I have said it here previously that grabbing relievers from a hot team or a team on a winning streak is usually a fantastic strategy from a holds perspective.  I really have said it multiple times, so my memory is better than your’s.  The Indians are in unprecedented territory as the team is in the midst of a win streak for the ages.  It seems like two Hatteberg’s and maybe half a David Justice ago that we remember the A’s had a win streak of twenty. But now the Indians are on their own 20-plus win streak.  Winning is a team effort, but Holds are what we care about in the Bullpen report.  The Indians Bullpen over the course of their win streak is just over a buck fitty, and that’s not what matters for this post.  The accumulation of goodies is what makes them all shiny.  The group of Bryan Shaw, Nick Goody, Tyler Olson and Joe Smith have totaled 20 holds over their last 20 games.  That total is just crazy, because since the all star break (which was 40 plus games ago) the have more holds than six teams do in total since said All Star break.  So investing in Cleveland for bullpen stuff is where it’s at currently.  Chase the win streak to aide in your pursuit of a Holds championship.  Let’s see what else is going down in the world of holds and bullpens…

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It is that time of the year my good fellows, that allegiances and brand loyalty are thrown out the window.  As stalwarts start to grow warts, and the season long compilers gather some moss.  Allegiances and growing to fond of your roster for Holds is what sets apart first place and the rest of the standings.  Who you roster on your team is your own business, but I am here to learn you something as the season long leaderboard for holds is kinda stale.  The overall season leader, Taylor Rogers, has 2 in the past two weeks.  It doesn’t get any prettier as you go down the top 5 either.  Nick Vincent has 1, Jacob Barnes has 1, Jose Ramirez has 2, and Pedro Baez has 2.  Not completely awe-inspiring returns for the top of the top for holds.  On the contrary, the leaders in the past 14 days: Kyle Barraclough, David Hernandez, and Tommy Hunter all have 5.  Far more significant returns for a reliever, and it brings me to my key point… Grab a hold and ditch, period.  The names that are garnering late game situations is growing rapidly and will increase even more once rosters expand.  This is the “what have you done for me lately” approach to hold accumulation down the stretch.  Yes, the guys you roster may be great at K/9 and BB/9 and have stellar WHIP totals etc, but when chasing the one key cog stat for set-up men, that being the hold, no allegiances should remain.

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In the real world, the realm of 20 homers and 20 stolen bases has now become a cheap rack of cheaters at your local pharmacy.  The state of the power and thievery in the game, as a combined entity, is a pooh-fest currently filled with zero residents.  The possibilities of getting maybe three could happen by the end of the month and those names are first round darlings: Paul Goldschmidt (22/15), Jose Alutve (15/21), and Mookie Betts (17/17) are the closest to reaching the ranks of the common folk from 10 years ago.  I have gone over the numbers in previous years posts and the number of 20/20 players is on a perpetual downward slope.  So while nothing is guaranteed for the standard “he is a 20/20 player” from year-to-year, the reward when he does it is, well… rewarding.  If the standard for the dual threat is just being one of a few who does both, then they deservedly so belong in the first round.  Like the three names that I just mentioned.  All had ADP preseason in the top-10 and very comfortably.  I know it’s August and I am here waxing poetic about ADP… Well, it is the first of the month and the other ADP is all about paying people, so I thought it was apropos.  So when looking next year at what you can get out of a player, dumb down the 20/20 expectations and limit it to a select and proud few.  sad state of affairs, next thing you know we will be giving fantasy participation trophies to everyone so nobodies feelings get hurt.  Cheers!

