Closer news, closer news… We need a musical about fantasy baseball, sorta like Newsies, but with a little Book of Mormon thrown in.  Perhaps a musical adventure of sonnets and mignonettes by Stephen Sondheim.  Come on, everybody loves a musical… he, no.  Okay, it’s just me then.  So drafting season is here, it’s the first and last time you will see over 20% of the guys drafting in your league until… well, never.  Ahh, the internet and its anonymity. So with the games in the land of koala bears and oil cans happening this weekend, baseball is here.  Officially.  I have confirmed with multiple sources and gave them credit for groundbreaking stuff via twitter.  So the week before the fake regular season I have 4 questions that we still need answers to, or was just wondering in my own stoned malaise.

The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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The closer news is kind of like that pond back in the woods by Me’ma’s house.  You know the one where you and your first “girlfriend” from Canada used to meet up and read scripture.  Stagnant is the term for all you wordsmith’s out there.  Spring training games just literally got started this week and the battles that are going on for unnamed closer spots; Rangers, White Sox and Astros, are still a hmmm situation.  So until someone actually gets hurt, assassinated, or decides that baseball is no longer fun for him… we are at a stand still.  Updates are always good though, and fun.  It’s like Sudoku or the aggravation of doodling little numbers next to each box, stupid little numbers.  They make it look all messy like a 4-year-old is doing it and you get all self conscious and hide it form the guy sitting next to you on the plane.   It’s okay, admitting it is the hard part.  Just say it to yourself and give yourself a wink in the mirror.  So here is the slightly adjusted list of closers, the addition of Fernando Rodney not only adds legitimacy and tilte to the lefty’s swagger.  So have at the list for this week and hopefully we will have some more news or will make up some stuff that’s more interesting in the upcoming weeks.

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To answer your first question, no, I am not dead.  Secondly, sorry to disappoint you.  As we count down the days to draft and when pitchers/catchers report, it’s a virtual ‘pins and needles’ fest for some of the closer battles that could be looming.  Some of these battles are going to be very interesting, ’cause battles are awesome and make fools of everyone.  Let’s dive into some of those battles, shall we? The Cubs and their smoke-show of a bullpen is first and foremost. Jose Veras looks to be the guy, until Pedro Strop‘s me-mah gets all free paella for every manager named Sveum.  The Orioles still really don’t have a closer, and until free agency is kaput, Tommy Hunter is the guy. And the other one to keep an eye on is Colorado… I mean my name is Smokey… so I am firmly entrenched in the bumper crop going on there.  LaTroy Hawkins has been called the “closer” for now.  I have a feeling that the Rockies, at some point, get all nepotistic and gives it to Rex Brothers. The last situation I would monitor is the effectiveness and trust level that Pittsburgh has with Grilli, who is getting back into the saddle.  Mark Melancon is arguably the first non-definite closer for me that is draft worthy over some guys who are low on this list that have the job.  So stay tuned conclusionary fans, it’s early and things are always a changin’.  Like last year, I will be doing an off-week Holds post to keep all things relievers up to date.

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Oh, how we are going to miss Mariano Rivera. I’ve never owned him, but always wished I did. Personally, I’m a Yankee hater, but I always enjoyed watching him work his ninth inning magic like a smooth pick up artist. So now we are left without one of the greatest closers to ever play the game and a permanent fixture on the $12 salad menu. But like all things fantasy, we must move on and start prepping for next season by keeping our minds sharp and our cheat sheets easily accessible. The great mix up called free agency and the winter meetings are just a stones throw away and will hopefully give us some clarity into what comes next.

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Out of the fire and into the Frieri pan, or as the Sciosciapath would say, buffet Thursdays. Ernesto Frieri has imploded you ratios the past 10 days and has been put into a closer-by-committee type situation. This is ungood for fantasy purposes twofold; first no one wants to roster the remaining parts of the Angels bullpen, namely Dane de la Rosa or the like. Second, after he has taken a steaming pile of feces on your team, do you really want Frieri to remain. Well Daniel Bryan is currently a yes man so think of him on opposite day. The Angels best option to take the job is currently back in the rotation; Garret Richards was doing swell in the pen until the Angels were sucking fumes in the first 6 innings of games and needed some youthful infusion. So now we are stuck in a CBC holding pattern until Frieri figures his hiccups out or some one like “Chaka” Kohn or the loosely translated “damage of the rose” emerges. Stay tuned or don’t, I have plenty of Dipsy Doodles to occupy my time.

