Much like the famous Doors song that shares it’s name, bullpens are drawing near.  (Minus the Oedipus complex that the song explores.)  I mean, it may… but that is gross and I don’t wanna associate my bullpen goodies to that.  Moving on, shall we?  This year has been the SAGNOF-fest that we always come to expect.  Closers up, closers down.  Trades and attrition.  It happens every single year and it is the reason why the waiver wire is what it is: So we can get the new third closer for the Twins.  The chase for saves never ends, well, I mean it ends for season-long leagues, but for dynasty and keeper leagues, the times never change.  Saves are a category.  A deeply hated and often cursed at category that will always be debated about.  Whether or not to invest earlier picks then normal to get a stud, or just fill in with hope-so’s and also rans.  There unfortunately is no right or wrong answer because both strategies work as long as you are a waiver goblin.  So with the final post of the year, much like the other years that I have done this, we look to next year…  This year’s counting stats and information don’t matter, we want to know what lies on the horizon. So let’s find out!

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Erasmo Ramirez was masterful Friday night in what was one of his best starts of the season going eight strong innings against the we-don’t-lose Windians, allowing just three hits, one earned run and striking out a season high 10 batters. Erasmowing down hitters? ErasMo Innings, Mo Strikeouts? ErasMost definitely more comfortable in Seattle than in Tampa? Ugh, I know. Headlines are hard you guys, I ran out of steam about three weeks ago and I’m sorry but that’s the best I’m going to do. However you headline it, after being wang-jangled around the Rays pitching staff, from starting rotation to bullpen and back again, Ramirez has settled nicely into the starting pitching job he deserves since being acquired by his old team, the Seattle Mariners, in July. He holds a respectable 3.79 ERA in 10 starts with the M’s since, but it’s the 52/13 K/BB ratio that really raises my eyebrow, Dwayne Johnson. If we remove a hiccup he encountered with a rough start in Houston, Erasmo has three quality starts in September with a 22/4 K/BB ratio. Yes, more please! He gets to finish his season strong with a favorable start next week in Oakland, and outside of the obligatory Matt Olson home run, I could see him pitching a successful outing there. At about 10% owned, Ramirez is a streaming option readily available in most fantasy leagues if you’re looking for an easy win to push you over the edge. And if you’ve been out of contention for weeks and are still reading this, first, Ramirez could be a decent late-late round sleeper to consider for 2018, and second, thanks for sticking with us and not jumping ship to fantasy football coverage (which you can check out here). You guys are the true Razzball MVPs. Except of course for the writing staff, obviously, they the real MVPs, especially me.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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There’s a common term sociologists use called, The Tide of Uze.  Everything that encompasses everyday life is on The Tide of Uze.  Brushing your teeth, walking your dog, Jose Abreu, they’re all on The Tide of Uze.  There’s small pleasures to be found with them, but they’re so consistent they are often lost amongst other more exciting things.  However, this past weekend The Tide of Uze was raised by Irma GAWD!, the fantasy football kickoff and me going to a Dodgers game with Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, a frequent commenter who was in town.  I didn’t rank those per their importance, I’ll leave that to you.  Big weekend for the world, right?  (Yes.) With the Tide of Uze raising, it lifts everything that was floating on its surface, which meant Jose Abreu had a career weekend.  On Saturday, he hit for the cycle, and, not to be outdone, he homered twice on Sunday (2-for-3, 3 RBIs, home run, 30 and 31).  His season numbers are now 85/31/90/.302/1.  All preseason I talked about how I wasn’t getting a 1st baseman in the first two rounds, so I was drafting Abreu everywhere, and I was nervous about it.  Let’s just say I’ve learned to appreciate The Tide of Uze.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Victor Robles was called up by the Nats.  He’s number two in Prospector Ralph’s top 100 prospects, and everyone loves him, even Brad Garrett!  Robles will likely be the first guy I go over this offseason when I go over some high-profile rookies for 2018.  He is real, and he’s beautiful.  So, here’s the text question I posed to Prospector Ralph yesterday, “Who gets more at-bats from now until the end of the season for the Nationals, Alejandro De Aza or Robles?”  At that point, Ralph stopped talking to me, but it’s even worse.  Prior to my text, I saw “…” showing that he was typing, then that disappeared and nothing.  Just silence.  Eventually, I got a text back that Robles could play half the time.  I don’t know.  My guess is Nats are promoting him as a sort of butt pat that he did well this year.  Maybe he replaces Werth, Kendrick or Taylor here and there and plays a few times a week.  Werth’s shoulder has been barking and he’s woof, in general.  I didn’t care about picking up Robles in a 12-team mixed league, but grabbed him in a 15-teamer to drop Francisco Mejia, who was last week’s “YOU GOTTA GRAB HIM!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It is that time of the year when usual bullpen scenarios start to rear their ugly heads.  The terms “falling back to earth” and “gassed” take hold of even the veteran of bullpens.  That seems to be the case in the rock pile in Colorado with Greg Holland.  Cruising along and then bam, that reliever wall hits.  Especially for someone of his ilk that is coming off a few lost seasons with arm woes.  I usually say 50 innings is about when we start seeing it, but that number varies by innings in previous years, pressure situations, and the leverage that those situations come with.  The unfortunate thing is that with Greg the last two are very prominent.  He is fourth in the league amongst relievers in pressure situations, fifth in pitching with the lead, and the last four games are an indicator that he may be spinning his wheels a bit.  Three blown saves in his last five appearances and only 2 saves since August started.  Not encouraging news for a team that is honing in or trying to hone in on a playoff spot.  The good thing for Holland owners is that he looks to be given some leash here, but with proven relievers with semi-reliable numbers behind him, like Jake McGee and Pat Neshek, the need for a cuff here is paramount as the fantasy playoffs and season winds down.  Every save counts when you start losing them from a reliable source.  That is the worst predicament when projecting out the rest of the year to see if you have enough horses to get you to the finish line.  McGee and then Neshek are the adds for a just in case situation as Holland could be given a breather for a day or three.  Let’s see what else is going down in the land after starters…

