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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Everything black was white and white was black. Everything up was down and down was up. I was a Girl Scout and the only cookies I could sell were Rah-Rah Raisins and I couldn’t give away the Samoas. I was an Asian in NASCAR. I was a five-foot, six-and-a-half-inch white boy that could hoop. (Actually, that last one is true.) I zagged when I usually zigged! And it felt okay. I didn’t wake in a puddle of sweat like I was a puppet in the Land of Confusion video, wondering what I had done. I didn’t burn all my old draft manifestos like I was trying to escape Olivia Pope from finding me out. I just went at it a little different. This league is a 15-teamer, OBP league, so I used Rudy’s rankings. I still knew which players I liked and didn’t like, but I decided to lean on Rudy, which makes for an interesting draft when Rudy was using the same rankings. For unstints, when Matt Holliday sat at the top of my board for two rounds, I knew Rudy was going to draft him. When Ian Kennedy sat at the top of my board, I knew Rudy was going to Marilyn Monroe that Kennedy. Though, I also knew if I wanted a guy sitting at the top of my board, I needed to act before Rudy. Okay, you’re primed, let’s start coating your mind with knowledge. (BTW, Our Razzball leagues are signing up still. Go there and sign up now!) Anyway, here’s the 2015 Tout Wars draft and my thoughts:

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I’m not a total ass. Partial? Sure! I have no problem with that. With that said (here comes the ass part!), I have no sympathy for Josh Hamilton. Everywhere you look you hear about how heartbreaking, sad, *searches Thesaurus.com for sympathetic word* it is that happened to Hamilton. Light a candle for the literal manifestation of the prayers that you send out to him. Put on If You’re Gone by Matchbox Twenty and picture Rob Thomas singing directly to Josh. Go to your local package store and protest until they close on Sundays. Do what you want, but you know what’s heartbreaking to me? The fact that spring training starts and the baseball news that people are discussing is Hamilton running down the wrong foul lines. Also, I feel like most of the sad emoticons that go out for him are generated because he believes in God, family and is white, especially the last one. If he were non-white, there would be no sympathy from anyone. A Josh Hamiltonguez would be released by his club and the public’s silence would be deafening. Arizona would even consider building a fence to keep him out. A Josh Hamiltonjackson would be vilified and there would be a criminal case opened with only the Reverend Al Sharpton standing by his side. Torii Hunter would need to say something, because no one else is. My advice for Hamilton is get some help, but stay away from Dr. Drew, because one out of three celebrities never make it out of Celeb Rehab. Maybe at some point Hamilton can get past the crack and back to the crack of the bat, but I don’t have much hope for him this year and have adjusted my top 100 outfielders. Anyway, here’s what else is going in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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So with the arrival of February comes the arrival, or “un-hibernation” of Smokey.  I was just getting comfy, curled up in my crochet loogy-blanket that my grandma made me, dreaming about what else? Bullpens, of course.  So this first post of the year is to bring you up to speed on my drafting advice for the upcoming year as it relates to the closers/holds and guys who will help you do everything but start the games.  I will be here every week, to update you on the chicanery that is the MLB bullpen picture.  So sit back, relax, and just think, it’s only four more weeks of me talking about bullpens and closers…Can you feel the excitement?  If you hate me now, you will probably wanna hold my hand by week 20 and maybe go see Jared by September 1st.  Here’s my thoughts on draft strategies for saves in the upcoming year of 2015…

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Every year we get together in a Schenectady Sheraton to give away fantasy baseball awards for the past season. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice — What’s up, guys and four girls?” On the red carpet for everyone’s arrival is the Comatose Rangers Fan, “Let’s get started, I need to get home to see my Rangers face the Tigers!” Joining us up on the balcony is Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department, “I’m high above the crowd, in more ways than one!” Today’s very special musical guest opening the show is…Counting Crows! Coming straight from opening for Pink! Not playing on stage prior to her performing, but literally opening a door for her. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2014 Razzball Year End Awards:

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Man do I hate the end of the year. People chasing saves are all into it, while the ones that are dead in the water couldn’t care less. And let’s be honest, they were prolly dead in the water all year when it came to saves. The end of the year chase is starting to show casualties, like the fall from grace of Glen Perkins. Glen is the kinda guy that I like, home-grown guy, pitching in his home state, took a nice friendly contract from the team. He can totally date-my-sister type. Unfortunately, he is staggering to the finish with an unimpressive last few weeks. I personally feel bad, because I own Perkins in a lot of places. I have so many teams, that I actually counted and the only closer I don’t own is David Robertson. Yes, every other single closer on this list is owned in some way shape or form by yours truly. So back to Perkins… his ERA and his K/9 rate have seemed to morph into some sort of Jeff Goldblum fly concoction of fantasy uselessness. Overwork and or an injury are the only things I can think that are the problem. He is/was a semi-elite guy until the wheels fell off. So if you’re still chasing, Jared Burton and Casey Fien look to be the guys lost likely to take the helm until Perkins rights the ship…which will prolly be next year. Only two weeks to go and we will get one Bullpen Report and one more Closer Report to end the year. The last will be a souped up version with lot’s of 2015 treats and stuff. So stay tuned or don’t. Your choice.

