The change in Texas has reverbed into the Holds ranks as well.  Tolley was the guy, now Frank Perdue’s arch-nemesis Sam Dyson is all comfy in the save bird seat.  The best part of this whole deal is that Jake Diekman is reaping all the benefits from a fantasy hold perspective.  This is a coup for the people who listened to me early and figured him to be the lefty-version of the lock-down pen arm in Arlington.  All Jake has done on the year is garner 13 holds with 11 plus K/9 and a HR/9 just a smidge over one.  We in the fantasy community rely on such precise words as smidge, scoonch, pinch… and I’m throwing prolly in there because some people like it and it doesn’t get more accurate than that.   So the main question is, can Diekman be the man and continue to be the man?  Absolutely.  He is thriving in a role that he started when he was with Philly.  The Rangers, also if anyone is paying attention, aren’t a half bad team and are fairly solid with or without Tolleson closing at the end.  So let’s take a look at what else has happened in the fortnight of games since the last bullpen lowdown, or ho-down.  Depending on how strong your hold pimp hand is.

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Well we weren’t talking about deep fried empanadas.  We were talking about the retro-chich lads from that Navy town of San Diego…  Yes, those Padres of the last place origin.  The ones with 16 whole wins in their favor on the year.  Sneaky Hold situations make my world go round.  Which, in turn, makes me spurn to you on the recycled tip of the serving platter from a fantasy analyst.  Over the last 14 games, the Padres have endured some good fortune in the reliever ranks, namely Brandon Maurer.  Maurer has netted himself 7 Holds over that time, or in fantasy bullpen coverage terms here at the Razz-nation, a hold the fort(night). Maurer is the 8th inning guy and if you are in a holds league, then he is probably taken.  Him of the 14-plus K-rate over the last 10 games and because they strung a few victories in a row, boom! Stats.  But we all know how many holds he has in the last umpteen days… because we can all read stat lines and understand that one plus the previous amount equals today’s total.  Math catch-up lesson over.  The Father’s depth in the pen doesn’t just end with Brandon.  Take a look deeper and we will come across not the candelstick maker, nor the baker, but the Butcher.  As in Ryan Butcher.  While Maurer seems to get all the decent looks in the 8th for the beloved hold, Butcher seems to latch onto him like a paramecium in heat looking for a Padres win.  Averaging over a K per inning, and duly entrenched as the bridge to the bridge to Fernando Rodney (which probably really isn’t much of a bridge of at all, but just a rope with board entwined with hope aspiration and tears), so with this brief biopic on the San Diegans bullpen fellas, lets look at what else is bouncing around in the world of set-up, set-up to get beat down.  I get nothing but a hold.

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When looking at the standings, it is usually a great indicator of how well a team is doing by looking at the Hold leaders.  It doesn’t tell you all or is the end all be all of indicators, but when you have three guys in the top-4, it speaks volumes.  It shows the team is ahead, but not by so much that they are blowing people out, have a great set of flow through the bullpen with set jobs, and they are successfully in-sync.  Not that “in-sync”, but yeah, sorta because something that included J.T. can’t really be all that bad.  So what is making the Chicago White Sox so good at what they are doing right now?  First, it starts from the last inning back.  David Robertson has the goods of what you want from a closer, he has the K-rate and decent control to limit base runners.  What I am noticing is he is keeping the ball away from the upper part of the zone, which was his buga-boo from the past; that he gives up too many homers.  In front of him, he has a trio of relievers with different mindsets.  Nate Jones is basically a closer in front of the real closer, but with a better approach of pitching to contract then K’ing everyone.  Zach Duke is by far the sexiest LOOGY in the business right now and Matt Albers is an all effort pitcher with tons of movement on his pitches.  Add in the fact that they have Putnam and Petricka as sub pieces that can fit into anyone’s role, and they have what looks like in the early stages of the season the best bullpen in baseball. That is not to say that it will last but the investment level from a fantasy level, especially from a holds league, but it is very stout.  So check out the other tidbits and bits tids that I have for you after the bump.  (Plus a chart that monitors usage and runs given up by relievers that usually lead to them losing or gaining spots in the pen.)

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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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It seems loud and clear that the roof is closing on Adam Wainwright‘s season. If only he had a 3rd Achilles he could sub in! We should be able to have a schadenfreude party since I told everyone not to draft him this year, but there’s always a few people who still draft him against my wishes, so do we ignore these people and still schadenfreude or do we show pity? *thinks for a millisecond* We schadenfreude party! The schadenfreude party is being held in the superiority complex. Put up the pinata of someone’s ego that is smarter, prettier, funnier or richer and we beat it down! Put on some tunes and let’s do the Point and Laugh Dance! That’s not the Point and Laugh Dance, that’s the African Anteater Ritual. So, Wainwright’s done for 2015 and Carlos Villanueva, Tyler Lyons or Tim Cooney could step in at first, but this will likely be Marco Gonzales’s job for the majority of the year once he returns from the minor league DL with a shoulder issue. I like Gonzales for very deep leagues, especially NL-Only ones, so if you have room, I’d grab him. He’s around a 7+ K/9, low-2 BB/9 guy that could have a 3.75 ERA or under with a good WHIP. Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I’m headed back to the schadenfreude party, hungry for self-satisfaction, eager for some prigs in a blanket! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Imagine a world without Greg Holland.  Okay, got it… because it’s here… sorta.  There would be no tulip or windmill jokes and Wade Davis would basically be the freaking mac.  I was interested to see what his numbers really were, since he basically became a full time reliever towards the end of the 2013 season, and up to this date thus far in the season. So over the 89 innings of relief work, he has allowed 42 hits, 9 ER, and K/BB rate of 124/28.  I don’t curse very often, but holy sh*t.  The best thing about him is that he doesn’t have to be all-pressured to be the closer if he doesn’t want to.  Kinda like the cool kids in school, they sometime bring books to class or they just punch a juke box and say words that word normally sound like a euphemism for IBS.  I am by no means wishing Greg an injury-riddled year because, irregardless, Wade is going to do what he do.  He is far and away the most important reliever in baseball, argue that if you want… you will lose, but it’s fun to argue.  Enjoy the week’s closer updates and rankings…

