We break from the usual 12 dollar salads, donkeys, and hypothermia to breakdown, in basic fashion, the relief rankings for the final 70-plus games.  Why is this helpful you may ask?  Because for trade target reasons or chasing saves for points, you may want guy A over guy B.  With the relief ranks it is as fluid as a clogged sewer drain, because on any given week, the middling type closer can hit bumps in the road and be removed from contention. So if you are using this as a trade commodity in your quest to add saves, my advice is this add the elite only.  Nothing lower than the top-12.  These guys are all nailed on and in an impressive state, barring an injury obviously. Now with that, we also have to realize that trades will happen… and take one reliever from a good situation to a better one, then on the reflexive of that, it can turn one with a job into a set-up situation.  Regardless, here is my stab at the top relief pitchers for the second half of the Fantasy Baseball season.  Cheers!

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It’s the last post before the all-star break and nothing seems more fitting than a Neal Diamond reference.  If you don’t like or appreciate Neal, then we have problems and I challenge you to a duel or whatever the young kids are doing now a days to show dominance.  (Because I know it’s not anything like what transpired in West Side Story.)  Moving on swiftly to the pressing closer news as I get lost in my ole timey spirit…  So the Cardinals have moved away from the Oh and more to the Rosenthal.  Trevor Rosenthal has sorta looked like he did three years ago, which seems like forever ago but really isn’t.  The bad thing is that he and the rest of the save chasers that are in the Cardinals bullpen are pitching blah-squared.  The best pitcher over the last 20 games is Matt Bowman… again.  I said that same statement about a month into the season when Oh originally looked about as shaky as an 11-year-old with his first attempt at using a blow torch.  Over the past 30 games the saves have gone Oh for 3, Rosenthal 1, Bowman 1 and Tyler Lyons with 1 (was a multiple innings save).  Over the past 30 games for a usual dominant bullpen fixture, in terms of fantasy, to post 5 saves (I am not counting Lyons effort) is more condemning than the way they are pitching.  If you are a Seung-Hwan Oh owner, you kinda have to hold the ship until it becomes more of an official thing.  If Rosey is on your wire (55% owned in ESPN leagues) then nab him up.  If you want to roster a RP with appeal, then Bowman is your guy (1.8% owned).  As I can see it, Oh is still the guy but with some daylight for others.  Just be leery that the past 30 days of track record for savedom have not been all that rosey for the Cards.  Don’t frown, we got more goodies and sunshine after the bump.  Cheers!

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The Yankees called up Clint Frazier on Saturday.  The Yankees are like you at a concert after your first bathroom break.  “I had sixteen beers and I really gotta whizz.”  *goes to the bathroom, then sips your seventeen beer*  “Damn, I just took a whizz, and now I have to go again.”  The childproof seal has been broken.  The Yankees waited about five years too long to promote some of their rookies, and now they’re taking a whizz every third day.  (I’m mixing metaphors, aren’t I?)  I wonder if the Yankees are aggressively promoting rookies now because of how well Judge is doing.  It’s confirmation bias, or some Psych 1010 term.  In the minors, Frazier went 12 HRs, 9 SBs and .257 in 73 games.  His strikeouts weren’t terrible, and that line looks like it could hold in the majors, i.e, 20/15/.250 in 162 games.  That’s if he has playing time the rest of the year, which is, of course, no guarantee with Holliday, Hicks, Gardner, Ellsbury, though if they were candy, they’d all be brittle.  I’d grab Frazier in all leagues to see what he can do.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Michael Taylor and Keon Broxton are pizza delivery men.  And–Yes, two of them delivering one pizza.  Okay, and you answer the door naked.”  Jim Bowden squints, considering it.  “Can I be riding a Segway?”  “Sure, sure.”  “And you’re saying it’s not erotic?”  “Not traditionally.”  That was a pitch for a Showtime After Dark movie called The Bowden Fluffers.  Before they’re through, they will also pitch it to Skinemax, Spike and NatGeo TV.  Sadly, no one will bite on the Fluffers, pardon the phrasing.  They will say they want to work with Michael Taylor and Keon Broxton again in the future, and rightfully so.  Brucely, I was shocked they were both under 50% owned in ESPN leagues.  I’d usually go on to say something snide here about ESPN leagues, but I get the feeling that we’re thisclose to every fantasy site closing its doors and opening its own video chatroom.  Who would’ve guessed twenty years in the future all journalism professors would be Max Headroom?  Any hoo!  I’m off-off topic.  Taylor has 11 HRs and nine SBs and hitting around .275, and Broxton has 13 HRs and 14 SBs and hitting around .250.  If these numbers don’t immediately grab you like an angry sock puppet that needs its coffee, then you don’t know fantasy value.  On our Player Rater, Broxton is the 24th best outfielder and Taylor the 46th best, i.e., they should be owned in 100% of leagues.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Just when the ship couldn’t sink any lower, the Giants lost their closer for the second time this year.  When it happens once, sure… twice?  I have my doubts. Mark Melancon hit the DL with more arm ailments and received a PRP injection in his arm.  No, a PRP injection isn’t something that you search for on your go-to-p0rn site of choice.  It is never a good thing, especially for a scuffling team like the Giants.  They have already had attempts at the closer with Derek law, Hunter Strickland/ and now re-tread candidate Sam Dyson is thrown into the fray.  I mean, I am no Nostradamus here, but it doesn’t look good.  It’s almost like that 2:00 AM special when you stare across the bar and try to decide if it’s better then going home alone and revisiting that PRP search on that website of choice.  We saw earlier this year that Dyson is not to be trusted, granted that saves are saves are saves, but at what cost?  An inflated ERA and 1-2 save chances a week… maybe.  Hunter Strickland got the first save, but only because Dyson was plucked from the bullpen in 4-of-the-last-5. For a team that struggles to score runs, can’t keep the ball in the yard from a starting pitcher standpoint, and a bullpen with tons of failed attempts at a closer, the benefit just isn’t there.  So if you must, the order as of right now is: Dyson, Strickland, then Kontos.  But for a team with only 16 saves to show on the season, the chase is more exciting than the ownership.  Enough about the city of Rice-A-Roni, and onto the week in Holds and such!

