Now, I am not here to completely make a crap storm on Dellin Betances one single bit, I just wanna put that out there right away.  I am a Yankees fan first, and fantasy guys on my team second.  I am simply here to make a cumulative prognosis on stats from last year and how they correlate to this year.  In this early part of the preseason, Betances has a manageable ADP of 94, or basically the 5th closer off the books.  There are a few factors that I am worried about as we get nearer to the season, and I just wanted to point them out. (As if you were buying me a beer, and we were sitting at a bar swapping war stories, and comparing notches on each others belts.)

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Red Sox Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Conor Frederick from Red Sox Life.

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Oh, how we are going to miss Mariano Rivera. I’ve never owned him, but always wished I did. Personally, I’m a Yankee hater, but I always enjoyed watching him work his ninth inning magic like a smooth pick up artist. So now we are left without one of the greatest closers to ever play the game and a permanent fixture on the $12 salad menu. But like all things fantasy, we must move on and start prepping for next season by keeping our minds sharp and our cheat sheets easily accessible. The great mix up called free agency and the winter meetings are just a stones throw away and will hopefully give us some clarity into what comes next.

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I’d say Alex Cobb was fantastic again last night, but I have to pay David Stern a nickel to use the word fantastic and money is tight, yo. If it wasn’t for the ball off his melon, The Tampa Bay Peach would’ve been a top 15 starter this year. I’m currently debating if Cobb is going to be in my top 15 for 2014 fantasy baseball. (What I mean by debating is I have three monkeys stand against a wall with signs that read, “Yay,” “Nay” and “Let Rudy decide.” Ling Ling, put down the sign until I ask the question. Ling Ling! Hard to find a well-trained monkey nowadays. His K-rate wasn’t otherworldly like I prefer my beefcake starters. It ended the year at 8.41 K/9. That is ace-ish, but not straight aces rollin’ through Compton flashing signs. His walk rate was 2.83. Again, it’s solid, I’d like to see better on that. Now his ERA ended up being 2.76, but his xFIP was 3.02. That’s not shabby at all. That’s right around Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale and Anibal Sanchez. Guys with seasons you would hump if a ‘season’ wasn’t an amorphous thing. For 2014, I think Cobb’s gonna be right around 15-20 overall for starters, which does mean Cobb is ready to emerge from the husk. Zadow! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So the end is Bill Nye the science guy. The last hurrah for the year of 2013 in regards to bullpens. Don’t be upset, you won’t even know that I left, I’ll even make it less awkward and do the Irish goodbye and just sneak off to the bathroom and never come back. So, it has been a fun year from start to finish, it wasn’t as exciting as last year but we still had 19 guys over 30 saves as compared to guess what from last year. The suspense isn’t that awesome because it’s also 19. Crazy how things change but never ever really change, stats are a finicky bunch all muddled with consistency. Damn you numbers and your ever chronologically ordered entanglement. So it saddens me as a Yankee fan to have to write the final time the name of Mariano Rivera. There is nothing else to say about Mo that hasn’t been said by numerous other more famous sites. The stats are crazy and to me he is my Tawny Kitaen crawling across the hood of that car looking all 80’s, but an awesome 80’s. Unfortunately that makes Joe Torre David Coverdale and that just ruins it all. So happy trails GOAT, it’s been real and we appreciate your fantasy aptitude for as long as you have supplied it. So have at the final rankings of the year for the closers and the dudes who wait for injury or next year.

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Felix Hernandez is the pitcher to pitcher when you’re facing more than one Brewer. *sips from frosty mug* Ah…. Almost as satisfying as a good porgasm, which is the ecstasy reached when you finally find a rest stop after you have to pee for about two hundred miles. Yesterday, F-Her threw eight shutout innings with 9 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.28. He’s not even close to how good he was his Cy Young year. He’s MUCH better (caps for emphasis, not so the guy who’s reading over your shoulder can see better). He has a career high strikeout rate, which is like, “Hey, this Filet Mignon can’t get any better– Oh, wait, I don’t have to pay for it either?” And it’s not because you cut out a chunk of your hair and put it on the plate. F-Her also has a career low walk rate and a career low xFIP, which tells us his ERA isn’t even fluky. He’ll probably be overshadowed by Yu Darvish or Max Scherzer in the offseason, but F-Her is finally coming into his own at the ripe young age of 27. In 2014, when people are going Kershaw and Darvish and Wainwright, there F-Her will be again coming at a discount because of some perceived weakness due to win potential. Bunch of Murray Chasses (Chassi?), every one of you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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So the All-Star break has come and swept us away and now its onto the last 19/32 of the season. The chase for saves is becoming more and more concrete as the season grows, and the closepocalypse of 2012 is just a great conversation starter, just like super storm Sandy. The list of reliable closers with concrete gigs is growing and the rankings this week show a reflection of that. There is a huge have and have not factor going on, it’s either reliable and tried and true or it’s a 2 AM special where you’re trying to convince her to give you a Bryant Gumbel. The top of the list remains stout and the names are fairly consistent, it’s just getting to be a very swanky restaurant and the salad menu is expanded to accommodate more guests…so to speak. So enjoy the ensalade and don’t forget to ask for the endless breadsticks.

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MR. SANDMAN”

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never never-land

On July 16th, at the All-Star Game played at Citi-Bank Park, Mr. Sandman was played in its entirety in a park other than Yankee Stadium for the first and last time. Manager Jim Leyland called in Mariano Rivera to pitch the 8th inning against the NL’s finest. Rivera took the call, and stood on the mound with watery eyes, perhaps reminiscing about his entire career, and how he had come to this point in time. Then he returned to the business at hand, and proceeded to retire the side in order. The crowd, mostly composed of fans of the rival Metropolitan club, gave him a rousing ovation. For this would be Rivera’s last appearance in the all-star game. We have but three months more to marvel at the man who is without a question the greatest reliever in the history of baseball. But the question is – how did it come to this? That is a most remarkable story…

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The Midsummer Classic.  Just such an eloquent sounding event.  If you watched last night’s game, I’d be surprised if you’re not still sleeping.  Ok fine, it wasn’t that bad, but I was texting friends that if Mariano Rivera got the save, the All-Star Game is scripted.  And what do you know he pitches in a 3-0 game in the… 8th inning?  Oh c’mon Jim Leyland and your “I wanted to be sure he pitched.”  Have him be the AL starter then!  Sheesh.  Or be the first replacement pitcher in so he can get the win.

Another thing spawned on us while bantering during the game, and that was there needs to be more fantasy evens surrounding the All-Star events.  Our ideas were one-time immediate payouts from our long-time dynasty league dues for the team with the HR Derby winner, and the winner of the most points in either a points league calculation or a DraftKings calculation from their players in the All-Star game.  We think we’re on to something for next year.

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