My fantasy roster is like Rick and his Walking Dead gang, just waiting around to be fattened up for the slaughter in that train car. Doesn’t Daryl have a hidden crossbow? Feel free to kill off Beth though. Currently my team has lost Cole Hamels and David Robertson. Not too bad, but couple that with the injuries to Adrian Beltre, Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig, and my team is on the verge of doing a Hershel. I feel like we should cue up that cheesy music they play at the Oscars when they pay tribute to those stars that died over the past year. Last week, the fantasy world lost Josh Hamilton (smattering of applause), Matt Moore (gasps) and Avisail Garcia (men openly weeping). Just bury them with all the other guys still on the DL – Clayton Kershaw (at least he’s throwing again), Matt Latos (skipping rehab start this week, uh-oh) and Jose Reyes (was born on the disabled list). Add Troy Tulowitzki (quad), Adrian Beltre (quad), Koji Uehara (shoulder quad), and Joe Nathan (dead arm quad) to the walking wounded list as well (guys hurtin’ but not DL’d) and we have a World War Z-sized fantasy apocalypse. Injuries are expected every year, but does it seem like there are more this season? Can I blame instant replay? Harold Reynolds? Someone or something is responsible. Quick, get Bartolo Colon to throw some stem cells in the Gatorade. I hear that helps. *note to self: Pitch embryonic energy drink to Gatorade, make millions, get killed by pro-life crusaders.* It’s time to bring in the fantasy reinforcements. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can cure what’s ailing our battered and broken roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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Lots of people tried to explain to me why you don’t slide into first base. I still don’t get it, so apparently I’m dense. Is 1st base lifted higher than other bases? Are there Lilliputians standing by first base with mini hammers? Is there a mini MC Hammer there singing U Can’t Touch This which is just so bizarre it screws you up and you hurt yourself? I get that it slows you down, so there’s no point to doing it. I understand that sprinters don’t slide into the finish line. I’ve heard that from countless announcers. I do kinda wish in the next Summer Olympics a sprinter would slide into the finish line just so announcers would stop saying it. I still don’t understand why people invariably get hurt doing it. Josh Hamilton for one. He’s out for 6-8 weeks with thumb surgery. He should’ve just had Ryan Braun look at it, he can cure thumbs just by brining them in vinegar. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Holy hell, what just happened?  This week was supposed to be about all the pomp and circumstance of opening day.  Then a closenado happened, a whirlwind of job loss and fake unemployment questions.  I  mean, before two games ended, two closers were replaced.  That’s just silly stupid, like buying a pack of crayons without the built in sharpener. Useless.  Roenicke and Ventura, I am putting a sfortuna and a pox on both your households. Moves like this usually lead to managerial unemployment, so maybe we aren’t so bad off, as both look well fixated on the Kohl’s managerial program. To make things worse, Bobby P fell down and ‘Papa Grande’ came tumbling after.

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It was all fine and dandy and then Roldy Chapman had to go and jump in front of a speeding bullet.  It caused the first waiver wire riot of the year.  Trick is, who to add?  Everybody jumped on the J.J. Hoover train and I don’t blame them.  He seems like the only real healthy choice, but have you seen him in ST? He looks god awful, like he is throwing with the losing end of a wishbone.   This situation is one to get all waiver wire giddy about, but it’s not going to be fluid.  Broxton and Marshall start the year on the boo-boo list and then what’s left?  I’ll tell ya, be patient, stop yelling….  Manny ParraI have read others speculating this, but I’m going to jump on it also.  It’s only a temporary situation anyways, and if you lost out on Hoover, why not get a good ‘what the hell’ add?  Could do worse, he has a K/9 over 10 in 2 full seasons as a set up guy and a ST K/BB rate of 11/1.  I mean if we are going on merit, which never happens, he deserves a look and may get a few early saves.

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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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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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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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You take a guy fresh off a boat — let’s call him Sailor — and Sailor’s boat left a country that didn’t have baseball. After explaining what baseball is, you tell Sailor that one baseball team, the Yankees, throws dollars at free agents. After a lengthy explanation that dollars are our currency and why presidents are on low denominations and a non-president is on the hundred and what the hell a free agent is, you then list the top free agent bats for this year: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran. You then ask Sailor which of those guys the Yankees will get. He’ll probably say one of the first couple of players. Or maybe he’ll say Robinson or Cano Jacoby because he won’t know their names and confuse where commas are when spoken. It’s such an obvious Yankee move to get Ellsbury that even Sailor figured it out. It reeks of throwing money at the team. Or maybe the Yankees just figured if they can’t work with Jay-Z, they’ll work with J-E. The short porch in right won’t hurt Ellsbury. What could hurt him is just about everything else that seems to hurt him every other year. Since 2009, his games played has been 153, 18, 158, 74 and 134. Saberhagenmetricans shudder at the thought of drafting Ellsbury following a big year. I’m with them. I won’t be drafting him anywhere, especially not after he gets bumped up in drafts from his newly adjusted Yankee tax. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 98/13/57/.279/32. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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