I think this will conclude this year’s rankings for all players, but with the way closer roles can change between now and Spring Training, finishing will be bountiful. There seems to be a big difference among experts in the top-10, and I am no different.  Also, the bottom tiers for the rankings are a “wait and see” proposition, as there are easily 7-8 teams with a closer by committee situation, or at best, a closer who is a retread of a retread.   Everyone knows who you are Fernando, you don’t have to stand up and raise your hand or shoot an arrow fictitiously at me.  So as we approach draft season and beyond, use this list for now, because the situations will be fluid from here on out.  As I promised two weeks ago, you will get a new list every two weeks, with a holds post (no it won’t be in different color for people who just skip the preface of an article) in betwix.  Get excited folks! Spring is sorta here, and with that comes all of Grey’s rankings, my closer and bullpen stuff, and basically every tool under the sun to help you be the best you can be.  Now get out there and win one for Flipper!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

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That is probably the worst word when it comes to drafting or even trusting in a reliever in a bullpen for fantasy.  The guy could be a tax evader, steal lollipops from kids, or never wash his hands after using the lavatory.  It still wouldn’t matter, the stigma of being placed into a committee is just awful come draft day.  This happens every year when bullpens usually light on talent get paired down to barely usable pieces, or when players return from injury and are an unsure thing.  Then again, you get a weird situation like that in Cleveland…  It’s very familiar to last year’s draft day conundrum with that of the Yankees.  Both Cody Allen and Andrew Miller are draftable and draft worthy within the first 150 picks or so.  That number increases for players in “Net Saves” and Holds leagues, because they will steal from each other but on the positive end, one will get a hold and the other the save, and vice versa.  The only problem is that Cleveland, after being in the World Series, is a hot button team and both players have some helium to their names, Miller especially.  So drafting both is a good idea, stats-wise, but bad for team building it’s structure in other areas.  So my best advice is to look elsewhere, yes the stealing thing I mentioned helps you in leagues that contain Holds, but in leagues that don’t, it could be a sticky situation of frustration over saves.  Last year down the stretch, Miller wasn’t the closer very frequently.  Allen steered that ship.  This year, I think the secondary stats: K’s, ERA, WHIP, will all be there, but the counting stats will be split.  And since I talk about saves and holds, I am most definitely referencing the saves here.  So with their respective rankings spread between 100-130 for both guys, I think the best offense, or with a committee situation, is to grab someone ranked in same neighborhood guys like Ken Giles and Kelvin Herrera.  You may thank me later, but I do occasionally deserve the bird.  So instead of just going into the rankings this far into preseason, here is a cool little chart for you to reference. I will update this chart all preseason and will add some sleeper posts for both closers and holds.  So enjoy my friends!

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Yeah, it is sort of a play on words for the band Journey, so what?  The “so what” is that if you ever want a whole-hearted laugh to yourself, go watch Steve Perry sing the seventh inning stretch.  It is fitting because the postseason save aftermath that is happening is coming from San Francisco, the home of the band Journey.  See what I did there…? A huge cartwheel.  The removal of Santiago Casilla, because he was a little save chilly has thrown the usual or at least semi-stable job into a committee situation.  Never fun for anyone.  Hunter Strickland got the first save chance post Casilla castaway.  Bochy is a finicky beast, if he was a cat owner, never married, and possible a 50year-old scorned woman, it would make sense, but he isn’t, he is a manager that flies by the beat of his own drum.  I usually have dynamite steals info, but since this happened in between my closer/reliever post on Saturday, you get a double dip of save-ness.  The adds for me are Strickland, Romo, Cory Gearrin, a hold on Casilla and unless the inning is straight LOOGY’d up, Javier Lopez could be a factor.  That is how I see the saves getting divvied up.  That is a cavalcade of names to chase for saves, but if you wanna bank on one guy getting a mass majority I would look for Hunter to be that guy.  So continuing on with the S part of the AGNOF, let’s see what has happened around the baseball fantasy universe over the past week in thievery.

