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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post… Rob Rogacki, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Detroit Tigers!

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Late season injuries and minor league call-ups are one thing.   Just not doing your job is an utter disgrace.  Bruce Rondon was sent home, literally, because of lack of effort.  Holy stereotypes.  Because getting out of bed, traveling first class and then having to pitch one whole inning a game in the oft-chance that your team may be winning.  Yeah, that sounds impossible to me to keep up with.  For now the Tigers will roll with a combination of Neftali Feliz and Alex Wilson.  So anyone looking for 3-4 saves til the end of the year can be rewarded with the plight of Rondon and his poor work effort.  I wouldn’t expect a treasure trove of riches, the Tigers rank in the bottom five in saves, save opps., bullpen ERA, blown saves, and believe it or not, balks by the bullpen.   I know that last stat is bupkiss, but when is the last time you ever read a balk stat in a reliever post?  It just happened for the first time in history and I am officially placing a copyright on it. So this is the final rankings for the year for closers I will do an end of the year wrap up next week with lots of zany stuff.

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Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort.  This sends an interesting message.  I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort.  Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing.  Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season.  Also, what does this say about Ausmus?  That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort?  Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort?  How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort.  I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do.  What?  You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place?  Please!”  Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night.  Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year.  This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The original title Rudy suggested was, Love Is To Own Lindor, but Rudy tells me that title only makes sense to people forced to watch Frozen 5+ times.  Let it go…Let it go…Let it go…  I just sang that in perfect key and it still caused a cat to screech and paint to peel.  Luckily, I don’t have a kid, a cat or paint.  Let’s count the ways I love Francisco Lindor.  *five minutes later, makes farting sound with hand in armpit*  And that’s it!  Oh, yeah, I should count the ways I love him aloud so you can hear.  Fair enough, you nitpicker, you.  Yesterday, he hit his 9th homer (3-for-4, 4 RBIs), topping off a week when he was hitting over .400, a month when he’s hitting over .340, a 2nd half when he’s hitting over .350 with 7 homers and 7 steals.  He’s only 21 years old.  At 21 years old, you fell asleep on a couch outside of your local bar waiting to talk a girl that you think might have been interested, only waking after a passing bus splashed a puddle of your own vomit onto you.  Guys and five girl readers, he has 9 homers in 82 games (essentially a half a season) and he has 30-steal speed.  I just got goose pimplies.  To emphasize them, I’m drawing little goose faces on my pimples like those psychopaths draw on grains of rice.  Yes, you should own Lindor on your teams for this year, and I can’t wait to draft him in sixteen after twenty.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve made most of my recommendations this year with the long term in mind.  I’m not easily swayed by a “hot” hitter, instead I tend to lean on the projections to set an expectation level.  This late in the season, however, I’m uncertain of how effective that approach is.  We can’t exactly count on any “regression to the mean” happening over such a small sample size of games.  Some players will be good over the last few weeks, others will be poor and I don’t have a high degree of confidence that it is possible for me, or anyone for that matter, to predict the best base stealers to own these last three weeks (see this to know why).  But I have some names for you even though I have not a clue as to whether they’ll be difference makers over these last few weeks. Here’s my recommendations, I’ve attempted to rank them by number of steals they’ll get from now until the season ends…

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From Koji to Ross…  Sounds like a bullpen whirlwind in the shade of a Justin-to-Kelly type scenario.  Have things goten so bad north of me… NJ… that they are just trouncing anyone out there.  Any retreads?  Well, it’s full on guess mode at the late stages of the season for the B0-Sawx.  If you are really scraping for saves this late in the game, than you my friend are a desperate man in search of desperation and regret.  The Red Sox as a team are near the bottom in blown saves, bullpen ERA and basically look drab and beaten down.  The only good news there is I think the Bruins start soon and Papi is chasing 500.  Listen, I get that you play to the end of the season, but is Robbie Ross really the direction you want to go to when the end is near? Do yourself a favor, add a quality non-closer work on your rates, your free-style composure and possibly go shop at the merry-go-round for some really cool back to school clothes.  Your pitching stats and your swagger will thank you with some compliments and some vulture wins.

