The ESPYS are coming soon, so I decided it might be time to nominate some relief pitchers for mid-season hardware and steal a little bit of ESPN’s ESPYS thunder (that’s just wrong on more than one level) in the process.  Anyway, I’ll soon be handing an award to one of the relief pitchers with a chance to regress in a bad way and I’m calling these awards the Jurrjy’s because Jair Jurrjens was a pitcher that was as up and down as I can recall a pitcher being.  He was (is, I could say, after all he still exists, somewhere) a BABIP dependent* pitcher because of a low strikeout rate.  For instance, here are his 2011 1st half/2nd half  ERA splits: 1.87 in 110.2 1st half innings vs 5.88 in a small sample of 41.1 second half innings.  While it might have been better to pick a reliever to name this after, I can’t think of anyone that fits the description better than Jair Jurrjens.  The only problem is, I’m not sure if the “winner” is the one whose ERA regresses the most or the one who maintains the mirage.  I guess that’s up to the Academy to decide.  So without further ado, your 2015 Jurrjy nominees in the “rising ERA” category are:  Steve Delabar, middle reliever, Toronto Blue Jays (1.42 ERA /4.05 FIP).  Bryan Shaw, middle reliever, Cleveland Indians (2.10 ERA /4.62 FIP).  Joakim Soria, closer, Detroit Tigers (2.73 ERA /5.09 FIP).  Brad Ziegler, closer, Arizona Diamondbacks (1.45 ERA /3.78 FIP), Darren O’Day, middle reliever, Baltimore Orioles (1.21 ERA /3.17 FIP), and JJ Hoover, middle reliever, Cincinnati Reds (1.31 ERA / 3.10 FIP).  (*This article basically claims that pitcher BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) is 75% luck, 13% defense, and 12% pitcher’s skill).

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Well, I guess that makes all the sense in the world, because those darn Flock of Seagulls got all in your head in the 80’s.  Then they had the nerve to be in GTA and get you all singing about running.  I don’t even run when chased anymore.  It’s a big game of “ooohhh ya got me”.  So north of the border, they do it all in groups now apparently.  That group started out as a singular to start the year, then a separate individual took over only to fail himself, then they went back to the original guy who had it out of spring.  Now they are on to a group format because I am guessing “strength in numbers” is the thing.  I think “paint by numbers” should be their next move.  So if you are scoring at home, to summarize, that is Cecil, Castro, Cecil, et. all.   Yeah, I mean if I had the offensive potential that the Blue Jays have, and they are being all fiddle and benz with the end game, I would make a move to a more permanent solution.  Don’t be cheap, I think the exchange rate is in your favor or close.  So the committee we are looking at now is a group that consists of Roberto Osuna, Steve Delabar, possibly another occasional save chance for Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Optimus Prime and any prime number.  From a rostering standpoint, I would own Osuna, Delabar, then Cecil.  If you missed out on all three, just be thankful, because it’s a mess.  But saves bring all the craziness out of people, so that’s why it’s bullpen week and we are getting down to the goods of the HOLD.  Enjoy the rankings, tidbits and the casual barbs at my peers.  Cheers!

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Donaldson pulling a Jeter? Shades of Armando Galarraga on a play at first in a perfect game? John Gibbons looking like he’s sucking on a lemon but really he just happened to glimpse Brett Cecil? The eighth was thick with humidity. The tension was buzzing from a few bugs that made their way inside the domed stadium as Marco Estrada went for a perfect game. Unfortunately, Donaldson diving into the stands to make the first out in the 8th, when the announcers said he was “pulling a Jeter,” didn’t stop the infield hit on the very next batter when Logan Forsythe just barely beat it out to first. To misquote that previous sentence, it would be the first time a pulling Jeter had to beat it out. Marco ended the game with 8 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks and 10 Ks. He’s now allowed three hits in his previous two starts (over 15 2/3 IP). Estrada’s main peccadillo — or ponchadillo, as might be the case with Estrada — is he allows a shizzton of homers and he pitches his home games in Toronto. He’s recently looked untouchable, and I’d stay with the theme and not touch him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is the Saves Ain’t Got No Face “eff the team managers” edition which will give me a chance to both vent and try to deflect blame for bad calls I’ve made.  Joe Maddon of the Cubs decided to go a different route on his closer situation by removing Hector Rondon from the role.  For like three days.  And I make the call that Pedro Strop had a good chance to take over as closer.  Eff Joe Maddon.  Then in Tampa (Joe Maddon’s old team.. coincidence??) the following sequence happened:  1. Brad Boxberger gets dinged, Kevin Jepsen becomes the interim closer, (arguably) leapfrogging Jake McGee in the process.  2. Boxberger came back, blew a save.  3. Jake McGee (seemingly) takes over as closer.  4. Kevin Jepsen notches a (random) save.  5. Brad Boxberger (seemingly) regains closer role.  As of Sunday, the last 15/30 days for Rays Saves is 2/4 for Jepsen, 3/3 for McGee, 3/6 for Boxberger.  Last week I claimed Jake McGee was the new closer.  He gets zero save attempts this week.  Keep reading folks because this is really just the beginning of the latest twist and turns which will leave you wanting to pull out your hair.  (Plus recommendations to follow…)

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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 know bad raps can make a career… I mean Shaq made his secondary career off of them, but Joel Peralta is really getting one.  Everyone loves change, and the whole shiny new toy factor associated with bullpens, but I’m here to learn you something about guys that have been drafted, dropped, and then added and dropped twice over this year.  The Tampa Bay bullpen, and starters for that matter, are just bad this year. But, in the last 30 days, Peralta has lowered his ERA by 3-and-half runs.  That’s not exactly easy, especially on a team 15-plus games below .500. Also, he has more K’s, same ERA, and more Holds than the now more-coveted  Jake McGee during the last 30 days. Better pitcher all year, McGee, better lately? Peralta (but he burned us, so we give him the finger).  Just me giving my two cents.  I mean fluctuation, and “oooh that guy looks good in macrame shorts” are a blinding factor for rostering fringe bullpen guys.  Stick around for some cool bullet points shaped like baseballs… neat.

