Francisco Rodriguez was removed from the closer job, because he was being sued by a dumpster fire for trademark infringement.  A portion of the deposition transcript follows:

“Is it true that you were passing an alleyway behind a Subway sandwich shop in late-March when you remarked to your friend, Nicholas Castellanos, that you thought it would be cool to also be a dumpster fire?”

“Leading the witness.”

“I’ll rephrase.  What did you say to Nicholas Castellanos when you saw a dumpster fire?”

“I could be that.”

That dumpster fire?”

“Yes!  It was aglow like E.T.’s finger!  I am the Icarus of refuse!”  So, Francisco Rodriguez is out, and Justin Wilson is in as the Tigers’ closer.  I’d guess the Tigers will try to go back to K-Rod at some point, but I’d also think it won’t turn out any better, and Wilson will end up being a solid closer, maybe even a Donkeycorn.  I’d grab Wilson in all leagues.  Then, there’s the case of Mark Melancon, who was DL’d due to an injury near his forearm.  “But I just learned it’s not a Hard C!”  That’s a Giants fan.  This might be me overreacting, but an injury near a forearm for a closer sounds like trouble.  There’s been some disagreement about who will take over, and I grabbed Hunter Strickland and Derek Law where I could, but I’m also like Pookie for SAGNOF, fiending for saves.  *smacks veins*  Give me more setup men!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When I say uptick, I mean that with the slightest bit of tick that any tick can offer.  But any positive in a stat that was headed for the extinct list like that Rhino on Tinder is a fantastic thing.  Through the first month of the season, there were 28,022 plate appearances across all games in MLB, accounting for 399 stolen bases.  This number is better than it was last year, but way off the pace it was in 2015, 2014, and 2012.  So for all the hub bub that I created with the stat being a dying entity, and one that really has fallen by the wayside of chasing, there may be a pulse.  Albeit a slight one.  Steals still don’t have a face, but for stat purposes and chasing, there may be a nose.  Maybe half an ear and maybe some dimples.  Welcome to the Terrorome of speed and saves.  As I drop some stupid goodness and general domineering debauchery that only Smokey and Razzball can deliver… Get comfy, it’s late Tuesday let’s get crazy, but home before the street lights come on.

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We don’t want to lead off every podcast by bashing the New York Mets, but they leave us no choice. Grey Albright and I get right into it with the Matt Harvey fiasco, before moving on to discuss the merits of Luis Severino, Freddie Freeman, Gerrit Cole, Andrew Benintendi, Corey Kluber, and many more. I then talk about MattTruss razzing me over winning last week’s Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest due to a lack of competition. He’s stepping up to the plate and playing this week too, so make sure to JOIN THIS WEEK’S CONTEST and take both of us down. Finally, we close the show by dreading the ramifications of Arizona’s prospective humidor, and ponder what kind of anti-gravity chamber Elon Musk would come up with if he turned his focus to baseball. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast.

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True story, I told Cougs that I had the hots for Maria Conchita Alonso, and she was like, “You know the woman who walks her Yorkie off leash in the neighborhood that Ted always tries to hump?”  I answered in the affirmative.  I hate people who have their dogs off leash.  It’s like people who bring their dog into the supermarket.  I love dogs, but I don’t need Arfer Woofruff licking my bottle of Kombucha.  Any hoo!  As you likely figured, the woman with her Yorkie off leash is Maria Conchita Alonso, and she’s no longer hot because she can’t follow the rules!  So, guys and five girl readers, Yonder Alonso has nine homers.  Quite the change from a guy who used to be Hither Alonso.  Okay, Imma let Fangraphs Database finish about launch angle and exit velocity, but Yonder Alonso is the greatest 1st baseman waiver wire pick up right now.  Yonder Alonso had two homers on Saturday and added his ninth on Sunday, and I’d grab him everywhere.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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When struggles happen, the fantasy geeks come out of the wood work with words like “decreased velocity”, “contact rate” and “swing strike percentage”.  Now I am no geek, but Roberto Osuna is failing the eye test for me.  Control is all over the place and he has zero confidence in his pitches.  Yes, if you look at all his secondary pitching attributes, they are all down or up for the worse.  First, his velocity is down almost two MPH from last year.  Granted, he did miss some time this spring though, so there is a reason to have a letter from his mom to explain that.  His z-contact rate (pitches in the strike zone) is off the charts bonkers.  It currently sits at 91%.  If he had pitched more than five innings to date and qualified, he would have the highest such contact rate in baseball among relievers.  That is not a good trait to have as a closer, let alone a mammal.  Finally, his swing strike percentage has bottomed out at a cool 10%, which would put him outside the top-100 relievers.  And surrounded by names like Tommy Hunter and Michael Ynoa, all staples to a flourishing fantasy team.  So what do we do?  You cuff him.  Jason Grilli is the best name there and Ryan Tepera just got the save in extra innings the other day.  All we can hope for from Bobby Osuna is that with some more innings and builds back up to the 9-plus K/9 reliever we drafted as our 1A closer.  It isn’t time to panic, but do yourself a favor and cover your bases.  Here’s what else is going down in the end game… Cheers!

