It’s trendy to be trendy and follow your nose like Toucan Sam.  Unfortunately, there are no Fruit Loops here, only Holds.  Holds with a silver lining of saves that helps everyone.  For now though, it’s all about the holds.  It’s only a dozen games into the season and it’s never too early to turn a side eye to what’s going on with the key bullpen pieces around the league.  These guys are mostly for holds only leagues, but the elite of the elite are the rosterable guys that should be universally owned.   So, for those that are new to the Bullpen Report, it goes a little like this…  I focus on relievers that are pitching in high leverage situations, games with the lead, inherited runners and the inherited runners they allow to score.   Those more or less correlate to the stat we are chasing, and no it’s not that white dragon.  It’s the hold.  Team situations, team success, and the players ability in those situations all dictate that stat.  It’s no coincidence that teams with better teams usually have more save chances, it just happens.  So have a gander at some trendy type stats that have happened in the games so far.  Be aware that stats this early are misleading like a Polish GPS, so be aware and don’t go for the first car you see when your hitchhiking your way through the holds life.

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Just hours before the first official pitch of the 2015 MLB regular season was thrown, the Braves traded reliever Craig Kimbrel to the Padres and significantly altered the fantasy values of a couple of players in the process. Joaquin Benoit‘s role changed from projected closer to primary setup man, and his fantasy value took an enormous hit in standard 5×5 formats. Unsurprisingly, he was week one’s most dropped player (-85%). This trade’s main beneficiary from a fantasy perspective appears to be Jason Grilli (+81%), who was easily the most added player in the season’s first week. Grilli promptly locked down three clean saves to solidify his new role as the team’s stopper. While he was effective in the closing role for the Pirates in 2013, Grilli imploded in the first half of last season and was traded into a setup role with the Angels. From treasure to trash to treasure once again. As the one-time R&B/pop sensations Milli Vanilli can attest to, it can be a quick fall from the top of the mountain to the valley below. All it takes is a record skipping or a couple of blown saves to drastically alter one’s fortunes. Guys and four girls, you know it’s true – ooh, ooh, ooh… SAGNOF rules. Here are a couple of this week’s other big add and drops in fantasy baseball:

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Welcome back to the most important Razzball Commenter Leagues post you will read all week. Okay, well, it’s the only one, but lets not split hairs. Speaking of splitting hairs, I really need a haircut and a beard trim. I look like a hippy. Which reminds me of a movie I watched the other day after another fantasy related bout of insomnia. Back in the 90’s, we had a lot of good low budget flicks to entertain us while we waited for the internet to get better. PCU was one of my favorites from this genre that still to this day holds up with its commentary on the ridiculousness of higher education, why you shouldn’t get high and go out in public and of course the concept of don’t be that guy. [Jay’s Note: Swingers is better.] Oh the good times we had on couches with cheap pizza and malt liquor. Now, you might be wondering what this movie has to do with the RCL’s and you are right in asking, so I’ll tell you. Nothing, I’m just distracting you because it’s still too early for the master standings. I’m sorry guys and four girl readers. We will have to wait until next week to premier the official standings. Until then, assume you are in first overall if you are in first place in your league. We cool? Alright then let’s move on…

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Dustin Pedroia will hit you two homers (3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) and then run out after the game to help hawk papers, “Extr-ee, extr-ee, read all about it!” “Keep the change, kid.” “Thanks, mister!” While Pedroia sold Boston Heralds on the corner, Hanley Ramirez (also homered twice; 2nd one was a grand slam; 2-for-4, 2 runs, 5 RBIs) was tricked into a youth-rejuvenating oxygen chamber by piping in the smell of roasted pig. All the Red Sox did was put a game-used Sandoval jersey over a fan. Buncha tricksters! Or maybe that’s trickstahs in Boston. Also homering yesterday was Mookie Betts (2-for-4, 2 runs). Well, in this game. In other games, everyone homered at least once. If your fantasy team didn’t hit at least three homers yesterday, check again, you might’ve been accidentally looking at your fantasy football team. New commissioner-slash-new-step-dad, Rob Manfred, wants your love and if that means using juiced balls and no curfews, so be it! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Saves can often come from little known sources.  That concept is something we Razzballers call SAGNOF – Saves Ain’t Got No Face.  I played in one RCL (Razzball Commenter League) last year and in that league I owned Sean Doolittle from Sunday March 30th until the last day of the season.  I didn’t draft him.  I picked him up because I was looking for someone that could help with ERA and WHIP as well as adding some additional Ks (the latter of which can’t be bolstered through extra starting pitchers because of the games started limit) and his projections indicated he was worth it.  I didn’t really care about whether he was going to contribute any saves because I had David Robertson, Steve Cishek, and a DL’d Aroldis Chapman which seemed like a good group for a 12-team league.

