I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

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The price that was paid, and the results that led him up to the trade had everyone believing that Andrew Miller would trump the incumbent Cody Allen in Cleveland.  Through two-pitched games, he has seen one save opportunity in the 6-7th inning, and the other was in a losing effort.  Now, I am not reading the tea leaves here, but after just two appearances and five games overall, I think Cody is not a droppable player in any format, saves holds or NSVH.  I mentioned it out loud to myself after the trade was completed, and also to Prospector Ralph.  With 55 games to play and save chances in 52 percent of games won… so that would leave 14 or so chances for the Indians and Miller to retain value.  And don’t get it twisted, he still has a ton of value with a ridiculous K-rate over 16, and the Indians are still a first place squad.  Just everyone that seems to matter has struggled with the Twins. It’s crazy that they are 20-plus games under .500.  So for the Allen owners, hold firm, like Gi-Joe style grip type stuff.  Miller owners, you have most likely owned him all year, so your peripherals aren’t going to be flawed because of him.  As far as saves go, I think it could go 70/30 the rest of the way and be a situational thing on occasion.  Let’s look at the plethora of changes that are basically pillaging the relief ranks around baseball…

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I was going to just delay this post due to inclement weather, but Grey’s super Doppler 5001, which is also a giant B.S. detector, wouldn’t let me.  So here we sit, some 48 hours before the list that you are about to see means about as much as single-ply toilet paper…  Really, what cheap s.o.b. concocted this idea of pinching pennies?  I mean everyone has had a run-in with it at some point.  Awful.  It’s part of the reason I have a salt-water bidet in all three outhouses at the Smokey compound.  So back to the deadline… closer gossip teams are lining up other contenders closers in such a bullish market, namely the rumors surrounding Mark Melancon.  The market and teams that need reliable relievers, let alone closers, is the Nationals, Indians, Rangers and Giants.  It is just the land of confusion and there is not enough LOOGY’S to go around.  I will touch on who I can see where after the bump to prolong the suspense, but the teams I just mentioned are teams to monitor on the opposite end of closers, because if the big names start rolling, all but Cody Allen looks to be out of a job.  Here’s what I can see going down by the deadline in the bullpen game, plus some rankings and next in line stuff.  Plus, Razzball Soccer has started pumping out quality, so go over and check it and join the official game…

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I am always a day late and a buck short on the posts because I am relegated to be the Saturday morning cartoon of the Razzball variety.  No worries, I mean, who doesn’t love 80’s cartoons and can’t list 10 shows that would drastically alter children’s universes today?  One word… Snorks.  So with everyone else doing the second-half rankings, I felt it was my duty to give the closer rankings based solely on the second games remaining.  The elite will still be the elite, the mediocre are still mediocre, and the middling teams will still be middling. I don’t care what algorithm Jimmy Bill came up with to have expected win totals and blah blah.  Expected win totals are an indicator of save expectations. because the percent of saves converted in wins by teams has been pretty stagnant at 52%, give or take a few sheckles each way.  So looking at the games remaining, some teams have less games to play then others, and some have more so the expected totals for some teams will be different then what you would expect them to be.  So as a wise person once said to me in throws of fantasy passion, lets have at it.  Cheers!

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So this year, like so many before, the closer trade market is always an interesting cocktail mixer of events that shake things up.  The Padres waited to be first, which makes zero sense… but also makes total sense.  A conundrum wrapped in bacon as they traded Fernando Rodney to the ever more deadly bullpen in Miami.  He will not be closing there, but will basically make that bullpen just deeper and taking value away from great holds guys on the year in David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough.  Rodney brings his glistening 1 earned run on the year, to a situation behind the Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, who hasn’t blown a save to date.  So now the ramifications don’t just stay with the Marlins, their bullpen is solid.  The Padres, however, are like the movie Thinner, a cursed bunch of unprovens, which is sometimes good and bad.  Ryan Buchter is the first guy up, as he has carved out a decent set-up niche there.  After that, it is a bunch of Quacks, Villas, and BM’s.  Buchter has the K-rate, just not the pedigree… yet, to be a closer.  He has the job as they say in fantasy, which is better than being fantasy homeless or unemployed. So Buchter is the add. Maurer and Quackenbush are on ready five.  Here what else is happening in the game of final bosses.  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend!