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Baseball’s parity is better than any other sport.  You can go into the season like, say, the Rockies.  No chance at all of the playoffs with no closer, no pitching, an injured offseason acquisition and be a favorite for the playoffs in July, without that offseason acquisition doing anything, not getting anything from your returning superstar shortstop and defying gravity with a pitching staff keeping a team above water even at one mile high.  Then, on July 31st, parity goes out the window and all teams doing well get much better and teams struggling sell off everything.  Speaking of “I’m rich bitch,” the Dodgers traded for Yu Darvish.  The deadline was mostly, “Well, there goes a middle reliever,” and, “Another middle reliever?  Snooze,” then, at the last moment, the Dodgers swooped in and grabbed Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, two more middle relievers.  Just like LA to want two Tonys, like  Oscars aren’t enough.  Oh well, nothing big this year.  When, thirty-five minutes after the trading deadline, the Dodgers announced, “Psyche, fake-out, we got Darvish too.”  Los Angeles is about the best landing spot a fantasy owner could hope for Darvish.  He has a 9.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 3.81 xFIP, but was pitching in the 5th best offensive park.  Hello, NL West, Dodger Stadium and facing the Giants and Padres.  Now you see LA brewin?  Yu sexy, get me some Trojans.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The deadline is right around the corner, I know this because it said it would be right back and asked me to watch it’s dog while it shuffled up all the bullpen stuff that I just took the time to write out.  The trade deadline is a mischievous beast, he will lure you with rumors and a weird one-windowed van and leave you out of the loop when it comes to bullpens.  Contenders don’t care, they will have 2-3 closers or former closers on the roster… greedy is what I say.  But I am still looking at situations in flux because I have no life.  Scouring the goodies of bullpens left behind, and it takes me to Oakland.  The traded recipient, that being Blake Treinen is in the prime ready-five chair as he watches Santiago Casilla implode for 4 blown saves in his last 16 appearances… and of course he blows the first chance he gets.  No matter, I think that he still is a better bet going forward than Casilla.   The bullpen cupboard is bare, there’s no Doolittle, there’s no Madson, there’s no more Axford.  It is Treinen and Ryan Dull as the lone men standing, and Dull just got back from the DL.  It is a matter of when, not if Blake gets the go of things and makes all the Bay City girls swoon with his saves.  If the A’s go full on punt and trade the rotation to nothing, his potential for saves could be minimal, but chase away oh friends of the ‘NOF.

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We break from the usual 12 dollar salads, donkeys, and hypothermia to breakdown, in basic fashion, the relief rankings for the final 70-plus games.  Why is this helpful you may ask?  Because for trade target reasons or chasing saves for points, you may want guy A over guy B.  With the relief ranks it is as fluid as a clogged sewer drain, because on any given week, the middling type closer can hit bumps in the road and be removed from contention. So if you are using this as a trade commodity in your quest to add saves, my advice is this add the elite only.  Nothing lower than the top-12.  These guys are all nailed on and in an impressive state, barring an injury obviously. Now with that, we also have to realize that trades will happen… and take one reliever from a good situation to a better one, then on the reflexive of that, it can turn one with a job into a set-up situation.  Regardless, here is my stab at the top relief pitchers for the second half of the Fantasy Baseball season.  Cheers!

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It’s the last post before the all-star break and nothing seems more fitting than a Neal Diamond reference.  If you don’t like or appreciate Neal, then we have problems and I challenge you to a duel or whatever the young kids are doing now a days to show dominance.  (Because I know it’s not anything like what transpired in West Side Story.)  Moving on swiftly to the pressing closer news as I get lost in my ole timey spirit…  So the Cardinals have moved away from the Oh and more to the Rosenthal.  Trevor Rosenthal has sorta looked like he did three years ago, which seems like forever ago but really isn’t.  The bad thing is that he and the rest of the save chasers that are in the Cardinals bullpen are pitching blah-squared.  The best pitcher over the last 20 games is Matt Bowman… again.  I said that same statement about a month into the season when Oh originally looked about as shaky as an 11-year-old with his first attempt at using a blow torch.  Over the past 30 games the saves have gone Oh for 3, Rosenthal 1, Bowman 1 and Tyler Lyons with 1 (was a multiple innings save).  Over the past 30 games for a usual dominant bullpen fixture, in terms of fantasy, to post 5 saves (I am not counting Lyons effort) is more condemning than the way they are pitching.  If you are a Seung-Hwan Oh owner, you kinda have to hold the ship until it becomes more of an official thing.  If Rosey is on your wire (55% owned in ESPN leagues) then nab him up.  If you want to roster a RP with appeal, then Bowman is your guy (1.8% owned).  As I can see it, Oh is still the guy but with some daylight for others.  Just be leery that the past 30 days of track record for savedom have not been all that rosey for the Cards.  Don’t frown, we got more goodies and sunshine after the bump.  Cheers!

