Tis that season!  Whether you are a football fan or not, and not that football fan…  Though the crew over on that football site do an amazing fantasy job.  So for the few of you that aren’t totally dizzy by my words of soccer, then let’s roll baseball into soccer and let the fantasy good times roll.  So for the next month the world, not ‘Mericas, will be casting its gaze on the beautiful game.  So while half the population is watching futbol, you can expand your bullpen horizons and deepen your reliever core.  The trade winds for relievers are already blowing and with just over a month to go before the trade deadline, grabbing the relievers that are secondary or even tertiary now (ones that won’t kill your rates) are all the rage with millennials AND baby boomers.  Situations to monitor and use to your advantage?  The Padres, Royals, and Tigers.  We all own the closer likes of Brad Hand, Kelvin Herrera, and Shane Greene.  But what are the ownership rights to Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, Kevin McCarthy, and Joe Jimenez?  Way slimmer.  And combined like Voltron, their ownership for all four of those secondary relievers is less than one closer.  So basically free.  The key to mid-season closer acquisitions is being first.  Save that beloved FAAB kitty and be early rather than later.  So if you are looking at your roster, it was rhetorical… I know you are, get rid of that sixth SP or that bench bat that does nothing and play the reliever wait game.  Save now to help later.  Cheers!

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Afterthoughts on draft day, or sleepers that only the select few stick with for SAGNOF?  The realm of SAGNOF rotates around the perplexity for steals and the hotness of said player when garnering the stat.  Leonys Martin is one of those guys this week that I’ll be focusing on.  Draft season, he was an afterthought… or was he a deep sleeper?  Being drafted in the 400’s overall and basically being drafted around Lonnie Chisenhall.  Which if we are all paying attention, is good for you,  but bad in terms of name value to stat value ratio currently.  Over the last 13 games, Martin has been unleashed, scoring 12 runs, swiping 4 and slashing a very unusual Martin line of .294/.379/.647.  For someone who’s career slash line is a fraction of said mark, the small sample size for the mini-fortnight breakout is welcoming.  He was a stolen base darling… four years ago and now that he has been given a chance to shine at the top of the Tigers lineup in front of quality hitters like Castellanos and the like, is this a growing SAGNOF trend that we can buy into?  I am saying yes on the short term, long term?  We know what Leonys is.  He is a .250 hitter with questionable on-base potential that has two feet and can run effectively given time and consistency.  If he is lying around in your league on the waiver wire, give him a shot as the Tigers do score some runs and the lineup behind him has shown some decent skills at moving runners over and doing all the things needed for Martin to be successful in the short term. More SAGNOF-dom charts and tidbits after the jump!

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Choosing the right closer is hard enough when there is only one to choose on draft day.  Tons of factors to guide your hand…  Jump forward 50-plus games and when the situation has multiple faces and not a ton of situations from which to choose: is it worth the squeeze?  The White Sox closer situation has gone from one, to a few, and back again multiple times this year, and now it has swung back to Joakim Soria after garnering the last two saves.  The conundrum here is that Nate Jones had gotten the previous three save chances.  Than if you scroll the calendar even farther, Jace Fry got a save and retread Bruce Rondon also factored in on one occasion in mid-May.  So with a team that only has 13 saves all year, better than only one other team, the Marlins (who are a complete and utter disaster for saves). So when chasing saves, and we all do it, even you, the guy who can’t make eye contact way in the back…  It is part of the FAAB chase and the most alluring I might add and frequent drain of funds. So with a team that has flip-flopped three times in 50 games, with 13 saves and on pace for a MLB bottom-three in save chances, is it worth the headache of this guy or that guy?  I wanna root for the Mexecutioner, and some guy named Nate, but they are basically like part-time lovers, and I would rather stream the spot with great counting stats that matter.  Soria’s K/9 is in the mid-10’s which is admirable, but on a game-to-game basis, the save chase comes down to volume, not the here and now.  Yes, Soria should be owned, and yes Jones should be owned.  But I am just bringing this up for your sake of saves hope.  If you can pair either one of them at the right time, obviously when they are on a hot streak of two saves in 10 days, do so and upgrade your save booty.  Advice over, bits of tid to follow.  Cheers!

