Imagine a world without Greg Holland.  Okay, got it… because it’s here… sorta.  There would be no tulip or windmill jokes and Wade Davis would basically be the freaking mac.  I was interested to see what his numbers really were, since he basically became a full time reliever towards the end of the 2013 season, and up to this date thus far in the season. So over the 89 innings of relief work, he has allowed 42 hits, 9 ER, and K/BB rate of 124/28.  I don’t curse very often, but holy sh*t.  The best thing about him is that he doesn’t have to be all-pressured to be the closer if he doesn’t want to.  Kinda like the cool kids in school, they sometime bring books to class or they just punch a juke box and say words that word normally sound like a euphemism for IBS.  I am by no means wishing Greg an injury-riddled year because, irregardless, Wade is going to do what he do.  He is far and away the most important reliever in baseball, argue that if you want… you will lose, but it’s fun to argue.  Enjoy the week’s closer updates and rankings…

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“For Kris Bryant‘s first game, can we have Steve Bartman throw out the first pitch and have a goat catch it? Or maybe we carry Bartman through the streets like a Muslim funeral and rip the clothes from his body. Yeah, go with the 2nd idea!” That was the recently fired Cubs PR guy. You know the billboard that announces the Cubs World Series win in Back to the Future II? I took a freeze frame and blew it up, noticing something interesting. It’s not exactly the dead ghost girl in the window of Three Men and a Baby, but I could’ve sworn I saw Kris Bryant’s face reflected in the billboard. I’d show you, but I threw it away by accident. Sorry! So, Kris Bryant is being called up and I don’t own him anywhere, but I do get a certain pleasure out of the Cubs calling him up just after the extra year of team control kicked in, er, kicked Boras in the nuts. In my projections, I had him down for 42/19/54/.256/3, but not getting called up until June 1st. Now, 30 homers is a legit possibility. I do think he could have a 30%+ strikeout percentage and hit below .240, but I’ll give him the highest compliment I can, I wish I owned him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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A scary scene yesterday for my fantasy team. WHY DOES THE UNIVERSE MOCK ME?! I’m not saying it was Ancient Aliens, but it was Ancient Aliens. Everything was lined up for my success, then Carlos Carrasco was a little too lined up by Melky. I don’t wish ill on anyone, but couldn’t Melky have hit T.J. House. He’s got a solid foundation. He could take the hit. Was this the Fantasy Baseball Overlord and his infinite deviousness? Why is your deviousness so infinite? In a pool of your deviousness, do you have to lifeguard it constantly? Seems dangerous. Ugh, Carrasco? More like Srir-ouch-a, I’m going to get sauced. The Indians are saying Carrasco didn’t suffer a concussion, but we’ll see. This might open a spot for Danny Salazar. I went to grab him in every league, but he was gone already. Then again, Jhoulys Chacin just signed a minor league deal with the Indians, and Salazar was seen riding in the rain, while the song, Just Once, played on the radio as he cried. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Why does it seem like there’s always more closer situations in flux in the first week than at any other time?  Well, whether that’s true or not, this year was no different.  Don’t even try to think about what that actually means.  Here’s your sumary: By Thursday there were already three new closers, then Sunday we had two old guys getting worked like speed bags at your local gym.

