The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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Hey, don’t forget to check out the 2014 Razzball Reader Survey! Help us help you!

We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Rays Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jason Collette from The Process Report.

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You take a guy fresh off a boat — let’s call him Sailor — and Sailor’s boat left a country that didn’t have baseball. After explaining what baseball is, you tell Sailor that one baseball team, the Yankees, throws dollars at free agents. After a lengthy explanation that dollars are our currency and why presidents are on low denominations and a non-president is on the hundred and what the hell a free agent is, you then list the top free agent bats for this year: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran. You then ask Sailor which of those guys the Yankees will get. He’ll probably say one of the first couple of players. Or maybe he’ll say Robinson or Cano Jacoby because he won’t know their names and confuse where commas are when spoken. It’s such an obvious Yankee move to get Ellsbury that even Sailor figured it out. It reeks of throwing money at the team. Or maybe the Yankees just figured if they can’t work with Jay-Z, they’ll work with J-E. The short porch in right won’t hurt Ellsbury. What could hurt him is just about everything else that seems to hurt him every other year. Since 2009, his games played has been 153, 18, 158, 74 and 134. Saberhagenmetricans shudder at the thought of drafting Ellsbury following a big year. I’m with them. I won’t be drafting him anywhere, especially not after he gets bumped up in drafts from his newly adjusted Yankee tax. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 98/13/57/.279/32. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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So the All-Star break has come and swept us away and now its onto the last 19/32 of the season. The chase for saves is becoming more and more concrete as the season grows, and the closepocalypse of 2012 is just a great conversation starter, just like super storm Sandy. The list of reliable closers with concrete gigs is growing and the rankings this week show a reflection of that. There is a huge have and have not factor going on, it’s either reliable and tried and true or it’s a 2 AM special where you’re trying to convince her to give you a Bryant Gumbel. The top of the list remains stout and the names are fairly consistent, it’s just getting to be a very swanky restaurant and the salad menu is expanded to accommodate more guests…so to speak. So enjoy the ensalade and don’t forget to ask for the endless breadsticks.

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Yesterday, Matt Cain had his shortest outing of his career with 2/3 IP and 3 ER. At least Bochy had the sense in his giant watermelon-sized head to remove Cain quick enough that yesterday’s damage was that of a bad Heath Bell outing. Wait a second, did I just compare Cain to Heath Bell? I just rang my own bell and answered with, “Holy crap no one wants to be compared to Heath Bell.” Where did it all go wrong for Cain and can Cain (almost stutterer!) get it back to good, assuming you’re not just signing a Matchbox Twenty song? Looking at his K-rate from last year to this year, he’s actually been better this year. His velocity is fine. His xFIP is nearly the same as last year when he had a 2.79 ERA. The only big change is his luck and his walk rate. He’s missing his spots. This can come one of two ways. He can miss his spots off the plate and walk guys or he can miss his spots in the zone and give up hits and homers. He usually works up in the zone. Done it his whole career. If you miss up…up, it’s a ball. If you miss up…down, you’re Sandy Duncan with one glass eye while watching with your other eye as the ball is leaving the park. The Giants are saying he might not be healthy, but I don’t think Cain is hurt. Still could land on the Disgraceful List. More likely, he needs to tweak something in his mechanics. Until that happens, I’d stay away from him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Let’s start with an SAT question as old as this world that we call Planet Earth, assuming the SATs were around thousands of years ago when man was staying warm by humping a Buysellatops until they were feeling bi and sore. Which number doesn’t belong: A) 21.4% B) 21.7% C) There’s no C. D) 5.7%. If you answered C, I hope your folks are rich so you can get into an accredited college. Just think, after you graduate you can put Harvard on your resume just like everyone else new to the workforce. If you answered A because it’s the only even number, you’re overthinking; odds and evens is something you can forget after elementary school unless you plan on working the roulette table. If you answered B, because it’s the only B, at least you can get your pants on in the morning. They are on backwards though. If you answered D, you’re right. Those are Matt Kemp‘s last three years of homers per fly ball. 5.7% is silly bad. Last year that would’ve put him in the company of Alexei Ramirez and Michael Young. If there was no offseason shoulder surgery for Matt Kemp, that number alone would mean Kemp is a huge buy low. Of course, there was the surgery and his home run distance is down. He’s not driving the ball as far as he has in previous years. So, as I said in this week’s fantasy baseball podcast, I’m buying Kemp for the first time in about two years. I’m only buying him because his value is so low. I’m not buying him for 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th, 5th round talent. I’d want a discount, but I’d still buy. Look at a guy like Justin Upton last year. He was nursing an injury, then hit 9 homers in the last six weeks of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kemp do something similar. He could easily regain some strength as the season progresses and hit 17-20 homers in the final two months with 15 steals. He’s still a risky play because of the injuries, but for the right price, I’m buying. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Let me see if I got this right about Brett Wallace (I’m admittedly drunk from an all-day 4th of July BBQ). He’s a post-hype-little-less-hype-some-hype-no-hype-hype-what?-hype sleeper. Did that add up? Sometimes I forget to carry the last hype and I was doing it in my head. Wallace arrives with so little hoopla he’s poopla. Hang up the decorations, prepare for your friends to come over for a potluck, then everyone shows up late with gluten-free snacks. That’s when you say, “What’s with all of the poopla?” If I wanted my glutens free, I would’ve freed them myself! Brett Wallace hit really well down in Triple-A (this last time; and every time really). 11 homers, .326 average and won Triple-A Player of the Month honors, which is like being the world’s tallest midget. There’s still not a whole lot of proof that Wallace can hit in the majors, but yesterday’s 3-for-5 with two homers was a nice step in the right direction. I could see grabbing him in deeper leagues for the chance that he finally figures out a way to transform his minor league success to the majors. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Friends
How many of us have them?
Friends
Ones we can depend on

So it dawned upon me that, in the Whodini song, “Friends”, can be replaced by any good word, from your favorite lady parts to my personal favorite, relievers. That’s the hard part, reliability. The reliability of a great conversation with say, and in this instance, a Bartender. Who just happens to be in the news again this week. Tom Wilhelmsen is back, as was inevitable. I mean, come on, Ollie Perez, really? Really? Eric the Wedge has seen the light and by hallelujah from up above realized the error of his ways. Now, he wasn’t laying blame on anyone, though I think it may have been Radames, at least that’s what my boy Bishop was sayin’. So, not if, but when he gets back, what has he learned, walks need to come down, K’s need to come up. Shot specials or a bucket special wouldn’t hurt either. Tom Will needs to forget that month long stretch where he was about as good as a 12-pack of Schafer light. I have some confidence, but the chances will be limited as the Marginers have only had 1, yes I said 1, save opportunity in the last 14 days. Hooray for stats. Stick around for some other tidbits and rankings. Oh and Enjoy the glorious celebration of our nation’s birth.

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