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Thankfully, I no longer do 4th of July like I used to, because when you have a holiday weekend that lasts five days, you will get alcohol poisoning if you go too hard, and the 4th is especially dangerous because:  day drinking.  At least with New Year’s Eve, it’s at night.  The Fourth is lying on a discarded sofa on the side of a highway at 3 PM and being like, “The hum of 75 MPH cars is so peaceful, I go to sleep now,” and waking up with a flashlight you mistake for a fleshlight and now you’re a registered sex offender.  Hopefully, none of that happened to any of you, well, maybe the fleshlight part, and you all had a safe holiday.  Any hoo!  Yesterday, Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 and his 15th and 16th homers as he hits .288.  He found the Fountain of Youth sometime in May and has been a Zombino eating brain custard ever since.  I’m still half expecting — cting? — McCutchen will resort to blah in the 2nd half, but it looks like I wrote off McCutchen before his sell-by date.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In a full-on Willy Loman-type starring role, Andrew Miller now takes over the most responsible role in the Tribe’s bullpen.  I beg to differ that he is taking over the most important role, and can argue that he has seen more high-leverage situations and save situations than his sort of disposed closer, Cody Allen…  The only thing leading him to not be the most important factor in that pen was the stat of the save.  Listen, Tito beats to the sound of his own drum and Arnold, nor Willis are going to tell him how to handle his bullpen.  It is a luxury to have two top-10 overall relievers at his disposal and to use them how he sees fit.  Miller, is by definition, the closer to save his arm for the future.  But what we don’t realize is that if a save happens sooner than the 9th inning, Miller is going to be called on just like his original role.  Confused?  Yeah, it is kinda like saying: “Go look for the save in the corner of a circular room.” For ownership, this changes zero.  Miller is and was owned as he should be in every league imaginable.  Cody Allen is also owned and shouldn’t be dropped as he becomes the closer cuff in waiting, and is far superior to any RP on the waiver wire.  So hold on tight!  A month from now, when Miller has 5 saves and Allen has 3, not much stat wise will be lost, but by the end of the year when Allen has 32 and Miller 12, that is when we can look back on this and laugh and say “I shaved my eyebrows for this?”  Stay tuned kids, more closer and bullpen-y type goodness are on the way…

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The worst news in terms of closers, especially in a situation like Philadelphia, is the word: committee.  I mean, it is kind of like getting free tickets to see the Village People, hell yes they are the Village People.  But do you wanna be known for knowing more than two of their songs?  Nope, not me.  So look at this way, Pat Neshek got the save the other day after Gomez and Mortecia Neris had their turns at the gig.  Now this isn’t a Pat on the back (pun intended for Neshek), because it is still a full blooded committee for a team that ranks in the bottom six in all of MLB in saves, save opportunities, and relief appearances with them having the lead.  Add all that up and it goes back to what I was spitting a few months ago, are saves really worth the rigmarole of dumpster diving for futility?  The problem with that whole “rostering multiple guys for a chance at a save” is all well and good if you are able to roster both or even three guys… and that is the dumbest thing I have ever typed out.  Who in here has a Philly reliever let alone three?  Show of hands?  Yeah, you shouldn’t.  So Neshek is worth a grab while they showcase him for trade value, and Neris is a hold because who knows when a last place team tries to keep it real? Let’s hop on the good foot and see what’s going down with the late-gamers…

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