The day before our Independence Day, the Nationals exploded for six home runs, a fireworks display that would make the Grucci family jealous.   The Grucci fireworks family has a fascinating history.  Giuseppe Grucci in 1923 said to his momma, “I don’t want to be a two-bit gangster, cutting peoples’ fingers off for debt payment, I want to blow up thousands of fingers all across this great nation.”  Then his mother smacked him and told him to finish his lasagna.  Yesterday, Bryce Harper (2-for-4) hit his 17th homer, Wilson Ramos (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 13th, Anthony Rendon (2-for-3, 2 runs) hit his 8th, but at the heart of the fireworks celebration was Danny Espinosa (4-for-5, 6 RBIs) with his 17th and 18th home run, and his 4th and 5th homers in the last four games.  For those of you who think he’s a weekend hot bat, he hit .309 with nine homers in June.  He’s only 29 years old and he is a guy that has seasons of 20+ homers and 20 steals.  So, yes, you should own him.  Fun fact!  Did you know what they call a fireworks display on July 3rd?  A premature ejacu-elation.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jake McGee hit the DL with a sprained MCL.  Damn, 1150 was a very bad year for him.  Wait, a new closer that no one owns is up for grabs!  When this news broke, I was sitting in a French cafe, wearing a beret to the side, flicking a Virginia Slim 120 like a French baller.  I immediately looked for Carlos Estevez, but he was gone.  Then I looked for Jason Motte — gone!  Then I looked for Boone Logan — there!  So, I grabbed him, then I wept quietly.  Was I really picking up the guy third down the SAGNOF totem for the Rockies?  I’m such a pitiful save vulture.  Get some dignity, man, you’re better than this, you’re rocking a beret and a Virginia Slim 120!  After Saturday’s game, Walt Weiss announced Estevez would be the closer, so now, even more pitifully, I will be dropping Boone Logan, who got me a cheap vulture save on Sunday due to Estevez being used too many days in a row.  That’s like the fantasy baseball walk of shame.  Everyone who sees you drop the guy that doesn’t get the closer job knows full well that you desperately tried to make the wrong guy work.  Now I have to pick up and drop twelve other guys to bury my move.  The fantasy baseball shame cycle!  As for Estevez, his outings will be like brother Emilio — short.  His performances may be like brother Charlie’s relationships — rocky.  Unlike his father, Martin, he will not be starring in an awful Netflix series canoodling with the DA from Law & Order.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Situations arise all the time with closers. Injuries occur, poor performance, and then the return of the incumbent.  In the preseason, Will Smith was the guy the Brewers had tabbed as the closer.  Then, like I just said, an injury happened.  So now that he is back, what goes on in the back-end of the Brewers bullpen?  Jeremy Jeffress has done a stellar job with a less than average set-up crew in front of him.  He has pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a slightly more bloated xFIP of 3.41.  For all his previous tangles with pitching, he is striking out far less then he is normally accustomed to at just a 6 K/9 rate.  Low for a closer, even from the Lauvern and Shirley state.  He has managed 14 saves in 15 opportunitioes, and for a team like the Brewers, 14 is a healthy total.  So does his reign come to an end now that the best reliever is back in the fray?  Granted, it is never a great thing when usual mop-up relievers start stealing your stats, namely Blaine Boyer and Carlos Torres, who have 3 saves between them in the past nine games.  And granted, saves are wonky and games dictate them sometimes, come from behind wins, and situational loogy-ness are also a factor.  So I think with the way Jeffress has been going, he stays there until Will comes and steals his mojo and never looks back… Until the trade deadline, which could alter things up completely and basically revert it back to the way it was.  So if Will Smith is on your waivers, do yourself a service and add him speculatively for a week or two.  If he doesn’t give you the returns that you expect, then, well, the opposite happened of what I think should happen.  Enjoy Week 9 of the fantasy baseball season’s closer report!

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Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts.  The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep.  Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives.  Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role.  He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety.  Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board.  Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball.  So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so.  If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you.  So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…

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Ugh, the smell of my onsies de Mayo is so much worse than a normal day.  I reek of sizzlin’ fajitas and am all cotton-mouthed from… well let’s just say alcohol.  So attacking the usual Saturday bullpen rundown is a dizzying affair to say the least.  Speaking of a dizzying places, let’s look at the Rockies bullpen situation; it’s definitely not all kush, but it’s not charcoal brick pack.  The trust in Jake McGee is still there, because to be honest, the talent level behind him isn’t really there, is not ready, or has no experience in the end-of-game thing.  Behind Jake are Chad Qualls, who has pitched the majority of the right-handed match-ups in the 8th inning with a smattering of Boone Logan mixed in.  Now, I was nervous about McGee’s K-rate until I saw what Qualls’ was.  The stout bunch of McGee and Qualls have a combined K/9 over the last 14 games of 5.16.  That is combined!  I can’t make up this stuff.  The role of closer is most likely safe because the next guy up is Qualls, and well, if that last stat statement wasn’t enough to make you bored, I don’t know what else to say.  The look of the rest of the pen is very unproven with Scott Oberg, Justin Miller, and Gonzalez Germen.  What this bullpen needs is a youth movement to come front and center.  They have the guys there, but aren’t utilizing them in a role that is conducive for anything outside of dynasty leagues that count holds.  Eddie Butler and Carlos Estevez (no not that one) are a good start to what could be a decent mix.  And yes, I see Butler as a bullpen arm.  Getting chances are sparser than other teams for the Rockies, but with time, and once they start invigorating the youth into the chain of holds and saves command, progress will be made even above sea level.  Let’s see what other gobs of knowledge we have for the closers over the last few weeks…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello OPSers!  Hold up; we need a better name than that.  That sounds like we like to add lots of Post Scripts to our letters, but it’s a surprise or we work for UPS but there was a typo.  Someone think of something better, I implore you.