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It was right in front of our faces and we ignored it.  No one said the obvious.  The elephant in the room.  We all should have known that we were getting fooled by the A’s because we trusted a Melvin.  A Melvin!  After years of hoodwinking by Upton, we now get the reflexive of this, and are getting bobbed.  Predictably, the A’s manager has made a real hash of the bullpen situation already, and we only sit four games into the season.  I get his mentality in some states, because you want your best pitcher pitching to the best players in the opposing lineups and yadda, yadda, yadda.  But this is fantasy baseball sir.  We don’t have the time or social skills warranted to be able to deal with this type stuff.  So for those of you living on a house boat with no wifi, the A’s bullpen usage is a flummoxed up mess with no one to trust.  It’s like November 23rd, 1963 in Dallas, Texas type of questioning everything.  Madson was the presumed closer and he has been treated as the go to guy for getting the tough outs.  Twice against the middle of the order which included a Trout named outfielder.  Then the first day went to Santiago Casilla, then the next day to Ryan Dull.  But the things that boggles the mind is set orders here.  I get that it is early and mixing and matching is cool like millennials do with socks now, but we need some kind of pecking order for rostering-type priorities.  I can’t deal with this madness, I am going to alphabetize my canned goods.  In the mean time, check out the closer menu, now with a deal on salads.

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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There are some big names dropping this week. I am less worried about players with broken bones because for the most part they break, they heal. They play. Ligament, muscle, and other meaty bits of your body are a bit trickier to play with. So Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy? Will come back and be fine. Draft ‘em and stash ‘em for a month. Carlos Carrasco, Anthony deSclafani, Jason Kipnis and Sonny Gray? Cause me a bit more concern. These injuries can often linger or flare back up.

Here’s who’s meaty bits have been swelling, inflaming, and tightening this week:

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Surprise.  Huston Street is already injured and being replaced by someone who isn’t the full measure or picture of health in Cam Bedrosian.  Cam is the goods, it is just a matter of him grabbing that role, remaining healthy, and then riding off into the sunset like the end of the movie Shane.  Minus the slumped-over presumably a dead thing.  The thing that I love about Cam is that he is growing as a pitcher.  He always had the K/9 rate (9.3 in 2014, 9.2 in 2015, and 11.4 in 2016), but the thing that says that he is legit is that his walk rate was basically halved last year.  To extrapolate on that further, in his last 26 appearances of last year he faced 92 batters, walked 8, and allowed 12 hits.  Good for a slash line of .146/.239/.159 for a .398 OPS.  That is approaching reliever stalwarts like Bush and Barraclough. And we know how much they are coveted right now, and they don’t have a sniff of savedom. Oh… and add in only one earned run during that time.  Stats sound great because they are basically forgotten about, because his season ended the first week of August.  He was basically licking the closer bait, and then poof.  Til now.  If you are looking to invest in him for the season, he is basically going to give you Kelvin Herrera type production, and by his ever rising ADP (last week 200, this week 140) the secret is out for the save chase in La La Grey.  Let’s see what else is going down in the realm of closers as we get ever closer to draft days…

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I think this will conclude this year’s rankings for all players, but with the way closer roles can change between now and Spring Training, finishing will be bountiful. There seems to be a big difference among experts in the top-10, and I am no different.  Also, the bottom tiers for the rankings are a “wait and see” proposition, as there are easily 7-8 teams with a closer by committee situation, or at best, a closer who is a retread of a retread.   Everyone knows who you are Fernando, you don’t have to stand up and raise your hand or shoot an arrow fictitiously at me.  So as we approach draft season and beyond, use this list for now, because the situations will be fluid from here on out.  As I promised two weeks ago, you will get a new list every two weeks, with a holds post (no it won’t be in different color for people who just skip the preface of an article) in betwix.  Get excited folks! Spring is sorta here, and with that comes all of Grey’s rankings, my closer and bullpen stuff, and basically every tool under the sun to help you be the best you can be.  Now get out there and win one for Flipper!

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