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Michael Conforto left yesterday’s game on a swing and miss that dislocated his shoulder and a posterior capsule tear.  Dude fell like he was punched in the face by the Ghost of Muhammad Ali.  Anyone know if the Ghost of Muhammad Ali was at the game?  Float like a butterfly in a sheet…  Ever hear about the three drunk ghosts?  They were three sheets to the wind.  Take it, Highlights!  It’s yours!  This doesn’t sound good for Conforto.  Reports are saying he’s likely done for the year.  Taking over for Conforto will likely be Brandon Nimmo.  Laura Holt just gave you her Brandon Nimmo fantasy, as if she had some sort of premonition about Conforto.  Oh my god, she’s a witch!  Hand her a refrigerator and she if she floats!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Put down that Fantasy Football magazine!! (Do they even make fantasy sports magazines any more? Man, I miss walking to the mailbox in late February and seeing my beautiful new fantasy baseball magazine sitting there.  Damn interweb!  Wait, if it weren’t for reading about fantasy sports on the internet, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.  Hmm, may need to rethink my position on this).  Anyway, I know it’s hard to pay attention to fantasy baseball at this time of year, even if your teams are hanging in there, and it’s emotionally and mentally grueling to follow along if your teams have already crashed and burned. I get it… another weekend of one step forward (Colin McHugh) and two steps back (Jake Odorizzi and Roberto Osuna – thanks, guys!) had me so frustrated in a deep AL-only league where my team is fading fast, that I barely remembered to set my lineup this week. I’ll also admit that when I sat down to write this article, I was almost immediately distracted by all of the pretty pictures of NFL players, and spent about twelve minutes thinking about whether to rank Bilal Powell or Carlos Hyde higher in a football draft that isn’t happening for another week and a half.

