Step right up folks, only $5 waiver wire bucks gets you the admission of a lifetime!  It brings you wonderment beyond compare, unfulfilled roster spots with the snap of a finger, and most of all, it gives you zero return on your initial investment sometimes.  Yes, that’s right gents (and gals too!), it’s the ever growing laundry pile that sits in the corner, but without the physical stench its the bullpen keystone capers.  Key the music!  The Blue Jays started the year thinking the man with the poor eye sight would be nice a cozy in the head bullpen chair.  Unbeknownst to them, he sucked and failed at his job and was demoted to a set-up role.  Fast forward two and half whole weeks, and he is somehow back to being the man again.  Did he develop a new pitch, started throwing with his feet? Nope, he is still the same ole Brett Cecil.  He isn’t throwing any harder and didn’t change his wind-up.  He is just the next man up after Miguel Castro went all bay of pigs, making us all buy into him, and then poof went the dynamite.  I personally didn’t think it would be a forever type scenario, and as far as I’m concerned, Cecil isn’t the man either as he sits right now.  That just opens the door for possiblities… a trade (Papelbon perhaps), a free agent signee off the street (Rafael Soriano), or eventually going back to Castro or letting Roberto Osuna get a shot at the title.  My answer is yes to all the above.  I think it takes another failure by Cecil for the contending Blue Jays to realize that they need to shore that thing up.  So in a month we could see a whole new bullpen there, and no, I am not kidding.  So now that the team beyond the wall is taken care of this week, let’s peruse what else is happening around the league in bullpen situations.

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Rajai Davis is, once again, a SAGNOF-ian legend.  Again, again, again, was exactly what he did on Saturday when the 34-year-old outfielder stole 3 bases.  This year he might just be the best fantasy player of all those playing only part time (the other player fighting for this honor, in my opinion, is Alex Guerrero).  He has 6 stolen bases despite starting in only 9 of 18 games through Saturday for the Tigers.  Digging up some career stats I see that he’s never needed much playing time to rack up the SBs.  Since he broke out with 41 stolen bases in 2009 he’s averaged 42 steals per season while at the same time averaging only 124.5 games played.  And many of those games weren’t starts.

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The closer carousel continues to spin round and round. In the season’s first week, Joaquin Benoit’s ride ended abruptly in the fallout of the Craig Kimbrel trade and Jason Grilli climbed aboard to take his place. This week, thanks to the early season struggles of 42 year old former closer LaTroy Hawkins, Adam Ottavino (+83.9%) became the new 9th inning reliever for the Rockies and was the most added player in fantasy baseball. A Rockies reliever? Awesome! Why don’t I just pick up Kelly Gregg and put my ratios out of their misery? That’s your Coors Field park factor voice playing devil’s advocate. When you consider Ottavino’s abilities to keep the ball on the ground (62.5% GB% this season in 6.1 IP – small sample size alert!; 45.6% career), rack up the strikeouts (54.6% K% this season; 25.7% in 2014), and limit his walks allowed (4.6% BB% this year; 5.9% in 2014), the Coors concern is somewhat alleviated. He also appears to have ditched his ineffective change-up in favor of a cutter to keep left-handed hitters honest and improve his split issues against that side. Factor it all in and he looks like a potential top 10 closer this year and an early treasure for fantasy owners. “In Ottavino, there is truth…” Here are a couple of this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball:

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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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Greetings all and welcome to the first regular season edition of One Man’s Trash. Fantasy drafts are in the books, real baseball is back, and the weather is warming up. Optimism abounds. Wait, Craig Kimbrel was just traded to the Padres? Good thing I drafted Joaquin Benoit in four leagues. %#@! And that brings us to this week’s column. As we await the week one transaction data to analyze in next week’s column, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the players who I consider to be fantasy treasures this season, and maybe one or two who are best left on the trash heap. I’ll focus mostly on the positives though, because what’s the point of being negative this early on? I have the entire season to do that! Mwahaha…

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The pieces are all set, and it’s like the beginning of checkers…  Before you secretly cheat while your cousin isn’t looking, you should know that 28-of-the-30 teams have labeled a guy to be their respective closer.  Now, for some, that’s like being labeled the “Hand of the King” and with bad pitching performances, their heads will soon be on a pike out side of Comerica.  Yeah, that was a shot at you Joe Nathan, we are all whistling happy trails under our breath as you slowly ride of into the sunset Shane style.

