Situations arise all the time with closers. Injuries occur, poor performance, and then the return of the incumbent.  In the preseason, Will Smith was the guy the Brewers had tabbed as the closer.  Then, like I just said, an injury happened.  So now that he is back, what goes on in the back-end of the Brewers bullpen?  Jeremy Jeffress has done a stellar job with a less than average set-up crew in front of him.  He has pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a slightly more bloated xFIP of 3.41.  For all his previous tangles with pitching, he is striking out far less then he is normally accustomed to at just a 6 K/9 rate.  Low for a closer, even from the Lauvern and Shirley state.  He has managed 14 saves in 15 opportunitioes, and for a team like the Brewers, 14 is a healthy total.  So does his reign come to an end now that the best reliever is back in the fray?  Granted, it is never a great thing when usual mop-up relievers start stealing your stats, namely Blaine Boyer and Carlos Torres, who have 3 saves between them in the past nine games.  And granted, saves are wonky and games dictate them sometimes, come from behind wins, and situational loogy-ness are also a factor.  So I think with the way Jeffress has been going, he stays there until Will comes and steals his mojo and never looks back… Until the trade deadline, which could alter things up completely and basically revert it back to the way it was.  So if Will Smith is on your waivers, do yourself a service and add him speculatively for a week or two.  If he doesn’t give you the returns that you expect, then, well, the opposite happened of what I think should happen.  Enjoy Week 9 of the fantasy baseball season’s closer report!

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Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts.  The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep.  Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives.  Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role.  He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety.  Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board.  Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball.  So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so.  If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you.  So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…

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Owning Max Scherzer last night was like watching the Showtime classic, Emmanuelle, the erotic thriller starring Emmanuel Lewis as Webster Schlong and Alex Karras as George Papadopepuss.  Through 6 IP, Scherzer had 13 Ks and was only 77 pitches.  On the Tigers broadcast, Jimmy Leyland said, “(Scherzer) looks spent.”  Who’s a better judge of that than his ex-manager?  If only the Nationals had Jose Valverde to come in.  But then Scherzer went out in the 7th and had a 1-2-3 inning with two Ks and it was if Shannon Tweed had appeared next to Emmanuel Lewis and this erotic thriller became more elaborate, convoluted and spectacular!  Then Scherzer came out in the 8th and struck out three more guys to put his total at 18 Ks.  Then, came the ninth.  Now, no guy has a shorter hook than Emmanuel Lewis, but no manager has a longer hook than Dusty.  Scherzer could’ve been on pitch 175 and he would’ve been out there to finish it, and finish the Tigers he did.  Final line:  9 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners, 20 Ks.  He is still giving up homers though…. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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According to the internet, a black hole forms when “any object reaches a certain critical density, and its gravity causes it to collapse to an almost infinitely small pinpoint.” We almost experienced such an event this past week when…

The internet almost broke from the amount of tweets and likes. The earth almost crumbled from the weight and time it took Colon to run around the bases. The jet stream was altered by the jiggles caused by Colon’s stomach. The euphoria and joy made the Grinch like Christmas. It’s curious that there were few mentions of PEDs. I mean, he did get suspended for 50 games in 2012 due to PED use and he just hit his first career homerun at the ripe old age of 42. I’m just saying. Anyways, I’m not here to be a pooper. I loved it. It was fantastic. Plus, there’s always this.

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Matthew Wisler threw a gem yesterday — 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 Walks, 4 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.24.  Or if you like portmanteaus and/or vomit — Matthrew up a gem.  By the by, after anyone says their name is Matthew, do you always want to say, “Gesundheit?”  “Name for the cup?”  “Matthew.”  “Wow, it’s allergy season, huh?”  That’s me as a barista, a job I never had.  I’ve actually held one real job in my entire life.  I’m like Mark Cuban without the money.  Since I own Wisler in more leagues than I care to admit, I watched the whole game.  Prolly first time I watched one of my pitchers while listening to the opposing broadcast, but you cannot beat the Mets announcers for a broadcast booth or for stories about insane cocaine intake in the 80s.  Wisler was dancing a 94 MPH fastball just at the knees, spinning a backdoor curve that had Neil Walker look more like Neil Statue.  Duda?  Go take a doodie, it’d be more productive than facing Wisler!  Asdrubal?  Well, he actually hit the ball hard.  Quite a few Mets did.  It was like, “Matthew!  Damn, I think I caught something,” and the Braves would look up with a ball in their glove.  So, Wisler’s performance last night was a gorgeous line, but I wouldn’t go near him outside of the deepest of leagues.  In shallower leagues, Matthew?  God bless you for last night, but I don’t need those tissues.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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At some point, you look at your roster, then look at yourself in the mirror and the repeat that 31 more times and ask yourself this question…  When is chasing saves from the worst possibilities a bad idea?  My best advice, as your advocate of bullpen swagger, is never.  Realize the talent that is in the bullpen and say: is 1-2 saves really worth a waiver claim, a roster drop of someone else and a complete destruction of your rates and quite possibly your dignity?  If you haven’t guessed it, I am discussing the shatuation in the ‘Nati.  Just to get everyone up to speed on the demise, their (and keep in mind that it has only been two-plus weeks of games roughly) Hoover sucked. Jumbo is demoted to minors, Hoover back in and bad again, Cingrani more like Cingran-no.  Now all the hype is on Caleb Cotham.  Who has the time and rosterbatory rituals to have the right frame of mind to roster these guys from change to change?  I get that if you are in a NL-only league, it makes sense to be on the ball, but in mixed league… well, these guys are poop.  I was searching for a better word, but I can’t, and poop it is.  The combined ERA this year of Reds relievers in a save situation is over five.  That, my friends, is not worth the stretch for the sexy total of one save as a team.  Seriously, one whole save… you could have been rostering Ivan Nova and gotten the same total number so far. So anyone who likes the punishment, keep an eye on the health of Michael Lorenzen, as he could be next up. So what I am saying is: yes it’s cool and swanky to be the first guy on your fantasy block to unlock the new closer somewhere, but use common sense.  If a team is a pile of dung and will kill more stats then the assist, then, well, you already know my response because this is the end of the lede and I just went over it.  Stick around for some rankings, general chicanery with words on a page, and hell, maybe a whole pack of lies wrapped around stats.  Cheers!

