I hate this. Stupid SAGNOF! Pisses me off to no end. The worst part of the strategy is at times, you have to own guys you may dislike, or in my case, hate. It goes with the territory and when they succeed, it takes away some of the burn of the past. But when they fail, they become deader than Randy Quaid’s career. Like this GIF, sometimes it results in a wedgie and everyone laughing at you. Thanks SAGNOF wedgie. This is what I struggle with, the unsavory characters you have to hang around and the resulting public humiliation when you fail. But when you nail it… BOOM!

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As much as I love publishing and giving you the “haps” on the closer ranks, I love the depth that a bullpen can give you and how it can affect your roster.  It is way to early to look into my Grafix crystal ball and say this guy and that one will be the crowned prince of the hold this year… to some degree.  Early usage and situations prove a lot.  Yes, injuries happen, and ineffective spells happen, and sometimes trades happen, but if you were good enough to make the team out of Spring, then usually you are good enough to make yourself an established piece of the bullpen.  The top names are still the top names.  The cream either rises to the top or it rules everything around me, both perspectives are interesting because how can you not believe the Wu or old school rhetoric. So with the first bullpen piece of the year, we will cover all the same things you are accustomed to from last year as I get more in-depth than anyone else when it comes to holds.  Some don’t care or are on the fence, as if it’s a completely comical or made up stat.  It is no more made up then saves, because that is exactly what it is, just before the save… so it is basically a pre-save.  Either way, I care and will give you some early trends to look at and some names to go with it.  Trends rule everything around bullpens or TREAB, dolla dolla bill y’all.

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My pain is self-chosen
At least, so the prophet says
I could either burn
Or cut off my pride and buy some time
A head full of lies is the weight, tied to my waist

That is quite the downer, isn’t it? Makes you want to jump out of the nearest window. Welcome to the saves game! It is the river of deceit. I can’t believe I went with a “grunge” title today, but I missed Sky this offseason. [Jay’s Note: The Emo King, to rule them all!] Mad Season is the inspiration today, as the saves game is the most emotionally painful part of the fantasy season. Well maybe “can be” the most painful would be more apt for this discussion. So in the spirit of classic me and using the song titles of Mad Season’s other bands, I will say this in hyper link glory. The closer game in the shadow of the season is a state of love and trust that hopefully signals it’s over now… in a good way. I went almost full unplugged there. So friggin’ 90’s. Enough of that decade, let’s move into today.

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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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Baltimore_Orioles4

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…Tony Pente, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Baltimore Orioles!

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So the title is a bit of a superlative.  What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?”  You’ll get over your scoffing, I have faith in you.  This is the best 2016 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2016 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2016 fantasy baseball.  Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is.  If I took Carlos Correa in the 1st round, everything after would change.  If I took Arenado in the 1st round, everything after would change.  I’ve previously gone over my 2016 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Mike Trout first, because, well, I have him first overall.  Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks.  It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Arrieta and Kershaw in the first two rounds and I was able to take Anthony Rizzo in the 2nd round (which is possible), but since Trout and him are in my first 10 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both.  Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken.  People tend to look at team need over value.  So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks.  Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team.  Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward.  Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky.  It should still be my ideal team… Or not.  Let’s see, shall we?  Bee tee dubya, this team is 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (Go sign up or start a league).  Anyway, here’s the best 2016 fantasy baseball team:

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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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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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You know, this signing of Zack Greinke with the Diamondbacks isn’t much of a surprise since Greinke is so intellectually driven and Phoenix is on the cutting edge of cyber-learning.  Did you know 1 out of 24 graduates from the University of Phoenix go on to make six figures?  Of course, 1 out of 24 graduates from the University of Phoenix are chosen to be in their commercials and paid $100,000.  That gives me an idea, we should start a college and charge students $200,000 for a 4-year degree, then hire every graduate for $24,000/year.  Shoot, every college and company are already working this scheme.  Any hoo!  Zack Greinke goes to the Diamondbacks and takes a hit in his value or will take multiple hits on his value.  Don’t think the Dodgers are really that much better offensively than the D-Backs.  Actually, they’re worse.  So, it’s not a hit due to chance for wins.  It’s a hit due to home stadium change.  Arizona’s decidedly a hitters’ park and the Casa de Doyers is not.  Arizona is around top five for hitting, whereas Dodger Stadium is around bottom five.  Things sway yearly, but Chase Field has had years in the top two for offense, only sniffing Coors’ butt.  Mean’s while, Dodger Stadium has had years in the bottom three for all offense, only staying in front of Safeco and Petco.  I doubt Greinke falls back to a 4+ ERA pitcher he was his last year on the Royals, but he was a 3.83 ERA pitcher in another hitting-friendly park in Milwaukee, and that’s not so good.   Oh, and Greinke is 32 years old.  Yeah, you don’t need a degree from the University of Phoenix to know this deal could go sideways real fast.  For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 15-8/3.54/1.16/194 in 210 IP and someone I am not going near.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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The Cardinals never not produce prospects out of nowhere.  Double negatives don’t not be damned.  Or is that be damned?  There’s likely hundreds if not thousands (maybe five or six) prospects that have come out of nowhere for the Cardinals.  The big one I can think of is Albert Pujols.  Pujols was originally signed as the 402nd pick overall and turned down an offer of $10,000 to play instead in the National Baseball Congress, against Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi.  Finally, he signed with the Cardinals when no one else wanted him.  We know how that turned out.  Jason Motte was a 19th round selection in 2003, and he was still closing games this year (though for the Cubs).  In 2001, the Cards drafted a little known shortstop, Michael J. Fox, in the last round and he had a fine career in sitcoms and starring film roles.  So, Thomas Pham was drafted in the 16th round of 2006 and came up with little fanfare.  “Little fanfare?”  No way, this is St. Louis baseball, we have the best fans yadda whatever!  Pham was considered a fringe prospect at best and a Thai beef salad at worst.  Could’ve Pham just got lost in the shuffle?  In 2014, he had 10 HRs, 20 SBs, hitting .324 in Triple-A.  Then, with no room to play in the majors, he went back to Triple-A this year and hit 6 HRs with 9 SBs and a .327 average in 48 games.  He’s likely more interesting in fantasy than real baseball, but, guess what, you numbnuts, we’re talking about fantasy.  For 2016 fantasy baseball, I could see him being a 14 HR, 25 SB, .280 hitter, who gets a huge boost if he stays at the top of the order as he’s been doing thus far.  For right now, Pham’s hitting near-.400 in the last week, and taking this back to the beginning with Pujols, he’s in the two-hole with his Phamy jewels.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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