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Whenever spring training starts to wind down and the closer spot is yet to be determined, it’s never a good thing.  It causes rosters to get fat off the land, and wastes your draft picks on no-news type situations. I will turn my one good lazy eye to the Minute Maid conundrum of “who closes for the Astros?”  Some may ask: “who cares?” But this is the essence of SAGNOF believers. Cheap closers are what makes the fantasy world get on a sit, spin, chug a beer, and scream obscenities at trolley cars.  So from the beginning of the hot-stove baseball season, and even after they signed Luke Gregerson, I believe that it’s still Chad Qualls‘ job.  No news is good news for the incumbent… Even though the news all across the reliever landscape is all speculation, “he said this” and “the beat writer said that”.  Well, the only person who actually knows is the manager, Hinch.  So I am going to do my best to break it down from my ivory soap tower.  Stick around, there may be something fun or edible once you get inside.

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It’s been a long, tough winter (especially for those of you who live in the Northeast), but the wait is almost over. Spring training is in full swing and the regular season is just around the corner. That means, of course, that fantasy baseball draft season is here.

Recently, we’ve attempted to identify the next Corey Kluber and looked at some hitters who displayed above average power and plate discipline over the past couple of seasons. Today, we’re going to focus on relief pitchers. If you’re looking for the latest closer rankings as well as the top handcuff and hold options, check out the Bullpen Report, which provides excellent RP analysis each and every week.

This post will attempt to identify relievers with a very specific profile: power arms with high K-rates. Players who throw hard and miss bats. It’s that simple. Well, mostly. Let’s take a look at the search filters that I used for this exercise:

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Does anything feel as comforting, yet restricting as a pair of fuzzy handcuffs? They just lack the masculinity that a normal grown man would like to admit…But you sprinkle in the testosterone laced excitement of fantasy baseball, and BOOM.  The fellas that we will be examining this week should be drafted in all leagues that speculate in the save department. Note to you, that is every league.  You are basically looking for these few outliers to light your path to save endearment.  First, pick a closer situation that has one clear cut guy as the fall back option. Second, find a team that looks to be on the right side of standings, which in theory is the left side, because that’s where wins go.  Third, you want a team that utilizes a keen sense of relief inevitability, vis-à-vis a manager that likes guys in certain situations; for us, that’s the guys that will be the best shut down reliever not named “closer” in the bullpen.  It’s pretty simple math there, no helmet needed or safety strapping cabinets, so you don’t pinch your digits.  So let’s have at some of Smokey’s smorgasbord of top guys you should wanna be sniping from other purveyors of the save.  Oh and by the way, I am ignoring guys like Wade Davis, Andrew Miller , and Ken Giles because if your league doesn’t draft them, then you should skip baseball and focus on Fantasy Soccer.

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We now get to the ugly step-sister of rankings and the waiver darling position that we all chase.   The relief pitcher is by far the most debated position on who to draft, where, and when.  For the most part, I agree with you (with whatever you think), but the guys you want…if you get them where they are being drafted, usually beat or exceed value.  Injuries suck and do happen, you just can’t prevent them. You just have to be in a position of favor and hope that you land his replacement.  Sucktitude, i.e see Joe Nathan last year, is just a roster burden and usually drags you down all season because he isn’t someone you can just drop, but he makes it awfully hard to roster.  It’s a catch-22, to stat or not to stat.  Last year saw an unforgivable 10 closer changes in the first six weeks. That is not something you can pad your roster with enough save-cuffs for.  So let’s get to the first set of rankings of the year.  I will get into draft strategies for them, and as always, cover holds in the countdown to the season.

Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Ralph and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out…

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