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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You wrote a letter to your leaguemates, but before you sent it to them, you asked me to proofread it but not share it. Too bad, here it is, “Yo, what’s up, snitches?! I have six closers and am sticking it to the rest of the league in their whole bum, then acting that out like Knight from MTV’s The Challenge. I don’t need no one! All I need is Huston Street, Kevin Gregg, Ernesto Frieri, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Ziegler and this chair, I need this chair. I got saves for days! Open up your ‘kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn’ calendar and mark September 28th down for the day when you concede the championship to me. Use your rainbow-colored pencil. Is it okay to use that word? Any the hoo! Rather than recount all of that SAGNOF g’dness, let me take this time to instead ask you if you watched the most recent Top Chef Masters. I’m lonely and looking for friends.” Solid letter, I probably wouldn’t put single quote marks around kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn but it’s fine to send it off as is. The only other problem is you might also lose more than half of your closers in less than a week. This is also the last week when you and your opponents can gain major saves if you’re hurting in that category. On July 31st there could be as many as 10 new closers. At no point from now until October do you have a chance for this much turn over. Guys that could move into the closer role in under a week includes, but is not limited to: Luke Gregerson, Blake Parker, Ryan Webb, James Russell, Antonio Bastardo, Carter Capps, Dale Thayer, John Axford (still even with Henderson taking over the job), Jose Cisnero, Pedro Strop and Antonio Alfonseca, because he has six fingers on each hand and you can’t ever count him out, at least not without removing your pants and a shoe. Granted, guys like Huston Street or Tom Wilhelmsen or Glen Perkins might be traded and stay in the closer role on their new team, but that means someone else would lose their job. Or maybe Huston Street will go to the Yankees and become the 8th inning man and Robertson moves to the 7th. Or maybe Jonathan Papelbon goes to the Tigers and Benoit owners have to call the Ben-wambulance. A lot could happen in the next few days or nothing, but I’d absolutely stash as many middle relievers as I could right now. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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So down goes a top ten guy in an off week where I talk about set-up guys. Jason Grilli is beset with a forearm strain and up steps the league leader in Holds, Mark Melancon. Melancon has been spooktacular this year, and if wasn’t owned prior to the injury then your league is hot garbage. Sorry, but truth is truth. So the pecking order in the ‘Burgh now reads like this, which really isn’t devoid of good RP this year. I see Tony Watson and Justin Wilson splitting the left-handed set-up duties and Bryan Morris and Vin Mazzaro to continue their RH dominance. If given the opportunity, Victor Black could be brilliant, so keep an eye on him. Not one guy is going to run away and garner the hold chances that Melancon has gotten to date this year so it is going to be a mish-mosh of hold chances. Also factor in that the Pirates are in some trade rumors for some end game help and the rosterability of all these guys is tough to call until we know how long Grilli is under the weather. Enjoy the week to come.

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So team success helps everything, from team building exercises to a secret program that siphons money into a bank account at fractions of a penny at a time. Whatever works, works, but at the end of the day the stats are what matters. Take for example the Texas Rangers’ bullpen. The trio of Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Jason Frasor are getting it done minus the flair. They have combined for 17 Holds in the last 30 days and are tied for the AL lead in Holds with 50. Earlier in the year, I was asked the best strategy for NSVH, and I said the best way is to grab a top 10 closer and 2 middle relievers from the same team. This is why this theory makes all the sense. Take a resurgent Cotts, who has dominated batters to a BAA of .187. “It’s Murda.” Thanks Ja Rule, for having nothing else to do. Throw in Scheppers and as of late a rejuvenated Frasor and you have a nice drunk punch of goodness for a Holds factory. Holds are a streaky stat, take a look at Mark Melancon, he is still leading MLB in holds only because he had 14 thru the first 30 days. The leader since then? Hmmm I betcha I just mentioned him above… Tanner Scheppers with 8. Enjoy the week to come.

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Well, last week I said the Boston situation would go swimmingly, results so far have been 2 drowning victims and an all-Asian rescue team. First, Andrew Bailey went down with triceps injury, then Joel Hanrahan said, “anything you can do I can do better,” and has a forearm strain. Now, I’m no doctor, I pretend to play one at 2 AM and it’s last call, different story, but you get my point, but isn’t it only one arm, not fore? So to the rescue in their tight red water panties are the best combo since Chico found the man, Koji and Junichi. The eighth and ninth innings for all games on NESN now will be in full anime, and Rem-Dog will be eaten. I fully expect Tazawa to be the focal point of save situations until either Bailey or Hanrahan return. He was closing for a tick last year at Pawtucket, which is like me fishing and saying I’m Gordon’s fisherman. The numbers this year are pretty outstanding (18 K’s in 14 In) so he has momentum, his only flaw is he is a fly ball pitcher and that tends to bite ya in the oshiri…sometimes. Stay tuned to see what else I see/saw or foresee coming up in the world of conclusionary pitchers and the gents that set them up.