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This late in the year, Big Head Bochy minus his monsters goes and has to be all “I am changing it back to the way it used to be when all was being drafted and confidence in February Grey was at an all-time high.”  So the news that Santiago Casilla will now be in a co-starring role this late in the season just sucks for all parties involved.  Sergio Romo gets back into the fray as the closer situation is all muddled now in the city by the bay. Whoa, whoa, whoa-o.  Even Steve Perry hates this idea. Don’t believe me? Go ask him, as he seems like he’s over Sheila and prolly all good in the wits department.  Now I can see if Casilla was pitching awfully, which he wasn’t… well not completely, but come on Bruce.  You can’t do this and actually sleep at night knowing you torture fantasy line-ups the way you do, and I for one am writing a letter. No, an email, screw that a petition!  You hear that Bruce? A petition… so get yourself ready, I may even sue you. Smokey smash. So if you saw the writing on the wall from this, you already had Romo stashed. Let’s see what the jumbled up rankings look like with the injuries, demotions, and the rigmarole that is involved in the Saves of Thrones.

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For some strange reason, I have the great Willie Nelson song in my head… On The Road again.  Why, you ask? Because I am out perusing the great country of ours and doing fantasy football’s 32x32x32 with Nick.  I may be thinking football, but my heart is in San Francisco… rather bullpens.  So it was all quiet on the savedom front til recently, when some usual save stalwarts stubbed some toes.  While some repeat offenders… yeah you Joe Nathan just continue to lull us into a state of perpetual eye-rolling… all of these issues are no bueno for the push to make playoffs in some formats, or those pining for the stat push in point leagues.  I am personally not too worried about the married guys, they are there for good reasons; they do it all year and you have them for saves or to save not.  I am more throwing my ire towards those middle guys, the Steve Cishek‘s and Rafael Soriano types who have  given us decency all year and then have recently given us both ERA’s over 7 a piece the last 2 weeks.  So buyer beware at this point for stat purposes with these guys they aren’t going to be replaced but the production is on the level of a doozer on light duty. Stick around for some tid-bits of knowledge or  stay to just say high. [Jay’s Note: Oh… I get it.]

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It’s way too quiet in here… I need a sniper to take out a closer or something. Maybe a team of trained Labrador assassins [Jay’s Note: Everyone knows that Labradoodle assassins are better.], no one would expect that.  The “Seeing Eyes of Terror” would be their name. Speaking of which, I want to concentrate this week on the under-ratedness of Huston Street. The trade that helps him, the new ballpark that allows his team to actually score runs, and the ability to be that close to Mike Trout. So we are going to venture back through time and space, steal some plutonium from some Libyans, and go back to stats for 2012 to the present day. Confused? Good, me too. So, since 2012, Huston St. is top-10 in saves (86), tops in save % with only 4 BS in 3 years, at a 95.3% clip. And he also has had a resurgence in K Rate to push it over 9 K/9, but for a better perspective, he K’s batters at a 26.5% rate. Hold on, I’m not done yet. He is also one of only four RP with a K rate of over 9 and a walk rate under 2.1.  Add all that up, and I love Street for this year, and next year well he will probably be over-drafted based on this post alone. Catch you all on the flip-flip, meaning comments.

Psyche! Before you go further, you should take me on in our Fantasy Football RCL’s for chances at some really neato prizes! (Or commish one for a chance at a Best Buy gift card!)

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We’re well into the second half of the season now… are you still with us? You haven’t given up yet? Good. Fantasy baseball is a game of stamina, and if you’re still scouring the waiver wire while others are quickly losing interest or preparing for their fantasy football drafts, now is your chance to make a run. Me? I’m still sore after losing Tanaka. Not to mention Tulo walked out on me when I needed him the most. Regardless, I like to think we’re more than just providers of fantasy advice here at Razzball, we’re also a sound piece for all your fantasy frustrations. I always tell my friend(s)– “don’t ask me how I’m doing, ask me how my team is doing”, because more often than not, that is deciding factor for my mood. So today, feel free to sound off in the comments why you’re so upset with your team right now. Why won’t Harper just hit five homers in a week? Why won’t anyone trade with you? Really Stephen Strasburg? Really!? Why did you draft Justin Verlander and why didn’t you draft Jose Abreu? Here’s your chance to let it all out, because god knows your spouse/significant other/barber/sibling/probation officer/mother/cat doesn’t want to hear about your GD fantasy team. Well, I feel your pain my over-the-internet-friend. And I’m listening.

Here’s what happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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