With every first list or preseason edition of anything, there comes question marks. Lots of ifs and buts, with no real sound determination until we actual see the product. I am pretty sure Jane Austen’s first attempt at Pride and Prejudice was an abomination because who knew if Elizabeth Bennett was up to the task of being wifey material? It turns out that I can win a bet and correlate anything into the bullpen situations of the current MLB teams. Until injuries, demotion or a better option arises, we have to go by two main instincts: former ability and common sense. So the list is based off of the news to date that we have gotten on all the potential closers to date and for gigg’s I have ranked them accordingly. I have been doing bullpens for a long time and have been wrong on a few occasions, but I am not the manager or GM for the team pulling the strings, I am merely a fantasy writer. So here is the Spring training edition of the Closer rankings, their set-up men, and the cuffs we covet for fantasy in 2016.

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You wanna know what’s on my mind?  “If the Nationals wouldn’t have shut down Stephen Strasburg three years ago, would they have been eliminated a day earlier this year?”  No, that’s not on my mind.  “Is there anything to your business idea of selling 500-foot rulers outside the courthouse to people who just got restraining orders?”  That’s been on my mind, but that wasn’t what I was thinking about now.  “What does Strasburg offer us for 2016?”  Yes, that was what I was thinking.  How did you read my mind?  “I’m you.”   Shh, you’re ruining the illusion.  Yesterday, he went 7 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 6 baserunners, 13 Ks.  Prettttay, pretttay good.  Of course, Effin Stressbird has been an ulcer all year with his 4.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and continual injuries that have left him with only 98 1/3 IP.  When digging deeper — and it hurts me soul, Lupe Fiasco, to say this — he doesn’t look bad.  His velocity went up this year to 95.3 MPH from 94.8; his K/9 is down 10.1 to 9.7, but I think that’s just due to his control, and a 9.7 K/9 isn’t bad.  He hasn’t been as sharp with command, but couldn’t that be due to the back problems he’s fighting?  I hate him as much as anyone that is making hashtags by combining MLK and the dipshit in Kentucky, but if I’m looking at his stats with impartial eyes, he doesn’t look terrible for 2016.  For this year, just give me three more effin starts like last night, you Effin Stressbird.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As Jeff Probst once said, “Turnabout is Johnny Fairplay,” which was his mashup of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart line, “Turn around, bright eyes,” which was co-opted by a children’s toy commercial with, “Turn around, Rainbow Brite eyes,” which was Elmore Leonard’s original name for a pedophile, which he changed to short eyes, and short people have big reason to smile, unless they’re not wearing shoes and, yesterday, Matt Shoemaker threw a one-hitter into the 8th inning.  *takes a breath, bows, exits like Tommy from this season of MasterChef*  And scene!  So, Shoemaker returned from the minors yesterday and did exactly what we’d hoped from him since March — 7 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 5 Ks.  He will remain in the rotation, but I wouldn’t indiscriminately add him in all leagues.  I would give him a shot in his next start in Oakland, and go one start at a time from there.  While you’re wearing the kid gloves for Shoemaker, hopefully you don’t accidentally Like an Instagram post from two years ago by someone you once dated that you’re now stalking.  Been there!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Mariner bullpen has basically been that round-up ride at your local carnival.  It doesn’t look that bad until it totally messes with your vertigo and you end up spewing up kettle corn and other assorted goods for two hours there after.  Last year, the Mariners bullpen had a 2.60 ERA, good for tops in the MLB.  They also saved 51 games to only 11 blown saves.  They were all comfy and coozy like footed pajamas last year, and basically everyone could rely on the decent value of return from drafting Fernando Rodney.  Then the year changes to five and the ship went askew.  Their bullpen ERA is over 4.30 and are on pace to accumulate 45 saves, and, to date, have already blown 18 saves (behind only three other teams for worst).  So let’s just run down the year so far: Rodney was the closer, then he wasn’t the closer, Carson Smith took over, and now it seems as though they are reverting back to 2012 in hopes that Tom Wilhelmsen can right the ship of battered and injured bullpen dreams.  Stick around for some tid-bits and bullpen ranks…