Anyway, I hope all your teams are dominating; I’m lucky enough to be doing really well in my home league; the rest, eh, not so much.  Still, I’m not deterred.  I’m looking at some trades but I don’t really like to assess the standings until the end of May.  Because by then we should have a month of good weather hitting (and pitching, though I don’t really talk about pitching here as there are better sources, like JB) and know if guys are who we thought they are(LINK).  Man, that never, will ever, get old.

What is getting a little old to me?  The Cubs and their zany road threads.  Joe Maddon might be too loose.  Every time I watch the Cubs they show them getting off the bus in their crazy threads (check them out!).  It’s definitely hilarious but as a longtime cursed Cubs fan I worry.  It’s like they are all rookies when I don’t think any of them are (correct me if I’m wrong, wait, don’t make me look bad, keep it to yourself).

I figure this week we’ll look at the some of the top OPS hitters by position and some slumping guys to acquire.  Note: all stats through May 3rd.  Let’s dive in!

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People standing to the side, huddled together.  Faces ashen.  All they could talk about was the moment the Carlos Carrascident happened.  There was nothing anyone could do.  It was as if time slowed down like Keanu was diving away from a Matrixy bullet.  A split second and a heap on the ground, silence.  Terry Francona dressed as a law enforcement officer putting up yellow tape, people wondering if Francona was working a bachelorette party after the game.  Carlos Carrasco is headed to the disabled list with a hamstring strain but needs to have an MRI, which is never what you want to hear about your ace.  Filling in for him will be Trevor Bauer.  Not farfetched to think Bauer could have value in matchups.  Farfetch is also what they call warming up Bauer.  “Why is our bullpen catcher driving to Akron?”  “Friggin’ Bauer.”  As for Carlos Carrasco, that’s the way the Cookie crumbles.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At some point, you look at your roster, then look at yourself in the mirror and the repeat that 31 more times and ask yourself this question…  When is chasing saves from the worst possibilities a bad idea?  My best advice, as your advocate of bullpen swagger, is never.  Realize the talent that is in the bullpen and say: is 1-2 saves really worth a waiver claim, a roster drop of someone else and a complete destruction of your rates and quite possibly your dignity?  If you haven’t guessed it, I am discussing the shatuation in the ‘Nati.  Just to get everyone up to speed on the demise, their (and keep in mind that it has only been two-plus weeks of games roughly) Hoover sucked. Jumbo is demoted to minors, Hoover back in and bad again, Cingrani more like Cingran-no.  Now all the hype is on Caleb Cotham.  Who has the time and rosterbatory rituals to have the right frame of mind to roster these guys from change to change?  I get that if you are in a NL-only league, it makes sense to be on the ball, but in mixed league… well, these guys are poop.  I was searching for a better word, but I can’t, and poop it is.  The combined ERA this year of Reds relievers in a save situation is over five.  That, my friends, is not worth the stretch for the sexy total of one save as a team.  Seriously, one whole save… you could have been rostering Ivan Nova and gotten the same total number so far. So anyone who likes the punishment, keep an eye on the health of Michael Lorenzen, as he could be next up. So what I am saying is: yes it’s cool and swanky to be the first guy on your fantasy block to unlock the new closer somewhere, but use common sense.  If a team is a pile of dung and will kill more stats then the assist, then, well, you already know my response because this is the end of the lede and I just went over it.  Stick around for some rankings, general chicanery with words on a page, and hell, maybe a whole pack of lies wrapped around stats.  Cheers!

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Yesterday, Shawn Tolleson went zero innings and gave up five earned for the blown save.  Why is there blood dripping down the back of my leg?  OH GOD, TOLLESON, WHAT HAVE YAO REEKED?!  Yao is totally a medieval word for you, by the way.  Yao Ming was medieval for “You mean?”  Rather popular question in the olden days.  Any hoo!  Jesus, Tolleson, I wish I owned Jesus Tolleson, the Dominican League 2nd baseman from the Punta Cana Putas, instead of you.  That was egregious, my man.  At least buy me dinner before touching up my nethers with an iron maiden.   Someone tase me so I forget about it.  I immediately grabbed Sam Dyson and Keone Kela, wherever I could.  It’s not completely clear who would be next, but Dyson has been used as the 8th inning setup man recently, so he’d be my first choice.  If Tolleson looks wonky in one more game, he might no longer be the closer.  Or as Elvis Costello would say, “Tolleson, I know the M’s are killing you, but my aim for SAGNOF is true.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, Rudy and I took part in Yahoo’s Friends & Family league hosted by Brandon Funston.  I believe Rudy and I are on the Friends side of equation, but some of the things I find on Ancestor.com could shock you.  I’m only like 12 cousins removed from my wife.  I’m so well-adjusted that doesn’t even make me shudder anymore!  Could Brandon Funston be my uncle?  Unkie Funston?  That would be cool.  I would be like, “Unkie Funston, can I have your old baseball card collection?”  And he’d be like, “Sure, if you trade me Starlin Castro.”  In this league is a few Rotoworld guys, a few Rotowire guys, a few Yahoo guys, a Wall Street Journal guy, a boneheaded Razzball guy and our very own, Rudy Gamble.  Quite the array of talent.  It’s like a Dave Navarro supergroup and I’m Sammy Hagar.  “Have you tried my tequila?  It’ll make you slap your momma and call her daddy.”  That’s me as Sammy Hagar.  This league is a standard Yahoo league with a 1400 max IP for pitchers.  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?