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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Last night, Mat Latos looked like he was headed for the Disgraceful List. He didn’t fool anyone. I didn’t say he didn’t fool any hitters because he was facing the Braves, they don’t have any hitters besides Freeman. After giving up seven runs, he didn’t get out of the first inning, replaced by Brad Hand. Here’s some tweets Dallas Latos wanted to write, “Keep pitching like that and Hand will replace me too.” “My third collagen injection blew up less than you.” “I knew I should’ve slept with Cueto.” In the preseason, I should’ve dropped Latos in my rankings when Rudy wrote his warnings. I screwed up. I did mention last week about staying away from him, but it was likely too little, too Latos for most of you. I think you could likely sell very low right now — like for a Brain Freeze closer — and still be happy just to get Latos off your team because he looks like Latoast. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve drafted my Razzball Commenter League team (over hundred leagues this year; crazy!), and now I’m ready for the season. All those other drafts — like Tout, Friends & Family, NFBC, yadda-whodoodie — are in the past. They were prep for this draft. This draft is the one that matters, because I’m going against, like, 1200 of youse. And youse are the ones that matter. Well, a few of youse matter more than a few of the other youse. Just assume you are part of the favorable youse. In this league was Tim McLeod from RotoRob, Mike Gianella from Baseball Prospectus, Dalton Del Don from Yahoo, Ryan Carey from Mastersball and from Razzball: Rudy, JayWrong, Sky, JFoH, Tehol, Prospect Mike, JB and yours truly. All of these people make me very thankful (that it wasn’t an in-person draft). I was drafting out of the three-hole (no relation to Tehol; that I know of), and I knew after all those preliminary drafts that I was finally going to take guys that I really, really wanted from my 2015 fantasy baseball rankings (clickbait, snitches!). Well, until around the 4th round. Okay, enough hubbub on the tomfoolery, let’s get to it! Anyway, here’s my RCL draft (5×5, roto, mixed league, 12 team, 5 OFs, etc.):

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The pieces are all set, and it’s like the beginning of checkers…  Before you secretly cheat while your cousin isn’t looking, you should know that 28-of-the-30 teams have labeled a guy to be their respective closer.  Now, for some, that’s like being labeled the “Hand of the King” and with bad pitching performances, their heads will soon be on a pike out side of Comerica.  Yeah, that was a shot at you Joe Nathan, we are all whistling happy trails under our breath as you slowly ride of into the sunset Shane style.