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The value of Michael Taylor is that he can play centerfield better than anyone else on the Nationals roster.  I get that defensive metrics are not a fantasy stat, but it keeps players like him in the lineup from day-to-day.  With the emergence of Juan Soto and the impending return of Adam Eaton, it causes a luxury that most teams don’t offer.  Four decent to great outfielders that all offer a different set of skills but all rosterable in most fantasy formats.  I think the biggest question we have to ask is: Is Juan Soto going to stay up when Adam Eaton returns from the 60-day DL on the 8th?  Given what we have seen from him based on on-field merit, absolutely.  Making Eaton or Taylor the fourth man on any given day is the right choice, but I am leaning that Eaton or Soto form a nice rotation based on what the skipper has said about Taylor: “He wins games with his play on the field” is the truncated version of what he said.  He isn’t wrong, and basically Taylor is the Nationals version of Keirmaier. Similar skill set, maybe a bit more speed for Taylor, but their main asset is their propensity for great glove work.  Listen, I get and hear all the prospect thumpers saying there is no way that Soto comes out of the lineup, but to think that he doesn’t sit occasionally upon Eaton’s return is just plain naive. Eaton won’t play everyday, because he is about as durable as a street watch bought in Chinatown. So if you are a Taylor owner, be semi-nervous he should be owned for SAGNOF appeal, but not a pillar that is in your lineup for any other counting stats.  Even if the are getting better over the past 14 games to what they have been over the course of the year so far. So to summarize on the SAGNOF love, Eaton coming back, Soto, Taylor and Eaton will all lose 4-6 at bats a week, all is well and all are ownable.  SAGNOF Monday starts off your week with class and style.  Cheers!

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Forget about raising the Jolly Roger, let’s just salvage the poor thing.  The closer there, Felipe Vazquez, or the artist formerly known as “One Inning Willy” is struggling.  Which sucks for me personally because I tabbed him and the suspended one preseason to be the valued goods in the ranks of relievers.  Welp, you can’t predict injury, criminal activity, or attrition.  Judging that one closer is bad compared to if one is good, the eye test always wins out.  But Vazquez has been bad, and with an injury asterisk.  Blowing 4 saves in the last 10 games is just bad karma regardless of if your name is Mariano or not.  Bad luck, sure.  Injured…?  More likely, which is bad.  The propensity for him to be a every day or two out of three closer may be changing within the near future, not only to ease his pain with the stress of pitching the ninth, but to get a second look at one of the viable arms that has the look on paper of a closer.  That triumvirate of Michael Feliz, Edgar Santana and Richard Rodriguez have pitched spotty the last few times out, but should be owned in deeper leagues where saves are like the Sahara.  Cuffing yourself, even though the news on Felipe has come back clean, is the best advice I can give as a bullpen junky.  Just in case is better than a dollar short.   Other bullpen and closer bits of tid on the way.  Cheers!

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Last week we touched on the Mariners and the propensity for steals in a post-suspension world.  Since then, the navigators of the sea have acquired Denard and Colome, making more SAGNOF situations.  The scorching hot filterless hitter I wanna concentrate your gaze on this week is from the same team with ample speed to be used.  That hitter is Ben Gamel.  The addition of Span to the outfield mix is a bit of a head scratcher fantasy-wise, because someone has to sit and three outfielders have to play.  Gamel over the last 7 games is going streaking across the quad and down the street to On Base Percentage-ville.  His batting average alone is a nice coup for a short term pick-up.  Hitting .381 and an OBP of .458 is a nice end of the OF problem to have.  He is getting his fair share of AB’s and is putting his on base skills to good work too, stealing 3 bases in the past week.  That may seem like small potatoes, but in the world of steals that is a lot by its own standards.  So if you are surfing the waiver wire looking for outfielders with small potatoes to offer, take a long hard look at the Marines outfielder.  On to better and pressing news in SAGNOF-dom, we got charts and snippets of joy for this Memorial Day.  Cheers!

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Tap on the shoulder, now tap on the other shoulder.  Swords and knights yadda, yadda.  Pun joke and title inclusion over.  I could probably draw it out to upmost degree, but I’ll just end it and rip the bandaid off and jump into the welcome back Kotter bullpen of Philadelphia.  If the collective bullpen in Philly isn’t called the Sweathogs, they are doing something wrong.  The Vinnie Babarino that is emerging as the future leader is most definitely Seranthony Dominguez.  Dude set a record with hitless streaks to start the year for a rookie and is now the go to, end all be all holds guy for the Phillies.  His arsenal screams future closer, but Kapler’s fear of commitment and Neris owning pictures of some relative of his.  Dominguez is the guy, for now and for later.  With 5 holds and 1 save in his last 6 appearances, he is involved in almost every winning game the Phillies are.  He checks all the proverbial boxes that we have previously discussed when looking for a reliever to roster.  Plus he has the save appeal, which is similar to curb appeal, minus the fact that you don’t need shrubs or a Chinese maple tree to accent how dominant he has been. Holds for now, saves for later for the Sir of the Cheesesteak. Roster with confidence as his results are great, but be patient as Kapler is a mad scientist with his bullpen decision making skills.  Holds week brings the best out of all of us, because you play in a league with holds.  That’s why we are fake internet friends.

