“Hi, I work in the front office for the Twins and I’m ordering lunch.  I was wondering what you have that’s old that you can give us a discount on.  Can you eat old pork?  Hmm, let’s try it with extra sauce.  John Ryan Murphy briefly converted to Judaism, or so he wrote in 6-point font inside his lined notebook where he talked about murder, but he’s back to the gentile side of things.  I’d also like to know if any of your very old or very young employees want to join our pitching staff.  We can’t pay them in money, but Byung ho Park and Kurt Suzuki often wrestle together, reenacting Foxcatcher, and it’s just fun to be around when that happens.  Gotcha, okay, just send the old pork then!”  Incredibly, the Twins reached into their oh-so-deep pockets, pulled out some lint and decided to call up their top pitching prospect, Jose Berrios.  He’s only been ready for about three years now; crazy to start his clock now when they could’ve held him down in Triple-A for another five years.  Never underestimate the Twins’ frugality.  It’s FRU-JOUL-LAY, it’s Italian!  Here’s what I said previously about him, “A team like the Tigers would’ve promoted Berrios about two years ago.  No fear, John Deere, Berrios is still only 21 years old.  I’ve seen people peg Berrios as having #3 fantasy starter upside, but I see him landing eventually with a barely-2 BB/9 and 9 K/9 from his mid-90s MPH fastball and plus-curve.  That makes him a borderline fantasy ace in the making.  Of course, as a rookie, there will be stretches where he doesn’t look like that, but want a guy that could come on and give you a Shelby Miller in 2015-type year?  Berrios has that potential.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Yes, I’d grab him, yes, in your league too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To understand Jake Lamb, I think it’s important to go back to the 1964 Summer Olympics when his father’s hero, Lambis Manthos, was competing for Greece in the 50 meter pistol shooting event.  Due to a clerical error, Lambis thought he was competing in the 50 centimeter pistol shooting event.  Lambis practiced shooting dinner plates from about 20 inches away.  At one point, he was able to shoot an olive off a branch from about two feet away.  Metaphorically, that meant war, and he knew it.  He was ready, which is why this story ended so sadly when he realized it was really a 50-meter event.  Lambis was extremely shortsighted and nearly took out a judge when tasked with shooting so far away.   Thankfully, tragedy was averted when he only shot into one of those mats high jumpers fall on.  At the end of the event, with Lambis in last place, the laughingstock of the competition, a young man by the name of Jake, was so moved with Lambis and his ability to hit close targets, he took his name as his last.  This was Jake Lamb Sr., and the legend that Jake Lamb has to live up to.  So, besides being a heartwarming story, what does this have to do with fantasy?  Not a ton, said the man with four letters at his disposal.  Lamb is currently slotted into the six or two hole on most days.  He hasn’t shown great ability with lefties, so he’ll likely need to be platooned, but I’d do just that in all leagues.  He has some power, some speed and shouldn’t kill you in average.  Not from 50 meters or centimeters.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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At some point, you look at your roster, then look at yourself in the mirror and the repeat that 31 more times and ask yourself this question…  When is chasing saves from the worst possibilities a bad idea?  My best advice, as your advocate of bullpen swagger, is never.  Realize the talent that is in the bullpen and say: is 1-2 saves really worth a waiver claim, a roster drop of someone else and a complete destruction of your rates and quite possibly your dignity?  If you haven’t guessed it, I am discussing the shatuation in the ‘Nati.  Just to get everyone up to speed on the demise, their (and keep in mind that it has only been two-plus weeks of games roughly) Hoover sucked. Jumbo is demoted to minors, Hoover back in and bad again, Cingrani more like Cingran-no.  Now all the hype is on Caleb Cotham.  Who has the time and rosterbatory rituals to have the right frame of mind to roster these guys from change to change?  I get that if you are in a NL-only league, it makes sense to be on the ball, but in mixed league… well, these guys are poop.  I was searching for a better word, but I can’t, and poop it is.  The combined ERA this year of Reds relievers in a save situation is over five.  That, my friends, is not worth the stretch for the sexy total of one save as a team.  Seriously, one whole save… you could have been rostering Ivan Nova and gotten the same total number so far. So anyone who likes the punishment, keep an eye on the health of Michael Lorenzen, as he could be next up. So what I am saying is: yes it’s cool and swanky to be the first guy on your fantasy block to unlock the new closer somewhere, but use common sense.  If a team is a pile of dung and will kill more stats then the assist, then, well, you already know my response because this is the end of the lede and I just went over it.  Stick around for some rankings, general chicanery with words on a page, and hell, maybe a whole pack of lies wrapped around stats.  Cheers!

