Well, I guess enough was enough in Detroit.  It’s always nice to waltz around with a security blanket like Linus, and have the ability to add a closer to back-up a closer that is making 10 mil a year.  Joakim Soria walks into the room dressed like Lloyd Christmas and is all tops and tails.  Great starting pitching and an actual winning team that he can back up.  For the Rangers this year, he had 17 saves for a 40 win club.  Turn that around, and he went from being on a 21-games-under-.500-team to a 14-games-over one.  His only problem is that he is flirting at the Sadie Hawkins dance with the date that Brad Ausmus brought, and Nathan has a some pull there.  My take is it’s not going to be long before the settle in on “The Mexicutioner”.  So I have them ranked mid-table until the dust settles and we see what’s what. I mean, all Soria has to do is show some kind of consistency, and boom, you have a top-8 closer for the rest of the year.  You can think what you want, but Detroit is a 90 win team all day and a bag of chips tomorrow, however that expression goes…  In Texas, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz as of now look like the two heads of the class for minimal save value in Arlington.   So the closer-thon to cure save depravity has begun, adjust your rosters, operaters are standing buy to take your recent waiver wire donations.

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OH-WA-AH-AH-AH! Woah, sorry about that. A little rough for a Saturday morning for you? Well what can I say but toughen up, kiddos. There’s only a little over 60 games left on the season for you to tell your significant others that you’re scouring the waiver wire for decent players at 12:30 AM on a Tuesday morning with that ‘Brown Chicken Brown Cow’ sound in the background playing on your computer and no, you’re not listening to Trace Adkins. You don’t like country and you don’t even know who that is. But you do know who Jason Kipnis is…was that a segue? I’m not even sure. If it was, it was a little weak at best but it’s done and now we’re here so lets get down to the goods of it all. Kip – I can call him that since I have a friend from OH with whom I’m bros with; that’s how these things work – hit 2 bombs from the lead off spot for the Tribe on Friday, finishing the night 2/5 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs. And here’s me telling you to sell on dat chit. He’s had a little hotty toddy, we likes to party July, hitting near .300 with 2 said HRs and 5 stolen bases but let us not forget what he has done for his career in the second half. He loses about 20 points of average, about .040% on Slugging and even finds a way to steal less down the stretch. Obviously, past doesn’t always dictate the future. I mean, look at people who get married a second a third time. The percentages staying together get better right? *Looks at percentages*…oh. History is just not on the side of Kipnis being a second half savior for you and I’d make a move if I can still get a price return on him close to what you had to draft him for. In other news from the All-Star break return to our 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…oooh, on the TLC tip! Just a friendly reminder that myself and some other cool cats (I think Mike might be a Toyger) do this thing called DraftKings for you all every day of the week. That last link takes you away to Daily Fantasy land care of our VIP card but this link shows you all the content we’ve been providing to help you get the game down while you’re with us. BTW, didn’t bring up Mike just cuz. I’m swinging for Dan Pants today because apparently he’s pantsless or something. I told him just to change his name to Dan Assless Chaps for the day but he declined. That said, I’m gonna be away from the good ‘ole ‘puter for the day but Mike will be fielding all your burning questions. No, not those questions. If it burns down there, go see a doctor. Mike is just a cool cat and cats aren’t doctors. Duh. But enough chicanery, let’s really get back to this show…

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In my first ever post on points leagues in the beginning of May, I left you with the closing statement, “POINTS ARE POINTS.  SELL THE NAME TO WIN THE GAME.”  The premise is simple, don’t worry about the guys who garner all the attention in traditional category leagues.  Find ways to score more points, regardless of the players’ name recognition value.  Points leagues are their own little fantasy worlds that exist under some vary skewed parameters.  Think of points leagues like fetish porn.  Razzballin does invoke some interesting imagery as the title of an adult film.  Eeeee… Some thoughts just can’t be unremembered.  Grab some hard stuff and throw it back to help ease trauma.  The foreplay of the season is behind us and July signals the time to really turn it on to make the push for your fantasy playoffs.  Let’s get you lubed for some nice 2nd half moves.

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In school they teach, or try to teach, in most of our cases for the ADHD crowd, the essentials of a good curriculum. Reading, Writing and arithmetic. We can apply that to the closer situation in Arizona.  Addison Reed is the closer, but for how much longer?, is the key conundrum. He see’s the writing on the wall, but he also has the backing of his manager throughout the season (and again on Tuesday), and has since blown 2 more saves. Though the way the D-Backs are going, would it be optimal for them to ground an asset, or a “sort of asset” now, and then try and go a different direction later via trade?  Cuz let’s be honest, they aren’t going anywhere, and have capable arms in the majors and minors to jump in if necessary.  Now the math part, well that is why we do fantasy baseball, it’s all about the numbers.  Which, in Addison’s case, really sounds like a totally hot chicks name, prolly drives a Jeep Wrangler, wears her dad’s old jeans as cut-offs, basically a goer if you catch my drift.  [Jay's Note: I really don't.] Where was I and why am I all sweaty?  Oh…numbers.  Reed’s K’s are up and walks are down from his career numbers… but but but Smokey, those are good things.  Right?  Well, technically yes, but when luck runs out you go to Zig-Zags, and by that, I mean Brad Ziegler, (the next guy up in the event of  a change). Yes, even with the escape-goat win on Wednesday.  I mean, Addison has done really nothing wrong besides blow 5 games, and sometimes looks about as hittable as Rihanna.  So sit on Addison, but cushion the blow with B-Rad, and for dynasty lookers, take a look at Jake Barrett.  Let’s see what other geniuses of truth happened in the last week or two.