But even if it’s only a few minutes each week, check in on your poor, neglected friend, your old pal fantasy baseball. Even if you don’t have a team vying for a money spot, keep your head in the game. Do it for your league-mates, and do it for yourself… even if it doesn’t make a difference this year, maybe it will impact your 2018. You may uncover a hidden gem of a player, or a piece of information that will percolate in your brain over the winter, and turn into a late-round steal or early waiver wire pick up next year.  Those of us who missed the Ryan Zimmermans, Justin Smoaks, and Scooter Gennetts, of the world in 2017 know just how big a difference a couple of these fellas can make.

For now, though, we remain in 2017… with another handful of players who may be available in your NL or AL-only league to assist you in getting through the season’s remaining weeks:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We go over Adam Jones later on the podcast.  Kidding, no one gives two effs about Adam Jones.  I mean, I’m sure he’s a pleasant enough guy.  I don’t mean no one gives two effs like a person from Boston before they all became magically woke this past weekend.  I’d let Adam Jones date my daughter, if I had a daughter.  Shoot, he can date my mom if he wants; I got one of those.  I just want Adam Jones in my family!  *snaps fingers*  They’re creepy and they’re kooky, all together ooky; The Adam Jones Family.  Nah, it isn’t about him on why no one gives two effs about him, it’s because of how boring he is for fantasy.  Not bad boring, just boring boring.  Don’t put words in my mouth.  Shut up, Random Italicized Voice.  Yesterday, he went 4-for-4, 3 runs and his 23rd and 24th homers, hitting .281, and had zero hits the game before, and will likely have zero hits today because he needs to level out yesterday’s wonderful with a strong helping of boring.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Between Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Ozzie Albies, Amed Rosario, Rhys Hoskins and Yoan Moncada baseball is staying at a Renaissance Hotel.  “Is that a Cal Ripken mint rookie card under my pillow and a Beckett Baseball Card Guide in the side table?  What a great hotel!”  That’s me staying at a baseball-themed Renaissance Hotel.  Oh, and this is barely touching a majority of Ralph’s top 100 fantasy baseball prospects.  By the way, I Googled top 100 baseball rookies from the preseason, and Baseball America had Dansby Swanson, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, Jharel Cotton, Jose De Leon, Robert Gsellman and Albert Almora in the top 10.  (Judge was 12th, Bellinger 19th and Ben Grieve 5th.  Okay, not Grieve, but you get the drift.)  Rookies are a crapshoot, but baseball ate some beans and is shooting crap!  (That sounded better in my head.)  Yesterday, Rafael Devers hit his 5th and 6th homers, coming in only his 16th game, as he hits .339.  He’s only 20 years old!!!  Triple exclamation marks due to sticky keyboard because of Giancarlo, my apologies.  If I had the time or motivation, I’d go back to the comments from people who said within three days of Devers’ call-up that he’s overmatched.  Yo, I think you might want to hold back your hot takes for a minute.  For 2018, Devers or Benintendi?  Okay, I’m gonna hold back my own hot takes, but you’re seriously considering the guy who’s only been up for two-plus weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We break from the usual 12 dollar salads, donkeys, and hypothermia to breakdown, in basic fashion, the relief rankings for the final 70-plus games.  Why is this helpful you may ask?  Because for trade target reasons or chasing saves for points, you may want guy A over guy B.  With the relief ranks it is as fluid as a clogged sewer drain, because on any given week, the middling type closer can hit bumps in the road and be removed from contention. So if you are using this as a trade commodity in your quest to add saves, my advice is this add the elite only.  Nothing lower than the top-12.  These guys are all nailed on and in an impressive state, barring an injury obviously. Now with that, we also have to realize that trades will happen… and take one reliever from a good situation to a better one, then on the reflexive of that, it can turn one with a job into a set-up situation.  Regardless, here is my stab at the top relief pitchers for the second half of the Fantasy Baseball season.  Cheers!

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