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Yankees called up their 3B prospect, Miguel Andujar (3-for-4, 4 RBIs, and a steal), to fill-in for DL’d Matt Holliday.  That reminds me of Joaquin Andujar, and now I’m sad.  Gone too soon.  RIP, Joaquin.  “I always thought you’d kill someone before life killed you.”  That’s my eulogy to him.  Any hoo!  I watched some game film on Andujar (while chewing on an unlit cigar, because that’s how scouts do it, right?), and he reminds me of so many Dominican players that take the Roberto Clemente/Vlad Guerrero approach.  Old adage goes:  You can’t walk your way off the island.  We should have a glossary term for these type of hitters.  Please suggest in the comments.  Any hoo, Part 2:  Still Hoo’ing, Andujar is raw, swings at a lot and makes contact, sometimes to his detriment.  He could DH or see time at 3B, but will need to hit to stick.  Could be a deep league power bat if he hits and Headley is benched indefinitely or Holliday stays out a while.  Maybe Andujar will be so lucky that Girardi gets one more wish filled this year and looks at Andujar, saying, “Now, you be the Judge.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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We’ve reached the end of the line for Cole Hamels‘ viability.  It happens to everyone.  Robert De Niro went from Meet the Fockers, a respectable comedic turn as Rex Reed likely said, to total garbage.  Maybe Hamels throws a couple of good games here and there, just as De Niro might have a scene or two here and there after the Fockers.  Silver Linings Playbook wasn’t all bad, but if you’re going to see a movie because of De Niro, you’re about to sit through crap that he did for money.  Hamels is heading out there with a 6-ish K/9 and starring in Last Vegas.  His xFIP and velocity look like Dirty Grandpa.  Hamels’ walk rate is still not right and you’ve walked into the wrong theater and now you’re watching The Intern and a grandmother is standing in front of the exit telling you to sit back down.  I want out!!!  Please God!!!  I would attempt to sell Hamels before it’s too late.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Being in a crazy deep league can be a double-edged sword. Planning for a draft or auction where you know your last roster spots are going to be filled by players who are literally listed as 0% owned in some formats can be mildly terrifying. But in a weird way, it can make the first few weeks of the season easier. When the names at the top of the waiver wire are Rickie Weeks and Matt Cain (and, yes, those are actually the names at the top of the wire in my deepest AL and NL leagues, respectively), you have no chance to second-guess yourself. If you were worried about Jharel Cotton or Mike Foltynewicz’s atrocious first starts, for instance, you couldn’t just rashly dump them to take a flyer on Charlie Morton or Hyun-Jin Ryu… because those players are already ensconced on another team as someone’s third or fourth best starter.

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I’m not a woman.
I’m not a man.
I am something that you refer to as Fantasy Master Lothario.
I’ll never beat you (except in fantasy, that is my pledge).
I’ll never lie (except about how much I once liked Josh Rutledge).
And you’re evil but unless Rougned Odor disappoints I’ll forgive you!
Cause baseball will start 4 2!

*takes a long inhale* Can you smell the freshly cut grass?  No, because it’s still freezing in half the country?  Where’s your climate change now, Al Gore?!  I’m so hyped up about Opening Day, I’m slangin’ bean pies like Ice Cube and picking up and dropping catchers for s’s and g’s!  *goes to my Yahoo fantasy team page*

All right, so I guess I’m not making changes to my Yahoo team on this glorious of splendiferous days.  This day that is more beautiful than Giancarlo’s tukis.  This day that is the most frou-frou of all catchpennies!  Okay, I think my thesaurus steered me wrong on that last one.  On a sappy level, this was a weird offseason, and I’m glad to put the real world in my rearview mirror for six glorious months, and worry about nothing but winning as many fantasy baseball leagues as I can, and helping everyone along the way.  Now who was it again that had Greg Bird (0-for-4, but batted third; yes, you should own him) ranked higher than everyone else?!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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