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As the Greek myth goes, the Yellin’ of LaTroy is the closer that launched thousands of fantasy baseballers to the waiver wire to pick up his set-up man, Adam Ottavino. There’s something to that great myth. There’s also the Greek myth about the LaTrojan Horse. In that one, the Greeks sent a closer that seemed like a workhorse onto the field, but once the battle began the LaTrojan Horse opened up and inside was marshmallows and the opposing team made a campfire, lit up the LaTrojan Horse and ate Smores. There’s also the Greek myth of Mike Mostsuckass, but that isn’t appropriate for right now. LaTroy Hawkins was spotted one out in the ninth inning and still gave up three earned runs, allowing a homer to the 135-pound power slugger, Dexter Fowler (who had a slam and legs and went 2-for-5, 2 RBIs). Whether the Rockies come out and say Hawkins is finished or on thin ice, I’d still stash Ottavino. He’s about to become a 35-save guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Really closers…really?  It took all of two whole days for the save-nami to wash away all people’s hope and dreams.  Maybe this is the end of days, you know the one where Arnold starts crying?  Yet he didn’t cry in Commando, and they kidnapped his daughter who happens to be a fantasy fave in Alyssa Milano.   Strange, uncontrollable apocalyptic things… tears, only daughter kidnapped… killing people.  Well, since every team basically has three games under their belts, is it too early to start analyzing the bullpen situations to date?  It kinda is, the patterns aren’t there for me to read, as usage is the first indicator for anything.  Second is chafing. So instead of looking at the Holds situations this week (which I will come back to next week, I promise), we will take a look at the situations that are boggling our minds and flooding our rosters with handcuffs and middle relief hopefuls.  It’s not an ideal situation for fantasy rosterbating, because it locks up so many bench spots if you are in the ever evolving chase for savedom.  So enjoy the snippets, with some of general perspective on the relief corps. And for giggles I have updated the closer ranks to reflect all the trades, injuries and demotions.

In case you’re sick of baseball already, come on over and join me for some Fantasy Premier league action, it so easy all you have to do is click a tab located at the top that says Soccer.  Read and enjoy.  It’s like a good book that you play with your feet.

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The pieces are all set, and it’s like the beginning of checkers…  Before you secretly cheat while your cousin isn’t looking, you should know that 28-of-the-30 teams have labeled a guy to be their respective closer.  Now, for some, that’s like being labeled the “Hand of the King” and with bad pitching performances, their heads will soon be on a pike out side of Comerica.  Yeah, that was a shot at you Joe Nathan, we are all whistling happy trails under our breath as you slowly ride of into the sunset Shane style.

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Imagine you are given a perfect list of auction values. Like you walk to the top of Mt. Sinai and instead of the Ten Commandments, God hands you a sheet of perfect dollar values for your upcoming auction. (Relative to burning bushes and other ways God has made his “presence known”, I’d say this would rank about middle of the pack in terms of directness). What would you do with these values?

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Whenever spring training starts to wind down and the closer spot is yet to be determined, it’s never a good thing.  It causes rosters to get fat off the land, and wastes your draft picks on no-news type situations. I will turn my one good lazy eye to the Minute Maid conundrum of “who closes for the Astros?”  Some may ask: “who cares?” But this is the essence of SAGNOF believers. Cheap closers are what makes the fantasy world get on a sit, spin, chug a beer, and scream obscenities at trolley cars.  So from the beginning of the hot-stove baseball season, and even after they signed Luke Gregerson, I believe that it’s still Chad Qualls‘ job.  No news is good news for the incumbent… Even though the news all across the reliever landscape is all speculation, “he said this” and “the beat writer said that”.  Well, the only person who actually knows is the manager, Hinch.  So I am going to do my best to break it down from my ivory soap tower.  Stick around, there may be something fun or edible once you get inside.

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We now get to the ugly step-sister of rankings and the waiver darling position that we all chase.   The relief pitcher is by far the most debated position on who to draft, where, and when.  For the most part, I agree with you (with whatever you think), but the guys you want…if you get them where they are being drafted, usually beat or exceed value.  Injuries suck and do happen, you just can’t prevent them. You just have to be in a position of favor and hope that you land his replacement.  Sucktitude, i.e see Joe Nathan last year, is just a roster burden and usually drags you down all season because he isn’t someone you can just drop, but he makes it awfully hard to roster.  It’s a catch-22, to stat or not to stat.  Last year saw an unforgivable 10 closer changes in the first six weeks. That is not something you can pad your roster with enough save-cuffs for.  So let’s get to the first set of rankings of the year.  I will get into draft strategies for them, and as always, cover holds in the countdown to the season.

Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Ralph and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out…

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