What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

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Sneaky free K’s are all the rage for a streaming option when a starter just won’t do.  The numbers they put up are more of a collection-basis rather than a hunt, play and punt.  Relievers, not just closers, are the container that transports the glue.  Can you imagine glue not coming in a container and just being had at the local sundry store by the handful?  Messy proposition my friends.  Non-closers are what every complete fantasy team need.  They are like the egg in a good recipe – you can often substitute one reliever for another.  That’s what makes them so handy… they don’t usually carry a huge draft day burden.  They are basically free waiver-wire adds.  For those in holds leagues, that doesn’t always ring true, and when I start getting into the preseason hold rankings, some of the names will be similar.  That’s because the names you want just don’t give you holds, they give you multiple stats.  They are the five-tool performers in the industry of relief pitchers.  So here is a little preseason primer for guys who don’t really adorn too much draft day attention, but should be snagged in situations that require their services when you are short on K potential and maximizing the K/9 of your fantasy roster…

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I am a realist.  Not everyone is down with the rationale of being hip to pitching and ditching.  That statement is both literal and figurative.  We now have three weeks remaining of games.  I mean, you either want to win and go for it with whatever you have at your discretion, or you will just listen to the piper playing and roll off the side of the mountain with the other lemmings that will go by the best names possible on my roster wins.   Sorry if I stand here in my skidz pajamas and call you stupid, but you stupid.  Go to the bathroom, smash your head into the sink, and then splash some water your face.  It ain’t over until it’s over, it wasn’t over when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and it ain’t over now.  Go to our waiver wire, listen to what I have to say about streaming… It’s really simple: Pitch twice and ditch, regardless of outcome or what J-FOH says about pitching, because little league was 25 years ago and pitching donuts is different than actually knowing baseball.  So here is some late season K/9, usage and trends that I have noticed that’s going on with the bullpens in the past few days.  Cheers!

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Well, I guess that makes all the sense in the world, because those darn Flock of Seagulls got all in your head in the 80’s.  Then they had the nerve to be in GTA and get you all singing about running.  I don’t even run when chased anymore.  It’s a big game of “ooohhh ya got me”.  So north of the border, they do it all in groups now apparently.  That group started out as a singular to start the year, then a separate individual took over only to fail himself, then they went back to the original guy who had it out of spring.  Now they are on to a group format because I am guessing “strength in numbers” is the thing.  I think “paint by numbers” should be their next move.  So if you are scoring at home, to summarize, that is Cecil, Castro, Cecil, et. all.   Yeah, I mean if I had the offensive potential that the Blue Jays have, and they are being all fiddle and benz with the end game, I would make a move to a more permanent solution.  Don’t be cheap, I think the exchange rate is in your favor or close.  So the committee we are looking at now is a group that consists of Roberto Osuna, Steve Delabar, possibly another occasional save chance for Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Optimus Prime and any prime number.  From a rostering standpoint, I would own Osuna, Delabar, then Cecil.  If you missed out on all three, just be thankful, because it’s a mess.  But saves bring all the craziness out of people, so that’s why it’s bullpen week and we are getting down to the goods of the HOLD.  Enjoy the rankings, tidbits and the casual barbs at my peers.  Cheers!

