The trade deadline usually makes a real hash out of bullpens, and this year was no different.  Closers become just ordinary relievers.  Ordinary relievers become closers on teams punting.  Even further down, the holds through the obtuse guys now become a usable commodity.  Fantasy baseball with hold leagues, catch the spirit!  So like I was just saying, we have seen 5-6 teams rip apart their pecking order for hold-dom, and in some cases muddle up the closer order by trade, attrition, or subtraction.  This is a good thing, makes decisions easier.  Aim for guys on teams that are still getting you save opportunities. If you can’t find the stat, always fall back on the standings to guide your waiver wire hand.  Or even more finite, look at that teams W/L record over the last 10 games.  It is no coincidence that the top three teams in save opportunities since the All-Star break have winning records (Dodgers, Mariners, and Blue Jays).  Also, if you haven’t been streaming Holds yet this year, there is no better time than the present.  The list of holds leaders over the last 15 games is littered with names that weren’t even in print by me for the whole year.  So don’t be afraid to roster the unknown rather than a commodity because with the season basically over in six weeks (three if you have playoffs), every one counts and every H2H win counts.  Cheers!

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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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Last week we covered the other “S” in the “AGNOF”, that being the steals part of the whole acronym.  This week it’s saves… sorta.  And to be fair, I will touch on some steals guys this week too.  But for today, we take a gander at the Saves portion, but for better and more finite terminology, we are going to look at some of the changing needed cuffs that before the year were must owns and have basically faded away from their usefulness so far to date.  Now, being a setup relief pitcher is basically like a coupon that eventually expires.  The amount of useful relief pitchers from day one to game 162 is small, like the count on both hands kinda small.  It is an ever fluxing market where injuries, poor form, and situational involvement change from one game to the next.  I wish it weren’t so, but it is.  Everyone has a crush on the roster the draft at the beginning of the year, but soon enough a girl from another school moves in and is more prominent or endowed than the previous love fest.  That is baseball, and the last 1-2 relieve spots on your team should always be changing, just to maximize the roster spot value. So here are some of the more popular names that have fallen by the way side of rosterability or some guys that may have increasing market value.  Get your hands up, so we can slap some cuffs on ya…

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A funny thing happened on my way to work today, I sat there in my favorite sitting place and did some research.  I looked at the availability of information provided by the other experts in the world of fantasy baseball, and then correlated that to what I do best.  That, my friends, is bullpens.  We as a collective fantasy universe play in leagues with the illusive yet sultry stat category known as the Hold.  In fact, in some further research that I have done, an estimated 30% of all fantasy players play in a league with some sort of Hold associated with the final outcome in the standings.  I mean, 30% is basically like winning the popular vote.  [Jay’s Note: I love you Smokey.] But I am standing here aghast at the amount of research poured into this fantasy industry by experts all around the world, yet here I sit.  Giving you the most diverse, in-depth, informative (yet funny), and groundbreaking stat analysis that not even world-wide leaders give… for free might I add.  I love me some bullpens, and if you don’t play in a league that adds diversity to the game to include them, then maybe you should down shift a bit and give it some thought and do a league that includes it.  Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.  Because this way I gain, at least one reader from each person that does it.  Go search the inter-webs for holds type information, you get a column sorted catastrophe written by some intern who doesn’t know the difference between good and well.  So stay here my friends, I am the goods through and through. I dropped the Holds chart weeks ago and now you get just straight cheddar and some rankings.

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Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

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As the season draws nigh, and it comes to the point in the season when we here at Razzball use words like nigh, verisimilitude, or even rancorous.  Don’t ask me what the meaning is, because I could barely spell them without my handy speak and spell.  The whole gist of this discussion is to basically look at our roster and think diversification.  Look at the bullpen pieces that currently occupy one or several of  your pitcher spots.  I say this because we all want counting stats at all times, and in a manner… this is why come the end of the year, it is very sexy to have guys who have multiple pitching eligibility for the off chance your don’t have a starter going in a spot or on an innings limit.  These fellas help out in K’s, rates, vulture wins, and since we are here for the holds, they do them too.  Listen, this isn’t a new thing or a crazy theory that I concocted in my basement after painting too man model airplanes.  Though, the thought process after that is kinda cloudy and sorta fun? So here is a rundown of the guys with some dual eligibility late in the fame to aide in your fantasy quest. Cheers!

