I’m picturing Clint Eastwood in Escape from Alcatraz, coiffing his hair (gorgeous hair) chipping away with his pickaxe.  I’m seeing Andy Dufresne also beautiful hair and a pickaxe.  Now that I think about it, you don’t need jail cells, just take away all prisoners’ blow dryers.  Any hoo!  Why am I seeing these great prison movies?  Because they are about breakouts.  Breakouts come in different shapes and sizes.  Some would say Cameron Diaz’s complexion is a breakout.  For a baseball breakout:  James Paxton.  Yesterday, Paxton went 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 1.39.  His K/9 and BB/9 are now 10.7 and 1.8, respectively.  That’s about as ace-like as you’re gonna find.  Okay, now for one small step back from the ledge of crazy excited.  In his last start, he did give up five earned in four innings and I don’t think he’s going to avoid all wonkiness, but there’s no one throwing as well as him right now.  Okay, maybe Kershaw and Ervin Santana.  Someone get these guys blow dryers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s no denying that Madison Bumgarner works hard. Well, he plays even harder. So it should have come as no surprise when news broke that the San Francisco ace was placed on the disabled list after injuring his left shoulder in a dirt bike accident. Wait. You were doing WHAT? But why!? You can’t expect Madison to get his kicks doing regular pleb things like playing Xbox or frisbee golf, it’s gotta be EXTREME. Regardless, this is a huge blow for Giants fans and Bumgarner owners alike. Madison is sporting a 3.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 28/4 K/BB rate through four starts and early reports suggest he is set to miss over two months. Bummer. But honestly, what do you want from the guy? For him to not participate in dangerous extreme sports on his days off? I mean, come on, his hands were tied. Ty Blach is set to fill in the interim. Blach and his just 21.2 innings of major league experience. Blach is a ground ball pitcher with just a 13.4% strikeout rate, so he’s probably not the answer to your Bumgarner woes. More like, Ty Blech, right? Lol. He is slated to take on the Dodgers next week, but if you’re feeling dangerous you’d likely be better off dirt biking than picking up Ty Blach outside of deep NL-Only leagues. Here’s hoping at the very least Bumgarner got some sick air.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Yesterday (but really every time he pitches), Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA down to 0.91, and yet another no decision.  Elias Sports Bureau said, “Chris Sale had his 4th start in last five seasons on Thursday with 8 IP, 10+ Ks, 0 ER without getting win; no one else has more than one.  Also, there’s 16 different vending machines in our company to choose from, but only one has M&M’s and Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie for 50 Cent that elicits Snickers with the wrappers.”  God, what a bunch of nerds!  Not like us fantasy baseball cool kids!  I wanna tent the Elias Sports Bureau office, fart in there and leave.  Seriously, that’s what I want.  I need a wish genie, up in here!  Up in here!  So, Chris Sale is flippin’ awesome once again, and nothing can stop him except a rock vs. his scissors.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Moogly-boogly!  It’s been a long winter.  The Buy/Sell Column’s back, helping you know when the hell you’re supposed to stop working early on Friday.  During the offseason, while you were diddling and thinking about how your middle school nickname was Skidmark, I, The Buy/Sell Column was re-reenacting scenes from Moonlight with puppets in the BBQ Belt of Alabama because I’M HARDCORE!  You want some Rip Taylor-wannabe, throwing confetti at your feet or you want a Buy/Sell Column that simulates puppets having hand-sex on a beach to a very anti-puppet sex audience!?  Like Jose Altuve trying to get the Cocoa Puffs, you want the latter!  Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery, I’m in on Tyler Saladino.  Last year, Saladino had eight homers and 11 steals in only 298 ABs while hitting .282.  One year in the minors, he stole 38 bases, and, one year in the minors, he hit 16 homers.  Put that together, and you have Francisco Lindor!  Okay, kidding, but he’s hitting leadoff, is eligible at 2B and SS, and can get a few homers while also stealing some bases.  And I’m not excited about him simply because I named one of my puppets in Alabama, Tosser Saladino.  My love for Saladino did not start when I heard he had a brother named Cucumber Saladino.  Wrong, I don’t love Saladino simply because I’m in LA and I picture him topped with wheatgrass.  Eff your wheatgrass, Los Angeles!  Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I think the biggest question I always get when I’m out for dinner trying to inconspicuously eat is: Who should I cuff and when should I start drafting handcuffs for the inevitable closerpocalypse?  My advice is always: As soon as I am done eating, I will tell you.  I then proceed to give them the Irish goodbye and smile as I gleefully think that I got the best of them.  But in all seriousness, the biggest question is: Do I cuff myself or do I cuff someone else’s closer?  Me personally, I am a “cuff someone else’s” kinda guy.  This way, it gives you better odds to have another closer.  Where as if you cuff yourself, you are only replacing what you already drafted to expect.  So in theory, look for the best cuff options that you currently don’t own and steal them from someone else.  Leaving them short and for you, the possible plus one.  So with this theory in mind, I have made a list of the guys that I would want to draft first, second and so on.  I have done closer lists with their back-ups, holds guys, and the pecking order and now you get the best handcuff options to draft and sit on.  Enjoy!

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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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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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Just finished my first draft if you’re reading this as I type it, and other than one shirtless man in yellow sweatpants standing behind me in this internet cafe, I don’t think anyone’s reading this as I type it.  Unless, of course, there’s micronauts living inside my brain watching as my inner monologue is sending info to my fingers.  Gadzooks, I got micronauts in my brain!  I wonder if these micronauts made me draft Eric Thames.  I need to delve deeper into this subject.  Maybe I will in my pastel journal that is covered in Giancarlo’s picture from ESPN’s nude magazine.  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an NL Only league that was hosted by Scott White of CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Please be a commissioner, we need leagues, thank you, and Oxford comma.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

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So the title is a bit of a superlative.  What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?”  You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you.  This is the best 2017 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is.  If I took Carlos Correa in the 2nd round, everything after would change.  If I took Arenado in the 1st round, everything after would change.  I’ve previously gone over my 2017 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Mike Trout first, because, well, I have him first overall.  Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks.  It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Scherzer and Kershaw in the first two rounds and I was able to take Rougned Odor in the 2nd round (which is very likely), but since Trout and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both.  Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken.  People tend to look at team need over value.  So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks.  Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team.  Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward.  Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky.  It should still be my ideal team… Or not.  Let’s see, shall we?  Bee tee dubya, this team is 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up or start a league).  Anyway, here’s the best 2017 fantasy baseball team:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?