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As George Bush Jr. once said, “Fool me once, shame on you, you can’t fool me again because we won’t get fooled again,” then he was joined by Pete Townshend in a duet that made sense at the time, but now seems inconceivable.  GB was right on, and that’s how I initially felt about Matt Moore.  How many times could we be fooled by this guy?  What’s that?  Twelve?  I was asking that rhetorically, I didn’t want a number.  Why did you just say thirteen?  I don’t want a number!  Whether it is twelve, thirteen or one time fooled, it doesn’t *pinkie to mouth* Matt-er.  Yesterday, Moore went 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners with 10 Ks.  He now has a 10.3 K/9 and a 1.5 BB/9.  That walk rate, I mean muah.  That with a 8 K/9 would have me interested.  With a 10+ K/9?  Yes, please and thank you, to get politely excited.  On a related note, not sure how this happened, but I have an abundance of AL East pitchers in different leagues.  Great, terrific, adjective, except when they face New York, Boston and Toronto, which is basically every game.  FMFBBL!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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There’s nothing he can do that can’t be done. Gets on base, multi-hit games and hits home runs. There’s nothing you can say he just knows how to play the game. It’s easy. The Cuban rookie Aledmys Diaz continued his hot start going 2-for-5, with his second home run of the season and for your sake and mine I hope you read those first few sentences in your best Paul McCartney accent. Honestly, everything sounds better in a Beatles accent. Try it! But enough about old rock and/or roll bands no one has ever heard of, Aledmys Diaz is 11-for-27 (.407 AVG) through his first eight games, 5 extra base hits, 8 RBI and 8 runs scored. Al–can I call you Al? No? Aledmys “Don’t Call Me Al” Diaz has also hit safely in all but one game he’s played in. Can I tell you if Diaz is going to be a star (ha-cha-cha!)? No, not exactly. But he’s got a quick bat with good plate discipline and the Cards have invested enough money in the Cuban rookie that he will likely get a chance to show what he can do. Grey told you to BUY and now I’m telling you. Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be, we’re only trying to help.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Marcus Semien was so grateful to be the 2nd week’s Buy lede that Semien shot up, overcome, thanking people in spurts.  First, Semien said he had to give a hand to Reddick.  Then Semien said, as much as it hurts him, Burns challenges him to be better, more fluid in his follow through.  Semien says that before he’d get stale like dried paste.  I heard through the grapevine that the A’s are being cautious about moving Semien up in the lineup between Burns and Reddick for fear of being labeled NC-17.  “I have no recollection of a conversation about Semien, but I would be against it.”  That’s Tipper Gore consulting with MLB.  Marcus Semien has four homers, hitting .276, and he has 12-steal speed.  So, that’s roughly 65/18/65/.260/12 on the year.  Yeah, that’s better than that other schmohawk you have in your MI slot.  I would absolutely add Semien all over.  Plus, it’s a great moisturizer!  Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As much as I love publishing and giving you the “haps” on the closer ranks, I love the depth that a bullpen can give you and how it can affect your roster.  It is way to early to look into my Grafix crystal ball and say this guy and that one will be the crowned prince of the hold this year… to some degree.  Early usage and situations prove a lot.  Yes, injuries happen, and ineffective spells happen, and sometimes trades happen, but if you were good enough to make the team out of Spring, then usually you are good enough to make yourself an established piece of the bullpen.  The top names are still the top names.  The cream either rises to the top or it rules everything around me, both perspectives are interesting because how can you not believe the Wu or old school rhetoric. So with the first bullpen piece of the year, we will cover all the same things you are accustomed to from last year as I get more in-depth than anyone else when it comes to holds.  Some don’t care or are on the fence, as if it’s a completely comical or made up stat.  It is no more made up then saves, because that is exactly what it is, just before the save… so it is basically a pre-save.  Either way, I care and will give you some early trends to look at and some names to go with it.  Trends rule everything around bullpens or TREAB, dolla dolla bill y’all.

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Scout and Razzball teamed up to bring you 12-team mixed league slow drafts, and, when I say slow, I mean that I’ve seen paint dry faster and with more upside.  It’s exactly like our 12-team, mixed Razzball Commenter League drafts (there still might be a few spots), but in this league there’s two catchers, no waivers and 44 rounds.  So, I guess, it’s really not that similar to the RCLs.  No waivers changes everything.   I would never draft two top starters in a regular mixed league, let alone one in a 12 team league, but when you can’t pick up a starter off waivers or stream, it changes the dynamic.  You can’t worry about upside as much as you need to make sure you have innings when a rash of injuries hits.  Same with hitters.  Upside is nice, but at-bats are even nicer when you lose five outfielders to injuries in July.  This kind of leagues makes John Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt and Tyler Flowers appealing.  Dot dot dot.  Okay, nothing makes Tyler Flowers appealing.  Anyway, here’s my 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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So, Rudy and I took part in Yahoo’s Friends & Family league hosted by Brandon Funston.  I believe Rudy and I are on the Friends side of equation, but some of the things I find on Ancestor.com could shock you.  I’m only like 12 cousins removed from my wife.  I’m so well-adjusted that doesn’t even make me shudder anymore!  Could Brandon Funston be my uncle?  Unkie Funston?  That would be cool.  I would be like, “Unkie Funston, can I have your old baseball card collection?”  And he’d be like, “Sure, if you trade me Starlin Castro.”  In this league is a few Rotoworld guys, a few Rotowire guys, a few Yahoo guys, a Wall Street Journal guy, a boneheaded Razzball guy and our very own, Rudy Gamble.  Quite the array of talent.  It’s like a Dave Navarro supergroup and I’m Sammy Hagar.  “Have you tried my tequila?  It’ll make you slap your momma and call her daddy.”  That’s me as Sammy Hagar.  This league is a standard Yahoo league with a 1400 max IP for pitchers.  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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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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