Welcome to the unofficial second half of the fantasy baseball season. If you’re reading this, I tip my dirty turban in your general direction, because that means despite half your roster being on the DL you’re still in the hunt for all the cash, bragging rights, glory and glory holes that is a fake baseball championship. If you’re reading this because you thought this was a Ben Wa ball site, let me be the first to apologize and welcome you to the Razzball Lounge. I’m sure we have some of those balls around here somewhere. Tehol? This is the place we almost award winning fantasy scribes come to pour over the numbers a little and pour out the scotch a lot more. Bellying up to the bar in his Montreal Expos Gary Carter throwback we find resident Razzball Radio on the TV host Nick C-A-P-O-Z-Z-I.  “I’ll trade a Razzball 32 in 32 in 32 ticket for one more Labatts and two of those Slim Jims.” Over at the juke box is the Razzball editor-in-kimchee Jay(Wrong) dropping quarters and lip syncing to Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” for the seventh time. “Hey guys, I drafted Joaquin Benoit in the third round. Who’s the expert now?” *bottle smashes above head* Duct taped to the bar stool is rookie writer Ralph Lifshitz. Feel free to draw this on his face with a Sharpie. “Hazing is a crime ya know!” Silence, rook! Staggering out of the ladies room with his latest conquest is the one and only Tehol Beddict. “Why the long faces gang? I’ve been in last place since April.” And won’t you join your-humble-yet-not-quite-sober Guru here at the pool table. *adjusts turban, closes eye, banks cue ball off three rails, sinks eight ball, lights smoke, sets beard on fire* Shut off that damned boy band crap and put on some Motorhead. It’s time to play the game. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Save Vulture is no ordinary animal. Or Jordanian animal, as my autocorrect wanted me to write. The Save Vulture doesn’t need much sunlight. The Save Vulture doesn’t need water in its purest form; it can distill water from cola, in a process called sodasynthesis. The Save Vulture is strictly a meat eater. It’s even been known to remove vegetables that are in the proximity of meat it plans on devouring. The one thing it considers a vegetable is a potato and that’s in chip form, which it consumes daily. The Save Vulture is not a social animal, but it does have close ties to its mother. Sometimes staying in the nest for 35 to 40 years. Once it leaves the nest, it usually latches onto a partner that nurtures it like a mother would. The Save Vulture doesn’t work much, except six months a year when it’s scrolling through a fantasy waiver wire for potential closers. The Save Vulture’s most active time is the last two weeks of July when closers could change teams, thus making a new reliever a closer. The Save Vulture preys on the weakness of others who lose their closer. This year, one of the most likely targets for The Save Vulture is Ken Giles with Jonathan Papelbon likely being traded. The Save Vulture is also flying over Huston Street, waiting to swoop in on Joaquin Benoit‘s carcass. Do you think The Save Vulture isn’t looking at Neftali Feliz if Joakim Soria is traded? You must be Joakim. Some desperate Save Vultures are talking about Koji Uehara being traded and Edward Mujica taking over. Not to be confused with Huston Street, but Chad Qualls on a Houston St. could go to a contender and Jesse Crain or Tony Sipp or Josh Fields or Jose Veras or Craig Biggio in a bad wig would step in. Could LaTroy Hawkins get moved? You bet your white Blackmon! In that case, Adam Ottavino or Rex Brothers would step in. The Save Vulture is even monitoring Matt Lindstrom‘s rehab, knowing if he’s healthy in the next few weeks, he could take over again. The Save Vulture doesn’t bathe itself, unless you count spilled soda, but it is the most diligent about stealing closers this time of year, I suggest you do the same. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Ahh, I remember the Midway, it was fun it was like an air show but instead of crashes there were bullets.  I was just informed by Jay that statement is both wrong and wrong.  Moving on as graceful as Martha Graham.  So  I was actually thankful for a few days off, unhappy I didn’t make the all-star team, but I’m told that poor vocabulary and lack of knowledge of the home row keys are not determining stats that merit all-stardom.  Holds are fun, I don’t care what you say, if that makes me a loser for rooting for a fake stat, then I’m a loser.  This guys help your team though even if you don’t play in a Holds or NSVH league.  I am being serious.  I am the Will I am Tell of the loogy business.  Let’s check out my four up and four down for the closers in the second half, and stay around after that for some set-up news and blues.

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Sell George Springer? Are you mad, man? You’re not Joan, that’s for sure. You could be Bertram Cooper, because you are dead to me. I know, it’s blasphemy of the highest order. Springer, for Chris Cooper in Lone Star’s sake, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated! Of course, that’s assuming anyone actually sees a cover of anything. Are there magazines anymore? That’s a question for Stephen Hawking’s Speak ‘n Spell! That would be a great trick question for an alien. True or false, the smartest man on the planet uses a toy for a 5-year-old to speak. Guarantee that I’d trip up Andrelton Simmons with that question. Any the hoo! Springer is striking out like an insane man. If he continues on this rate, he may not hit above .200. For serious. He’s making Adam Dunn look selective. Since 2000, he has the 15th worst K-rate. Only two guys hit above .259 in that time frame with that bad of a K-rate, and one of them needed a .404 BABIP (that means he was lucky). Most guys averaged around .220. I don’t doubt Springer will be great. Maybe even as soon as next year, but he needs to make some serious adjustments, and, with him on the cover of a magazine(!), he’s getting so much pub that you can sell him for a lot more than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I know bad raps can make a career… I mean Shaq made his secondary career off of them, but Joel Peralta is really getting one.  Everyone loves change, and the whole shiny new toy factor associated with bullpens, but I’m here to learn you something about guys that have been drafted, dropped, and then added and dropped twice over this year.  The Tampa Bay bullpen, and starters for that matter, are just bad this year. But, in the last 30 days, Peralta has lowered his ERA by 3-and-half runs.  That’s not exactly easy, especially on a team 15-plus games below .500. Also, he has more K’s, same ERA, and more Holds than the now more-coveted  Jake McGee during the last 30 days. Better pitcher all year, McGee, better lately? Peralta (but he burned us, so we give him the finger).  Just me giving my two cents.  I mean fluctuation, and “oooh that guy looks good in macrame shorts” are a blinding factor for rostering fringe bullpen guys.  Stick around for some cool bullet points shaped like baseballs… neat.

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Everyone knows about the top prospects getting called up. The Singleton’s, Tavares’, and Springer’s get all the pub, as they should.  Hitters that actually hit the ball only need to be successful 3 out of 10 times, and they are considered fantastic… even all-stars.  Now a pitcher gets 3 out of 10 wins, he’s a bum of the highest order, like a bum that can’t play an instrument, but has a puppy for sympathy change.  We all know that guy.  So the rookie RP getting called up around this time may stick with their respective teams, and they may not.  The three in particular I am referring to are Cam Bedrosian, Shae Simmons and Corey Knebel.  Bedrosian’s numbers in the minors are crazy unimaginable, and he could find himself in a great situation once he gains the trust of the bullpen-opath in Scoiscia.  The latter two are prolly not really factors, just yet as Simmons is blocked by the current GOAT at the position, and Knebel, albeit the first 2013 draft pick to make the majors, is going to be a bit-player until next year unfold’s.  I just wanted to point out that bullpen only-guys that get promoted need some love, it’s not like they smell like that musically challenged, puppy wielding guy from previous.  These adds are more of a deeper league or keeper league adds now, though I have speculated on Bedrosian in a 16-teamer with a deeper bench.

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If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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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 first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?