Why does it seem like there’s always more closer situations in flux in the first week than at any other time?  Well, whether that’s true or not, this year was no different.  Don’t even try to think about what that actually means.  Here’s your sumary: By Thursday there were already three new closers, then Sunday we had two old guys getting worked like speed bags at your local gym.

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Some people consider it a made up stat, I say hogwash or peeee-shaw.  For the people who play in the leagues where the stat matters, it matters.  That’s about as devout as I can get since I had to sell my soapbox to pay for my addiction of collectible thimbles.  Now, I get it, the Hold stat isn’t for everyone. The basis of actually being a stat is wonky at best. These guys do more than just come in for one inning or one batter, they hold your periph numbers in check.  If you don’t believe, that’s fine, I don’t believe myself half the time.  Heck, I have no reading comprehension, so it’s more of a “in one ear out the other” type thing.  See, I already forgot what I was discussing here.  So this year, some of the top options that are going to be the go-to-holds guys are actually jumping up and taking the starring role for their teams due to injury. So I will delve into a few situations to monitor from a Holds perspective, as well as a nice handy chart with some predictions on the side of caution for the top-20 middle relievers, in terms of them garnering the coveted stat of the Hold.

Want to take me on in a Razzball Commenter League? Join my league here!

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It’s been a long, tough winter (especially for those of you who live in the Northeast), but the wait is almost over. Spring training is in full swing and the regular season is just around the corner. That means, of course, that fantasy baseball draft season is here.

Recently, we’ve attempted to identify the next Corey Kluber and looked at some hitters who displayed above average power and plate discipline over the past couple of seasons. Today, we’re going to focus on relief pitchers. If you’re looking for the latest closer rankings as well as the top handcuff and hold options, check out the Bullpen Report, which provides excellent RP analysis each and every week.

This post will attempt to identify relievers with a very specific profile: power arms with high K-rates. Players who throw hard and miss bats. It’s that simple. Well, mostly. Let’s take a look at the search filters that I used for this exercise:

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I wish filling out your fantasy roster with middle relievers was as easy as plop-plop, fizz-fizz.  But I’m sure it isn’t, because not everyone is using the same model of success.  I can dig that, I mean, I come from a long line of Smokeys that like the art of shoveling.  Listen, I get it if you don’t wanna help your team-rates and ratios by adding guys that are stout in production for basically free at the end of your draft.  Streaming relievers is a real thing, I didn’t make it up.  It does exist, and it lives in the house between Nessy and Sasquatch.  It’s not for the faint of heart and is probably not for everyone.  It is about optimizing your free innings (very useful in RCL leagues that have games started limits, which everyone wants to win).  It’s a basic theory and the patent is pending, so stick around as I get into the art of streaming relievers. And as an added bonus, I have broken down the MR corps into four separate groups.  These groups are broken down by usefulness.  We have one for straight cuffs, one for rates and holds, a straight holds, and then some stone cold sleepers for you deep-leaguers.

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If you cheated and looked ahead before reading, shame on you! But, for those who didn’t, I am attaching my cart to Francisco Rodriguez. Not only has he done nothing wrong (which seems impossible for closers nowadays), but looks in no danger of getting the rug ripped out from under him. The team is winning, the bullpen is toight like a tiger, and Jimbo Hendo looks to be doing a swell job as second fiddle. Not only would I marry K-rod right now, he can also fart in my dinner… tonight. (Ed. Note– Protip: I wait until at least the second date before letting farts in my food.) I mean what he is doing is pretty remarkable– most saves in April, EVER. It reminds me of the good times when I played the jug in the band The Dixie Cups. For a barely drafted guy who wasn’t even the teams first choice for saves… and to also be giving your team a saves boost for basically nothing, you should wanna carry his luggage. So keep reading to see what other closer goodies I got for ya… or just skip to the comments and tell me something awesome.

