Not only is it bad for marriage, but it is  doomsday for fantasy baseball.  Rostering three relievers from one team, all who accrue saves is just a blight on society.  No one has the ability to carry three separate relievers from one team.  Unless… naw… it’s just stupid to even think about. Two, I can be on board with.  Definitely two.  So you and two guys from one bullpen can have a save-a-trois.  This is the good/bad problem right now with fantasy baseball.  When do we say when for owning relievers from one team.  We almost need a safe word, and even then we wanna over-rosterbate and leave lineup chafe marks.  The current situations in Houston and Milwaukee are both good and bad.  The good are Chris Devenski and Josh Hader.  The semi-good is Jacob Barnes and Brad Peacock.  The bad is bringing in and rostering Matt Albers and Ken Giles.  I say they are bad only because it brings back the too many hens in the savehouse-type scenario.  Plus, Ken Giles has basically been phased with high-end stuff lately and he of the high draft choice are just wasting away like Dick Gregory on the Bohemian diet.  It is an impossible pill to swallow, that he’s a drop just 15 games into the season, but at what point do you look at your losses and start accruing stats that matter from a coveted relief spot?  (Stats that actually matter.)  No, Greg Holland walks don’t count, ya donkey. So when rostering relievers, think two max.  The only other fourth guy that should be looking at the save circle jerk is if you are comfortable enough having a cameraman.  Stay tuned kiddies, more tidbits of closer-dom after the bump… plus the first in-season 12 Buck Salads, Donkeycorns, Employed, and Freezes!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Speed kills. Whether that be by the arm or legs. But this isn’t no SAGNOF post, this is the weekly look at strictly bullpens.  At what point do we stop looking at velocity and its effectiveness being a correlative?  Probably never, as the statcast era has never looked stronger as geeks type in the square roots of derivatives to figure out the best angle of deflection for them to walk down the stairs in their parents basement.  It’s a tale as old as time, and people like me mock math and numbers because, well… I am lazy.  Numbers always existed, but now they are so finite that you can get a feet per second drop of a the pin that no one can hear.  So maybe I should delve into the fray here and take a look at the early season velocity for closers and how they compare to last year and how they correlate to K success. Velocity isn’t the end all be all of reliever success, but is fully in the forefront when studs like Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen are teetering on slow-pokes compared days of yore.  So I made a hand dandy chart, comparing last years average fastball velocity, K/9 and Swinging strike % to this years to see where the relationship between success, worry and full on panic in the closer realms exist.

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Bullpen situations, speculations, and basic wherewithal are always a conundrum.  Much like trying to figure out the size of Bruce Bochy’s head.  Quick answer? It is bigger than normal, and not in an intelligence-type way.  It is more of a cro-magnon way.  Manager decisions aren’t always made by choice, but by no other better outcome.  Hence why we have Hunter Strickland as the interim closer for the Giants.  This is only because Melancon is injured.  Dyson is just abysmal, and Watson has that whole lefty moniker attached to him (plus he hasn’t looked spectacular either leading up to opening day).  Here’s the thing that worries me about Strickland being the guy whether it be temporary or more of a permanent basis; he has problems getting the left-handed hitters out.  Like, it’s really bad.  Just go ask Bryce Harper about that.  Lefties hit .333 last year and for his career, hit almost 50 points higher against Hunter.  Now this is sort of a normal occurrence with opposite handed hitter/pitcher splits, but not for pitchers who are uber successful in closing situations for a long period of time.  The time table for Melancon to return is spotty with arm inflammation, so he could be there for a few weeks or until he falters.  Regardless, saves are saves and he should be owned universally.  Don’t show a blind eye to Dyson or Watson though if the waiver wire show their faces, because this situation is going to be a fluid one if and when Melancon returns for most of the year.  Hunter Strickland rant over. Let’s see what other bullpen and closer news is on the docket for this week…

