All the fantasy world was hoping that Jonathan Papelbon would be traded to a team without a reliable closer.  Instead, he goes to a team and kicks in the door swinging with the “I make more money than you” swagger that only comes with wearing Jordache jeans. And then he takes Drew Storen‘s job.  From a relief pitcher standpoint, Papelbon jumps from the worst save-driven team to top 10 overall.  The Phillies generated only 26 save opportunities to the date of his trade.  The Nationals were a far better team, and their record says so with 43 save opportunities.  The Nationals have also had a lead 32 more times than the Phillies, so Storen isn’t a completely wasted roster spot. If you got skunked by this, you need to keep him rostered.  He will still get the off-day save chances, and should pitch in a ton of high-leverage situations based on the bullpen shape of the Nationals, which isn’t a blue ribbon. Papelbon immediately jumps to elite status for me because of his history, and the whole contending team thing. He will easily double his saves total (in less games) to date, which stands at 17.  On the flip side of this trade, it opens up the gates to wunderkid Ken Giles to close in the land of steaks covered in cheese.  Giles immediate value is that of a closer, but with the Phil’s, he’s going to basically have a worse representation of what Papelbon had, but he still has moderate save appeal.  I can see him getting 10 saves the rest of the way.  This is posting a day before the deadline, so things could be in flux. And make sure to check out Ralph and myself over on Razzball Soccer, as the FPL is in full go.

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Who was actually good…

Last time, I used ADP data and player values to determine Kyle Lohse was the most under-drafted player of the last five years. Turns out, there are some assumptions in the calculation that could be tweaked, and the result could be a totally different most under-drafted player. Go figure! The methodology was to take the difference between a player’s preseason ADP and his end-of-season rank to determine  “undervalued-ness”. This time we’re still going to take the difference, but it’ll be between the square root of his ADP and the square root of his EOS rank.

Why the square rooting? The reason is to give more weight to better players, which square rooting accomplishes.

For reference, here’s the list from last time (that won one lucky man a Razzball T-Shirt):

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So with the festivities of All-Stardom concluding, thus comes the second half.  It’s an inevitable thing, you eat half a cookie the other half remains.  So this week I am going to run down a list of the closers for the remainder of season.  So sorry for not doing salads with donkeys this week, I felt this was more noteworthy since we are about two weeks from the trade deadline in real and fake baseball life (in some leagues).  The closer rankings that I came up with will be based off of a few things: saves (no durrr), team success, likely hood to remain a closer, and peripheral stats.  So we lump all those together and we get the ROS STSLRCPS.  Which basically looks like a pretty good scrabble deck.  Bare with me, it’s a busy time of year, and for those in the know, Fantasy Soccer is live and in full effect.  Go check it out, it’s fantasy baseball with an accent.  So now onto the closer ranks for the rest of the 2015 campaign…

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Yesterday, Carlos Gomez went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and his 8th and 9th homers. Only took until the 87th game of the year for a big game. Maybe I’m a goofy chicken. Maybe I’m a guy that puts feety pajamas on over his head. Maybe I walk into a Subway and ask a sandwich artist, “Do you smell onion?” Maybe I stare at people playing Jenga and try to move the pieces with telekinesis. Maybe I pronounce the D in Django. Maybe I call diner waitresses “Sweetheart” and old guys “Sonny.” Maybe I could be wrong, but — here it comes, Razzball nation — I wouldn’t be shocked by a huge 2nd half from Gomez. Can’t be much worse than his 1st half, could it? Don’t answer. Let’s hold hands and ruminate. Figuratively! Let go of my hand! Last year, his 2nd half was much worse than his 1st half and in 2013 it wasn’t that different, so there’s nothing here historically. What Gomez does have is a track record that had him drafted in the first round in most leagues, and showing next to nothing so far. His ground balls are up (not literally) and his fly balls are down (literally) and he’s making lousy contact. Again, there’s no reason to think he bounces back, but he was nursing injuries in the 1st half, and hopefully he stays healthy. If you have to take a hard way bet and can get him cheap enough, I could see it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Last week Grey had the great idea to put my ADP treasure trove of data to good use, and ask people which player they thought has been the most under-drafted over the past five years (2010-14). Who put up good numbers year after year and still was not given the benefit of the doubt?

We got lots of guesses, but only one person got the right answer. Who is this person and which player did they guess? Scroll down to go straight to the destination, or you can first relive some of the journey that got me to the answer…

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I am equating this one solely on one thing for the Cubbies… and that term is?  Pseudo-intellectual.  Joe Maddon does everything different and it’s gotta be the glasses.  He makes everyone want, need or have to be involved in his bullpen.  Basically, he is the united colors of Benetton of managers.  His hydra approach at the bullpen is not only bothersome or troubling for the roster-bater in all of us, it’s damn near impossible to roster and guess which guy it will be today.  The trio of Jason Motte, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop all seem to play the part of a closer, but get shuffled around like Joe is playing little game in his head.  I get that some situations warrant certain match-ups, but sometimes it doesn’t make any sense to me.  So for those of you that still care about the Cubs and their six save chances combined between all relievers in the last 14 days, I would roster Motte and Rondon equally, and if I had the space, I would roster Rafael Soriano and hold on tight.  Soriano is going to come in like the new city slicker, with a shiny pair of aldo shoes and end up being the cat’s pajamas for about a minute in Maddon’s mind.  Personally, rostering three guys to garner one stat is a crazy, crazy thing to get wrapped up into and is a waste.  If you are rostering one non-closer reliever to help with ratios, where are you making this roster space up from?  Nowhere is the answer, my friends.  So stick to the straight and narrow for saves for now, don’t chase unless a clear situation opens it’s doors and gives out the good candy on Halloween.  Stick around for some tidbits about the world of relief-dom…

