Some people consider it a made up stat, I say hogwash or peeee-shaw.  For the people who play in the leagues where the stat matters, it matters.  That’s about as devout as I can get since I had to sell my soapbox to pay for my addiction of collectible thimbles.  Now, I get it, the Hold stat isn’t for everyone. The basis of actually being a stat is wonky at best. These guys do more than just come in for one inning or one batter, they hold your periph numbers in check.  If you don’t believe, that’s fine, I don’t believe myself half the time.  Heck, I have no reading comprehension, so it’s more of a “in one ear out the other” type thing.  See, I already forgot what I was discussing here.  So this year, some of the top options that are going to be the go-to-holds guys are actually jumping up and taking the starring role for their teams due to injury. So I will delve into a few situations to monitor from a Holds perspective, as well as a nice handy chart with some predictions on the side of caution for the top-20 middle relievers, in terms of them garnering the coveted stat of the Hold.

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Everything black was white and white was black. Everything up was down and down was up. I was a Girl Scout and the only cookies I could sell were Rah-Rah Raisins and I couldn’t give away the Samoas. I was an Asian in NASCAR. I was a five-foot, six-and-a-half-inch white boy that could hoop. (Actually, that last one is true.) I zagged when I usually zigged! And it felt okay. I didn’t wake in a puddle of sweat like I was a puppet in the Land of Confusion video, wondering what I had done. I didn’t burn all my old draft manifestos like I was trying to escape Olivia Pope from finding me out. I just went at it a little different. This league is a 15-teamer, OBP league, so I used Rudy’s rankings. I still knew which players I liked and didn’t like, but I decided to lean on Rudy, which makes for an interesting draft when Rudy was using the same rankings. For unstints, when Matt Holliday sat at the top of my board for two rounds, I knew Rudy was going to draft him. When Ian Kennedy sat at the top of my board, I knew Rudy was going to Marilyn Monroe that Kennedy. Though, I also knew if I wanted a guy sitting at the top of my board, I needed to act before Rudy. Okay, you’re primed, let’s start coating your mind with knowledge. (BTW, Our Razzball leagues are signing up still. Go there and sign up now!) Anyway, here’s the 2015 Tout Wars draft and my thoughts:

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This draft was by Yours Trudy. Never understood that, Yours Trudy. Who is this Trudy that everyone is talking about? No, no, I’m not changing the subject before even embarking on the subject simply because I’m not happy with my team. How dare you j’accuse Yours Trudy of that! So, yesterday, on the Not-the-Ides of February, Grey Albright, the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it!) took part in a 12-team NL-Only draft that was commissioned by Scott White of CBS Fantasy. You know, CBS, they brought you such head-scratchers as Viva Laughlin and Travis d’Arnaud as a top 60 overall pick. In fact, I razzed one of the CBS ‘perts about his d’Arnaud love in the beginning of the draft, then the room nominated d’Arnaud and the CBS ‘pert didn’t draft him. I think I might’ve shamed too hard. *shrugs* C’est la. This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and 1,000 of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.) Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

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I’m staring out on a prairie in the middle of Palm Springs. Okay, it’s not a prairie. It’s more of a dirt field with a bingo card blowing through it. But let’s pretend it’s a prairie. Why am I standing in a prairie that’s not really a prairie? Because all great baseball moments happen this way. Just one man and rows of corn. Except those aren’t rows of corns, but walkers lined up against the window of a Starbucks. But let’s pretend they are cornfields! I’m pulling off my cap (not wearing a cap; don’t want to mess my hair), staring directly into the sky (wearing sunglasses) and screaming at the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, “Why do you have to make the rest of us suffer for the childhood you never had?!” Okay, I need to move on before the OPP (Old People Police) come after me. We should’ve known a rather pedestrian 7 IP, 4 ER from Masahiro Tanaka was a sign that he was hurt. We should’ve known! Or an even worse 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER start the next time out. We should’ve known! Alas, we didn’t know. So, Tanaka’s going for a variety of tests, and hopefully it’s nothing, but any time there’s something wrong with a pitcher’s elbow it’s something. Are we sure he didn’t inflame his elbow using Hideki’s porn collection? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s just sad when you watch what should be a fluid situation turn out to be a fiery car wreck.  That’s what the bullpen situation with the Angels is like.   Just awful to think about, watch and….yikes, to even be immersed in their roster purgatory is just dreadful.  Their bullpen is like the Swamp of Sadness in The NeverEnding Story.  Atreyu (Mike Scoiscia) leads his horse, Artax (Ernesto Frieri) there, and the horse gets swallowed up with despair (your roster).  The only bad thing is that Fred Savage isn’t in the Angels pen. Instead, we are stuck with Joe Smith, Ernesto Frieri and the schloo of underachieving or unproven arms that they have to offer.  I for one would like them to just settle on a guy, who cares if he fails 5 out of 10 times.  I was just informed that this is exactly what has happened already.  In all seriousness, roster Joe Smith, bench Ernesto.  Monitor everyone else, but don’t hold out hope that a luck dragon is going to come swoop in and save the situation, or your team if you got pot committed to the situation there.  Stick around for some random tidbits of mental masturbation…

