Our 2017 Razzball Commenters Leagues are in full signup mode.  I even heard there were a few people from Anonymous that signed up!  They said, “To the world, I’m Anonymous, just another white man who sits in parking lots with binoculars watching women.”  Man, that Anonymous guy is depressing!  As we always do about this time, I eviscerate the haters and complicators!  I eviscerate the not-knowers and the over-knowers!  I eviscerate the ESPN goers and the garden hoers!  I overuse a word like eviscerate that I just learned!  I am the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it) and I’ve come for your children!  See, because blog writing doesn’t pay so well, I’ve taken a second job as a bus driver, so I’m literally here for your kids.  Like a baller!  A shot caller!  An “I’m outside of Hot Topic at the maller!”  My eviscerating (I’m conjugating my new word!) today comes at the expense of ESPN and their 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  To the tune of Kanye’s Runaway:

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Only week 1 into Spring Training and we’re already seeing some draft altering injuries. Some predictable (Homer Bailey,) some crushing (Alex Reyes,) and some hilarious (Brian Flynn–who falls through barns in 2017?!) Expect to see this article appearing more regularly now that we’re back in baseball season.

Here are some players who are ruining people’s fantasy lives already before the calendar even turns to March.  

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As I begin to prepare my projections and rankings for the 2017 season, I like to look back on the previous season’s attempt to not only assess my work, but also to learn how I can do better next time. Projecting statistics in any sport is a tedious and arduous task. The variables, formulas and algorithms are constantly changing and if you don’t adapt with them, your results will lose their precision and accuracy. However, I’d like to make one point blatantly clear, projections are nothing more than calculated guesses. Some are better than the next, but none are even close to perfect.

Let’s see how I fared with my 2016 efforts. For all positions I will provide the following six numbers: projected points, actual points, projected rank, actual rank, projected points per plate appearance and actual points per plate appearance. I am including points per plate appearance because it helps put a player’s projections vs performance into perspective when they’ve missing time due to injury. For pitchers I’ve replaced points per plate appearance with points per start. I’ve also included a column showing the percentage by which my points projections were off. Any player with an “n/a” listed in this column is because that player spent at least 30 days on the disabled list.

Lastly, a quick note about the rankings listed in this post. These rankings are based purely on points. This season I plan to provide additional rankings that allow me to adjust them based on three important factors: intuition, gut and my sporadic conversations with Nostradumass.

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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 2017 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2017 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 Carlos Correa 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 2017 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 Rougned Odor 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 or start a league).  Anyway, here’s the best 2017 fantasy baseball team:

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Welcome to the 2017 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I do mean everything, everybody. We’ve got line-ups, charts, numbers, projections, questionable questions, smarter answer, potent potables and well, that’s a lie. No potables here, but plenty of potent fantasy names brimming with potential. Now’s the time to be an eternal optimist for the next two months. I’ll be joined by Razzball newbie Zack Burgess in completing these this year (Welcome aboard, Zack!). So, we’ve got a team to preview and questions to ask. Let’s get after it!

We have a very special guest for this post, Kris Willis, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2017 holds for the Atlanta Braves!

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Did anybody else forget that the Texas Rangers led the AL in wins last year? Because I do…early playoff exits, right Red Sox? I feel like I’ve never been so down on a winning program. The Rangers need pitching, and they need it bad. Despite finishing 7th in runs scored in all of the MLB, they barely had a positive run differential. The third worst team ERA in the AL will do that to ya. So all this to say, the Rangers need pitching, and they need it badly. Is there any help on the way from the farm system? That’s a good question, but unfortunately there’s only Yohander Mendez ready to make an impact this season, and how much of an impact he makes is up for debate. Most of the exciting arms in the Texas system are 2-3+ years away, at least. So they’ll have to look elsewhere for reinforcements. The system has been raided in recent years by promotions, and big trades to acquire, first Cole Hamels, and then Jonathan Lucroy, among others. In fact, four of the team’s last five first round picks have been moved over the last two seasons. So yeah son, the cupboard is bare. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the worst system I’ve ranked, but it could be in the bottom ten, and it’s certainly in the bottom half of the league. Have I got you excited to read this yet? Don’t worry, as a special treat for reading this, you get my Top 100 Prospects post coming Wednesday! However, for today it’s the Texas Rangers Top Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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The LABR mixed-league draft has taken place in mid-February since its inception a couple of years ago and I have been lucky enough to be a part of it. Steve Gardner at USAToday.com is a gracious host, it’s a good group of people and competitors (even better with the addition of Dr. Roto and Scott Pianowski of Yahoo) and the timing of the draft is a great incentive to get my preseason projections, values and research done about the same time Grey finishes his marathon of player ranking posts.

Every preseason, I do things a little differently. I would like to say I am inspired by Einstein but his brilliance does not excuse his mediocre bagels. Yes, it’s not like I live in a bagel mecca nirvana heaven Garden of Eden in Austin, TX (Wholy Bagel excluded) but the theory of relativity does not extend to bagels IMO.

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This episode is going to be uuuuuuuuugggge, it’s the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers Top Prospects all crammed into one. Both really tremendous, tremendous farm systems. Okay, neither of them are really that great, but our Presidential Trump filter makes everything bigly. So Halp and myself delve into both systems and our favorites from each. We talk Jose De Leon for at least the 20th time on the prospect podcast. Not because we love him or anything, but mostly because he gives us tons of reasons. Well the rest you can listen to and find out, it’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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It took us a few weeks, but we have arrived at the finale. We can finally wrap up the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft recaps. It feels like just yesterday I was getting started on what was likely to be a 60,000-word article on all 23 rounds of this mock draft before Grey slapped me and told me to put down the bourbon and split this into multiple posts. Below, I’ll be posting the results of rounds 19-23, my thoughts on said results, and the final team for every owner.

In case you have yet to see my previous posts, here is a quick recap of the league rules for this mock:

This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1).

Links to previous recaps:

Now, let’s get rounds 19-23 out of the way so that we can get to the good stuff!

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How many hot’s is too many? I’ll say three. Because three’s are wild when I’m dealing. Third Base is going to provide a ton of power this year (we really need to appreciate how many homers were hit last season, and wonder if regression is coming…but what fun is that? Let’s predict even more Power for 2017, shall we?) and there are some speed guys, and some multi-position qualifiers, and just a whole cornucopia of idiosyncrasies going on at third base.

It might be my favorite position this season.  I typed that, never having thought that before, having a favorite fantasy position. Fantasy baseball position, you know that’s what I meant.  My new favorite player, World Series Winner (typing that makes me so dang happy) Kris Bryant, qualifies there (and in the outfield, too) and if you’re a fan as well, check this out.  While he’s number one in my heart, he’s number two in my rankings.   Though number two ain’t bad (well, it depends on who number two works for, doesn’t it?).

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