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Yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka went 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 10 Ks.  I took some guff in the preseason for being down on Tanaka, in the non-sexual way.  I projected him for the line of 10-4/3.49/1.15/150.  His line right now is 11-6/3.57/1.01/125.  Yeah, I was waaaaaaaaay off.  Multiple A’s to allow time for an eye roll.  Kids write me letters and say, “Unkie Grey, how did you know what Tanucky (sic) would do so mediocrely?”  My answer is always the same, I’m a witch.  Then I continue, “No, that’s just a broom.  Male witches ride around on Vespas.”  Tanaka was an easy person for me to avoid this year due to his elbow tendon.  For 2016, sadly, I don’t see my enthusiasm changing.  Or at any point for him until he has surgery, rehabs for 12-16 months and then returns.  I wish he would, because I would like to get excited about him, but it’s just not gonna happen, said like Dana Carvey impersonating George H. W. Bush.  Now, excuse me, I double-parked my Vespa on Sandoval’s foot.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Mariner bullpen has basically been that round-up ride at your local carnival.  It doesn’t look that bad until it totally messes with your vertigo and you end up spewing up kettle corn and other assorted goods for two hours there after.  Last year, the Mariners bullpen had a 2.60 ERA, good for tops in the MLB.  They also saved 51 games to only 11 blown saves.  They were all comfy and coozy like footed pajamas last year, and basically everyone could rely on the decent value of return from drafting Fernando Rodney.  Then the year changes to five and the ship went askew.  Their bullpen ERA is over 4.30 and are on pace to accumulate 45 saves, and, to date, have already blown 18 saves (behind only three other teams for worst).  So let’s just run down the year so far: Rodney was the closer, then he wasn’t the closer, Carson Smith took over, and now it seems as though they are reverting back to 2012 in hopes that Tom Wilhelmsen can right the ship of battered and injured bullpen dreams.  Stick around for some tid-bits and bullpen ranks…

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Give me a buy, a bouncy buy!  Wait, might have my Martin Short characters mixed up.  *Googling*  Damn, that was from his Irving Berlin.  Jackie Rogers Jr. didn’t have much of a catchphrase.  Last Saturday, JBJ was sworn in as the hottest schmotato in the land as Jackie O., his mother and who he was named after, held the Bible.  After the ceremony, JBJ stated, “Compared to taking a free pass, hitting is a cakewalk.”  Then he high-fived himself.  Jackie Bradley Jr.  is more or less a hot platoon player, but Cousin Sizzlechest is about as hot as they come right now.  JBJ will cool off at some point, he strikes out a bit too much, but he’s worth owning in all leagues where you’re hurting for that little extra spark.  Plus, to get JBJ on your team, you don’t need the assistance of the Cubans, the FBI, Frank Sinatra, Joe Pesci in a bad wig, a vast right wing conspiracy, Joe DiMaggio and some dude named Zapruder.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Here’s what I don’t like about SAGNOF.  Writing about crappy relief pitchers is a large part of what the SAGNOF Special is about, because Saves Ain’t Got No Face sometimes means there are a lot of terrible relievers in a position to get saves.  The past week or so has been rough as we’ve seen Tommy Kahnle and Edward Mujica get pounded.  For that matter, the performance of the entire Rockies bullpen is making us long for the good ol’ days of LaTroy Hawkins.  The situation in Boston (Junichi Tazawa vs Jean Machi) has little clarity and there was not a single save for Boston, Oakland or Colorado in the past week.  It’s been brutal out there for those scrambling for saves and it’s made me yearn for that time when I could recommend A.J. Ramos and Shawn Tolleson and legitimately feel good about it.  Because of the nature of SAGNOF in 12 team or deeper leagues, this late in the season, I’ve no choice but to recommend these at best mediocre relievers because there is literally no where else to turn for saves right now. (Fortunately in 10 team leagues it’s more obvious that these types don’t need to be rostered).  There just isn’t enough time in the season right now for the Joe Smith’s of the reliever world to have any real chance to see saves this year due to injury or failure of the current closer.

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