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The past week has been an eventful one for bullpens. A whole slew of committees has emerged. Injured guys have returned. A couple challengers have even been thrown back into the muck of non-ninth inning pitching. The most notable of the returning closers was Sean Doolittle. He’s really settled in as the closer for Washington and they have been very comfortable with him there. Most of us dislike seeing the doctor and opponents of the Nationals are no different. Hopefully, you’ve received an infusion of save opps as you look to close out the 2018 season. If not, SAGNOF at will.

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Teams with playoff aspirations are setting their bullpen roles for October. Guys like Johnny Venters have gained a ton of value in holds leagues. Who can you trust for high leverage roles? Let’s jump in and see.

  • With the veteran arms Oakland brought in struggling, Lou Trivino has reemerged as a daily threat to get a hold. The A’s gained faith in him through the first half. He’s back in the circle of trust with nice Ks and ratios. It helps that he pitches for a competitive team.
  • A rogue save went to Ryan Pressly when Roberto Osuna and Hector Rondon were unavailable. That illustrates the faith A.J. Hinch has in him. Pressly has as many holds (7) as anyone the last 30.
  • As a 28-year-old journeyman reliever, there were not many expectations for Richard Rodriguez coming into the season. He didn’t make the big league roster. Ray Searage saw something and turned Rodriguez into his latest reclamation project. To quote Searage on Rodriguez even demeanor, “Maybe because he’s been punched in the face so many times that he says, ‘What the hell, what do I have to lose?’” He certainly hasn’t lost the strike zone with a double-digit K/9 this season, 18 K/9 the last 14 days. When in doubt, bet on a Searage project.
  • Brad Ziegler has thrown his name into the HAGNOF circle. With the Diamondbacks having ninth-inning issues, he could be a SAGNOF candidate soon, too.
  • Apparently, the Braves also acquired a time machine in addition to Johnny Venters. He’s slotted right back into his old role in the Atlanta pen and chalking up holds at a stellar rate. You won’t get many Ks from him these days, but the ratios don’t hurt.
  • Your weekly update on the Cleveland closer see-saw is that Allen got a couple saves this week. I still think he’s more likely to see a hold than save, but it’s a coin flip.

Below you’ll find notable SVH performers…

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We’re inside the final month of your fantasy baseball seasons. Hopefully you’re in contention for some titles and payouts. Who to trust for saves matters down the stretch. Don’t let a brain freeze drop you in the standings. Also keep an eye out for shifting roles in places like Minnesota, Cleveland, or San Francisco. The Brad Hand types could make or break your stretch run depending on what inning their manager calls on them.

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Count me among those who think we should put the save out to pasture. If you’re interested in holds, you clearly play in a superior league. There’s such a minimal difference between a save and a hold, that they should be treated equally for fantasy purposes in my book. Pat yourself on the fantasy back for being an elevated fake sports mind. We’re looking for reliable roles in high leverage situations. Plus strikeout rates and friendly ratios help, too. Below is a table that includes those opportunities. A few of the more notable middle relievers below, as well.

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Hey, you’re not Smokey. What gives? Smokey has passed on. From our fantasy collective that is. I’m Roto-Wan. You may remember me from such Razzball posts as Draft: DFS Tuesdays. I’m filling the bear-shaped hole left in your fantasy hearts the rest of the way. Strap in save-chasers. The end of 2018 could get bumpy.

  • I’m kicking things off in bold fashion and adding Jose Leclerc to the top tier. He has as many earned runs as walks since July 1. Two of each, lowering his ratios to a 1.93 ERA and a .90 WHIP, with a 14.3 K/9. Dude is bad.
  • It’s been a weird stretch for the Dodgers. Jansen was diagnosed with a heart issue and DL’d. No one excelled in his absence. Then he returned and blew some saves in ugly fashion. I have to drop them some.
  • Terry Francona has made it clear both Allen and Hand will get save opportunities.
  • Would you look at that? Sergio Romo has become useful in 2018. Nothing spectacular, but fairly dependable in the one number we care about.
  • As gross as the name is, Wily Peralta seems to be the preferred option for the Royals. In a bold-bullpen-calls article prior to the season, he was the boldest one I made. It says something about the nature of saves that the name I thought was the most ridiculous I included is getting regular ninth inning work.
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This post won’t be much about bullpens this week, unfortunately.  So for those of you that are greedy for fantasy bullpen goodness, this life is not up your alley. This post is more about a goodbye. That goodbye is from me to all the avid Razzball readers and followers. This is my final post across all formats on this site as I retire from writing. It has been nine years and close to 900 posts since Grey picked me up from my last day at the “College of Fantasy Baseball”, which he jokes is in Charleston, South Carolina. Funny part of that whole story line is I actually went to COC.  Funny part of irony is the irony itself!  So thank you Grey for giving me a chance to wax poetic in a style of my own for as long as I have, cheers. To the friends I have made here along the way… you know who you are and you have my number.  And a special thanks to the most important of all fantasy people, you, the readers. Especially the Razzball readers, because you are all cut from a different cloth. Sharpest, smartest bunch of nerds I have ever had the company of being in an imaginary room with. So I leave you with the finality of the bullpen reports, something I myself took pride in bringing you.  Thanks for everything Razz-verse!  I’ll be around and about on Twitter if you need me @FPL_MMOP so feel free to say hi or send me nudes.  So here it is folks, the haves and the holds from me for the last time.  The pleasure has been all mine. Cheers!

