Please see our player page for Lou Trivino 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.

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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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?

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Nick Williams was a popular preseason breakout target.  Or tar-jay, if a soccer mom is reading.  Targot, if you just returned from Target.  Targo, if you’re eating escargot after going to Target.  Tarshouldget, if Target doesn’t carry your size.  Tarheel, if you stepped into tar then into Target.  Tarnishes, obviously means your Target carries knishes, so you must be in Brooklyn, and it’s ironic.  Tarte tatin, you’re wearing a hat made of slow roasted apples on your head in a Target.  Whatever Target applies, wanna know why Williams was a popular preseason pick?  C’mon, sit on my lap and I’ll tell ya.  Metaphorically!  Get off my lap, you weirdo!  *sprays Lysol on legs* Really wish you didn’t touch my legs.  So, Nick Williams had 15 HRs, 5 SBs and a .280 average in his last year of Triple-A, in only 78 games (!).  He’s still only 24 years old.  I know, he failed to live up to hype last year.  OR DID HE?!  Ooh, you heard of reversible umbrellas?  That was a reversal question.  Not similar at all.  He only played in 83 games last year, a sloppy prorater would say he could’ve had 24 homers last year and hit .288.  Maybe he doesn’t fully break out until next year (yes, he will be a sleeper), but he’s been hot in the last week, and on pace for another 24-homer season and has lowered his Ks.  Plus, you don’t need to go to Target to buy him!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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It is a glorious day. Kyle Tucker (FAAB Bid: 30-40%) is here. The Houston Astros finally promoted their 21-year-old stud who is making AAA look like slight work. Tucker slashed .306/.371/.520 at a level for which he was still young. The best part about the profile is the gaudy fantasy numbers. This outfielder boasted 14 HR to go along with 14 SB, and this combination shines throughout his minor league statistics. Fantasy upside is through the roof with this free agent rookie. If available in your league, Tucker becomes a player requiring a significant percentage of your remaining FAAB. His ranking falls within the Top 10 on every notable prospect list, and there is no doubting the talent. Tucker can produce power and speed for the rest of the season at a higher rate than anyone on the wire, and also a lot of players currently on rosters.

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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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I hope everyone out there in the deep-league world is enjoying the summer and hopefully some time off (without having things like family time and luxury vacations taking TOO much time away from the world of fantasy baseball!) We’re about at the actual halfway point of the season, and the All Star Break will be here shortly – I feel like I’ve already put a season’s worth of work into some of my teams, but I don’t want to let up now, even though I’ve had many moments lately where it’s felt more like a job than a hobby. I hope your leagues have been treating you kindly, and let’s get right to looking at some names that might be of interest in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep/deep-ish leagues.

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In 1776 on July 1st, Ben Franklin grabbed Betsy Ross and four of her friends, and was like, “This will be better than Flag Day.  We will call this Flagellation Day.  Now twerk with a firework!”  That lasted for three days until Ben yelled out an Astros’ hitter last name and called for a volunteer fire department to put out his redness.  As the fire department extinguished his Reddick, Ben proclaimed July 4th to be a day of national celebration and the rest is history.  It’s also when The Stros Spangled Banner was written.  Any hoo!  Josh Reddick (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) had a slam (8) and legs (4) yesterday, and it’s 2nd day in a row with a homer.  He’s owned in only 30% of leagues and that is a crime to humanity, a first world one, at least.  God Bless America and Ben Franklin’s Reddick!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Ryan Tepera (RP, Elbow Inflammation), the league leader in blown saves finds himself on the DL after blowing the save in his last two appearances. All ribbing aside, since Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was placed on administrative leave after allegations of assaulting a woman, Tepera has been pretty reliable with 7 ERs allowed over 22.2 IP and those two recent blown saves were the only two he’s suffered. Stash or Trash: Tepera wasn’t a top flight closing option and he doesn’t really have a timetable so you can trash him. Replacement: Diego Castillo (1.0%.) I know you’re expecting Tyler Clippard or Seung-hwan Oh, but the Blue Jays closing gig seems to be snake-bit this year and I’m sure as soon as Tepera went down people gobbled up Tyler Clippard in your league. So, Diego Castillo: he’s made 12 appearances for the Rays this season and has only allowed 3 ERs with 19 Ks. In AAA this year he also made 19 appearances and also only allowed 3 ERs. Castillo has a stereotypical lights out closer pitch selection of a high-90s fastball and a slider. He has multiple varieties of slider that he can mix in different situations. The Rays current closer, Sergio Romo, has had mixed results since Alex Colome was traded to the Mariners. In his first three appearances after the trade he let up 5 ERs in 3 IP. After that he has settled down a bit allowing only 3 ERs in 14 IP. However with Romo being 35 years old and clearly not part of the Rays long term future — they could turn to Castillo to see if he can live up to the title of closer-of-the-future.

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?