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A week into the season and everyone has basically contracted closer asthma.  Breathe…  I know it’s tough from time to time to fathom that the fantasy kingdom that you drafted two weeks ago is coming crumbling down because Shawn Tolleson just wet the bed and is shaking the Walker Texas Rangers bullpen.  He has guys behind him that have been gone over, which in most leagues that count pitchers who throw the bal,l should have been rostered. Namely Kela and Dyson.  So what is all this bad karma at the beginning of the season good for, besides chasing saves?  It is good for people who panic and drop the top set-up guys too early.  Dellin Betances was dropped four times more then he was added this week.  That is a coup for you, don’t run to that, hop on a tricycle and find a hill to roll down as fast as possible.  Early season turnover and panic buttons are what make your team weak in one department now, and especially strong in the next several weeks by “calculated” guessing.  So with that, here is the first installment of the 2016 Closer Report with the changes and job winners from Spring Training newly nestled into their respective spots. I will tackle Holds and the set-up crews next week when we start seeing usage and match-up based stuff.

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The first major injury of the 2016 MLB season occurred last Friday as spring training was drawing to a close, when Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow sliding into home plate. Why did he decide to slide head first in a meaningless game with a previously sore elbow that kept him out of preseason action for several weeks? Does GM Dave Stewart finally wish that he could rescind his ill-conceived Shelby Miller trade and bring Ender Inciarte back into the fold? Why does it seem like I’m peeing more frequently as I get older? So many questions! However, the most relevant question in this particular situation is: who is the next man up? The most interesting in-house candidate to replace Pollock appears to be 23-year-old prospect Socrates Brito (11.3% owned; +6.1% in the past week). Brito was a candidate to steal some playing time away from Yasmany Tomas in left field, so Pollock’s injury opens up yet another potential path to playing time for the youngster. In a brief stint in MLB last season (34 PA), he managed a .303/.324/.455 triple slash and graded out well defensively, which helps his case to see some at-bats in the near future. In fantasy terms, a decent comp might be Austin Jackson. With regular playing time, a .260/10/20 type of line looks to be in his wheelhouse. There is some upside here, so he’s worth a gamble to grab and stash to see how this situation plays out.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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If you’re not a fan of The Walking Dead or haven’t watched last week’s episode, then you can just skip this paragraph. Am I that only one that cheered when that arrow shot through Denise’s eye? That was awesome. Her insufferable rant made me want to jump into the television and drop the People’s Elbow on that thang. Thankfully the writers took care of that for me. I also loved seeing Daryl reunited with his crossbow. Welcome back! With only two episodes left I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what will happen. Here’s my theory. A major character has to die. It’s happened every season. So who’s going to die? My money is on Glen. Here’s why? The writers have already teased his death. Back in episode 3 “Thank You” Glen appeared to meet his demise after he fell off the dumpster. It wasn’t until episode 7 “Heads Up“, four weeks later, that we found out he survived. I believe the writers were testing the waters to see how the fans would react to killing off Glen. That’s my theory. With that said, if they kill off Daryl I’m going to lose my sh*t. Literally!

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With the baseball season starting in the blink of seven-days-eyes, I figured it would be fitting since we all crunch drafts ’til the last possible moment.  Waiting until the end isn’t always a bad idea, you get the last news possible on injuries and job security.  Bad thing is that you lose some of the sleeper appeal.  By now, if you haven’t heard of a guy who could be closing, there is a great possibility that he doesn’t have a Sam Hill’s chance of closing.   Just facts.  These guys aren’t born yesterday and matriculate with a mastery of three pitches overnight.  The bullpen folk have one job and that is to make a save situation stay a save situation.  This holds true for holds guys, pun semi-intended.  So the list is basically where it should be until we start seeing some production from the lads.  The committee situations that exist in Milwaukee and possibly Philly will be that until someone gets the bulk of the load on his back.  Which sounds gross, but from a fantasy perspective, you want a full orgy of saves on your closer.  After all, quantity is the name of the game, that and continued success at it.  It is like everyone else’s job; you do good you stay.  You do poorly, you get pink slipped and sent to middle relief-dom.  So fingers crossed, or if you play the cuff odds, just simply uncross them and pray for the worst. Here is the last rankings of Closers and their hand-cuffs for the start of fantasy baseball version, 2.016…

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