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The week was going swimmingly, with inflatable swim muscles, I may add, then Kevin Gregg showed up and said “Oh, I thought everyone wore these glasses now.” I don’t trust Kevin for 2 reasons, closers come and closers go (Kyuji is coming back) so add that into your closer entree like a good splash of adobo. The second reason is he has two first names, I’m sorry, it’s a phobia of mine ever since I went to school with a kid named Ferris Ferris. No I didn’t stutter, that’s a true story. Next we move to Boston, where Joe-L is returning from the DL; John Farrell has said what is typical, we will see what happens. My 2 cents is that Bailey keeps it until he falters or Hanrahan whines enough to make a stink. If I could call Joel, this is how the convo would go. Sup Joel. Who is this? Then I would hang up and not answer when he star 69′s me. I do that cause I don’t like people messin’ around on my phone. Lastly this week, I have moved Jim Johnson, minus his cult following, into the top tier. He has shown me enough to warrant a bump up. The games he pitches in are showing the confidence that Buck has in him, like a great illegitimate dad would in his Maury Povich type son. The bump over Papelbon is based purely on stats and accumulation right now, Paps just isn’t seeing the chances that some other closers are seeing and that inevitably hurts my feelings and his stats/value. Enjoy the week as if you were listening to the soundtrack from Rocky 4, what could get better than that.? If you said that talking robot Pauly got, then we are on the same page my friend.

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So we come to another week of debauchery known as bullpendom. Yeah, I like to make up words, Dr. Seuss did it and he is considered a genius, me will settle for 700 on my SAT’s and just scraping by. What can I say – I’m a settler minus the funny hat and the flashy yet obnoxious buckle on my shoes. The Red Sox seem to be leading the pack of news this week with Joel Hanrahan being pipped by Andrew Bailey. It’s going to be a non-fluid situation when Joe-L returns as I see him setting up and waiting for Bailey to go on the rocks. It’s not a bad thing to have if you’re in Boston, 2 closers that have the ability to close out games with some sort of success, for fantasy it sucks worse then burning your toaster strudel cause it gets stuck in the toaster. Best part is there is still some of that glaze that you can just free base as a non-essential part of your daily vitamin allowance. Lots more in this week’s episode of bullpen report so keep on reading and click that red button, or gray button for our color impaired people.

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Carlos Ruiz set to return from his suspension next week for testing positive for the ADHD drug, Adderall. He had this to say, “I look forward to getting back on the field–Hey, you ever wax your legs? I don’t mean remove the hair, I mean step into one of those vats of wax they have at carnivals that people put their hands in. It’s really cool! I have a rainbow wax leg! Like I was saying, I foolishly took a drug that is meant for people with ADHD– You think the Fonz can pound the wall to make my iPhone turn on? I dropped it into the toilet. You know, I wish butterflies and cows had babies cause I like butter on my steak. Ruth’s Chris does it right! Adderall is a very serious drug, and it should not be abused– When’s The Voice on? Monday? Is it Monday yet? Now? Now? Now?” So, Ruiz was wrong for taking Adderall as he obviously isn’t afflicted with ADHD. Last year in 114 games, he hit 16 homers and .325 with 4 steals. As of right now, he’s owned in less than 5% of leagues. If you’re struggling at catcher, it’s worth taking a flyer on him now. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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I wish I was a mathematician or at least had one of those rad looking calculator watches. For now I will remain myself and take random, yet seasoned guesses at this thing that we covet so much, the save. It’s the only position that every person garnering save capability is owned in every league no matter how big or small, which makes it fun. They say all the fun is the chase, I guess that’s why I am bored with so many people tied up in my Gam-Gam’s basement. Digression, segue, punctuation. The Royals, or for better reference, Greg Holland, has figured out his mojo, while all of us hoping for a heated up Kelvin to pounce are reduced to wait for a Holland-days off. I am glad that Holland has shown what we all thought he could be, albeit for one glorious day. Two in a row is a winning streak, so said Lou Brown. So onto the rankings of closers and some of their ‘cuffs. This week’s random weird but true factoid, the Phillies are 13 games into the season and do not have a hold by any pitcher on their team. Put that in your cheese steak and smoke it

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