Please see our player page for Juan Minaya to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

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  The trade winds and finalized deals don’t help the set-up man either, as key components to the back-end game have been replaced by acquired talent.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!

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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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Usually, as one does, I type with my fingers.  Hunt and peck with mostly the index’ers, but definitely fingers all the way.  I’m so pumped up going for the win this year I’m typing up this post with both fists.  WE MUST WIN!  BY WE I MEAN ME!  BY ME I MEAN I, IF “I” WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED IN THAT SENTENCE INSTEAD OF ME; I DON’T KNOW, AND AM TOO HYPED UP TO LOOK INTO IT, IN FACT, THIS SENTENCE IS KINDA KILLING MY HYPE BY EVEN DISCUSSING GRAMMAR.  GRAMMAR BOO!  WINNING THIS LEAGUE YAY!  Actually using my fists is not enough.  I will now type up this post by banging my forehead on the keyboard.  ABCJIVS1I7$  Damn, that didn’t work so well.  Maybe I’ll try my nose.  Hekko, froend.  Ugh, that didn’t work either.  Okay, I’m gonna use my fingers again, but I’m just as pumped up.  RAWR!  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family team, it’s a 15-team, mixed league:

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Just finished my first draft if you’re reading this as I type it, and other than one shirtless man in yellow sweatpants standing behind me in this internet cafe, I don’t think anyone’s reading this as I type it.  Unless, of course, there’s micronauts living inside my brain watching as my inner monologue is sending info to my fingers.  Gadzooks, I got micronauts in my brain!  I wonder if these micronauts made me draft eight Twins and White Sox players.  I need to delve deeper into this subject.  Maybe I will in my pastel journal that is covered in Giancarlo’s picture from ESPN’s nude magazine.  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an AL Only league that was hosted by Scott White of CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Or closet buddies, if you’re reading fast and/or experimenting.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team AL-Only team and some thoughts:

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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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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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Quick, grab a coin from your pocket.  Now hurl it in a river, and imagine it’s at someone in your office two cubicles away.  Now mid-flight, make a wish.  Get back to me in two-three days and let me know how it went.  This luck and wish game is much like the closer game.  We hope and pray that all is well, but at the end of the day, we only care about the accumulation.  This late in the season its all about the job.  Who is doing it and who isn’t, period.  The stalwarts are on cruise control into the final stretch of the season and are mostly on more winning teams than the teams that have situations that aren’t the most ideal.  Good bullpens usually equal good-to-moderately-good success in real life.  Much is the same with fantasy closer investment and going into next year if you struggled for saves this year.  Invest in teams that will have aspirations of playoff baseball.  The investment in drafting a round or two earlier than usual should pay off in the long run of the ever treacherous 180 days of fantasy baseball.  So with the season winding down, let’s see what is happening in the saves market around the game as we transition into fantasy football, basketball, hockey and SOCCER!

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Erasmo Ramirez was masterful Friday night in what was one of his best starts of the season going eight strong innings against the we-don’t-lose Windians, allowing just three hits, one earned run and striking out a season high 10 batters. Erasmowing down hitters? ErasMo Innings, Mo Strikeouts? ErasMost definitely more comfortable in Seattle than in Tampa? Ugh, I know. Headlines are hard you guys, I ran out of steam about three weeks ago and I’m sorry but that’s the best I’m going to do. However you headline it, after being wang-jangled around the Rays pitching staff, from starting rotation to bullpen and back again, Ramirez has settled nicely into the starting pitching job he deserves since being acquired by his old team, the Seattle Mariners, in July. He holds a respectable 3.79 ERA in 10 starts with the M’s since, but it’s the 52/13 K/BB ratio that really raises my eyebrow, Dwayne Johnson. If we remove a hiccup he encountered with a rough start in Houston, Erasmo has three quality starts in September with a 22/4 K/BB ratio. Yes, more please! He gets to finish his season strong with a favorable start next week in Oakland, and outside of the obligatory Matt Olson home run, I could see him pitching a successful outing there. At about 10% owned, Ramirez is a streaming option readily available in most fantasy leagues if you’re looking for an easy win to push you over the edge. And if you’ve been out of contention for weeks and are still reading this, first, Ramirez could be a decent late-late round sleeper to consider for 2018, and second, thanks for sticking with us and not jumping ship to fantasy football coverage (which you can check out here). You guys are the true Razzball MVPs. Except of course for the writing staff, obviously, they the real MVPs, especially me.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Looking for value in a baron steal world is not very fun.  Scouring the waiver wire every day, wandering the earth looking for value or a good match-up is lonely territory.  Kinda makes you feel like the guy from Kung Fu, but just not with all the sexual asphyxiation type stuff.  Listen digging for steals and even saves for that matter is a matter of right place or being first to the waiver wire.  Not every move is a good one, especially in the stolen base category.  It’s fantastic that guys steal bases, but they also have to get on base.  Stealing first is still a non-entity. So look at the match-ups at hand and do not be afraid to gamble on a guy.  Check the OBP, check the catcher/pitcher rates of stolen bases against.  And god forbid do not fall in love with the one-stat wonders of the world this late in the year.  You don’t wanna be stuck holding a guy and miss out on the next guy to accumulate stats.  Play, ditch and go re-fishing for stats.

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