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Join the 2018-19 Razzball Fantasy Premier League for a chance at prizes! Don’t know about Fantasy Soccer? That’s okay, Smokey is here to walk with you throughout this journey of exploration and an absurd amount of accent marks on player names. So probably hide all your snacks. It’ll be a long journey…

Maybe they thought they were safe by bringing Kelvin Herrera as a Linus blanket until Doolittle returned.  Maybe they were comfy with the veterans that they had lined up just in case.  Well that “just in case” just happened.  Herrera is now on the DL and Madson assumes the role of all roles. (Until Sean Doolittle comes back from a stressed out foot.)  The Nats had such promise in preseason and even after the acquisition of Kelvin, to be a good bullpen.  Former closers, like most men, are there to do their job and file their income tax returns on time like big boys.  Well, they disappointed me and definitely the owners of Doolittle.  Since July 3rd, or basically the last time Doolittle pitched, they have four saves.  Four, fore, for!  Only ahead of teams like the Padres, Blue Jays and Angels.  By the way, if you are scoring at home the Angels haven’t had a save in 27 games.  That is actually more mind-blowing than a team with decent starting pitching to only get four whole damn saves.  Makes save-chasing on Madson or the like seem glum.  So save your FAAB bucks for another day because Sean should be back within the fortnight, no idea if he mastered his emote dances yet though.  Not that it really matters, but a save earned is a save kept.  I know that works with pennies, wasn’t sure if that helped with counting stats at all.  The season is coming down the stretch, do you have what it takes oh glutens of the SAGNOF?  If you feel weary or just on cruise control because of Fantasy Football, than relax take a gander on some useful bullpen stuff, followed by the rankings…

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Just for reference, as I was out and about, the “cult” classic by Lisa Lisa was on.  Now you can admit it or you can lie about it, but if you hear this song on in the privacy of your own aloneness, and you turn the radio up.  I’m sorry but it’s true.  If not, it is completely just me and I have some severe music intangible listening ability that is slightly off.  Where was I?  Bullpens you say, bullpens I say.  The first real bullpen post after the trade deadline is always a tough tell.  The good contending teams basically stack up the depth of their pens and make the most unique and usable reliever an after thought, or a “questionable” own in holds leagues.  I hate that this happens, because you roll along all season with a set it and forget it holds option and poof, they go to a contender and now are fourth fiddle.  And nobody remembers the fourth fiddler in the Charlie Daniels’ band.  If you do, climb out the basement and stare at the sun awhile, you two have missed each other’s company.  So if you are sitting on names that changed to a contender that are now tertiary in line for a hold, move on.  Grab a first-chair guy maybe on a lesser team, or even from that guys old team.  This time of the year, if trying to capitalize on the utmost hold capabilities, there can be no allegiances.  No saluting your past accumulation and move on.  I am adding in a chart this week that shows holds and chances for the last 30 days to lessen the load on your research ability.  After all it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, why not stay and hang out with Smokey?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trading deadline is days away and the roles they are a changing.  In comes one out goes the other.  Closers losing value left and right while the waiver wire warriors of the world are circling like buzzards for the SAGNOF scrap heaps. The latest in the foray of closers to go is Joakim Soria, now a Brewer.  The White Sox closer role is likely to go to Jace Fry or Juan Minaya.  Not an awesome situation or a good predicament to be in, but a closer is a closer.  The SAGNOF model should be: “Leave no good save behind”.   Similarly, the Orioles traded Zach Britton to the Evil Empire, Brad Brach assumes the role there for the time being or until he gets traded for assets that the Orioles can ruin.  The trade winds and finalized deals don’t help the set-up man either, as key components to the back-end game have been replaced by acquired talent.  This is life for the ever building bullpen foundation of playoff contending teams.  Build from the back, because the girth of talent that exists in the starters just isn’t there. So if you are currently zonked from losing a closer that no longer has a professional job of closing, it is time to speculate where speculating looks speculative.  Look at guys on the secondary for teams that are rumored to be wheelin’ and dealin’.  The Rangers, Nationals, Twins, Rays, Tigers, and to a lesser degree maybe the Cardinals… Be ahead of the curve instead of being caught looking at Uncle Charlie.  Closer news is fluid this time of year, and by the time this gets posted there could be 2-3 more trades that make me look even dumber than I already do.  More after the jump, with success stories and diminishing returns.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?