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Holding off on info during the height of draft time is just not my M.O.  So I am bringing the goods and the reliever rankings a week earlier than anticipated.  Why go into battle with a water pistol when you can go with the boomstick?  At this point in the preseason, having a few teams with committee situations is normally a bad thing, except when you get to grab the right guy in that committee.  Having multiple draftable options from one team is more of a benefit than a detriment on draft day, because inevitably one person is going to be wrong in that selection process and it is usually the guy who gets drafted higher.  So looking at the situations with the White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks as they sit today committee’s exist.  Whether we want to believe it or not, each team has no clear cut closer and if you are skimming, this is still a good thing.  Let someone else draft Gregerson, Soria, Parker, and Claudio.  While you can sit back and wait a few picks or even rounds and scoop up Leone, Jones, Bedrosian, and Kela.  As the season draws closer, this advantage will dwindle down to nothing, but for now use it to your advantage.  Miss out on a top 8-10 closer, no worries, load up on the maybe’s and possibilities and if they don’t pan out than you can easily pivot to a more useful option on the waiver.  So when someone says a committee is a bad thing, laugh and agree.  Then drop the quartet of save possibilities into your team and see what happens.  At worst they will cost you four out of your last seven picks.  At that point in the draft, you should have an established team with all starters in place and you would be gambling on reliever talent anyways.  Now you have the knowledge in your corner and a little bit of rankings goodness from ole’ Smokey.  The initial installment of the Closer report with rankings is here, get excited!

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Besides pooping, every fantasy baseballian needs to do prep work.  Whether that be reading a publication of your choosing or doing a ton of mock drafts. Well, I am going to do you one better than using a mock draft to help steer your hand.  I am using actual drafts that people do for money to lend you an ADP hand in the terms of closers.  What else would I be doing?  After all, I am Smokey, where only you can prevent fantasy bullpen fires.  That public service announcement was brought to you by my own personal sponsor of Fischer pillows.  Not everyone uses or believes in ADP as a source because some people in mock drafts are crazy, like legitimately Tehol-type crazy.  That mock draft data is basically useless, but what if you had a list of drafts that were for actual dinero, and possibly some American money also?  The NFBC is a great contest that we here at Razzball take part in and several of our writers have challenged readers, just like you, in these contests.  They draw everyday Joe’s and experts from around the deep spaces of fantasy and all compete for money on varying levels of dramatics.  Sounds fun?  Cool, let me borrow 150 bucks so I can do one too.  So I took that data from the past 35 days for a 12-team based ADP and broke it down into two fun categories.  Drafts between February 1st and February 20th, and February 21 to March 6th.  Just so they sound more legit, the first group had 88 drafts of ADP values to use and the second had 106.  The number of ADP resources to draw from will increase by the time we get closer to actual game times, but for now 194 total drafts with data is at your discretion below.  Only the closers side of it.

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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Analyzing the Jefe’s work in the top-500 and finding things you disagree with is difficult business. Not many come at the king, unless summoned to do so, and survive the fall.  I almost feel like some kind of twilight zone GOT episode where instead of medieval type barbs, we argue over swinging strike percentage and spin rate.  Loser walks down Second Avenue to get the freshest matzo ball soup.  No matter, here I sit looking over Razzball Top-500 for 2018 to see where rankings may be off for the good and the bad.  For other positions it may be an easier exercise, as the rule of thumb with relievers and closers is SAGNOF and Grey’s rankings show that his approach to that acronym hold true.  Drafting closers to me is always a value-type drafting situation.  Don’t be last, but don’t be first scenario.  Unless the value is too deeming and obvious that when it’s time to jump, you ask how high.  The second rule of the reliever fight club is don’t get sucked into a run on closers.  Wait your turn and get value at other positions and than if you get stuck, SAGNOF is always in your back pocket. Every year the closer market is a fluctuating beast that tempts you with fruit and flowers to jump on the next hot waiver wire add.  So be patient in your closer endeavors and the stat will run its course as long as you stay proactive on the free agent market.  So here is my stab at the King and who is underrated and overrated in his eyes.

