Sometimes you ask and you shall receive and in that vein, I begin this month’s Razznasty update. Now I know the two questions you’re asking, what did you ask for and receive? And which vein? First, it’s the main vein, you know the one in the middle…. Secondly, I asked our very own Hippo in the bush Matt Truss to make a push in the standings over the course of June so I could name the next update “Can’t Truss It”. Done and done. I told Mr. Truss-ah Truss that I’d dress as Flavor Flav from this video while I wrote it. Truss, that I held up my end of the bargain, picture me decked out in white tuxedo with top hat and Batman glasses. Unfortunately I can’t share with all of you due to a shortage on the correct cartridges for my vintage Polaroid Sun 600. Sorry boys, and whatever number of girls are reading this year. I believe we were up to five, but we might have lost a few after the Jose Canseco interview. There’s nothing that upsets the ladies more than invasive question about Madonna’s early 90’s sperm brokering. Enough of the bollocks, onto the Razznasty update for June. Dynasty League Baseball at it’s finest.

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No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

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Not everyone loves the buy-early and coast theory of closers.  I am not a full on component of it, but I don’t like to be left without, at worst, a top-12 option to anchor my save chase. So for those that procrastinate, there is nothing wrong with y’all.  Every theory has a proven outcome, whether it be wrong, backwards, or completely made up by several fortune cookies.  The wait game for saves can still be fortuitous, the only problem is being right when it matters most.  The last rounds of relievers needs to be decisive.  After all, we don’t have 4-5 rosters spots designated for save speculation.  Lucky for you, your ole’ pal Smokey is here to give you several options for late game options that you can try and strike it rich with late in your drafts.  These guys are in situations that are either committee based, the closer is in jeopardy (yeah already), or I can just foresee a change of the imminent.  So hold tight my fellow SAGNOF’ers and cast your fishing pole into the deep waters that I reside.  Just for the people that skimmed this whole intro, this post is about the guys who aren’t closing currently and could net you saves on cheap.

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What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

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Uh no, the Yankees fell for the oldest trick in the book, mon!  Starlin Castro was traded to the Yankees for middle reliever, Adam Warren.  Didn’t the Yanks get the memo?  Middle relievers are the new cheap starters.  There was an interesting development the past week.  Jordan Zimmermann got ridunk money and everyone was like, “Damn, Cousin Fat Pockets needs to let out the elastic on his velcro wallet.”  Then David Price got boku bucks and a Nigerian from Nigeria by the name of Boku said, “My last name is not bucks, I’m confused by this idiom.”  Then Zack Greinke went for a walk in the park and came across a suitcase of $206.5 million and looked over his shoulder slowly, then looked back at the suitcase, then started putting million dollar bills into his shorts.  Finally, Henderson Alvarez was non-tendered and the entire league was interested, and this sounded warning bells.  People are interested in Henderson Alvarez?!  What the eff!  At that point, the smarter GMs realized they just need to make it so their starters that aren’t terrific go six innings, then their bullpens can come in.  The Royals realized this two years ago, but now everyone is catching on.  As for Castro on the Yankees, I want to say unequivocally that this is the best landing spot for him in the majors outside of Coors.  Castro has totally failed as a top prospect– Oh, wait, he’s only 25 years old.  This was a case where the Cubs didn’t make a bad deal; they just had too much of a good thing with middle infielders, and their eyes set on Messin’ Wit’ The Zo’.  Castro feels set up to have his biggest season to date, and I’m going to project him as such.  For 2016, I’ll give him 72/16/77/.274/7 with room for more.  As for the future at 2nd base in Robert Refsnyder, there’s always playing for the Padres in two years.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Late season injuries and minor league call-ups are one thing.   Just not doing your job is an utter disgrace.  Bruce Rondon was sent home, literally, because of lack of effort.  Holy stereotypes.  Because getting out of bed, traveling first class and then having to pitch one whole inning a game in the oft-chance that your team may be winning.  Yeah, that sounds impossible to me to keep up with.  For now the Tigers will roll with a combination of Neftali Feliz and Alex Wilson.  So anyone looking for 3-4 saves til the end of the year can be rewarded with the plight of Rondon and his poor work effort.  I wouldn’t expect a treasure trove of riches, the Tigers rank in the bottom five in saves, save opps., bullpen ERA, blown saves, and believe it or not, balks by the bullpen.   I know that last stat is bupkiss, but when is the last time you ever read a balk stat in a reliever post?  It just happened for the first time in history and I am officially placing a copyright on it. So this is the final rankings for the year for closers I will do an end of the year wrap up next week with lots of zany stuff.

