So the title is a bit of a superlative.  What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?”  You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you.  This is the best 2018 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2018 fantasy baseball.  Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is.  If I took Cody Bellinger in the 2nd round, everything after would change.  If I took Arenado in the 1st round, everything after would change.  I’ve previously gone over my 2018 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Mike Trout first, because, well, I have him first overall.  Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks.  It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Scherzer and Kershaw in the first two rounds and I was able to take Freddie Freeman in the 2nd round (which is very likely), but since Trout and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both.  Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken.  People tend to look at team need over value.  So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks.  Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team.  Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward.  Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky.  It should still be my ideal team… Or not.  Let’s see, shall we?  Bee tee dubya, this team is 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up).  Anyway, here’s the best 2018 fantasy baseball team:

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The most important thing in fantasy baseball relief-dom in terms of holds is consistency.  Without consistency of opportunities, of placement in the bullpen, and a team’s consistent success in utilizing their bullpen to your fantasy advantage… you get left out out in the cold when it comes down to accumulating a stout holds based relief pitching corps. Until there is a shift in the utilization of bullpens for the benefit of fantasy, more so, the leagues that use the hold stat.  I will admit that I am more of an eye test person than a numbers guy.  Numbers scare me.  They prove too many things that don’t factor in the human error factor and the good ole eye test.  So against my better mental state, I used numbers from the past five years to show that the bullpens are being used more frequently.  Not just by some teams, but by all teams.  I know, duh.  This is something that we all eyed to be happening than Smokey goes in the opposite direction like a dyslexic salmon and gets some data to prove the incline of a stat that he holds so near and dear to his fantasy bear heart.  Well sit back, relax, it’s going to be a fun ride on the holds bus this week as we do some research and than put the top-50 relief pitchers into hold tiers.  Enjoy!

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

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The title reminds me of an old joke — stop me if you’ve heard it — a guy with a wooden eye walks into a bar and pours out his heart to the bartender, “My wife left me, she said I had a bad temper, and, with this disability — this wooden eye, I will never find another girl.”  The bartender puts down the glass he’s shining because that’s what bartenders do to talk and says, “I’m not going to lie to you, your wooden eye could be a problem.  You need to find a girl with problems of her own.  How about you try that girl by herself on the dance floor?  The one with the big ears.”  So the guy with the wooden eye downs his shot of whiskey, wipes his mouth with his sleeve and approaches the girl, “Do you wanna dance?”  She swoons, “Would I?”  “F*ck you, Dumbo!”  So, Alex Wood is in Coors tomorrow.  Um, yeah, no thank you, but this is about the bigger picture.  Well, not too big of a picture, because the Dodgers have about sixteen starters on the DL, so at some point Wood might not be in the rotation.  He is now, though, and he’s lovely.  He has a 11.5 K/9.  That would be the fifth best starter K-rate and better than his rotation mate, Kershaw.  Wood has a 2.49 xFIP, which would be third in the majors for starters, behind only Chris Sale and Pineda.  To touch on stats that actually matter, his ERA is 2.73, and he’s been unlucky!  You’d be hard-pressed to find one area where Wood is not excelling.  Am I grabbing him in all leagues?  Of course!  Wait, are you asking, ‘would I?’  F*ck you, Dumbo!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Such a weird week of Jodie Foster references at Razzball, and we’re only to Wednesday.  What will be tomorrow?  Joe Panik Room?  Okay, raise your hand if you saw Starling Marte being suspended for Nandrolone.  The one person raising his or her hand is the person supplying Marte with Nandrolone.  Take ’em away, boys!  I just made my 2nd imaginary arrest.  My first was when I imagined arresting Ben Carson for driving with his eyes closed.  This is like Pollock 2016 all over again, except instead of breaking his elbow; Marte broke our trust.  As punishment, Starling Marte should get an 80-game suspension or a “We were all rooting for you” Tyra GIF tattooed on his back.  I think Gregory Popolanco turned him in, with help from Freese.  Adam Frazier will get a regular job in the outfield since the Pirates said Austin Meadows isn’t ready yet.  Bee oh oh.  Boo.  I grabbed Meadows in all mixed leagues for the sheer excitement, but within about an hour I realized Meadows is unlikely coming up until at least June and dropped him.  As for Marte, you can likely lose him in most redraft leagues, and, for some of us, we’re having a “Don’t have Marte” party!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

Razzball Commenter Leagues are open! Play against our contributors and your fellow readers for prizes. Join here!