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As the season begins to wind down, and the grind of the first four months feeds into the stretch run of the final two months. The contenders begin to rise to the top in Razzball’s own dynasty league the Razznasty. We got a serious race going, with the top spot changing hands multiple times over the last few days. RCL Czar Matt Truss sits atop the mountain, for the next few hours at least. BTW Matt you are a Czar, watch out for Commies old friend. Look at that a Russian history lesson mixed with fantasy baseball. I’m gunning for a Smithsonian gig one day. In the meantime I’ll keep providing you with gushing articles about prospects, dynasty strategy, and PROSPECT PODCASTS!!! I hope everyone is ready for our first episode coming tomorrow!!! We’ll be talking the prospect side of the trade deadline, and some of the recent weeks callups. Benintendi anyone? Yes, I have to mention him twice a post.

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The other day the Astros signed the coveted Cuban refugee, Yulieski Gourriel.  One time!  Yulieski is as apple pie as a Canadian tenor group making a political statement during the All-Star Game.  He’s 32 years old.  If he went by YuGo, that would make him the newest car in Cuba.  “Bueno Model T, amigo!  Now, tell me about this Ford Taurus I hear so much about.”  You know who a 32-year-old Cuban immediately reminds me of?  Hector Olivera and Alex Guerrero.  Sloppy comparison maybe.  Hey, that gives me an idea.  Whenever doing a sloppy comparison between players who just happen to be Cuban, we should call them Sloppy Jose’s.  We need a similar term for when making a sloppy comparison between Japanese players; please suggest in the comments.  As for Gourriel, yeah, I don’t see much here.  I watched video of him, and he looks like a 15 HR, 6 SB, .260 hitter, which is Hector Olivera.  I’m sorry, but those Sloppy Joses make sense sometimes.  This Gourriel signing obviously delays Bregman’s arrival, so boo, you mothereffer, boo.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Craig Biggio.  It’s a sloppy, imperfect comparison, but that’s who Alex Bregman looks like.  I watched three minutes of video of him.  So, that’s like saying there’s smoke emitting from every New York City manhole because underneath are old Filipino women making hot pretzels, who then transport them to the above ground vendors, because you found an old Filipino woman underneath one manhole cover making pretzels.  Luke, small is your sample size, said Yoda.  Now, if you buy into the Biggio comparison, which you should because Filipino women are making pretzels below New York City manholes, Biggio had three homers, six steals and hit .211 in his first 50 games.  Ya know, Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio.  Biggio was older then than (stutterer!) Bregman is now, if you were looking for an excuse.  Rookies sure are fun, right?  They mostly cause ulcers.  They.  Mostly.  Cause.  Ulcers.  TMCU, for short.  So, Bregman is crazy talented, he could be up soon, I would own him, but, for this year, I’d keep my expectations in Slovakia, or even Czech.  For further reading, Prospector Ralph has him number one on the top 100 fantasy baseball prospects.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Matt Harvey met with the Mets’ front office and told them, “You ruined my shoulder!  I was the Dark Knight!  Now I’m 1960s Batman in hard-to-watch Technicolor unable to move my arms to do the Batusi!”  Matt Harvey asked Bartolo if this ever happened to him and he said, “Nah, I am 90% jelly and custard.  My nerves are coated in more sugar than a churro.”  Harvey needs shoulder surgery due to thoracic outlet syndrome.  Sandy Alderson said it’s inevitable.  Pitchers who have had this surgery take at least a year to recover and sometimes never regain past form.  It could not only be a season killer, it could be the end of Harvey as we know him.  He could opt to rehab his shoulder without surgery, but rehabbing it won’t magically make his pitching better than he’s been all year, which is atrocious.  If you don’t have DL room, I could see dropping him.  Fun fact!  You know who suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome?  The Lispasaurus.  Tiny arms, big body.  Other dinosaurs pickin’ on ’em because of their lisp — why’d every dinosaur have to have an S sound in its name?!  Total recipe for messed-up shoulders.  “I hate Thoracic Park!”  Spielberg can make a Thoracic Park movie where an injured pitcher tries to repair his relationship with his pre-teen son while genetically-modified dinosaurs chase after them.  “I know I wasn’t there for you when you were growing up or for your keeper league team in 2014 or for that velociraptor attack 15 minutes ago, but I’m here for you now.”  The boy looks up, “How did that velociraptor throw a Warthen slider?”  The father responds, “He’s learning!”  Seth Smith is working on the script.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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