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For all intents and purposes, Jean Segura was a flopapotamus last year, failing to get to any of the previous year’s stats across the board.  That includes the all loving steals category.  He has gone from 33 in 2016, to 22 last year, to already having 11 in just over 200 plate appearances, which is a phenomenal pace for anyone that bought into him a his ADP in draft season.  Eleven steals already leads to a projection of right around 40, and 40 steals is fantastic, as it has only been eclipsed 10 times in the last few years.  Which brings back my old standby statement: that steals are a dying breed except for the select few.  I fully expect that the Mariners, who currently sit top-6 in MLB in steals, to keep the running game as a a major cog now that Robbie Cano isn’t around showing his elite speed.  With Dee Gordon and Segura, the Mariners have a duo of speed that really is unrivaled by other MLB teams.  The past week for Jean has seen his total jump from 5 to 11 steals overall. (Coincidence that Cano isn’t in the lineup that he is taking the base rather than trying to get hit over?  I think not.)  Nothing about that screams coincidence, it would be more of a coincidence for me to casually run into my ex-girlfriend outside the church on her wedding day.  So with a slash line of .414/.419/.655 since the removal of Cano, he looks primed to be an even more of a steal threat moving forward.  That is also a nod for Dee because the re-invention of lineup changes is the way a team plays.  I read that in a fortune cookie just now.  So welcome to SAGNOF day, kinda like Rusev day, but with less Bulgarian influence.

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Nothing is worse than owning a closer you drafted… you get comfortable and things are going well.  You’re sitting pretty, a dalmation on the beer cart.  Then poof!  The dreaded word that for fantasy players and save connaisseurs is worse than the “I’m pregnant” line; That word is a “group”, from singular to plural.  It isn’t fair.  These guys don’t know the hours of time we devote to drafting a team and then getting pimped to the waiver wire for the next dude up.  Well, that is where we are currently sitting with Atlanta and Philadelphia.  Adding more names to the donkeycorn factory at the end of the chart.  Joining the fray are now Tommy Hunter, A.J. Minter, Seranthony Dominguez, Dan Winkler, and a slew of other candidates that are all in bathrobes in a line by height down the hallway.  Save orgies are good for one thing and one thing only, diversifying the stat and keeping you closer to the leader by expanding the save universe.  But we all live in “a one man, one save” lifestyle like the Puritans.  So what do we make of all this mess, besides getting a waiver wire mop and roster as many as possible? Stay calm if you own the old closer.  There was a reason they had the job initially, and they are still in the running.  Dropping a potential save candidate to the wire is never a good idea, unless you are upgrading and getting a better save option that has the job outright.  This savey save advice is keen when you are middle of the pack, but if you are chasing saves and falling behind by the day, trading for one of a higher caliber is the tact to go.  Let us see what else is happening in the end game of fantasy…

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The theory of SAGNOF is capitalizing on the chances in front of your face.  The “polish sausage” king of steals has returned from the minors and re-established his presence in the stead of others.  Travis Jankowski started the year out of favor, not just based on ability, just on talent.  With Manuel Margot struggling and injured and Hunter Renfroe basically doing the same exact thing (but getting Pipped by Franchy), Travis has jumped from AAA and shown his best SAGNOF face.  Hitting .368, with 2 steals and OBP of .455 over 12 games since his return.  We all know of his one sided ability in the SAGNOF game because that is what makes him the prince of this and basically the west coast Rajai.  His availability in leagues is less than 5% owned across most formats and should steadily climb until the outfield situation is a muck.  An OF of Margot, Franchy, and Travis is of the extremely light-hitting variety.  It is using Travis now before the likes of Wil Myers, whose return is the question.  With Myers eventual return a few weeks off to possibly 10 days, using Jankowski now for the steals affect isn’t a bad idea as his stats say that he can hit, get on base and effectively get on base. The 30-steal year just two years ago shows that he has a penchant for the swipe, just has to avoid attrition, replacement and the inevitable return of better talent.  He has the gig for the next week to 10 days so now is the time to see if you can steal, pun intended, a few bases to pad your stats and move along.  That is what SAGNOF is, hit and move.  Don’t fall in love.  get what you want out of it and than throw it to the waiver wire dogs.  It is a sad world we live in and there is no cuddling in the quest for steals world.  I don’t care how great the big spoon feels.  More saves and steals ain’t got no face goodies after the bump.

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