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The first four names in the Cubs’ lineup will be Fowler, Castro, Rizzo and Soler, then it will be O, Brother Where Art Thou Upside with fantasy owners being men of constant sorrow. Maybe Kris Bryant does come up in the middle of April with a lei around his neck made from gold-leafed, big-booty’d Renaissance women. I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be more like a lei of Mona Lisa smiles. “Yay, he hit a home run!” Dot dot dot. “He’s gone 1-for-4 with an RBI in the last five games. I guess that’s okay.” Dot dot dot. “He’s hitting .250? Hmm…” Dot dot dot. “Yay, another home run!” Let’s do this comparison (this just isn’t for our podcast host, JB, either). Prime Aramis Ramirez or Kris Bryant this year? Prime Aramis easily. That’s 27 HRs, .290 average. This year’s Aramis Ramirez and Kris Bryant? I’d say Bryant, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk (to use another JB metaphor; ya know, he writes about fantasy basketball for us). Could Bryant give 25 HRs and a .260 average? Yes. Could Aramis? Yes. Would I draft Bryant first? Oh, God, yes, I’m just saying that Bryant being the 2nd coming of Jesus Trout Schmidt Timberlake Jackson, the Third might be a year off. At some point, I do expect to want to suck the Thetans out of Bryant’s body, I’m just not sure it will be this year. I mention this now because Bryant was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday. Then, further down the Super Awesome Cubs Sexy Upside Team, you have Javier Baez also sent down, which was slightly shocking to me. I figured they’d let him start the year in the majors, even if he was going to be a hacking mess. The Cubs likely figured it was best to save his swings and misses for the summer when it gets humid. The Whiffy City starring Javier Baez will be opening in Iowa, and I’ve updated my top 20 2nd basemen (and the top 20 shortstops). This news also means Arismendy Alcantara has a clearer path to playing time on the infield with only Tommy La Stelllllllla standing in his way. Move your fat L’s, Tommy! I moved up Arismendy in that same 2nd basemen ranking, but I don’t think Arismendy is yet a 500-AB everyday option. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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The latest Cuban raftee, Hector Olivera, signed yesterday with the Dodgers. Olivera leaves Cuba with a slight tear in his UCL and he missed out on the 2012-13 season in Cuba due to a blood clot in his arm. Michael Moore just called, he says you better go back to Cuba for better healthcare. In related Cuban news in regards to the Dodgers, Alex Guerrero might be the first person to raft back to Cuba to play. “I was watching Coach Taylor in the Florida Keys, and I think I need to go back to Cuba to play 3rd base.” That’s Alex Guerrero discussing his future with loved ones while enjoying Netflix streaming. I’d love to interview Puig about this Olivera signing. Not because I think Puig would have anything interesting to say, but because Puig strikes me as a guy that is always at a strip club, and that would make for a fun interview. Olivera has some huge question marks like The Riddler’s leotards. He has those aforementioned health concerns, he’s about to turn 30 years old and he doesn’t have a place to play every day. The Dodgers are so concerned about his health, they put a provision in his contract in case he needs Tommy John surgery. He could take over for Uribe at some point, but he’ll need at least a month in the minors, maybe a few months. So, a guy with injury concerns that will need at least a month of minor league at-bats that doesn’t have a set place to play? Well, I’ve heard better scenarios. Want more wonderful that isn’t wonderful? Lots of baseball people seem to think Olivera is a Latin 29, i.e., he’s actually a few years older than what is being reported. Also, baseball people scratch themselves and spit a lot. Those same spitting, scratching people also think Olivera fatigues too quickly, because his conditioning isn’t there. I will say that after watching Olivera hit he looks like Hanley Ramirez to me. The me who has a minor in Punting Middle Infielders from the Fantasy Baseball College of Charleston. The me who is out on a limb like the Tootsie Roll owl saying that Olivera’ll hit 12-15 homers, steal 6-9 bases and hit .275-ish. There’s obviously a huge amount of risk, upside, downside and unknown here. He could be up in July or April. He could play every day and hit 22 homers while stealing 15 bags or platoon with Uribe and hit 8 homers and steal 2 bases. He reminds of another import from this offseason. Call him The Cuban Kang. For this year, I’ll give him the projections of 51/14/56/.272/6 in 400 ABs. That is admittedly almost complete conjecture. Or as I said in the top 20 3rd basemen after I ranked him, “Hector of Olivera, Cuban Baseballmania, Ole Uribe, Corey Seager year away, Dodgers beat Padres, Pope Vin, Puig X, Mattingly Lineup Sets, NL West blown away, what else do I have to say?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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Anthony Rendon was cleared for baseball activities, which meant he was able to spit sunflower seeds and adjust his jockstrap with no pain. Then he reported discomfort when he bent his knee. Matt Williams, singing a’la Weird Al, said, “Rendon’s Opening Day is in jeopardy…Baby…Ooh…” Honestly, I feel like I’m in a pickle wrapped in a can’t-win-shituation surrounded by a chimichanga of head scratching with a Mexican saying, “No lo se,” and me saying, “No lose? More like no win, Jose!” We’re still two weeks away from Opening Day and Rendon could be fine by the end of the first week, which means he’ll miss maybe 25 ABs, which is nothing in the big picture. Dock him 3 runs, 2 RBIs and four hits and move on. This could actually be a buying opportunity in drafts if he falls too far. But if he’s downplaying his injury as every player who has been injured does, then he could struggle, hit the DL for a month or two and have a lost season. He never had blazing speed, so I worry that he might not steal with the knee injury or at least not as much in the early part of the year. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis I lowered him out of my top 10 and into my top 20 where I’d be more comfortable drafting him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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Whenever spring training starts to wind down and the closer spot is yet to be determined, it’s never a good thing.  It causes rosters to get fat off the land, and wastes your draft picks on no-news type situations. I will turn my one good lazy eye to the Minute Maid conundrum of “who closes for the Astros?”  Some may ask: “who cares?” But this is the essence of SAGNOF believers. Cheap closers are what makes the fantasy world get on a sit, spin, chug a beer, and scream obscenities at trolley cars.  So from the beginning of the hot-stove baseball season, and even after they signed Luke Gregerson, I believe that it’s still Chad Qualls‘ job.  No news is good news for the incumbent… Even though the news all across the reliever landscape is all speculation, “he said this” and “the beat writer said that”.  Well, the only person who actually knows is the manager, Hinch.  So I am going to do my best to break it down from my ivory soap tower.  Stick around, there may be something fun or edible once you get inside.

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I joined Funston, Behrens, Pianowski, Dalton Del Don, Not The Noise (someone drafted using Brad Evans name, but it wasn’t him), Rudy, Paul Singman and others. Since Singman writes for us now, we’re up to three writers in the Friends & Family draft held at Yahoo. Within ten years, it’s going to be 14 Razzball writers vs. Funston, and Funston will prolly still win after only drafting Howie Kendrick. I’m not being entirely facetious, Razzball’s results in this league have been less-than-stellar. I don’t mention this to be modest — modesty’s for nuns! — I tell you this to preamble my reasons for drafting Billy Hamilton. I feel like my Friends & Family mojo is leaking oil, the carburetor is coughing up fumes and I’m on the side of the road, with my skirt hiked up, and no one’s stopping. So, I decided to draft someone I have never drafted before and paid full price, to boot! (By the by, when I go to Italy, I like to shout, “To boot!”) Well, enough about me, more about my team! Anyway, here’s my 15-team, 5×5, roto, Friends & Family fantasy baseball draft:

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Alex Cobb left his start the other day with forearm tightness, but he’s not concerned. “Not concerned with forearm tightness” is now the number two reason for Tommy John surgery. Number one is “torn UCL.” The number three reason is “I feel great!” If we have one more pitcher say, “I feel great,” without someone else saying they’re “not concerned with forearm tightness,” then it will be a dead heat and could come down to Tanaka’s translator chiming in with how Masahiro feels. A pitcher and manager’s reporting on an arm issue is like reading a Yelp review written by the owner of the restaurant. “I didn’t know scalloped potatoes could be so sublime!” And I didn’t know I had to avoid every other starter in drafts, but here we are. Cobb says he should only miss his Opening Day start, but I’ve lowered Cobb way down in my top 400 and into my top 60 starters to a tier where I would not draft him. There’s enough to worry about when drafting a team, don’t get too cute with “Well, so-and-so fell so far I figured I’d give him a chance even though his arm is dangling at every joint.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?