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The save buffet line in Minnesota is becoming a tiresome “wait-and-see who gets the chance today”.  We all sit there and wait to own all the bullpen condiments that they offer, whether it be Brandon Kintzler, Fernando Abad, Trevor May, Kevin Jepsen, or Michael Tonkin. Including Perkins, those are the names that have been gifted a precious save chance for the occupants of the Twin Cities.  A save opportunity total that is second to last in the league (18), in front of a surprise first place team in the Cubs.  The Cubs are only there because they are beating everyone up and don’t have the late-inning chances that other losing teams do.  So back to the Twinkies… they have the least amount of saves, holds, and have the least amount of appearances by relievers with the lead.  All those things are so bad for roster space that you are speculating it to get you a save. They are on pace to average less than 3/4 of one whole save a week.  But if people want to keep roster shuffling, looking for the odd save here or there, who am I to judge?  I mean, some people say cucumbers taste better pickled.  The fortunate thing for you is that I am here to guide that steady hand and give you astute advice for a nominal (not nominal, it’s free) fee.  So here the rankings of closers for week 11, now with more added snippets of goodness!

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Aw, man, now we’re left with the ominous team updates of “Giancarlo Stanton is not in lineup, no other news available.”  I think I need to have a talk with him.  Maybe I’ll hide in the trunk of his car and get out when he parks in his four-car garage, then go in through the kitchen that’s got the espresso machine on the left; not the kitchen with the soft-serve machine.  What?  I memorized his Cribs episode, I never snuck in his house.  So, times are rough for Giancarlo.  The Marlins score 13 runs and he’s not even playing.  Holy sit!  Giancarlo has the lowest batting average for a qualified hitter.  Things are so bad, the other day he hit the hardest recorded ball in StatCast history, 123.9 MPH, and it was a double play.  Digging through his numbers is a little bit encouraging.  His BABIP is way below his career mark; he’s hitting .192, but could hit .250 the rest of the way.  You don’t get him for average; it’s homers you desire like I desire him.  His ground balls are through the roof.  Not literally, unless we’re talking about roofs of ant farms.  All he’s hitting is fly balls and ground balls.  His line drive rate is poor.  He usually kills fastballs.  So far, he’s a negative on them.  That was his bread and butter, and right now he’s toast.  He’s 26 years old; this should be the prime of his beef.  Instead, he’s been getting a steady diet of sliders.  That’s not real beef!  What I think is going on, he’s dealing with some health issues after his collision with OZUNA, he’s not spitting on sliders and waiting for fastballs.  Then when he gets a fastball, he hits it hard, but gets unlucky.  Can all of this be changed with me appearing mysteriously in his Snuggie?  I’m not sure.  The health is an unknown question mark.  Eventually, he should get luckier and do damage on some fastballs, assuming he’s healthy.  I wouldn’t count him out, but health has been an issue for him in the past.  If I were able to get a tasty offer for someone buying him, I could see letting him be someone else’s problem.  For now, I will wait in his bathroom wearing a shirt that matches his wallpaper, and try to ‘talk’ some encouragement into him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Felix Hernandez hit the DL with a calf strain.  He could veal it during his last start.  Sounds like a good injury to milk.  Sorry, I was just shaking out the pockets of these jeans I wore last night and I had a bunch of unused cow puns.  What’s a dad cow’s poop called?  Pa-nure!  Take it, Highlights, it’s yours!  So, James Paxton was called up to replace F-Her, who is likely going to only miss a few weeks, but Paxton could continue to get starts if he’s good.  So, can Paxton be good?  Is there’s twelve posts in post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-hype sleeper?  Paxton has shown flashes of brilliance with his 94 MPH fastball but the M’s have wanted Paxton to improve on a bunch of pitches and he’s already 27 years old, so is improvement coming?  Well, he had a 3.97 ERA in Triple-A this year and Steamer projects him as a streamer, so I have no faith whatsoever.   Speaking of faith, yesterday Paxton gave up runs like his character gave out marriage proposals.  Looking at his line is like looking at Chloe Sevigny — 3 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 unearned runs.  Paxton’s like when Picasso stood up from the toilet.  He’d look down and say, “That’s a work in progress.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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