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Go, go, go, go, go, go. Go, Corey, it is your birthday. We want to party like it is your birthday. *dance like a white man that has on parachute pants* We will sip Bacardi like it is your birthday. And you know we do not give an expletive it is not your birthday. I see Corey Kluber on my iPad and I want to kick him in the ass, but I still can’t make heads or tails of him. “Mr. Kluber, why do you bring anguish to my potluck dinner?” Justin Masterson had RSVP’d already with anguish! Ugh, I really don’t know what to make of Kluber. He’s hella risky and, yes, I still say hella. After his start yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks — you obviously have to own him if he’s on your waivers. The good news is his BABIP is obscenely unlucky (.353). The bad news is his velocity is down. He gets the Angels next and the Stream-o-Nator doesn’t like it and I’d be lying if I told you I had the utmost confidence in him. In other words, own him, but it could be a rocky road without delicious marshmallows. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Funny that Mark Trumbo has a stress fracture in his foot, because I now have a stress fracture in my stress-bearing frontal lobe. “You wanna remember your anniversary with the Cougar or Mark Trumbo’s recovery timetable?” Shut up, frontal lobe, I hate you! I wish you were dead! *wavy lines* Hey, I have no frontal lobe anymore. Cool, I really like this episode of The Big Bang Theory. They are a gang of funny people! I wish Slystevesr Stallone would do more movies. He’s so awesome. Slvester? Why is there a red line under that? Damn, I can’t spell my favorite movie star’s name without my frontal lobe! *wavy lines* Okay, I’m glad I have a frontal lobe, but not glad I have Mark Trumbo on multiple deep league teams. Wah, wah, wah, that’s the sound of my sad Trumbone. This could mean more playing time for Tony Campana — SAGNOF! — or steady playing time for Cody Ross — um, AGNOF!, I guess. Last time Trumbo had a stress fracture — how many stress fractures does this guy have? — he was laid up for close to six months. Yay. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I remember distinctly the day Will Clark retired. I just got home from a Winter Solstice Pageant. I was only 12 years old at the time, but my mustache was already coming in. Earlier that night, when I was singing in the pageant, a mother yelled out from the audience, “Who’s the midget with the mustache?” Then another parent yelled out, “Or is it a dwarf? I always get confused.” Another yelled, “Is that kid 40 years old? I don’t know if I want my kid around that adult.” I didn’t think my day could get worse, then, back at home, I heard that Clark retired. I was still in my autumn leaf costume, sobbing into my Pop Rocks, essentially ruining them. A devastating day all around, but things got better eventually. Soon my friends’ parents wouldn’t call the cops when I was hanging out with their kid, thinking I was a 40-something pervert. One mother even complimented me on my mustache. Maybe this was where my love of Cougars first started. What does this have to do with Wil Myers? Nothing at all. Just like his first two weeks mean nothing. It’s two weeks! Frequent Commenter, Oaktown Steve, asked the other day who would have more value this year, Wil Myers or Carlos Beltran? It’s a totally fair question. In my preseason projections, there’s essentially only 5 steals separating the two. Of course, there is something like 15 years separating them too, and I would say one is moving up and one is moving down due to age. Get a sense a lot of people are looking to bail on Myers already. That would be a mistake. He didn’t just happen to get named one of the top prospects in baseball. He’s crazy talented. He could go off still and be a first round draft pick for next year. Now is the time you buy him on the cheap, not sell him. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Before we get into this week’s Buy/Sell, just wanted to announce that Rest of the Season Projections are on-site and everyone’s favorite fantasy baseball dinosaur, Buysellatops. The Buyasellatops is easy to use. When you first get to the page, Sells are listed first. To see Buys, click ROS$ minus STD$. To see Rest of Season projections, click on any player’s name — in this post or anywhere on-site. Finally, with the Rest of Season Projections, it means the Fantasy Baseball Player Rater is now functional and the Rest of the Season Player Rater. Anyway II, the Buy/Sell:

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Ryan Zimmerman should just join a kickball league. His upper stuff doesn’t work right. He’s got a bad case of waist-up-is-not-up-to-snuff-is. He should tent his entire body, because he’s got an infestation of the bad health termites. They lay dormant, living off of bacteria that is produced naturally by your secretions. Then one day you wake up and you dive into the 2nd base bag and break your thumb. The preceding was taken directly from WebMD, I can’t vouch for its accuracy. It’s a thumbpocalypse! So, Zimmerman’s gonna be out for six weeks with a broken thumb. I’d point out that I told you on Friday to sell him, but that’s in poor taste. As would simply pointing and laughing at you. Mostly due to the fact, I don’t know where you are, you don’t return my phone calls! So, put Zimmerman on your DL, and let’s pray his shoulder gets miraculously better in the mean’s while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90’s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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