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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Around here at Razzball we are one big family that is some freakish hybrid of the Brady Bunch meets the Addams Family. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of all this. First we have our father Grey, the dad who works all day, comes home every night to a daiquiri, and goes out on the weekend and buys us the $100 high tops we want, but mom won’t let us have. He does this to make up for all the little league games he missed because he was bringing home the bacon. Now, Rudy is our mother, and I mean this in the nicest, most masculine way possible. He’s there to keep everything sensible, clean, and in order. Jay and Sky are the older brothers we come to for advice when we get in trouble, or to teach us how to undo a bra with one hand. Guru is Grey’s illegitimate child from a high school girlfriend that is re-connecting with us, and getting to know his dad. Jeremy and I are the younger brothers just glad to get scraps and a hand me down that isn’t filled with holes. Mike is our reliable uncle, who taught us how to properly swing a bat and to drive our shoulder to the plate when we pitched. Smokey is our cool uncle, who gives us beer and taught us all how to roll a doobie so we’ll be ready for high school. Tehol is our creepy uncle, who wears ridiculous clothes that border on illegal, and who our parents never want to leave us alone with since the “incident”. Nick is our neighbor that takes too many pictures and video of the family, even when we aren’t aware of it. Scott is our bachelor neighbor, who drives a kick ass Iroc-Z and dates a different 20-year-old every week. Our cousins Pete, Josh, Dano, and Tom are always hanging out because their mother, Paulie, and father, Dan, are either drinking or drinking. It’s a family over here, I’ll cut any mother f***er who tries to mess with these guys, and have no problem doing a couple a months in county to protect them. That’s why when Jay called upon me to help him out and cover the RCL recap this week I was ready to step up to the plate and help a brother out.

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The Buy/Sell column is back after a long winter break and ready to do this thing better than ever! Let’s hear directly from it. Buy/Sell, “Why are you putting such pressure on me? Better than ever? How about ‘ready to do this hungover’ because it was in Panama City for the last week with James Franco, yelling, ‘Spring…Break…Spring…Break…’ is friggin exhausting! And haunting. I need a nap.” Kolten Wong was named the starting 2nd baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League Baseball Association, and nary a ‘cracker was lit. Upon his call-up last year, Wong was more wrong than right, but less riiiiiiiight than wrong if you’re sarcastic. He didn’t get enough playing time. David Freese kept playing more often than not and Matt Carpenter didn’t move over to third nearly enough. Even after Allen Craig was hurt, Fatt Adams filled in and Wong sat on the bench. Thankfully, the Cardinals finally moved on from Freese. The Freese has been thawed! What? No good? The Cards froze out that Freese! Still nothing? Now that Kolten Wong gets a full time job, he’ll immediately be mixed league relevant and around a top fifteen option with a chance for more. He’s a clone of Pedroia and not because they both need their tippy-toes to get the sugar from on top of the fridge. Wong can hit 15 homers and steal 20 bases with a solid average. Will he or Wongn’t he? No idea, but definitely worth owning in every mixed league. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy and sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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It was all fine and dandy and then Roldy Chapman had to go and jump in front of a speeding bullet.  It caused the first waiver wire riot of the year.  Trick is, who to add?  Everybody jumped on the J.J. Hoover train and I don’t blame them.  He seems like the only real healthy choice, but have you seen him in ST? He looks god awful, like he is throwing with the losing end of a wishbone.   This situation is one to get all waiver wire giddy about, but it’s not going to be fluid.  Broxton and Marshall start the year on the boo-boo list and then what’s left?  I’ll tell ya, be patient, stop yelling….  Manny ParraI have read others speculating this, but I’m going to jump on it also.  It’s only a temporary situation anyways, and if you lost out on Hoover, why not get a good ‘what the hell’ add?  Could do worse, he has a K/9 over 10 in 2 full seasons as a set up guy and a ST K/BB rate of 11/1.  I mean if we are going on merit, which never happens, he deserves a look and may get a few early saves.

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I love the Aussie people; they have goofy words for a barbecue and even goofier animals — koalas and kangaroos? Is Australia animated? Those things are goofy! Why not just get a duck-billed platypus and anteater and call it a day, you wacky-animal-having country! How about baseball there? Did all the fans in attendance win a Bowie knife if a player hit a home run into the big marsupial pouch? Did Crocodile Dundee throw out the first pitch? Did the batters hit with a fraternity hazing paddle? I don’t know, because it was at four in the morning! Selig really needs to stop doing this to Opening Day. The players will be exhausted from traveling and won’t be able to get their usual reps in during the spring. The first pitch of the season should be at a time when 7-year-old North American boys and girls can watch it. Not at 4 AM EST. What if the first game went extra innings or someone got hurt? Can they just call up someone from the minors for the next game? No, so then you’ll have a team playing short. Do these stunts in December as a goodwill trip. Don’t make major league baseball teams into the Harlem Globetrotters for a regular season game. Eh, whatevs, baseball is back, who cares if it comes with a big helping of Vegemite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

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