With every first list or preseason edition of anything, there comes question marks. Lots of ifs and buts, with no real sound determination until we actual see the product. I am pretty sure Jane Austen’s first attempt at Pride and Prejudice was an abomination because who knew if Elizabeth Bennett was up to the task of being wifey material? It turns out that I can win a bet and correlate anything into the bullpen situations of the current MLB teams. Until injuries, demotion or a better option arises, we have to go by two main instincts: former ability and common sense. So the list is based off of the news to date that we have gotten on all the potential closers to date and for gigg’s I have ranked them accordingly. I have been doing bullpens for a long time and have been wrong on a few occasions, but I am not the manager or GM for the team pulling the strings, I am merely a fantasy writer. So here is the Spring training edition of the Closer rankings, their set-up men, and the cuffs we covet for fantasy in 2016.

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Overheard at my house on Christmas, “Why isn’t it Jesusmas?”  Then someone who you only see once a year chimes in, “‘Jesus, mas’ is what I say to the waiter when I want more cheese and his name is Jesus.”  Ah, family over the holidays.  Arriving a few days late for Christmas for Yankee fans was Aroldis Chapman.  It didn’t come in their stocking, but he will probably be wearing a stocking on his head while he tries to board a domestic airline with a gun.  “You know, in Cuba, no one cares if I wear a stocking on my head and try to rob people, because Fidel owns everything anyway.”  That’s Aroldis sitting next to someone in First Class who is being polite but just wants to watch Jason Sudeikis in Vacation.  So, Aroldis joins an already stacked Yankee bullpen and does nothing but makes it more sizzling, obviously.  I could make the case that Aroldis is the best closer of all-time, not just the best one in the majors right now, so, yeah, he’s definitely a $12 Salad and that doesn’t change in New York.  He could miss a couple of weeks of the season, due to domestic abuse charges, but that’s not set in stone, and, if baseball is ever going to become as popular as football, then the league will turn the other cheek while asking his girlfriend to do the same.  For 2016, I’ll give Aroldis the projections of 4-2/2.04/1.03/110, 40 saves in 60 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Some of the trade rumors I’ve seen are just plain funny.  Craig Kimbrel to the Yankees?  Wait, what!?  Really?  I’m not denying it as a possibility but I am thinking it might be a little overboard to acquire a premier closer when you probably only need a solid bullpen guy because you already have TWO premier closers.  The list of closers and strong middle relievers available is so long this year.  One thing’s for sure, there are going to be some strong bullpens vying for postseason play.  Here’s the lowdown on closers and some other relievers who could be dealt in the upcoming weeks, starting with some of the players most likely to be traded and ending in with those much less likely to be.

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For my “Rest Of Season” edition of SAGNOF Special, I’d like to start with a confession, or really more of an admittance:  I’m in two Razzball Commenter Leagues this year and last year I was in one.  Those are only the fourth, fifth, and sixth rotisserie leagues I’ve ever played in.  This despite having played fantasy baseball since 2002.  The reason is because I’ve primarily played in head to head leagues.  One of the biggest differences between the two formats is the nuance involved in the tradeoff of various hitter stats (what one hitter can give you versus what another can) in rotisserie and it becomes much more important to not just realize where you are in the standings of individual stats but to try to predict/project where you will be by season’s end.  That’s why I’ve chosen to give you some Rest of Season Steamer projections for the best base stealers.  Use it to project your own players, to project your place in the final standings, or to scheme up a trade.

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The ESPYS are coming soon, so I decided it might be time to nominate some relief pitchers for mid-season hardware and steal a little bit of ESPN’s ESPYS thunder (that’s just wrong on more than one level) in the process.  Anyway, I’ll soon be handing an award to one of the relief pitchers with a chance to regress in a bad way and I’m calling these awards the Jurrjy’s because Jair Jurrjens was a pitcher that was as up and down as I can recall a pitcher being.  He was (is, I could say, after all he still exists, somewhere) a BABIP dependent* pitcher because of a low strikeout rate.  For instance, here are his 2011 1st half/2nd half  ERA splits: 1.87 in 110.2 1st half innings vs 5.88 in a small sample of 41.1 second half innings.  While it might have been better to pick a reliever to name this after, I can’t think of anyone that fits the description better than Jair Jurrjens.  The only problem is, I’m not sure if the “winner” is the one whose ERA regresses the most or the one who maintains the mirage.  I guess that’s up to the Academy to decide.  So without further ado, your 2015 Jurrjy nominees in the “rising ERA” category are:  Steve Delabar, middle reliever, Toronto Blue Jays (1.42 ERA /4.05 FIP).  Bryan Shaw, middle reliever, Cleveland Indians (2.10 ERA /4.62 FIP).  Joakim Soria, closer, Detroit Tigers (2.73 ERA /5.09 FIP).  Brad Ziegler, closer, Arizona Diamondbacks (1.45 ERA /3.78 FIP), Darren O’Day, middle reliever, Baltimore Orioles (1.21 ERA /3.17 FIP), and JJ Hoover, middle reliever, Cincinnati Reds (1.31 ERA / 3.10 FIP).  (*This article basically claims that pitcher BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is 75% luck, 13% defense, and 12% pitcher’s skill).