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If you’re squeamish, don’t watch the video of Tim Hudson getting hurt. That’s what they say. This is like saying, “Your Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus) presents are under the tree (Star of David, Star Jones, pole) and they’re unwrapped, but don’t look at them.” Is there anyone in the history of mankind who’s ever heard the phrase “don’t watch this because it’s too gruesome” and has actually stopped watching it. That sentence is brain crack! It’s like your brain neurons suddenly start moving around like a Roomba in a closet, bumping into the sides, trying to get out. So, with that said, I wouldn’t watch it. Hudson will need surgery and is out for the year. Well, if Eric Young was gonna step on his foot like THAT I wouldn’t have been speculating for two months who was going to get bumped for Brandon Beachy. I’ve been saying for the last two months that I don’t own Beachy. I think he’s going to give a lot less than what you’re expecting. Tommy John surgery causes most pitchers to lose control when they first return, and Beachy has a 5+ BB/9 in the minors. That would be near the worst in the major leagues. Edinson Volquez looks at that walk rate and says, “Whoa, pardner.” You know the guy from Shadesville at the horse track who goes around picking up discarded race tickets hoping to find a winner, if you pick up Beachy, you might resemble that guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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From fear that MLB would crack down on Performance-Enhancing Goggles, Francisco Rodriguez was traded to the Orioles. Or was something else at work besides the Orioles wanting Dor-K to pitch the 8th, setting up Jim Johnson? Here, try this. Put your arm down, now pick it up, now put it down, now move your furry eyebrows up and down. Jim Henderson, The Muppet Master, pulls all strings. He orchestrates all. He forces Beaker to say, “Me me me me me me me.” Bit of a control freak if you ask me, but it worked out for him this time, since Henderson will be taking over the ninth inning now in Milwaukee. For those holding John Axford for saves, it could happen since he’s been solid for the last two months. The Brewers could still trade Henderson or Axford. Or the Brew Crew could send out 2014 season ticket offers reading, “Braun’s Back Without the Acne!” Only time will tell. As for K-Rod, in most redraft leagues that don’t use middle relievers, you can lose him. This did come across the wire in Baltimore, when you trade for K-Rod, then you better watch your back. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In mythology, Hector was the Trojan prince and the greatest warrior in the Trojan war. So step aside Brad Pitt, while you were fighting the undead in World War Z, Hector Santiago was in warrior mode last night as he dominated the Royals, pitching 8.0 innings, surrendering just 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 ER and striking out five for his third win. Hector could be seen rallying his team in the dugout, “Troy is mother to all of us. Fight for her!” An unorthodox approach for sure, but it worked as the ChiSox managed to score nine runs of support for Santiago. The eight innings was his longest outing of the year, and it was certainly his best, the only blip being the solo home run to Eric Hosmer in the sixth inning. Even if it was only the Royals, Hector seems to have figured things out. Since taking over for the injured Jake Peavy, Sanitago has given up just 5 ER in 19.2 IP, with 2 wins and a 19/7 K/BB ratio. Not bad for the Prince of Troy. Hector is owned in just over 30% of RCL leagues and gets the Cleveland Indians next Friday. If you’re feeling brave like a Trojan warrior I’d start him, but he’s worth the add either way. As long as Peavy is sidelined, Prince Hector should see plenty of opportunities to succeed going forward, and he will fight for your fantasy team.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball last night:

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When I told you to pick up Joaquin Benoit yesterday, I was 85% sure he would close games until the Tigers traded for Papelbon, who will be known in Detroit as a Papelbonneville. Then, because Leyland reads Razzball between smokes, he named Benoit closer by not naming him the closer. He said, “I’m not naming anybody closer. I’m just saying if Benoit was available right now, I would try to close with him.” Thanks for clarifying! Managers deciding on a closer is like debating euthanasia. Valverde’s done, pull the plug! The Yelp reviews for Benoit are through the roof, but there’s a lot of five star reviews from fantasy baseballers with only one other closer. I’d grab Benoit in all leagues and hope he can hold the job and make the thought of trading for Papelbonneville absurd. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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