*takes a long inhale*  “You smell that, Roberta?  You, with the yellow-stained armpits and sweatpants, I’m calling you Roberta.  That’s baseball you smell.  In its infinite complexity and finite simplicity.  The foul lines whiter than any Lohan mirror.  The grass?  Manicured better than any Vietnamese lady could.  The object of the game?  Accumulate the most stats so I win my fantasy league.  Simple, yet complex.  Like trying to understand Jeff Foxworthy’s appeal.  From today forward, this is our Independence Day (from all that other shizz in our life).”  The preceding was Bill Pullman visiting the set of Field of Dreams.  To that end, Roberta and your long-flowing sideburns, if the idea is to win saves, that difficulty intensifies when you draft Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson becomes the closer.  That’s funny, because the Astros beat writer the other day said GILES IS THE CLOSER.  Caps his, not mine.  I know how to shut off my caps lock.  So, now that GILES IS THE SETUP MAN, I would GRAB Gregerson in EVERY league, though, if it’s competitive, he’s likely GONE by NOW.  No idea why Giles is NOT the CLOSER.  My GUESS is the Astros went OUT and GOT Giles withOUT their manager, A.J. Hinch, agreeing, so Hinch IS now BEING petulANT.  I’d prefer if he were petulANT with A closER I DO NOT OWN.  Hey, it looks like I’m typing this on a busted Smith-Corona.  Fun.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Scout and Razzball teamed up to bring you 12-team mixed league slow drafts, and, when I say slow, I mean that I’ve seen paint dry faster and with more upside.  It’s exactly like our 12-team, mixed Razzball Commenter League drafts (there still might be a few spots), but in this league there’s two catchers, no waivers and 44 rounds.  So, I guess, it’s really not that similar to the RCLs.  No waivers changes everything.   I would never draft two top starters in a regular mixed league, let alone one in a 12 team league, but when you can’t pick up a starter off waivers or stream, it changes the dynamic.  You can’t worry about upside as much as you need to make sure you have innings when a rash of injuries hits.  Same with hitters.  Upside is nice, but at-bats are even nicer when you lose five outfielders to injuries in July.  This kind of leagues makes John Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt and Tyler Flowers appealing.  Dot dot dot.  Okay, nothing makes Tyler Flowers appealing.  Anyway, here’s my 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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So, Rudy and I took part in Yahoo’s Friends & Family league hosted by Brandon Funston.  I believe Rudy and I are on the Friends side of equation, but some of the things I find on Ancestor.com could shock you.  I’m only like 12 cousins removed from my wife.  I’m so well-adjusted that doesn’t even make me shudder anymore!  Could Brandon Funston be my uncle?  Unkie Funston?  That would be cool.  I would be like, “Unkie Funston, can I have your old baseball card collection?”  And he’d be like, “Sure, if you trade me Starlin Castro.”  In this league is a few Rotoworld guys, a few Rotowire guys, a few Yahoo guys, a Wall Street Journal guy, a boneheaded Razzball guy and our very own, Rudy Gamble.  Quite the array of talent.  It’s like a Dave Navarro supergroup and I’m Sammy Hagar.  “Have you tried my tequila?  It’ll make you slap your momma and call her daddy.”  That’s me as Sammy Hagar.  This league is a standard Yahoo league with a 1400 max IP for pitchers.  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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With the baseball season starting in the blink of seven-days-eyes, I figured it would be fitting since we all crunch drafts ’til the last possible moment.  Waiting until the end isn’t always a bad idea, you get the last news possible on injuries and job security.  Bad thing is that you lose some of the sleeper appeal.  By now, if you haven’t heard of a guy who could be closing, there is a great possibility that he doesn’t have a Sam Hill’s chance of closing.   Just facts.  These guys aren’t born yesterday and matriculate with a mastery of three pitches overnight.  The bullpen folk have one job and that is to make a save situation stay a save situation.  This holds true for holds guys, pun semi-intended.  So the list is basically where it should be until we start seeing some production from the lads.  The committee situations that exist in Milwaukee and possibly Philly will be that until someone gets the bulk of the load on his back.  Which sounds gross, but from a fantasy perspective, you want a full orgy of saves on your closer.  After all, quantity is the name of the game, that and continued success at it.  It is like everyone else’s job; you do good you stay.  You do poorly, you get pink slipped and sent to middle relief-dom.  So fingers crossed, or if you play the cuff odds, just simply uncross them and pray for the worst. Here is the last rankings of Closers and their hand-cuffs for the start of fantasy baseball version, 2.016…