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I’m in New York celebrating my grandfather’s 88th birthday, or as he calls it “achy-ache,” and we started talking about Caitlyn Jenner, and he said, “She’s a hot number, I’d throw her one.”  Throw her one, I believe, means have sex with her.  I thought this was pretty forward thinking for my grandfather, then he continued, “Do you know how they put lost children on the side of a carton of milk?  I heard if Caitlyn got lost, they’d put her on a carton of Half & Half.”  Ah, there he is.  Reminds me a bit of Marge Schott, which brings us to Raisel Iglesias, who threw a gem yesterday — 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 13 Ks.  “Raise the Church” has looked far superior since he returned from his stint in the minors with an ERA that’s bordering on startable everywhere (3.93), and peripherals that look ownable everywhere (9.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 3.42 xFIP).  At this point in the year, I would go one start at a time for him, but I would definitely own him, and start him for his next one.  Now, if you excuse me, I have to get back before my grandfather tries to “throw one” at Cougs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Whatever happened to Flavor of Love? That show was my jizzoint! And Rock of Love, its companion piece, was the Better Call Saul to its Breaking Bad. You can’t tell me those two shows went off the air because Flavor or Brett found love. They were both likely married when the shows aired. It wasn’t about love, it was about meeting incredible people and finding out about other cultures..and watching girls fight! So, Matt Boyd rang ’em up and rang ’em down (Is that the saying? Let’s say it is!) with a line of 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 2 Ks. Boyd came over to the Tigers in the David Price trade, which is different than the Star of David trade, which sent a necklace to Bernie Hermowitz for a mah jong set. Sadly, Boyd is a streamer for most mixed leagues with his 91 MPH fastball and likely 6 to 7 K/9. In his next start, he gets the Royals again, and no matter what the Stream-o-Nator says, I wouldn’t touch him, not unless Mo’Nique’s taking him under her wing at Charm School (another great show!). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So with the festivities of All-Stardom concluding, thus comes the second half.  It’s an inevitable thing, you eat half a cookie the other half remains.  So this week I am going to run down a list of the closers for the remainder of season.  So sorry for not doing salads with donkeys this week, I felt this was more noteworthy since we are about two weeks from the trade deadline in real and fake baseball life (in some leagues).  The closer rankings that I came up with will be based off of a few things: saves (no durrr), team success, likely hood to remain a closer, and peripheral stats.  So we lump all those together and we get the ROS STSLRCPS.  Which basically looks like a pretty good scrabble deck.  Bare with me, it’s a busy time of year, and for those in the know, Fantasy Soccer is live and in full effect.  Go check it out, it’s fantasy baseball with an accent.  So now onto the closer ranks for the rest of the 2015 campaign…

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Does this happen to people? You’re working on something, and listening to certain tunes and that informs the way you go about your work. I’ve never had a real job in my life, so I don’t know how this works for those. Does a toll collecting juggalo listen to Insane Clown Posse while working and violently throw change back at drivers? Is this why a building’s roof caves in because the construction crew was listening to Because I Got High by Afroman? Or if you were to suddenly change a hitter’s walk-up music from say Next Episode by Dr. Dre (which seems to be at least one hitter’s song on every team) to The Pina Colada Song would that change everything? I don’t know, but I’m a deep thinker, and I saw Johnny Cueto‘s start yesterday and thought he had to be listening to the Silver Jews, specifically this one section, because that gets me so jacked I could jackhammer a driveway with my foot. I took a hammer to it all! *banging foot on cement* Right?! Okay, maybe it’s me. That’s why we’re having this one-sided conversation, to better understand each other. Yesterday, Cueto threw a farkin sparkler — a farkler, if you will — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA down to 2.61. Cueto’s the bomb dot gov. He’s almost exactly in line with what he was doing last year when he had a 2.25 ERA in 243 2/3 IP. And, if anything, he’s actually pitching better this year, lowering his walk rate from 2.4 to 1.7. For whatever reason, he seems to stay out of the conversation for the best pitchers in the major leagues, but yesterday he took on Max Scherzer (4 2/3 IP, 5 ER) and took a hammer to it all. A hammer to it all! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I am equating this one solely on one thing for the Cubbies… and that term is?  Pseudo-intellectual.  Joe Maddon does everything different and it’s gotta be the glasses.  He makes everyone want, need or have to be involved in his bullpen.  Basically, he is the united colors of Benetton of managers.  His hydra approach at the bullpen is not only bothersome or troubling for the roster-bater in all of us, it’s damn near impossible to roster and guess which guy it will be today.  The trio of Jason Motte, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop all seem to play the part of a closer, but get shuffled around like Joe is playing little game in his head.  I get that some situations warrant certain match-ups, but sometimes it doesn’t make any sense to me.  So for those of you that still care about the Cubs and their six save chances combined between all relievers in the last 14 days, I would roster Motte and Rondon equally, and if I had the space, I would roster Rafael Soriano and hold on tight.  Soriano is going to come in like the new city slicker, with a shiny pair of aldo shoes and end up being the cat’s pajamas for about a minute in Maddon’s mind.  Personally, rostering three guys to garner one stat is a crazy, crazy thing to get wrapped up into and is a waste.  If you are rostering one non-closer reliever to help with ratios, where are you making this roster space up from?  Nowhere is the answer, my friends.  So stick to the straight and narrow for saves for now, don’t chase unless a clear situation opens it’s doors and gives out the good candy on Halloween.  Stick around for some tidbits about the world of relief-dom…

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I’m here with Giancarlo Stanton in the hospital. No, I’m not here to direct Giancarlo to put the hospital gown on backwards. That was a happy accident. I’m also not here to try to convince new parents in the maternity ward to name their daughters, Giancarla or Ginacarlo or Ginacarla. The flowers everyone sent were beautiful, by the way. Every time he falls asleep I sprinkle flower petals on him like he’s Mena Suvari in American Beauty. Whoever sent the balloon, “Get Well Soon, My Fantasy Team Needs You,” you should be ashamed. Can you not think of anyone else? At least think of me! On the fo’serious for a full second, in 2013, when Showtime aired the inspiration for True Detective that was trying to solve the mystery on whether or not anyone in the Marlins front office knew anything about baseball, Giancarlo was out for a knee operation. Then last year, Mike Fiers did what many of us dream of, but only a few of us can visualize in its fullest, put a ball on Giancarlo’s face. Now, he’s out for four to six weeks with a broken hamate bone. I don’t doubt mi novio can hit 50 homers one year, but he kinda needs to stay on the field to do it. Hopefully, one of these years we see it. I have to go now, he’s waking and likes his Jell-O at room temperature, so I have to remove the cold Jell-o from my rectum and hope it’s warmed. Coming, Giancarlo! Literally! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?