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Don’t you know about Greg Bird?  Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy! Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy! Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  I, honestly, figured you would’ve heard.  Heard what, you ask.  Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  Well, everybody said about Greg Bird that Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  Bird Bird Bird, Bird is the buy!  You know, I thought you’d heard.  Heard what?  About the Bird!  I was watching a TV show on cybercrime recently, and I have an idea on how to attack North Korea.  Just pump in the “Bird is the Word” song into their national Bose speakers.  (If North Korea has taken over the US by the time you read this, this cyber attack could be used in the reverse direction.  I’m yours, Kimchi Jong-il, however you want to use me.  I am very loyal.)  So, now that we know the word and that word is indeed Bird, what do we do with this info?  We pick him up in our leagues.  He has seven homers in only 29 games.  Sample size, she says.  Well, he had six homers in only 34 games in Triple-A, six homers in only 49 Double-A games, seven homers in only 27 games in Double-A last year…Do you see a pattern?  Bird’s got power.  Not really anything else, but there’s only two weeks left, grab him if you need homers.  Or had you not heard?  Bird Bird Bird, Bird– Okay, I’ll stop.  Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve made most of my recommendations this year with the long term in mind.  I’m not easily swayed by a “hot” hitter, instead I tend to lean on the projections to set an expectation level.  This late in the season, however, I’m uncertain of how effective that approach is.  We can’t exactly count on any “regression to the mean” happening over such a small sample size of games.  Some players will be good over the last few weeks, others will be poor and I don’t have a high degree of confidence that it is possible for me, or anyone for that matter, to predict the best base stealers to own these last three weeks (see this to know why).  But I have some names for you even though I have not a clue as to whether they’ll be difference makers over these last few weeks. Here’s my recommendations, I’ve attempted to rank them by number of steals they’ll get from now until the season ends…

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Tomorrow is September 1st which means:  Hooray for September roster expansions and the many interesting players likely to be called up.  My recent focus for Steals Ain’t Got No Face advice has been a weekly reminder to use our SAGNOF stolen base success rates versus starting pitchers tool.  This goes hand in hand with the September call ups because most of these players won’t play anywhere near everyday, but some of them might make great ‘streaming for steals’ options.And guess which type of players are among those getting called up?  Some of the trendy SAGNOF sleeper types from earlier in the year, including one of my favorites, Dalton Pompey (bats Both, plays OF) of the Toronto Blue Jays.  Eric Young Jr. (B, OF, New York Mets) is on the way up as well and I think we all know what he can do.  James Jones (L, OF, Seattle), he of the 27 stolen bases in only 108 big league games last year, could be called upon as well.

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The Mariner bullpen has basically been that round-up ride at your local carnival.  It doesn’t look that bad until it totally messes with your vertigo and you end up spewing up kettle corn and other assorted goods for two hours there after.  Last year, the Mariners bullpen had a 2.60 ERA, good for tops in the MLB.  They also saved 51 games to only 11 blown saves.  They were all comfy and coozy like footed pajamas last year, and basically everyone could rely on the decent value of return from drafting Fernando Rodney.  Then the year changes to five and the ship went askew.  Their bullpen ERA is over 4.30 and are on pace to accumulate 45 saves, and, to date, have already blown 18 saves (behind only three other teams for worst).  So let’s just run down the year so far: Rodney was the closer, then he wasn’t the closer, Carson Smith took over, and now it seems as though they are reverting back to 2012 in hopes that Tom Wilhelmsen can right the ship of battered and injured bullpen dreams.  Stick around for some tid-bits and bullpen ranks…

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