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Now to finish out the positional rankings for 2018 with my favorite: the relievers!  I may have went a little crazy here, 3000 words on closers and one stat fellas is just bonkers to think about.  I could have just used “save potential” and “hard hit percentage in medium leverage situations” about 40 times in my rankings, but I didn’t.  Ranking relievers is an ever changing game of robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.  There are always going to be injuries and attrition, which lead to relievers getting changed and making the preseason rankings look stupid in hindsight.  Last year there were 40 relievers that garnered 10 saves or more.  Now, if you are keeping track, there are still only 30 teams so my previous sentence about replacement value in relievers is very true.  That is why handcuffs and secondary bullpen pieces on draft day are important, not only for saves but to help your cranky ratios that creep up from day-to-day.  This ranking is just based on relievers with potential for saves and how they will stack up in that department.  Holds post will be something separate and should be forthcoming, though you sure as hell aren’t getting 3000 words on Holds because I’d rather blow my brains out.  Still love the Holds game as much as, or even more than any other fantasy writer, just gotta temper expectations as not many other sites give you so much bullpen love as we do.  So enjoy the rankings of 2018 fantasy relief pitchers.  (It says 50 but I went ahead and did a little extra.)  Enjoy!

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You shouldn’t have to read tea leaves or do a sneaky scroll down to see who I am talking about in this week’s closer report.  If you are new to this guessing game and word association type stuff, it is Brad Hand.  Why Brad Hand, I say why not?  I hear what you are all saying closers on losing teams are not that fantastic fantasy options, and for the most part you are right.  Because the stats behind that prove that… mostly,  But we can get into that a little later with handy-dandy stats and percentages and such.  So all Brad Hand did last year is basically his job, which in most instances gets you paid.  Which he just did by inking an extension this offseason.  The stats are all there for him to be a legit closer numero uno, with flair.  The flair that I am talking about is kinda like the buttons worn on suspenders at Shenanigans, but only with fantasy intrigue. He boasted a 11.8 K/9 rate last year, amassed 21 saves and 16 holds.  All stuff we can read on any fantasy bio sheet. Dig deeper though, and he does have a few kinks in the armor, namely a HR/FB rate that is not what you are looking for in a an elite closer, but he’s being drafted as a number two.  He falls just outside the elite though, because he is capped by being on the Padres and their expected win totals… or is he?

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As I sit here and awake from my winter’s hibernation, I search for and do only the essentials.  Gold chain, check.  I also tell myself that the transition from Fantasy Soccer to Fantasy Baseball will be as easy as riding a bike.  But you forget, I’m a bear.  Nonetheless, here we are fantasy folks and four female folkers.  Baseball 2018 is already in high gear with posts from the usual gaggle, and as always my contribution is at the back-end of ball games.  Namely saves, holds, and relief pitchers that have intrinsic mixed league value and individual league value heading into the draft stages of this new and bright year. So keeping it simple, I formed a chart that will be included it in every week’s post that will have the bullpen pictures of all MLB teams, updating it with every sleeper or bullpen post… because I am a giver.  That and who knows what will happen in the forthcoming weeks that may skew the dynamics of the bullpens around the fantasy world?  Once Grey starts doing his pitcher rankings, I will then drop my own rankings in  proper fashion.  Til then, sit back relax, ask questions about almost anything relating to bullpens or closers, as I will gladly be here as always for my ninth season here at Razzball.  So it is with pleasure that I can bring you the first bullpen related post of the year.  Individual closer and reliever posts are on the way. Enjoy!

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Much like the famous Doors song that shares it’s name, bullpens are drawing near.  (Minus the Oedipus complex that the song explores.)  I mean, it may… but that is gross and I don’t wanna associate my bullpen goodies to that.  Moving on, shall we?  This year has been the SAGNOF-fest that we always come to expect.  Closers up, closers down.  Trades and attrition.  It happens every single year and it is the reason why the waiver wire is what it is: So we can get the new third closer for the Twins.  The chase for saves never ends, well, I mean it ends for season-long leagues, but for dynasty and keeper leagues, the times never change.  Saves are a category.  A deeply hated and often cursed at category that will always be debated about.  Whether or not to invest earlier picks then normal to get a stud, or just fill in with hope-so’s and also rans.  There unfortunately is no right or wrong answer because both strategies work as long as you are a waiver goblin.  So with the final post of the year, much like the other years that I have done this, we look to next year…  This year’s counting stats and information don’t matter, we want to know what lies on the horizon. So let’s find out!

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