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You know what is fun this time of year?  The bullpen shuffle.  Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases.  Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians.  The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now?  I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man.  Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation.  Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club.  Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now.  In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go?  He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name.  So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait.  Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential.  More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump.  Cheers!

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Welcome to the bi-monthly look at nose picking.  Nah, I am obviously talking about bullpens, because they usually come in second to the nose goblins anyways.  Lots of people always ask me: How do you shuffle between holds guys and get an effective return?  First off, if you wanna surf the waiver trend and stream the hell out of relievers for holds purposes, you gotta be aware that you can’t be afraid to let your ratios go to pot.  Not like move to Colorado and play Bohemian drums and stuff, just the trends that I have encountered and noticed is that with the quantity in holds there comes a slight tick to ERA and WHIP.  Not an awful turn of events, if you you have sufficient starters that hold down the metrics.  I don’t even know if metrics was the right word there, but I just saw a commercial for a tutoring service for kids… ummm, its summer.  So back to the picking a winner lede discussion…  When in doubt, pick a winner, four of the top-five hold accumulating teams are in first place.  Six out of the top-10.  I wish I can make the cliche statement that bullpens win games and have it be unique and quirky and new, but quality bullpens don’t not hurt your teams chance at winning. So if you are looking at streaming or even in the business for flip-flopping relievers in this high holy season of the All Star break, ask yourself two questions; how has he done over the last two weeks, and is his team scoring enough runs for the quantity?  Because any good reliever needs to be worth the squeeze.  And it doesn’t hurt to be a front-running team.  So choose wisely, and for all intents and purposes hit me up.  Never hurts to ask the guy who sleeps in bullpen pajamas.  More bits of tid after the jump, cheers!

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The news that Hunter Strickland has fallen down and needs a time out for punching a door has sent a reliever ripple effect down the closer ranks.  Since this is the Holds week and this is the most pertinent info going, I figured we would roll with anyways.  So roll with the suspenseful animation of holds love and glory for a little bit, and while you are at it, temper your expectations of reliever-dom as we dive into the Giants reliever sitch.  So Strickland got all mad, punched a door, broke his hand.  The Giants are not short of ex-closers that have had time in the limelight.  Sam Dyson gets the first look as expected, because Mark Melancon is not ready for prime time… yet. Dyson got the first save chance, nice!  Smooth sailing.  Then on Thursday?  Yaks up 2 runs and gets yanked for a guy I just brought to light in Reyes Moronta.  The story isn’t that intriguing as I wish there was some Usual Suspects twist where Mark Melancon was Bruce Bochy all along and he just uses the nickname ‘Verbal’  from his me-ma.  Dyson seems to be the guy, until the trust level is at a reasonable level of fortitude for the previous 52 million dollar man in Melancon.  The Giants aren’t going anywhere fast, so involving assets of tradeability like MM and Dyson are a boon to not only your fantasy team, but real life baseball.  So the Giants may start to implore an Oprah approach to saves.  You get a save, and you get a save, and you get a save!  The save chase is great and fun until you are on the losing end of it.  So enjoy the stat heist that you may have with Dyson, soon to be Melancon, and eventually everyone.  More saves and holds goodies after the bump.  Cheers!

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Ketel Marte (3-5% FAAB) is not the most intriguing pick-up of all time. He will not star in any Dos Equis commercials alongside silver-haired foxes who dive out of planes into the North Atlantic as an extreme form of salmon fishing. However, if you have injuries, it was surprising to see Marte available on the waiver wire. If your league is savvy enough, someone may be stashing the 24-year-old Arizona shortstop still trying to achieve his full potential. Since June began, Marte has 3 of his 4 HR to go along with a .426 ISO, 209 wRC+, and 3 barrels, that have all come on offspeed pitches. He has found more success this year on breaking and offspeed pitches. In fact, all 4 of his homers have come off of these offerings. Marte hasn’t made significant changes. However, now that he has 316 games of experience in the majors, this young player can finally be comfortable in the box against big league stuff. The MLB is not the best for a kid who can’t catch up to fastballs. Ketel Marte is now making all the contact you want to see while adding a little power to go with the speed. He’s not going to turn into a 20/20 candidate overnight, but that speed potential has been there this whole time. Pairing it with 15 HR pop is what Marte needed to stay relevant in today’s fantasy baseball landscape. While Ketel Marte doesn’t have off-the-charts raw power, he is looking a little more athletic these days, and it shows in the numbers. Pick him up where he is available and enjoy a solid floor for the rest of the season.

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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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Ending a relationship in fantasy baseball is often like a real-life break-up: emotional, sad, fraught with second-guessing… yet ultimately the best thing for everyone involved. Playing in the RCL writers’ league this year, where daily roster turnover can be a way of life, has reminded me how satisfying it can be to cut bait on someone who is just not treating you well. Yes, there is always the fear of seeing that person out and about with someone new, both having the time of their lives. But that still doesn’t mean you aren’t better off without him!  The gentleman that lately has been causing me the most stress in terms of whether or not we should stay together is Jose Quintana, whom I drafted in more leagues than I care to think about. It feels horrible to let go of someone you spent an early pick on, and since he had basically zero trade value I finally dumped him in my shallowest league, and it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Even though I have to think Quintana will improve (especially since his April and May were quite disappointing last year as well), I didn’t have time to wait around in a shallow mixed league. There was and will be enough decent pitching on the waiver wire that I’m not really concerned about replacing Quintana, even if he suddenly turns things around and pitching lights off over the next few months. In my deeper leagues, though, it’s a different story — I feel pot-committed to wait it out and hope things get better, especially since there’s little or nothing starter-wise out there available to replace him… but part of me wonders if I should have just sent him packing five or six weeks ago and never looked back. While I’m daydreaming about how satisfying it would be to dump all of my fantasy under-performers, even in leagues where there’s no way I can afford to do so,  let’s take a look at a few players who might be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.

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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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I mean, who doesn’t like a good old Kenny Rogers reference?  I appreciate it, but was more keen on Islands in the Stream, which in reality still works for this post.  This week, I wanna focus y’alls attention on when to keep relievers of hold value or when to fold them and grab someone new.  I wanted to bring this up because the near-leader in holds currently is Juan Nicasio.  (Who for all intents and purposes is a fantastic Holds pitcher when you just take into account the hold total of 12.  Which trails only Archie.)  The hold total is great for holds leagues says captain obvious.  The peripheral stuff is absolutely poop though. Commander Poop, for the full nautical theme.  He checks none of the boxes from the non-hold league boxes, his  K-rate is just a tick above 9, HR/9 at 2.0, a BAA over .300 and an ERA over 6…  Those are not the four checks that I was referring too.  So for mixed leagues, the guys you want to own are all over these standards: The K-rate has to be at or above 11 K/9, which includes over 60 relievers in baseball. HR/9 has to be tiny, think under 0.50, BAA against has to be anything at or below league average of .243.  And lastly, the ERA has to be respectful, but not the end-all-be-all of determinations, because unluckiness does happen with relievers.  So when doing your homework for reliever adds, make a checklist of those three stats and let the ERA be the tie-breaker in determining your add.  In holds leagues, quantity does matter, but if you are only going to eat one banana why buy the whole bunch and let them ruin all the other categories?

Please, blog, may I have some more?