Holy hell, what just happened?  This week was supposed to be about all the pomp and circumstance of opening day.  Then a closenado happened, a whirlwind of job loss and fake unemployment questions.  I  mean, before two games ended, two closers were replaced.  That’s just silly stupid, like buying a pack of crayons without the built in sharpener. Useless.  Roenicke and Ventura, I am putting a sfortuna and a pox on both your households. Moves like this usually lead to managerial unemployment, so maybe we aren’t so bad off, as both look well fixated on the Kohl’s managerial program. To make things worse, Bobby P fell down and ‘Papa Grande’ came tumbling after.

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There just wasn’t enough time in the preseason for me to show you my RCL team, so I’m putting it in the podcast post. Now, prepare yourself for the most confusing lede paragraph ever. For the podcast, Rudy and I went over some preseason picks for Most Valuable Fantasy Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie of the Year, Fantasy Bust and the player who looks primed to breakout that won’t actually breakout. Finally, Larry Schechter joined Nick to talk about some of his do’s and don’ts to win fantasy leagues. Now, for the RCL league, Rudy and I decided to do something different do this year and have half of our league made up of writers from our site and the other half from friends of other sites. Let’s call it a Family & Friends league; that doesn’t sound derivative of anyone else’s expert fantasy league. (I was gonna call it Friends & Family, but that DID sound derivative.) The Razzball writers joining me were: Rudy, Jay(Wrong), Sky, Tehol, Prospect Scott, Nick the Podcast Host and Scooby. Okay, I made up the Scooby name, but it didn’t sound that out of place, did it? The ‘perts from other sites participating were: Dalton Del Don from Yahoo, Brad Johnson from Fangraphs, Ryan Carey of Mastersball, Paul Singman of Baseball Prospectus and Tim McLeod of RotoRob. The draft went off without a hitch until I opened the draft window and saw Rudy had the first pick. *shakes fist* Ruuuuuudy!!! Anyway, here’s the Razzball Podcast (now with my RCL team recap):

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It was all fine and dandy and then Roldy Chapman had to go and jump in front of a speeding bullet.  It caused the first waiver wire riot of the year.  Trick is, who to add?  Everybody jumped on the J.J. Hoover train and I don’t blame them.  He seems like the only real healthy choice, but have you seen him in ST? He looks god awful, like he is throwing with the losing end of a wishbone.   This situation is one to get all waiver wire giddy about, but it’s not going to be fluid.  Broxton and Marshall start the year on the boo-boo list and then what’s left?  I’ll tell ya, be patient, stop yelling….  Manny ParraI have read others speculating this, but I’m going to jump on it also.  It’s only a temporary situation anyways, and if you lost out on Hoover, why not get a good ‘what the hell’ add?  Could do worse, he has a K/9 over 10 in 2 full seasons as a set up guy and a ST K/BB rate of 11/1.  I mean if we are going on merit, which never happens, he deserves a look and may get a few early saves.

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Closer news, closer news… We need a musical about fantasy baseball, sorta like Newsies, but with a little Book of Mormon thrown in.  Perhaps a musical adventure of sonnets and mignonettes by Stephen Sondheim.  Come on, everybody loves a musical… he, no.  Okay, it’s just me then.  So drafting season is here, it’s the first and last time you will see over 20% of the guys drafting in your league until… well, never.  Ahh, the internet and its anonymity. So with the games in the land of koala bears and oil cans happening this weekend, baseball is here.  Officially.  I have confirmed with multiple sources and gave them credit for groundbreaking stuff via twitter.  So the week before the fake regular season I have 4 questions that we still need answers to, or was just wondering in my own stoned malaise.

The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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The closer news is kind of like that pond back in the woods by Me’ma’s house.  You know the one where you and your first “girlfriend” from Canada used to meet up and read scripture.  Stagnant is the term for all you wordsmith’s out there.  Spring training games just literally got started this week and the battles that are going on for unnamed closer spots; Rangers, White Sox and Astros, are still a hmmm situation.  So until someone actually gets hurt, assassinated, or decides that baseball is no longer fun for him… we are at a stand still.  Updates are always good though, and fun.  It’s like Sudoku or the aggravation of doodling little numbers next to each box, stupid little numbers.  They make it look all messy like a 4-year-old is doing it and you get all self conscious and hide it form the guy sitting next to you on the plane.   It’s okay, admitting it is the hard part.  Just say it to yourself and give yourself a wink in the mirror.  So here is the slightly adjusted list of closers, the addition of Fernando Rodney not only adds legitimacy and tilte to the lefty’s swagger.  So have at the list for this week and hopefully we will have some more news or will make up some stuff that’s more interesting in the upcoming weeks.

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the start of this series will focus on NL East…

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So the title has a bit of superlative in it. What was I gonna say, the most kinda good fantasy baseball team? You’ll get over your scoffing, I have faith in you. This is the best 2014 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2014 fantasy baseball and top 400 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be almost terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adam Jones in the 1st round, everything after would change. For this exercise, I’m taking Mike Trout first, because, well, I have him first overall. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every twelve picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Darvish and Kershaw in the first round and I was able to take Prince Fielder in the 2nd round (which is likely), but since Trout and him are in my first 10 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100′s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 200, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. It should still be my ideal team… Or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues that are signing up still. (Yes, we need commissioners. I’m shooting for 70 leagues, but we need your help! Wow, I just sounded like FDR.) Anyway, here’s the best 2014 fantasy baseball team:

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To answer your first question, no, I am not dead.  Secondly, sorry to disappoint you.  As we count down the days to draft and when pitchers/catchers report, it’s a virtual ‘pins and needles’ fest for some of the closer battles that could be looming.  Some of these battles are going to be very interesting, ’cause battles are awesome and make fools of everyone.  Let’s dive into some of those battles, shall we? The Cubs and their smoke-show of a bullpen is first and foremost. Jose Veras looks to be the guy, until Pedro Strop‘s me-mah gets all free paella for every manager named Sveum.  The Orioles still really don’t have a closer, and until free agency is kaput, Tommy Hunter is the guy. And the other one to keep an eye on is Colorado… I mean my name is Smokey… so I am firmly entrenched in the bumper crop going on there.  LaTroy Hawkins has been called the “closer” for now.  I have a feeling that the Rockies, at some point, get all nepotistic and gives it to Rex Brothers. The last situation I would monitor is the effectiveness and trust level that Pittsburgh has with Grilli, who is getting back into the saddle.  Mark Melancon is arguably the first non-definite closer for me that is draft worthy over some guys who are low on this list that have the job.  So stay tuned conclusionary fans, it’s early and things are always a changin’.  Like last year, I will be doing an off-week Holds post to keep all things relievers up to date.

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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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