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Houston’s 32-year old Cuban rookie Yulieski Gurriel was 2-for-4 with his first stolen base Friday night. Or is it Guerriel? Gourriel? Don’t worry about spelling his name correctly, the media sure doesn’t–what’s important is Friday’s two hit night capped off an impressive week for the third baseman where he hit .321 with four runs, two home runs and drove in five runs. Debuting at the end of August, Yulieski got off to a slow start after struggling with a mild hamstring injury, but that looks to be a thing of the past and he’s now hit safely in his last six games, and has homered in two of his last three games. Players like Yulieski require praise, they demand it. As soon as manager A.J. Hinch let him know he was a good Gurriel, and started rewarding him with treats (he really likes Combos) Yulieski turned it on. Atta Gurriel! Yes, you are! Who’s a good Gurriel? You arrrre! Yulieski was less than impressive during his short minors stint (.250/.262/.429 line with two home runs and 14 RBI in 15 games), but he bat .500 with 15 homers in 50 games in Cuba last year which is a about as good as it sounds, so there is little doubt our boy is major league ready. Did you read Grey’s Yulieski Gurriel fantasy? I read it while conducting a scientific tasting of all the different Combos flavors. Pepperoni pizza won in a landslide. Lord Byron Buxton will be the hot-shot rookie pick up of the week, and by all means, if he’s available grab him, but Gurriel could be a nice add if you lost the Buxton sweepstakes, and he’s still out there in over 80% of leagues. I’d own him in any league where wanted to win. Yulieski can do it!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

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I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

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Come on in and talk it over.  So many the Erie warriors would want to say, but I think the platoon is very much over.  So Jose Ramirez has embedded himself in the land where former Chisenhall’s roamed.  Who, by happenstance, is playing here, there, and most left of nowhere… which is left field.  Jose is getting all the good spot-stuff you need for a guy to be rostered, and I am not just referencing the SAGNOF love.  He is hitting .431 over the last 15 games with 10 RBI’s 15 runs scored, 4 home runs, and the salt on the rim of the margarita glass is 6 steals.  If you wanna lump in the fact that he is eligible in most formats at four positions…  This is Hernan part deux the redux of multi-eligible position players with Latino descent showing out.  He is currently, over the last 15 games, in the top-2 of all players in the ESPN database.  Only Mr. Blackmon can hold sway over him.  Now the ownership has spiked and he is currently in the 80’s, but hey, some leagues are dumb and slow, so just in case, he is there, which he shouldn’t be (just check). Worse comes to worse, he makes for an interesting guy to trade for down the stretch because his name isn’t sexy and could probably be involved with a bigger name with some draw.  SAGNOF report is incoming with some players to look at and some saves ups and downs from the three days that you missed me so…

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I was going to just delay this post due to inclement weather, but Grey’s super Doppler 5001, which is also a giant B.S. detector, wouldn’t let me.  So here we sit, some 48 hours before the list that you are about to see means about as much as single-ply toilet paper…  Really, what cheap s.o.b. concocted this idea of pinching pennies?  I mean everyone has had a run-in with it at some point.  Awful.  It’s part of the reason I have a salt-water bidet in all three outhouses at the Smokey compound.  So back to the deadline… closer gossip teams are lining up other contenders closers in such a bullish market, namely the rumors surrounding Mark Melancon.  The market and teams that need reliable relievers, let alone closers, is the Nationals, Indians, Rangers and Giants.  It is just the land of confusion and there is not enough LOOGY’S to go around.  I will touch on who I can see where after the bump to prolong the suspense, but the teams I just mentioned are teams to monitor on the opposite end of closers, because if the big names start rolling, all but Cody Allen looks to be out of a job.  Here’s what I can see going down by the deadline in the bullpen game, plus some rankings and next in line stuff.  Plus, Razzball Soccer has started pumping out quality, so go over and check it and join the official game…

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The other day the Astros signed the coveted Cuban refugee, Yulieski Gourriel.  One time!  Yulieski is as apple pie as a Canadian tenor group making a political statement during the All-Star Game.  He’s 32 years old.  If he went by YuGo, that would make him the newest car in Cuba.  “Bueno Model T, amigo!  Now, tell me about this Ford Taurus I hear so much about.”  You know who a 32-year-old Cuban immediately reminds me of?  Hector Olivera and Alex Guerrero.  Sloppy comparison maybe.  Hey, that gives me an idea.  Whenever doing a sloppy comparison between players who just happen to be Cuban, we should call them Sloppy Jose’s.  We need a similar term for when making a sloppy comparison between Japanese players; please suggest in the comments.  As for Gourriel, yeah, I don’t see much here.  I watched video of him, and he looks like a 15 HR, 6 SB, .260 hitter, which is Hector Olivera.  I’m sorry, but those Sloppy Joses make sense sometimes.  This Gourriel signing obviously delays Bregman’s arrival, so boo, you mothereffer, boo.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?