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You ever look at a pitcher and just realize that he’s running out of gas much sooner than you expected him too?  Well, that’s what I am noticing from the Mets closer of the moment, Jeurys Familia.  He is pitching like his best friend died or his pet rock was used in a terrarium for a science fair project.  I am not liking the trend of the K’s disappearing, hell he went four appearances without getting one.  For a guy with a 10-plus K/9, that is worrisome.  The BAA is up for the month, walks are triple from what the previous two months were, and he is trying to pull of a mocha shoe with a green suit.  I mean, come on.  So just the other day, Bobby Parnell came in got a nice tidy 5-out save and it made me think, the way the Mets are and what their needs as a team are, is this the solution that they need?  They needed bullpen help, a nice veteran returning who knows the ropes, walks with a pimp skip (no cane on the field though), and has the ability in previous years to get the job done if need be.  I personally just think Jeurys needs a lessened work load to make him bounce back.  Still, it is worth noticing or monitoring that Bobby P is back, and he is rounding up his bottom and top slags from Queens Point and is in waiting.  Lets see what other bits of delusion I have to scour up for ya.  Enjoy the week… cheers!

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Recently, I’ve been struggling with middle infielder availability on my own team.  I was left between, Odubel Herrera off waivers or Brad Miller, so what did I decide to do?  Trade Matt Harvey for Troy Tulowitzki  – that’s right, I’m about as high on either of these guys as John Stewart is on – well, height.  For this post, I’m going to get into why exactly Herrera doesn’t do it for me; we’ll get to Miller another day.

If you’ve read either of my previous columns, you’ll know that I’m not your typical fantasy writer – if you want to base your roster decisions on statistical indicators, this isn’t the place for you.  I like to roll up my sleeves and dig into how guys play; if you’re also enamored with the art of the game, welcome home friend.  As a reminder, when analyzing hitting approaches, I break the swing into three universal components: stance, trigger, and swing path.  I provided a detailed explanation of each component at the bottom of the article in case you aren’t familiar.

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For a few days it’s been all quiet on the closer front.  Usually in the lede, I talk about a change in regime and the pluses/minuses and my opinion on it.  There hasn’t been one for two whole weeks…  It’s crazy.  MLB is putting me outta business in the jibing about fantasy closers market.  Where does the unemployment line start?  I am only half kidding, and I’m also half crazy too. So that makes me half-something.  So believe it or not, the season is officially 3/8 of the way over.  That is just crazy in itself to even fathom.  I think I have rambled on about nothing long enough… let’s talk about someone, anyone, shall we?  I like the rebound to form that Mark Melancon has shown, due to a K/9 of 4.68.  I haven’t seen a true one-outcome reliever before, but if you own him, I would sell for a better product.  You can probably get by on two things in your favor.  One, his name uses letters that can be read in a left-to-right format, which, from what I am understanding, is standard for reading purposes.  Two, he has 6 saves in the last two weeks and when people look to see how he has been doing, they will see that he is tied for the lead during that time frame in saves.  Listen, if you need saves and you own Melancon, I am not saying go out and sell him cause I said so.  I am saying swap him and a extra player and see if you can get an improvement on the K category.  The other owner will be so smitten that he got a closer and another player for just a closer, he won’t realize that he was jobbed.  Side note, make sure he doesn’t read this blurb first or the jig is up.  Stick around more snippets of informative justice are on the way…

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Big changes since last week kibitzed away and lot’s of rankings went up and down.  The regions in the south seem to be upping the border patrol in regards to the save situation, as both Texas and Arizona are forming committees.  For this week, I would rather focus on the desert instead of the burbs of Arlington.  So with the demotion of Addison Reed and a full on committee type approach, I am throwing my sombrero on Enrique Burgos to stay, maintain, and hold the job.  I have touted him on two previous occasions as the “next gunslinger to be” down there, and well, guess what?  He’s here… sorta.  Until Chip Hale realizes that he has a 60’s sitcom name and gets his head out of the Archie comics, we may be stuck withe the veteran preference type thing.  We shouldn’t be, but most likely will be.  We have seen what Zig-Zag has done and Reed?  Well, he’s cooked in my eyes.  Enrique is the goods.  He is the typical high 90’s fastball having nonsense closer that you want.  His minor league numbers suggest a high K rate, an occasional propensity to give up a walk, but he is young and sealing his oats.  Be semi-patient, he has 18 total innings above A-ball.   So far in the majors, he has 20 k’s in 11 plus innings.  That is pretty nasty.

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