. I got saves for days! Open up your ‘kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn’ calendar and mark September 28th down for the day when you concede the championship to me. Use your rainbow-colored pencil. Is it okay to use that word? Any the hoo! Rather than recount all of that SAGNOF g’dness, let me take this time to instead ask you if you watched the most recent Top Chef Masters. I’m lonely and looking for friends.” Solid letter, I probably wouldn’t put single quote marks around kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn but it’s fine to send it off as is. The only other problem is you might also lose more than half of your closers in less than a week. This is also the last week when you and your opponents can gain major saves if you’re hurting in that category. On July 31st there could be as many as 10 new closers. At no point from now until October do you have a chance for this much turn over. Guys that could move into the closer role in under a week includes, but is not limited to: Luke Gregerson, Blake Parker, Ryan Webb, James Russell, Antonio Bastardo, Carter Capps, Dale Thayer, John Axford (still even with Henderson taking over the job), Jose Cisnero, Pedro Strop and Antonio Alfonseca, because he has six fingers on each hand and you can’t ever count him out, at least not without removing your pants and a shoe. Granted, guys like Huston Street or Tom Wilhelmsen or Glen Perkins might be traded and stay in the closer role on their new team, but that means someone else would lose their job. Or maybe Huston Street will go to the Yankees and become the 8th inning man and Robertson moves to the 7th. Or maybe Jonathan Papelbon goes to the Tigers and Benoit owners have to call the Ben-wambulance. A lot could happen in the next few days or nothing, but I’d absolutely stash as many middle relievers as I could right now. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Wow. Dot, dot, dot. I mean, WOW. Dot, dot, dot. Pause for reaction. WOW. Wow. WOW. Stunned silence. I mean, we all knew the suspension was coming, but everyone also figured he’d appeal it like Papa Smurf, you know, until he was blue in the face. The only explanation is the MLB had him dead to rights, which isn’t the same as an epitaph for a pigeon you feed instant rice; that’s dead to rice. Ryan Braun probably realized that 1) The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this year. 2) He’s injured. 3) There’s no three. With the suspension of the Jewish Braun by the Jewish Selig, Selig becomes the 1st Jew ever sanctioned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, but Selig received high marks from the Jewish Self-Deprecation League. “As Selig was suspending Braun, Bud also pointed out how he had to bring out his media-friendly toupee,” said Jewish Self-Deprecation League president, Yitz Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg added, “That kind of self-deprecation is hard to pull off.” Obviously, Braun is droppable in all redraft leagues, and, if you’re holding onto an expensive Braun in keepers, I’d look to drop him there too, if I needed the room. The good news is you can find off of waivers what Braun has been giving you thus far this year. The bad news, now they have to add an asterisk to the Famous Jewish Athlete pamphlet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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