The Save Vulture is no ordinary animal. Or Jordanian animal, as my autocorrect wanted me to write. The Save Vulture doesn’t need much sunlight. The Save Vulture doesn’t need water in its purest form; it can distill water from cola, in a process called sodasynthesis. The Save Vulture is strictly a meat eater. It’s even been known to remove vegetables that are in the proximity of meat it plans on devouring. The one thing it considers a vegetable is a potato and that’s in chip form, which it consumes daily. The Save Vulture is not a social animal, but it does have close ties to its mother. Sometimes staying in the nest for 35 to 40 years. Once it leaves the nest, it usually latches onto a partner that nurtures it like a mother would. The Save Vulture doesn’t work much, except six months a year when it’s scrolling through a fantasy waiver wire for potential closers. The Save Vulture’s most active time is the last two weeks of July when closers could change teams, thus making a new reliever a closer. The Save Vulture preys on the weakness of others who lose their closer. This year, one of the most likely targets for The Save Vulture is Ken Giles with Jonathan Papelbon likely being traded. The Save Vulture is also flying over Huston Street, waiting to swoop in on Joaquin Benoit‘s carcass. Do you think The Save Vulture isn’t looking at Neftali Feliz if Joakim Soria is traded? You must be Joakim. Some desperate Save Vultures are talking about Koji Uehara being traded and Edward Mujica taking over. Not to be confused with Huston Street, but Chad Qualls on a Houston St. could go to a contender and Jesse Crain or Tony Sipp or Josh Fields or Jose Veras or Craig Biggio in a bad wig would step in. Could LaTroy Hawkins get moved? You bet your white Blackmon! In that case, Adam Ottavino or Rex Brothers would step in. The Save Vulture is even monitoring Matt Lindstrom‘s rehab, knowing if he’s healthy in the next few weeks, he could take over again. The Save Vulture doesn’t bathe itself, unless you count spilled soda, but it is the most diligent about stealing closers this time of year, I suggest you do the same. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Ryan Zimmerman should just join a kickball league. His upper stuff doesn’t work right. He’s got a bad case of waist-up-is-not-up-to-snuff-is. He should tent his entire body, because he’s got an infestation of the bad health termites. They lay dormant, living off of bacteria that is produced naturally by your secretions. Then one day you wake up and you dive into the 2nd base bag and break your thumb. The preceding was taken directly from WebMD, I can’t vouch for its accuracy. It’s a thumbpocalypse! So, Zimmerman’s gonna be out for six weeks with a broken thumb. I’d point out that I told you on Friday to sell him, but that’s in poor taste. As would simply pointing and laughing at you. Mostly due to the fact, I don’t know where you are, you don’t return my phone calls! So, put Zimmerman on your DL, and let’s pray his shoulder gets miraculously better in the mean’s while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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My fantasy roster is like Rick and his Walking Dead gang, just waiting around to be fattened up for the slaughter in that train car. Doesn’t Daryl have a hidden crossbow? Feel free to kill off Beth though. Currently my team has lost Cole Hamels and David Robertson. Not too bad, but couple that with the injuries to Adrian Beltre, Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig, and my team is on the verge of doing a Hershel. I feel like we should cue up that cheesy music they play at the Oscars when they pay tribute to those stars that died over the past year. Last week, the fantasy world lost Josh Hamilton (smattering of applause), Matt Moore (gasps) and Avisail Garcia (men openly weeping). Just bury them with all the other guys still on the DL – Clayton Kershaw (at least he’s throwing again), Matt Latos (skipping rehab start this week, uh-oh) and Jose Reyes (was born on the disabled list). Add Troy Tulowitzki (quad), Adrian Beltre (quad), Koji Uehara (shoulder quad), and Joe Nathan (dead arm quad) to the walking wounded list as well (guys hurtin’ but not DL’d) and we have a World War Z-sized fantasy apocalypse. Injuries are expected every year, but does it seem like there are more this season? Can I blame instant replay? Harold Reynolds? Someone or something is responsible. Quick, get Bartolo Colon to throw some stem cells in the Gatorade. I hear that helps. *note to self: Pitch embryonic energy drink to Gatorade, make millions, get killed by pro-life crusaders.* It’s time to bring in the fantasy reinforcements. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can cure what’s ailing our battered and broken roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90′s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

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

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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It’s amazing to me how many times teams get burned by signing huge free agent deals. It’s like they’re either not aware of what other teams are doing or they’re not paying attention. How’d that A-Rod to Rangers deal work out for the Rangers? Hamilton and Pujols to the Angels? Or when the entire National League All-Star team spent three months in a Marlins uniform? Robinson Cano is quality, but Marco Scutaro could’ve won the Mariners the AL West if F-Her, Iwakuma and Taijuan were hitting on all cylinders. Well, at least the Mariners didn’t need to give up anything but a crapton of a money. Cano went from re-signing with the Yanks to resigning to play with the Mariners (play on words points!). Can’t fault a guy for taking that kind of money. Shouldn’t be surprised either, I mean his mother’s maiden name is Mercedes. When it appeared like Cano was going to the Yanks, I gave him the projected line of 97/29/110/.310/4 and ranked him fifth overall in my rankings that I’m working on now that will be published in January. Now, I can’t see it. Not sure which way I’m re-shuffling my rankings, but his projections have to drop in Safeco, unless they move in the fences once again. I don’t like just looking at what a player did in away games at the stadium he will now call home. Just looking at what Cano did in Safeco for his career doesn’t tell the full story. He was facing the Mariners staff, and it was an away game. Players react differently to being on the road, especially cross country. With that said (reversal time!), in 40 games in Safeco, Cano had a line of 17/4/20/.309/2. Last year, Safeco played more neutral than it has in the past. Doubles and triples went up, homers and average sat pretty much where they were prior to the fences moving in. All of that info leads me to think what a fourth grader could’ve told you, Cano will remain a batting average plus but take a small hit in power. A small hit in power for a guy who doesn’t regularly top 30 homers isn’t great. The Mariners are now in play for every free agent so it might seem like his runs and RBIs won’t take as big of a hit, but remember what happened when Pujols and Hamilton were united in Anaheim or every All-Star landed in South Florida? Not a whole lot for their runs and RBIs. Even if the Mariners sign every other free agent, it doesn’t mean great things for Cano. I’ll say Cano will stay relatively neutral from last year because the Yankees weren’t good then either. So that brings me to Cano’s projected line of 84/26/105/.312/4. Not terrible, not quite what I hoped for in a rebound season in New York. As Simon and Garfunkel would tell you, this deal does prove Seattle loves Robinson more than you ever Cano. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to the year end Razzball awards. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice, Hey. Also, on the red carpet for everyone’s arrival we have, Comatose Blue Jays Fan, “Hurry up, the Blue Jays are gonna be facing the Yankees tonight on Fox.” And up in the balcony critiquing everyone’s outfits we have Clunky Segue, “As I was saying…” Before the show even begins, we have a very special musical guest, Lighter Shade of Brown! Live from opening for Kanye West! Not playing on stage with him, but literally opening doors for him. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2013 Razzball Year End Awards:

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