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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Buster Olney tweeted, “Kevin Gausman is pitching tonight probably exactly the way the Orioles hoped on the day they drafted him.  Dominant stuff.”  Putting aside the unnecessary “probably” — you’ll never win a Twitter Pulitzer with needless hooha! —  is this what the Orioles hoped for?  Because it’s felt at times like the Orioles were waiting for Gausman to say some sort of secret oath to let him into the rotation and, without Podrick to prompt him, he didn’t know said oath.  By the by, I can’t look at Brienne of Tarth and not see Conan O’Brien.  Perhaps, it’s me (it’s not).  If the Orioles wanted Gausman to pitch probably exactly like this, wouldn’t they have put him in the rotation and left him alone for the last *covers mouth* years?  Not to answer, but to knowingly nod while you undress your computer with your eyes.  Since I have shares in that facacta noodle-hanger Archer, I watched the better part of Gausman’s start, and he looked better than what the boxscore says, and the boxscore says, “Yum, choco-latte.”  It also says 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks in his first start back.  Gausman has the stuff to be a number one, but at worse a number two.  Not saying he will be this year; that’s just his stuff.  He probably exactly should be already, but probably exactly hasn’t been.  Still, I would grab him in any leagues where I needed upside.  A 8+ K/9, 2.7+ BB/9, 3.75 ERA starter is probably exactly what you’ll get.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, that sucked.  It was extra sucky too because I had high hopes for Carlos Rodon‘s start vs. the lifeless Angels.  Like eating Chinese food by yourself and accidentally getting two fortune cookies, then you open them and they both say the same thing, “The highlight of your night will be getting two fortune cookies with the same fortune.”  Like going to the car wash and they give you a deal due to an impending rainstorm.  Only it never rains, false alarm.  But you did forget to put up your window.  Like your parents reconcile their differences, just to yell at you.  Rodon, it’s one thing to disappoint, but to raise expectations first?  Oh man, you are one evil doode with a heart as cold as Clint Hurdle who has a serious attraction to Freese.  Yesterday, Rodon went 1/3 IP, 5 ER with one strikeout.  On the bright side, he upped his K-rate.  “Don’t mock bright sides or I will burn you.”  That’s the vengeful sun.  Rodon had ten straight quality starts, and, unless he’s hurt, we should just treat this as an aberration.  A sick, twisted aberration.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As much as I love publishing and giving you the “haps” on the closer ranks, I love the depth that a bullpen can give you and how it can affect your roster.  It is way to early to look into my Grafix crystal ball and say this guy and that one will be the crowned prince of the hold this year… to some degree.  Early usage and situations prove a lot.  Yes, injuries happen, and ineffective spells happen, and sometimes trades happen, but if you were good enough to make the team out of Spring, then usually you are good enough to make yourself an established piece of the bullpen.  The top names are still the top names.  The cream either rises to the top or it rules everything around me, both perspectives are interesting because how can you not believe the Wu or old school rhetoric. So with the first bullpen piece of the year, we will cover all the same things you are accustomed to from last year as I get more in-depth than anyone else when it comes to holds.  Some don’t care or are on the fence, as if it’s a completely comical or made up stat.  It is no more made up then saves, because that is exactly what it is, just before the save… so it is basically a pre-save.  Either way, I care and will give you some early trends to look at and some names to go with it.  Trends rule everything around bullpens or TREAB, dolla dolla bill y’all.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Glen Perkins hit the DL with a shoulder strain.  Or, for those of you who have Siri read these posts to them, “Sorry, Grey, there’s no set closers in the Minnesota area, would you like to open up your search to waivers?”  Thanks, Siri, I would.  “Googling theater times for The Wood.”  Ugh, Siri.  True Story Alert!  Because my pronunciation on everything is fudged up worse than See’s Candy.  I tried having Siri call a friend of mine when I was pulling up to their house to pick them up, and Siri came back with, “Calling Israeli consulate to tell them you’re outside waiting.”  I then immediately pulled over to stop a call that sounds like it would be flagged by the NSA.  So, Perkins’s situation is hairier than a merkins’ situation; Kevin Jepsen should be the first go-to guy in the pen, but he’s no guarantee.  Everyone is in play for the Twins’ job, Jepsen, Trevor May, Fernando Abad, Casey Fien and Ryan Pressly.  Jepsen has experience, May has stuff, Fernando is a Abad righty, but an okay lefty for situational saves, Fien is not F-I-N-E and Pressly is the closer if everyone else leaves the building.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I considered entitling this post “Taking The Buy Out Of Byron”, but that might have inaccurately implied that this was a buy/sell piece. Instead, this is me saying “drop this bum”. But before you do, please read the following disclaimer. The advice herein does not apply to dynasty leagues. However, if you are in a redraft league or league in which you can only keep four or five players, I think the right move is to actually drop this potential future all star like a bad habit. Yep, I said it. In deep leagues you might want to hold on to him for sh*ts and giggles, if you’re a sh*ts and giggles kinda fantasy player.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t know where it’s coming from with Jeremy Hazelbaker, so I called Keith Morrison of Dateline to investigate.  He went to St. Louis to investigate and left me this message, “Here, in bucolic St. Louis, all seemed right in the world.  Jeremy had just married his high school sweetheart, and they were on a honeymoon of a lifetime when the unthinkable happened.”  I picked up the phone, because I use an old school answering machine, “Keith, St. Louis isn’t bucolic, and I’m not looking for a suspicious murder scenario.  I want to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker is for fantasy baseball.”  Keith continued, “The neighbors had nothing but nice things to say about the couple.  But they didn’t see the dark side.”  “Keith, yesterday, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, and is hitting .526 through a week’s worth of games and hitting 2nd on most days.  Can he continue it?”  “Only that wasn’t pine tar on his bat, it was iron-rich blood.  Coming up after the break–”  So, I don’t know how the Cardinals do this with outfielders every year.  These outfielders that just come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant; I will call them, The Sons of Ludwick.  Will it continue for Hazelbaker?  It seems highly unlikely.  He profiles as a 5-7 HR, 15-17 SB guy who might hit .245.  But, ya know what, I don’t need to know where it’s coming from or if it will continue to own Hazelbaker, as I now do in a few leagues.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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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…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

Please, blog, may I have some more?