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When Jaime Garcia was a kicker in high school for his Flick Football team, he lined up the paper football, just left of the finger uprights across from him, adjusting for the southwesterly wind coming from a student’s handheld fan. Like it was happening in slow motion, he flicked hard, the paper sailed through, poking the kid’s eye that was holding the finger uprights. Unfortunately, Garcia also pulled a finger tendon and had to watch from the sidelines the rest of the year as his team marched to the playoffs. Ever since then, he’s never been able to shake the injury bug, and yesterday he hit the DL with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord’s hunger for ruining pitchers’ arms didn’t stop at Garcia, and Michael Wacha is out with a shoulder injury too. Wacha, Wacha, f**ka! Wacha has a stress reaction on his shoulder, and the Cards are saying no surgery is required, but his fantasy owners may still want to make a Kenesaw Mountain Landis out of Doritos and pray to it. The good news, Carlos Martinez will now be in the rotation for at least another month. He went 5 IP, 3 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks yesterday, and I’d grab him in most leagues now that he’s staying in the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Go do some dad stuff today. Put on some plaid pants, play some golf, watch some baseball, fire up the grill, drink some Schlitz, and tell them kids to get off your lawn. When it comes to Papa Guru *cue “Cat’s in the Cradle”* I got my love for baseball, gambling and fine scotch from the man we kids called “Run, dad’s home!” When it comes to this fake baseball game we spend way too much time on while ignoring our own kids it all started for me when Papa Guru introduced me to Strat-O-Matic back in the 80’s. I was forever hooked on baseball stats. It was a fun game for father/son bonding until the old man got sent to the hoosgow for safecracking – not the best profession for a man that suffered hearing damage in ‘Nam. No, he wasn’t hurt in the war, he just got a little too close to Ning Pam during her flaming ping pong ball trick. Think The Deer Hunter crossed with Porn Hub. Since I basically played Russian roulette with closers on all my RCL teams this year I’ve been getting my face blown off by the likes of Grant Balfour and Jim Johnson all season long. I’m not hurting so much with steals, but could use a multi-positional bench SAGNOFer to maximize at-bats and grab some cheap stats. Let’s fire up the Jammer Crammer© machine and see if there’s anything left for us SAGNOF! starved Razzaholics to salvage. Since it is Father’s Day, I’ll let Papa Guru give his opinion on each player – he’s going to do it whether we let him or not. It’s time for an encore edition of the SAGNOF! Jam it or Cram it.

If you’re looking for some bonus jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio where Nick and your well turbaned Guru talk jams of the week and I share why I hate the World Cup.

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Before I tell you what Prospect Scott said, I wanna just say a quick thing about rookies, pitchers specifically. They’re all over the map for value like George Clooney in Up In The Air (that’s a reference for our four girl readers; you think a man with a mustache forgets the ladies? Photocopy my face, take it to Kinko’s, have it made into a pillowcase, rest your head on it; that’s the most comfortable pillow you will ever have, and the sexiest. That pillow is like Clubber Lang yelling into your ear about a ‘real man.’). Taijuan Walker is the top pitching prospect in baseball, according to MLB. Can’t miss, K-Swiss! Doode’s got talent for days. He also is struggling to get out of the minors. Eddie Butler was dazzling in the minors; came up and got done. Andrew Heaney could come up and be Jose Fernandez circa 2013, or he could be Trevor Bauer circa every year. Eventually, Heaney will be great, like most heralded pitchers, but that doesn’t mean it will happen right away. I would, of course, own him because if he is good, he’s going to be better than any other waiver wire pitcher. Now, about Heaney specifically, here’s Prosp. Scott, “An excellent fastball-slider combo and plus command helped Heaney to an impressive 2013 line: 1.60/1.07/89 in 95 IP between High-A and Double-A. That performance has lifted him into the 2014 fantasy spotlight and earned him the #23 spot on my top 25 for 2014. I suspect he’ll get a shot in Miami before long. Speaking of guys, I’d like to shoot…Where’s that feathered hair freak, Albright?” Geez, the hostility! Heaney’s been terrific this year in the minors (2.74 ERA, 10+ K-rate, sub-1 walk rate!) and I imagine he’ll be up within the next two weeks. Now is the time to grab him. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The job in Tampa isn’t as pretty as it used to be, as the team is super underachieving, and not in a superhero-footed pajamas kinda way. Joe Maddon looks like he needs an executive parachute, even though he is a hoot to listen to during an interview. I think he is waiting for someone to jump and run with the job. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta or even the artist formally known as Leo Nunez may be the most obvious and experienced options, but I have another one for ya: Kirby Yates.  I didn’t make that up. He reminds me of what Jim Henderson did two years ago with the Brewers. Career journeyman, decent, but nothing stands out about his minor league numbers… then boom. K -ates in the minors are above 12 for the last 3 seasons, and he has over 50 saves during that same time.  Tampa is the place to rehab relievers, and Korean War shrapnel wounds, so crazier things have happened.  Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney, Troy Percival, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Al Reyes…. you get the point. The rule with closers is: It’s better to be first then not at all. So if time and space are in alignment and Rod Serling is already taken, pounce. Stick around, it’s a good week to speculate on saves and save-nots.

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