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Ma nishtana, how is tonight different than every other night? Because there’s some G-D regular season baseball! Ah fanabla! The Padres aren’t wasting any time with bird sex or Joaquin Benoit either as they traded for Craig Kimbrel. Why do I get the sense that the Padres played 2,500 games of Strat-o-Matic this offseason and on Saturday it was 1249 to 1249 and they were like, “Nuh-uh, we didn’t pay $750 million in free agents to tie the World Series. We need to get to that twelve hundred and fifty-first win!” Then the Padres’ management patted themselves on the back saying they were Strat-o-Maticians like that wily Epstein guy. Then another Padre official even said he thought that guy’s name was Wily Epstein. So, Benoit now has the value of a film degree in Hollywood. “Well, we were gonna let Spielberg direct this film, but this guy over here has a Master’s degree!” In Atlanta, Jim Johnson or Jason Grilli could close games. A Braves official said Juan Jaime could even close games. I’m pretty sure he made up the name Juan Jaime. Grilli seems the most likely candidate, and this has all the makings of a situation where you’re so pumped to be the first one to the waiver wire to grab him until Grilli is actually closing games and giving up three runs in the one lead the Braves have every two weeks. Let’s get out of the lede to talk about the rest of the trade and actual baseball that was played last night! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend for fantasy baseball:

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I wish filling out your fantasy roster with middle relievers was as easy as plop-plop, fizz-fizz.  But I’m sure it isn’t, because not everyone is using the same model of success.  I can dig that, I mean, I come from a long line of Smokeys that like the art of shoveling.  Listen, I get it if you don’t wanna help your team-rates and ratios by adding guys that are stout in production for basically free at the end of your draft.  Streaming relievers is a real thing, I didn’t make it up.  It does exist, and it lives in the house between Nessy and Sasquatch.  It’s not for the faint of heart and is probably not for everyone.  It is about optimizing your free innings (very useful in RCL leagues that have games started limits, which everyone wants to win).  It’s a basic theory and the patent is pending, so stick around as I get into the art of streaming relievers. And as an added bonus, I have broken down the MR corps into four separate groups.  These groups are broken down by usefulness.  We have one for straight cuffs, one for rates and holds, a straight holds, and then some stone cold sleepers for you deep-leaguers.

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Amish text states vociferously that a Quackenbush should not render thou’s biblical nature moot. Stating, “Eroticism is the devil’s electricity, and our brains should not be hardwired to flip any switches when our nature’s bell rings. You may want to churn butter into the Quackenbush–” I just realize I had a smudge on my Amish Schoolchildren Early Education textbook and it’s not Quacken, it’s Quaker. That is my bad. So, Joaquin Benoit could be headed to the DL, and even if he’s not, he’s dealing with a shoulder issue and may not be effective. In every league I needed saves, I’d grab Kevin Quackenbush. And, if truly desperate, I’d even grab Dale Thayer. As for a Quaker bush, well, caution is advised. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As many of you know, Bruce Bochy has the biggest head in the major leagues. As a player, when he was traded, he would have to take his helmet with him to his new club because the new team wouldn’t have a helmet big enough for him. It made traveling easier, since everything he needed would fit inside the helmet. We all know the story about how when Giants rookie, Joe Panik, was called up, he forgot to make arrangements to stay somewhere in the San Fran area, so he draped a sheet over Bochy’s cap and slept in there. Lots of good has come of Bochy’s giant melon. Of course, the 27-pound bowling ball has its drawbacks. Like when he went to see Toy Story and blocked half the audience. Lots of angry parents that day. Or the time he was in South Dakota and people starting climbing up his side thinking he was Mount Rushmore. Sometimes what would take a person with a normal-sized head a week or two to figure out, thoughts bounce around in Bochy’s Metrodome much longer. So when Sergio Romo wasn’t good for the month of May, then again in June, it took longer for Bochy to realize a change was needed, but he finally figured it out. Bochy said Santiago Casilla would replace Romo, then he banged the side of his head for 15 minutes waiting for another thought, and finally it came out that Jeremy Affeldt would see some situational saves, as long as Gilbert Gottfried isn’t introducing Affeldt at games. Yesterday, Affeldt got hit, and Casilla looked solid as he has all year. I’d grab Casilla in all leagues if you’re SAGNOF’ing around for saves. Hopefully, even if Bochy thinks about putting Romo back in the role, it takes a few weeks for that thought to land in the right spot in his cavernous whale head. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Well, you should be sorry, Ronald Belisario. You have been pretty rough on your owners since stepping into the closer role, testing the limits of SAGNOF and just how much pain a fantasy owner will endure to capture those elusive saves. Belisario was at it again last night and gave up three hits and two runs to the Blue Jays, recording just one out before being removed from the game. In just 12 innings pitched since inheriting the job, Ronny has surrendered 10 ER on 20 hits with three blown saves in in that time. More like RonaldO-No! Hey, a World Cup pun, how topical. In Belisario’s defense, he did manage eight saves during his stay as closer, but that’s more a testament to Manager Robin Ventura sticking with him this long. Well, Ventura has had enough. Alrighty then, Ventura, who’s your closer now? Jake Petricka finished out the game last night and notched his second save of the season. Petricka has a 2.08 ERA and 1.27 WHIP on the year and looks like the most likely choice to take over the closer role. Javy Guerra, Zach Putnam and Daniel Webb could also be names to watch and see chances were the Sox to go to a committee. Whatever the case, Ronald is out. And although he may not apologize for killing your ratios over the past month, you can drop him now, which is definitely something you won’t have to feel sorry about.

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