What is a finale in fantasy without a final closer report?  Nothing I tell ya.  It’s like a compound without an element, or a really cool shout out to the Low End Theory.  I salute the 14 sober readers of that “not firmly planted” on the porcelain thinking throne.  So this is it my friends, the last of the last of the last.  I was debating on what to do for the last post of the year.  Something cliche, something with recycled jokes that you see all the time… wink.  Nah, I am an original, I survive millennials and the whole generation X by just being me.  Not loved by all by liked by most and yet here I still sit.  Shout out to all the readers I lead astray, and the ones I actually helped.  Not everyone gets everything right all the time, but I try.  I am human.  You would think a computer generated version of Smokey would have a cooler avatar than a bear that looks like an extra from the Fat Boys movie Disorderlies.  So to keep it chalk, I will keep it plain and simple and do what I have done for years.  Give you a final ranking of all the closers this year and a glimpse into the future of closers.  As in the who will be closing next year for every team or at the very least an estimated guess straight from my basement.  So with the final post of the year for me from a baseball perspective about to wrap, I enjoyed bringing you the jazz and the haps on the relief game again, this my eighth year at Razzball nation.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.”  I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV.  It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend.  Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways.  After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news.  I shut it off and turned to the internet.  I’m still piecing together my thoughts.  He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life.  I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties.  I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels.  There’s a giant pit in my stomach.  Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling.  Not having fun.  I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time.  That exuberance came through in everything he did.  I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile.  How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons.  “That was us.  That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said.  How baseball does that.  How special that is.  You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the season winding down and most H2H leagues in full-on go mode, this week’s holds post will be the last one of the year.  I know, so sad, right?  It has been a 25-week journey into the pits and pendulums that are fantasy bullpens.  But with the conclusion, it is always good to look ahead to next year for everyone in keeper, dynasty or just anyone looking to get a jump on next year now.  I mean, I never stop really doing bullpen research all year, I drink one can of beer at a time and then look to the bottom of the can to see if the answer or answers are printed on the bottom.  Alas, I haven’t found one yet, but that won’t stop me from trying again and again in my ever search for bullpen enlightenment. Things to look for late in the year for future bullpen potential; high leverage usage, a great success with stranded runners and a great situational involvement in that teams bullpen moving forward. Just a P.S., those are the things I give you with every bullpen piece in my helpful chart. Yes that last one is tough because we never know who will be traded and add or subtract value from another, but great bullpen arms on one team with potential for holds, saves and just overall decent fantasy return are very rarely ever traded and don’t return to same spot with new team.  So put your feet up, I have 10 more beers left before this post is done…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When it’s fourth and long and 20 years ago, I believe the old song from the sea goes… You don’t look at the stats to date, especially when it’s with two weeks to play. What is ahead of you is all that matters. There is no loyalty, this isn’t the time to dance with the date you brought to the dance. You are looking for stats in any shape or form, period. So I give you the list, yes, the list is the bible of what guys are and what they have done for the year, but if you have an inkling that player A is going to save three games compared to player B getting one, then that answers your own question and you have deemed me useless. It kinda hurts that you deem me useless, but I will move on. I have been through a few relationships where it was a “it’s you not me” type scenario. Regardless, I have taken pride in bringing you the best that I can give in terms of fantasy bullpen type goodies on a weekly basis. After all, it is the readers of fantasy that make fantasy go round. So I would like to say thank you, no there is at best two more post to end the year but I wanted to say thank you now since we still have some attention span left instead of steering it towards fantasy football, which is awesome and you should go check out what Jay and the boys (and girls) are dishing out top notch type stuff. Before you click over to that, stay here for some fantasy bullpen chicanery and knowledge courtesy of your’s truly.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If history teaches us anything about fantasy baseball, it’s that the proof is in the pudding.  If history actually teaches us anything, it’s that Brad Pitt killed Hektor.  See what I did there, I pulled the ole okie doke.  It’s a favorable trick passed down through the years of dudes who vape and like to talk about how a dime won’t even buy a nickle anymore.  Those first few sentences are brought to you by filth and non-sense, because life isn’t fitting if there isn’t filthy or nonsensical.  So onto Holds, which about six actual readers, and one of the female variety still get all excited about.  The title says it all this week for the lede, Hector Neris has been carried in most formats all year because he brings some fantasy goodness to the table.  As a handcuff, there’s no way he can do it for the whole year, even with Jeanmar, or the fact that he has sexy enough reliever numbers, 11-plus K-rate, under 3 ERA.  I could go on and on and bore the crap out of you, but let’s just put it this way: he has 27 Holds behind a closer that has 34 saves for a surprise bullpen asset in the Phillies.  So in the last two weeks with the Phil’s getting there fair share of victories he has been an augmenter to your hold total notching a league high 5 holds.  He is a key cog down the stretch for not only the Phils , but for your fantasy team regardless of format.  So go take a look, just in case the late year shuffle has thrown him by the wayside.  After you do that follow the bottom for some Holds, set-up and other relief goodies…