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This is the Saves Ain’t Got No Face “eff the team managers” edition which will give me a chance to both vent and try to deflect blame for bad calls I’ve made.  Joe Maddon of the Cubs decided to go a different route on his closer situation by removing Hector Rondon from the role.  For like three days.  And I make the call that Pedro Strop had a good chance to take over as closer.  Eff Joe Maddon.  Then in Tampa (Joe Maddon’s old team.. coincidence??) the following sequence happened:  1. Brad Boxberger gets dinged, Kevin Jepsen becomes the interim closer, (arguably) leapfrogging Jake McGee in the process.  2. Boxberger came back, blew a save.  3. Jake McGee (seemingly) takes over as closer.  4. Kevin Jepsen notches a (random) save.  5. Brad Boxberger (seemingly) regains closer role.  As of Sunday, the last 15/30 days for Rays Saves is 2/4 for Jepsen, 3/3 for McGee, 3/6 for Boxberger.  Last week I claimed Jake McGee was the new closer.  He gets zero save attempts this week.  Keep reading folks because this is really just the beginning of the latest twist and turns which will leave you wanting to pull out your hair.  (Plus recommendations to follow…)

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I hate it when the vagueness of an arm injury slams your roster and places the top closer on the DL.  Andrew Miller hit it yesterday with a forearm strain.  How could it be strained if there are fore of them?  I mean aren’t the other three there, to be like, back-up dancers?  The only good thing for you and the Yankees is that there is another top-5 relief pitcher in the mix.  Dellin Betances will take over as the lead sled dog in the saves in the Bronx.  After that, on the off chance you need a third option, there is Adam Warren, which is a deep shot in the dark.  Crazy as that sounds, and I dig that he is still starting, but if this drags out for Miller, he could return to what was excellent form from out of the pen last year.   If by all intents and purposes you are reaching this far down for saves or speculating that the Yankees are in trouble… then stick around for some extra tidbits,  there are a quite few this week.  Cheers!

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You’re about to get busted. Do you go harder, become more brazen, with the illegal activity or attempt to clean up your act quickly so you don’t get punished more severely? I don’t know. This is where fantasy baseball meets a PBS Frontline special. I think different people react in different ways. Not to get all philosophical on you like your college philosophy prof who would invite you over for lavash and hummus and marijuana, then try to feel up your girlfriend, but last year’s Ryan Braun — 9 homers in 61 games — could be exactly what he is off of PEDs. There’s no way of knowing when he was or wasn’t using. If he knew he was about to get suspended last year, he might’ve laid off of everything and been totally clean for that decent but not spectacular partial season, even while he battled a thumb issue. The same thumb issue that has resurfaced this year. I should’ve been more aggressive in the preseason about pointing that Braun wasn’t healthy last year. The kind of unhealthy that has lingered into this year. He admitted the other day that he was unable to take a normal swing due to battling a nerve issue. Or if you’re reading in your best Curly voice, a noive issue. That’s hella bad with hella having a hashtag that says 2004. I wouldn’t sell him for fifty cents on the dollar, but I’d be interested to see if someone would give me 85 or 90 cents on the dollar. Or if someone would give me the Euro exchange rate. Why are they still making pennies?! Tell me Yahoo! Answers! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Holy hell, what just happened?  This week was supposed to be about all the pomp and circumstance of opening day.  Then a closenado happened, a whirlwind of job loss and fake unemployment questions.  I  mean, before two games ended, two closers were replaced.  That’s just silly stupid, like buying a pack of crayons without the built in sharpener. Useless.  Roenicke and Ventura, I am putting a sfortuna and a pox on both your households. Moves like this usually lead to managerial unemployment, so maybe we aren’t so bad off, as both look well fixated on the Kohl’s managerial program. To make things worse, Bobby P fell down and ‘Papa Grande’ came tumbling after.

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There just wasn’t enough time in the preseason for me to show you my RCL team, so I’m putting it in the podcast post. Now, prepare yourself for the most confusing lede paragraph ever. For the podcast, Rudy and I went over some preseason picks for Most Valuable Fantasy Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie of the Year, Fantasy Bust and the player who looks primed to breakout that won’t actually breakout. Finally, Larry Schechter joined Nick to talk about some of his do’s and don’ts to win fantasy leagues. Now, for the RCL league, Rudy and I decided to do something different do this year and have half of our league made up of writers from our site and the other half from friends of other sites. Let’s call it a Family & Friends league; that doesn’t sound derivative of anyone else’s expert fantasy league. (I was gonna call it Friends & Family, but that DID sound derivative.) The Razzball writers joining me were: Rudy, Jay(Wrong), Sky, Tehol, Prospect Scott, Nick the Podcast Host and Scooby. Okay, I made up the Scooby name, but it didn’t sound that out of place, did it? The ‘perts from other sites participating were: Dalton Del Don from Yahoo, Brad Johnson from Fangraphs, Ryan Carey of Mastersball, Paul Singman of Baseball Prospectus and Tim McLeod of RotoRob. The draft went off without a hitch until I opened the draft window and saw Rudy had the first pick. *shakes fist* Ruuuuuudy!!! Anyway, here’s the Razzball Podcast (now with my RCL team recap):

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