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Everyone knows about the top prospects getting called up. The Singleton’s, Tavares’, and Springer’s get all the pub, as they should.  Hitters that actually hit the ball only need to be successful 3 out of 10 times, and they are considered fantastic… even all-stars.  Now a pitcher gets 3 out of 10 wins, he’s a bum of the highest order, like a bum that can’t play an instrument, but has a puppy for sympathy change.  We all know that guy.  So the rookie RP getting called up around this time may stick with their respective teams, and they may not.  The three in particular I am referring to are Cam Bedrosian, Shae Simmons and Corey Knebel.  Bedrosian’s numbers in the minors are crazy unimaginable, and he could find himself in a great situation once he gains the trust of the bullpen-opath in Scoiscia.  The latter two are prolly not really factors, just yet as Simmons is blocked by the current GOAT at the position, and Knebel, albeit the first 2013 draft pick to make the majors, is going to be a bit-player until next year unfold’s.  I just wanted to point out that bullpen only-guys that get promoted need some love, it’s not like they smell like that musically challenged, puppy wielding guy from previous.  These adds are more of a deeper league or keeper league adds now, though I have speculated on Bedrosian in a 16-teamer with a deeper bench.

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Lots of haps going on in the end-game of fake baseball this week. Matt Lindstrom fell down and sprained his crown. Surgery has already happened, so if you’re stuck in traffic, or your league has weekly adds instead of daily, Ronald Belisario looks like the dude. In case your looking for alterior adds, Daniel Webb looks like he will get some looks, as Belisario isn’t a spring chicken, nor proven commodity. So add willingly if space allows. Also in Oakland, where nothing ever survives, or lives there permanently, according to Jay(Wrong) [Ed. Note– I was wrong. Bail Bondsman flourish there…], they finally got smart, used their shoe phone, and called in the option that may have been the right choice all along. Sean Doolittle is the shiny new toy, until the new shiny toy comes around or he breaks. I love me some Doolittle. If there was a wagon that hosted bands on it, I would be a groupie I guess. He has the K rate, the arsenal, but gets the whole “he is a lefty” shenanigans. So look past his Loogyness and just dig on the beard and 12-plus K rate, or if that doesn’t do it for ya, the 30/1 K/BB ratio.  Or if that doesn’t get ya… well, err… that was my last detail, sorry. Enjoy the tidbits of straight sizzurp laced knowledge that Stephen Hawking would even Ctl+Alt+Esc.

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Looking for the Razzball Podcast? TOO BAD! It’s now Razzball Radio, and you can check out all the episodes here!

This is a different kind of disaster my friends. And trust me, here in the metro area, we’ve suffered many disasters. Did you know about Snowmageddon in 2010? Sure, what we experienced during that time was what New England calls ‘any Friday night in February’, but we don’t live up in the northeast, do we? No, we’re more civilized and cultured and decided to live in a humid mid-atlantic swamp, with a cesspool of slime, filth, and trash. And that’s just K street. Don’t even get me started about the state of the Potomac river. As an added bonus, in 2011, there was the Earth quakepocolypse, where a 5.8 shaker did irreparable harm to my lawn chair. And I’ll tell you this, no one called in off-shore drillers, trained as astronauts, like they should have to save us. Well, that time is now. With Francisco Rodriguez leading the universe in saves AND father in-law abuse, the world truly is on the precipice of disaster. Global warming? Pfft, that ain’t nothin’ compared to the state of our fantasy teams. With 87% of the MLB DL-eligible, as stated here by your’s truly, we are now covering another harsh reality in this lede… the era of closers as we know it has ended. Thanks Obama! Rod Beck… hug me. Actually, don’t get near me. You smell like a week-old hot dog and the great depression…

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Yu Darvish was outstanding last night, pitching 8.2 innings and allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out 12 Red Sox. Darvish brought his filthiest stuff to the park last night. No, not his magazine collection. Yu’s pitches were overpowering the Sawx and the movement on his slider made him practically unhittable. Yu retired the first 20 batters he faced before David Ortiz reached on an error in the fifth inning, breaking up the perfect game. Regardless, Darvish dominated. He struck out six in a row at one point, which is like Craig Kimbrel getting a double save. Yu was one strike away from his first no-hitter, but David Ortiz pulled through again with a ground ball through the shift. D’ohvish. Damn you, Big Papi! Yu do not “Luv Ya Papi”, but you’re better off with J.Lo anyway, David. Poor Darvish suffered the same fate in his debut last April versus Houston, striking out 14 Astros through 8.2 innings before losing the perfect game with one out to go. So what does all this mean for your fantasy team? Not a whole lot, except if you own Darvish you’re as happy as Pharrell in a new, big hat. Despite his bad luck, Darvish currently sports a lovely 10.49 K/9 to go along with his 1.08 WHIP, and it’s those stats that will help your fantasy team a lot more than any perfect game will.  But don’t worry, Yu will get there some day.

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

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