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Why does it seem like there’s always more closer situations in flux in the first week than at any other time?  Well, whether that’s true or not, this year was no different.  Don’t even try to think about what that actually means.  Here’s your sumary: By Thursday there were already three new closers, then Sunday we had two old guys getting worked like speed bags at your local gym.

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Grey say, “Devon Travis my boo-boo.” Obama say, “What it do?” The Buy/Sell Column say, “Did you miss me?!” During the offseason, while you were diddling and thinking about how your middle school nickname was Skidmark, I, The Buy/Sell Column was re-reenacting scenes from The Act of Killing with puppets in a staged production on the western tip of Alaska because I’M HARDCORE! You want some Rip Taylor-wannabe, throwing confetti at your feet or you want a Buy/Sell Column that be cutting puppets’ necks with chicken wire while bundled up because it was frickin’ cold in Alaska during the winter!? Mental midgets, you want the latter! I’m eating puppet stuffing like I’m George “The Animal” Steele just to prove how crazy I am! Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery, I love Devon Travis like his momma. Let’s throw out what he’s done this year so far for small sample size reasons — that’s what she said! Huh? — and simply look at Travis’s minor league stats. In Single-A, he hit .352 with 6 homers and 14 steals in 77 games. That’s a young man’s professional ball level, let’s move up higher. In Double-A last year in 100 games, he had 10 homers, 16 steals and a .298 average. He didn’t strike out a lot. He wasn’t getting by on his good looks and high BABIP (for him). If you take me out of the equation, ZiPS gives him 13 HRs, 11 SBs in only 116 games. Unless he gets hurt, there’s no reason why he can’t play at least 140 games, so that makes him a 17 HR, 15 SBs guy. Oh. Wait a minute, that’s glorious. Also, I think the Jays are gonna move him to the top of the order by May 1st. Let’s just pray that the Jays don’t do something stupid when Izturis is healthy again. Because…They say with Devon love comes first! We’ll make Devon a place on earth! Sing it, Belinda Carlisle! (By the by, Belinda Carlisle? Hot Cougar Alert! She could be 85 years old and sexy as all get out!) If you’re hurting at MI, I’d grab him, because I’m randy for Travis. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Really closers…really?  It took all of two whole days for the save-nami to wash away all people’s hope and dreams.  Maybe this is the end of days, you know the one where Arnold starts crying?  Yet he didn’t cry in Commando, and they kidnapped his daughter who happens to be a fantasy fave in Alyssa Milano.   Strange, uncontrollable apocalyptic things… tears, only daughter kidnapped… killing people.  Well, since every team basically has three games under their belts, is it too early to start analyzing the bullpen situations to date?  It kinda is, the patterns aren’t there for me to read, as usage is the first indicator for anything.  Second is chafing. So instead of looking at the Holds situations this week (which I will come back to next week, I promise), we will take a look at the situations that are boggling our minds and flooding our rosters with handcuffs and middle relief hopefuls.  It’s not an ideal situation for fantasy rosterbating, because it locks up so many bench spots if you are in the ever evolving chase for savedom.  So enjoy the snippets, with some of general perspective on the relief corps. And for giggles I have updated the closer ranks to reflect all the trades, injuries and demotions.

In case you’re sick of baseball already, come on over and join me for some Fantasy Premier league action, it so easy all you have to do is click a tab located at the top that says Soccer.  Read and enjoy.  It’s like a good book that you play with your feet.

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If you had 75 hours into the season for when Joakim Soria would become the closer in Detroit, you win a brand new car*! *Prizes not included (there’s no car; stop being greedy, you instead get words pieced together by the Fantasy Master Lothario). The Tigers’ pen is more of a pencil and a dull one at that. Where for art thou, Willie Hernandez? My kingdom for Todd Jones! Poopie Grande by any other name is still Poopie Grande. That was Shakespeare, you ignant boo-boo! The Tigers did get better yesterday with Joe Nathan, hitting the DL with a flexor strain in his elbow. Like when you remove that hair from your lip mole, it’s addition by subtraction. For those of you that drafted Soria, well done. Hopefully, he keeps the job all year. If Barry Manilow can find love, anything’s possible. By the by, all this time I thought he put the emphasis on Dee in Mandy. Guess I was wrong. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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