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For one day, let’s put our troubles away and bask in Nolan Arenado. No, I want you to shove your troubles further under the rug than they usually are. Here, give me your high school depantsing, the girl that dumped you the day before prom, you walking in on your mother and the mechanic and all your other emotional scars and lift the rug, I’ll slide them under. There. *wipes hands* Now, you are unencumbered to enjoy The Torenado. He hit two homers yesterday to bring his total to 19, and he’s hitting .287 with a .271 BABIP. Yes, he’s actually been unlucky. You can likely tell from the ends of my mustache turning upwards, but he should actually be better. He’s on pace for a 35-homer, .290 season with ease! Again, with some stank — EASE! Help me, Auntie Em, it’s a Torenado and my house is spinning and my Yorkie is barking and I’m landing on a person. Oh, shucks, I landed on Pablo Sandoval. If you followed my rankings, and drafted Arenado. You’re welcome. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Before you accuse Jose Tabata of leaning into a pitch with two outs and Max Scherzer on the brink of a perfect game, let’s take you back to 2009. The then 19-year-old Jose Tabata was with his wife, the 54-year-old, Conchita Alonso Rivera Consuela Charlynn Torres, and she was pregnant. Conchita etc. would tell Jose to lean into her belly to hear the baby, and Jose leaned. At supermarkets, at carnivals, at the car wash, Conchita etc. asked Jose to lean and listen, and he did. Of course, there was no baby in her belly, it was actually a Betsy Wetsy doll that she shoved under her shirt. Later when Conchita etc. was arrested for falsifying a pregnancy and kidnapping a baby for Jose and her to raise as their own, they would meet at the glass partition in prison and she would tell Jose to lean in. Times were good, Jose leaned in. Times got rough, Jose leaned in. So, on Saturday, when the Pirates were one out from having a perfect game thrown against them, Jose did what he always did — he leaned in. After that no hitter, Max Scherzer has a 10.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a 1.76 ERA. So, yeah, he’s a top three starter, if not the best this year, and he is amazing. No kidding; hey, sorta like Tabata and his wife! (There is a lot more truth in this opening paragraph than you’d likely ever imagine. Just Google “Tabata wife” if you don’t believe me. Happy belabored Father’s Day, Tabata!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Joe Ross was spectacular again Friday night, pitching 7.1 innings, allowing just six hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out 11 Pirates. He  grabbed his second win after coming off an 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 K gem last week in Milwaukee. Owning the zone, like a Boss. Striking out hitters, like a Boss. Racking up wins, like a–Ross. Ohh. See what I did there? Ross holds a 2.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 23/2 K/BB rate in 20.1 innings. It’s not like this is coming out of no where either, Ross has been pretty boss all year. In 50.1 innings at AA, Ross held a 54/12 K/BB rate, a 2.81 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP. Unfortunately, despite his boss-like tendencies of late, with Fister back and Strasburg set to return, Joe Ross is likely headed back to the minors for more seasoning. Gordon Ramsay might say any more salt would kill this dish, but the Nats and fantasy owners have to be pleased with Ross’ performance and he is certainly a name worth watching as the season goes on. Is it bad that I kind of want him to stay in the rotation over Strasburg? It is? Well, how about Roark? Maybe Doug Fister can get injured again? Here’s hoping we see Joe Ross again sooner rather than later.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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You ever look at a pitcher and just realize that he’s running out of gas much sooner than you expected him too?  Well, that’s what I am noticing from the Mets closer of the moment, Jeurys Familia.  He is pitching like his best friend died or his pet rock was used in a terrarium for a science fair project.  I am not liking the trend of the K’s disappearing, hell he went four appearances without getting one.  For a guy with a 10-plus K/9, that is worrisome.  The BAA is up for the month, walks are triple from what the previous two months were, and he is trying to pull of a mocha shoe with a green suit.  I mean, come on.  So just the other day, Bobby Parnell came in got a nice tidy 5-out save and it made me think, the way the Mets are and what their needs as a team are, is this the solution that they need?  They needed bullpen help, a nice veteran returning who knows the ropes, walks with a pimp skip (no cane on the field though), and has the ability in previous years to get the job done if need be.  I personally just think Jeurys needs a lessened work load to make him bounce back.  Still, it is worth noticing or monitoring that Bobby P is back, and he is rounding up his bottom and top slags from Queens Point and is in waiting.  Lets see what other bits of delusion I have to scour up for ya.  Enjoy the week… cheers!

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There was some speculation that the Mets were considering moving Noah Syndergaard (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks) to the bullpen and bringing up Steven Matz. The NY Post seemed to believe the Mets were talking about it, at least. It could be that a NY Post reporter, hiding in their usual spot inside a Mets equipment broom closet with a Solo cup pressed to the door, overheard, “Hey, should we move Noah to the bullpen and bring up Matz?” “Maybe, but I’m the front office intern and you’re the ticket taker from Gate 3C so I’m not sure our opinion matters.” “Or is that Matzers?” Then they laughed, and the NY Post reporter shot off an article detailing the discussion, but left off the sources. More respected Mets journalists thought Syndergaard wouldn’t go to the bullpen, and Dillon Gee would be designated for assignment. Gee, guess who was right. Right now, Matz has a 2.30 ERA and 9.3 K/9 in Triple-A in 78 1/3 IP. Those numbers are great, fabulous, adjective, but they get better. He’s pitching in the PCL, which is like hitting in an anti-gravity chamber with an aluminum bat. What makes Matz so damn desirable is he can strikeout out hitters and has good control. That’s the one-two punch of “Let me put hearts on my Trapper Keeper.” The Mets are saying Matz will come up around July 1st, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s called up for this weekend, so I’d stash him right now. Or if you have a DeLorean, stash him yesterday. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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With Byron Buxton and Francisco Lindor now called up that basically leaves Jose Peraza as the most intriguing speedster prospect as of now.  His path to playing time is muddled even though they have recently moved him to center field because Cameron Maybin has played extremely well there.  It is my (unfortunate) opinion that due to his situation Peraza doesn’t matter for 10 or 12 team leagues yet.  Onto the recently called up speedster prospects let’s consider their current fantasy value.  Mike has done numerous writeups of these players in various places and he most recently wrote that he considers Buxton to be “Leonys Martin with upside”.  Steamer/Razzball projects Buxton for 31-6-30-15 .241 in 78 games.  Realistically his AVG will likely fall anywhere from .235 to .270 depending mostly on K rate and BABIP.  In the minors he was hitting a very mediocre .283 with a 19.0 K% and .332 BABIP.  Sure I think he has plenty of upside but don’t expect too much out of Buxton.  I would rather hold on to a red hot and perhaps genuinely improved Cameron Maybin than pick up Buxton.  Anyway, depending on your league format Buxton has likely been picked up already.  I’d say he’s worth a 15% FAAB bid depending on what else you have for SBs and outfielders.

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