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I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

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Manny Machado put up his right hand yesterday to measure it against a hand drawing every clubhouse has posted on its wall.  The drawing is of Mark Whiten’s hand that once held four baseballs in it.  Four baseballs for the four homers he hit in one game.  In the Padres’ clubhouse, this hand has been removed because it’s just a not-so-subtle reminder of what will never be.  In the Indians’ clubhouse, the hand is made into a turkey to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.  In the Astros’ clubhouse, the hand has been cut out and fashioned into a t-shirt for Altuve.  Imagine if Donald Trump wins the presidency and throws out a first pitch.  He may never make it to the field, too distracted in the clubhouse by measuring his hands against Whiten.  Yesterday, Machado came a fingernail short of the hand, hitting three homers with seven RBIs.  Now has 25 homers on the year with a .307 average.  Terrific, stupendous, adjective!  What’s more remarkable is he does not have one steal all year.  Almost as crazy, he’s only attempted three.  Did he have a knee transplant this offseason with McCutchen as the donor?  Machado stole 20 bases last year.  To go to none?  Wow, his feet definitely don’t measure up to the Rickey Henderson foot drawings in each clubhouse.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The price that was paid, and the results that led him up to the trade had everyone believing that Andrew Miller would trump the incumbent Cody Allen in Cleveland.  Through two-pitched games, he has seen one save opportunity in the 6-7th inning, and the other was in a losing effort.  Now, I am not reading the tea leaves here, but after just two appearances and five games overall, I think Cody is not a droppable player in any format, saves holds or NSVH.  I mentioned it out loud to myself after the trade was completed, and also to Prospector Ralph.  With 55 games to play and save chances in 52 percent of games won… so that would leave 14 or so chances for the Indians and Miller to retain value.  And don’t get it twisted, he still has a ton of value with a ridiculous K-rate over 16, and the Indians are still a first place squad.  Just everyone that seems to matter has struggled with the Twins. It’s crazy that they are 20-plus games under .500.  So for the Allen owners, hold firm, like Gi-Joe style grip type stuff.  Miller owners, you have most likely owned him all year, so your peripherals aren’t going to be flawed because of him.  As far as saves go, I think it could go 70/30 the rest of the way and be a situational thing on occasion.  Let’s look at the plethora of changes that are basically pillaging the relief ranks around baseball…

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Shaba Antone in the know knows that I am all about Jamaica.  Love to visit the place.  I also have several friends that reside on the isle and like to partake in the national festivity of… well, you know, don’t make me say.  The Dodger pen has been a flux of capacitors all year, and I think at some point I’ll bet a sixer on the leading hold leader from them being someone who may have contracted a melanoma.  Enter Joe Blanton.  The resurrection project of all resurrection projects.  Not only has he flourished in the role of set-up to the stars, but he doesn’t seem to have any competition to say the opposite.  In his last 30 days, minus a week off for the All-Star break, he has a one-off the pace total of 7 holds, a K/9 rate of above average, and an ERA of two bills.  All this for a team that has lacked stability setting up the dude who sounds like someone you would rent a kickboard from in Jamaica.  Now, he isn’t the only reason for the Dodgers having a top-5 bullpen ERA in the last 30 days, but he isn’t not-not the problem.   He is someone you may need to own though, add in the fact that in some leagues, I have SP eligibility, and he looks even sexier.  So now that we have got the lede out the way, let’s get to the milk and cookies of the bullpen report.

Please, blog, may I have some more?