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It was a good night for a rally, but a bad night for a closer. Summer is officially here which means we can no longer use the “he’ll heat up as soon the weather warms up” excuse for our struggling stars. And just as the air at Coors makes the balls fly higher, the increased temperature and humidity also causes those baseballs to travel even farther. This time of year the advantage tends to shift from the pitchers to the hitters. It’s science, Mr. White! Fact. Just go ask a scientist. He’ll tell you summer is coming, Jon Snuh, no need to look so depressed all of the time. Perhaps this explains why last night, on Summer’s Eve, a number of closers collectively decided to destroy your ratios in an all out Closer Catastrophe. Let’s start with Zach Britton (0.2 IP, 3 hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, BS (2)). I haven’t seen a Yankee beat a Britton like that since the Battle of Saratoga. Revolutionary war joke! (NERD!)  With nine saves in the past month, it’s hard for Britton’s owners to complain here, so let’s move on. Old Reliable Glen Perkins (1.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB), was handed his third blown save but managed his third win, in expert vulture stylez. The crowning jewel of last night’s CloserTastrophe, Aroldis Chapman (0.2 IP, 2 hits, 2 BB, 4 ER) was handed the loss after a five run ninth inning capped off by a 3-run HR by Edwin Encarnacion. Say it ain’t so, Roldy! Is no one safe? With Craig Kimbrel (1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, 1 ER) notching his fourth blown save I should think not. Anthony Rendon hit a game-tying HR (11) off Craig, the first homer Kimbrel has surrendered all season. Are you getting scared yet? Was there a full moon last night or something? How about Greg Holland (1.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 BB, 2 ER) taking his second loss. This one was tied when he entered but stillz. By this time in the night when I saw Kenley Jansen (0.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 hits) enter the game with one run lead, I knew it could only end poorly. Escape while you can, Kenley! Fake a stomach cramp or something! He was handed his third blown save of the year. Sure, I’m ignoring all the closers who did manage to notch saves last night, but that’s not the point. It was a tough night to be a closer, but an even tougher night to own one in fantasy baseball. I feel your pain, all.

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

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The job in Tampa isn’t as pretty as it used to be, as the team is super underachieving, and not in a superhero-footed pajamas kinda way. Joe Maddon looks like he needs an executive parachute, even though he is a hoot to listen to during an interview. I think he is waiting for someone to jump and run with the job. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta or even the artist formally known as Leo Nunez may be the most obvious and experienced options, but I have another one for ya: Kirby Yates.  I didn’t make that up. He reminds me of what Jim Henderson did two years ago with the Brewers. Career journeyman, decent, but nothing stands out about his minor league numbers… then boom. K -ates in the minors are above 12 for the last 3 seasons, and he has over 50 saves during that same time.  Tampa is the place to rehab relievers, and Korean War shrapnel wounds, so crazier things have happened.  Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney, Troy Percival, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Al Reyes…. you get the point. The rule with closers is: It’s better to be first then not at all. So if time and space are in alignment and Rod Serling is already taken, pounce. Stick around, it’s a good week to speculate on saves and save-nots.

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There is something to be said about doing your job, and then saying “good job but the regular guy is back, and he’s taking your job back.”  Mark Melancon filled in swimmingly for the injured Jason Grilli and his line is better than most closers in the F-tier of my rankings.  To his dismay, Grilli is back, and is being eased back into his role.  Is it fair? Probably.  Does it suck for Melancon stat vultures? Most definitely. Going back exactly one year, when Melancon became a fantasy stalwart on our rosters, he has an ERA under 2, 25 Saves and 17 Holds.  That’s all after Grilli went down last year. Besides the K factor, which is in Grilli’s favor, Melancon is basically being grounded for getting only an A- in English class… but but but it’s still and A!, I’m sure he’s muttering.  But, I’m rooting for Grilli, dat journeyman done good, saved all those kids from dat thang. Whatever that thing was. You know the story. No? Well make one up, tell your friends it happened, and let’s start a rumor. So good luck Jason Grilli, just make sure to look both ways when you cross the street. Oh, we totally forgot about your 3 BS in April. Cause you’re back here forever.  Subliminal message: Hold onto Melancon.

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For the 2nd time in two months, Yu Darvish has woken with a stiffy. A stiff neck, that is. Perhaps he should swallow the Viagra pill rather than letting it dissolve in his mouth before bedtime. On the fo’serious, what’s the problem with Texas and necks? I blame the NRA. They insert themselves in national debate, always pointing their finger at people and away from themselves. That’s the Neck Rehab Association. That was clear, right? What does Yu’s bed and pillow arrangement look like? Did he have his favorite Japanese architect of those tiny little cot-beds that are in hotels in Tokyo design his house? Maybe the Hello Kitty pillow is meant more for adornment rather than comfort. Can I have answers, I insist on truthiness. If I were the Rangers, I’d probably take a look at how he’s sleeping, that’s all I’m sayin’. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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What’s more American than Memorial Day weekend? How about an ex-country singer-dating, gun-toting, Texan, a guy that looks like he puts a hot dog in the fly of his pants and goes up to female reporters and asks them if they’re hungry, a guy who we call Red State Jeter, a guy that looks like he has the rhythm of Mark Madsen, someone who has Ted Nugent’s special I’m-a-huntin’ phone number, a guy that Roger Clemens probably watches and thinks, “I wonder if he’ll have sex with my wife while I watch,” throwing a no-hitter? With a no-hitter on Memorial Day, Josh Beckett just took your ‘Murica and raised it back to its 1950′s ‘Murica when we were more obvious about our contempt for other nations. Though for our fantasy porpoises — hey, dolphins! — I gotta be honest, I’m a bit worried about him throwing 128 pitches, but his peripherals suggest a guy that if healthy can be a solid fantasy number three. He is not an ace now, so if suddenly people think that, feel free to shop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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