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A funny thing happened on my way to work today, I sat there in my favorite sitting place and did some research.  I looked at the availability of information provided by the other experts in the world of fantasy baseball, and then correlated that to what I do best.  That, my friends, is bullpens.  We as a collective fantasy universe play in leagues with the illusive yet sultry stat category known as the Hold.  In fact, in some further research that I have done, an estimated 30% of all fantasy players play in a league with some sort of Hold associated with the final outcome in the standings.  I mean, 30% is basically like winning the popular vote.  [Jay’s Note: I love you Smokey.] But I am standing here aghast at the amount of research poured into this fantasy industry by experts all around the world, yet here I sit.  Giving you the most diverse, in-depth, informative (yet funny), and groundbreaking stat analysis that not even world-wide leaders give… for free might I add.  I love me some bullpens, and if you don’t play in a league that adds diversity to the game to include them, then maybe you should down shift a bit and give it some thought and do a league that includes it.  Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.  Because this way I gain, at least one reader from each person that does it.  Go search the inter-webs for holds type information, you get a column sorted catastrophe written by some intern who doesn’t know the difference between good and well.  So stay here my friends, I am the goods through and through. I dropped the Holds chart weeks ago and now you get just straight cheddar and some rankings.

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Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

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Yesterday, Mookie Betts went 4-for-6, 4 runs, 8 RBIs with three homers (24, 25, 26).  In the long, storied history of the Red Sox, Mookie Betts is only the 2nd Sawx player to have two three-homer games in a season; the other is Ted Williams.  Mookie Ballgame.  The Splendid Splurger.  The Greatest Mookie Who Ever Lived With Apologies To Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock.  The You Can’t Make This Up Because Your Imagination Can’t Come Up With Anything This Beautiful.  The Hamilton Musical In Baseball Form.  The Unfrozen Ted Williams.  I don’t think it’s hyperbole — which is not the chamber Michael Jackson used to sleep in — to think Mookie Betts will be a top three hitter in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  He’s now cemented himself in the three hole in one of the best offensive parks, surrounded by a team that is always potent on offense.  Betts or Trout?  There’s a legit case for Betts, The Splendid Splurger!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the roundup, just wanted to announce our RCL fantasy football leagues are signing up.  So, go over there and rush the QB!  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t stand for Q-Bert.  Anyway II, here’s the roundup:

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“But I can’t Jo-Fer that (Jo can do).  No, I can’t Jo-Fer that, (Jo can do).  Oh, I can’t Jo-Fer that (Jo can do), I can’t Jo-Fer that, can’t Jo-Fer that, can’t Jo-Fer that, but Jo can do!”  I can do this all day.  Seriously.  That yin vs. yang, angel vs. devil, Ho-Hos vs. Yodels constant battle wrecks havoc on me.  Jose Fernandez showed why he’s one of my favorite pitchers yesterday.  I mean, goddamn, he made that pitch famous, he made that pitch famous!  His line:  6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 14 Ks.  So, what’s the problem?  What is the yang, devil, Yodel?  That he will be shut down barely into September.  If the Marlins stay in the pennant race, Jo-Fer may even be shut down earlier to give him a chance to pitch in October.  I love him, but if you can get anything close to equal in value for him, I could see trading him in redraft leagues.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So this year, like so many before, the closer trade market is always an interesting cocktail mixer of events that shake things up.  The Padres waited to be first, which makes zero sense… but also makes total sense.  A conundrum wrapped in bacon as they traded Fernando Rodney to the ever more deadly bullpen in Miami.  He will not be closing there, but will basically make that bullpen just deeper and taking value away from great holds guys on the year in David Phelps and Kyle Barraclough.  Rodney brings his glistening 1 earned run on the year, to a situation behind the Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, who hasn’t blown a save to date.  So now the ramifications don’t just stay with the Marlins, their bullpen is solid.  The Padres, however, are like the movie Thinner, a cursed bunch of unprovens, which is sometimes good and bad.  Ryan Buchter is the first guy up, as he has carved out a decent set-up niche there.  After that, it is a bunch of Quacks, Villas, and BM’s.  Buchter has the K-rate, just not the pedigree… yet, to be a closer.  He has the job as they say in fantasy, which is better than being fantasy homeless or unemployed. So Buchter is the add. Maurer and Quackenbush are on ready five.  Here what else is happening in the game of final bosses.  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend!

Please, blog, may I have some more?