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No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

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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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Rajai Davis is, once again, a SAGNOF-ian legend.  Again, again, again, was exactly what he did on Saturday when the 34-year-old outfielder stole 3 bases.  This year he might just be the best fantasy player of all those playing only part time (the other player fighting for this honor, in my opinion, is Alex Guerrero).  He has 6 stolen bases despite starting in only 9 of 18 games through Saturday for the Tigers.  Digging up some career stats I see that he’s never needed much playing time to rack up the SBs.  Since he broke out with 41 stolen bases in 2009 he’s averaged 42 steals per season while at the same time averaging only 124.5 games played.  And many of those games weren’t starts.

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I’m a value oriented fantasy manager.  I’m not a believer in positional scarcity and I take that approach (aka meritocracy) to my draft by relying largely on projections.  When evaluating my slumping players I look at their projections and peripherals to see if the slump means anything.  When looking at the hot players in the player pool I take the same approach.  I am going to make recommendations to you based on these approaches.  For the next in line closers it means recommending players with good projections but also considering each players chance to close in the future.  For base stealers it means making sure the player won’t destroy your AVG or at least letting you know if he’s going to.

This week in SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) Recap: Early last week Adam Ottavino ascended into the closer role for Colorado and it looks at the very least to be semi-permanent.  He was previously my 7th best next in line closer to own.  Formerly my 2nd best next in line closer to own, Joakim Soria had ascended due to an injury to Joe Nathan, who should be back soon and will regain his closer role.  Jordan Walden notched a save last night but it appears Trevor Rosenthal was being given the night off.  Now onto this week’s recommendations…

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Steamer/Razzball projections are at or near the top with the best projections in baseball. Not the best at our site, that’s easy, they are. They’re the best when people drop nerd science with coefficients and variables and charts and graphs and other shizz I don’t understand. Articles have been done, things have been written, nerds have yelled at their mothers to not bother them right now. Steamer/Razzball projections are great. They were the best free baseball projections last year. Those projections drive the Stream-o-Nator, Hitter-Tron and our other tools. What in the effy-eff does this effy-eff have to do with effin’ anything? Those projections gave three players a 20/20 season Mike Trout, Carlos Gomez and Steven Souza. I just got goose-pimplies writing that. Seriously, feel my arm. That’s not my arm! Hey now! Souza could only hit .240, but there’s no reason why he is only owned in 19% of ESPN leagues. Well, there is a reason, but I don’t want to insult anyone. That ownership number is a miscarriage of fantasy justice. You, the great people of the world, raise your mouse-clicky hand. First, put down the Krimpet, you have butterscotch frosting on your fingers. Just put it down on your desk for a second, no one’s going to take it. People don’t even want to be near you when you’re eating. Okay, now take your recently freed-up hand and go to your waivers and grab Souza. It’s your duty. Hehe, I said duty. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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It’s trendy to be trendy and follow your nose like Toucan Sam.  Unfortunately, there are no Fruit Loops here, only Holds.  Holds with a silver lining of saves that helps everyone.  For now though, it’s all about the holds.  It’s only a dozen games into the season and it’s never too early to turn a side eye to what’s going on with the key bullpen pieces around the league.  These guys are mostly for holds only leagues, but the elite of the elite are the rosterable guys that should be universally owned.   So, for those that are new to the Bullpen Report, it goes a little like this…  I focus on relievers that are pitching in high leverage situations, games with the lead, inherited runners and the inherited runners they allow to score.   Those more or less correlate to the stat we are chasing, and no it’s not that white dragon.  It’s the hold.  Team situations, team success, and the players ability in those situations all dictate that stat.  It’s no coincidence that teams with better teams usually have more save chances, it just happens.  So have a gander at some trendy type stats that have happened in the games so far.  Be aware that stats this early are misleading like a Polish GPS, so be aware and don’t go for the first car you see when your hitchhiking your way through the holds life.

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