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What time is it?!  8:25 AM! No, random italicized voice, it’s time for the 2012 Fantasy Baseball RankingsSecond guess. All the 2012 fantasy baseball rankings will live in that link.  The one that reads 2012 fantasy baseball rankings.  It’s also at the top of the page.  No, not “Home.”  To the left of the Fantasy Baseball Forum link.  Now we’re cooking with gas!  If you’re a completist, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.  I don’t go to either site longer than 2 minutes a month, but, as I’ve told ex-girlfriends, sometimes all you need is two minutes.  Hmm… Maybe that’s why they’re ex.  Nah, if I were a selfish lover, I wouldn’t have a mustache.  Now my expositional half insists I breakdown some generalizations about these 2012 fantasy baseball rankings.  The 2012 fantasy baseball rankings will be an ever-evolving mass like the blob.  This fantasy baseball top 10 for 2012 list is as of right now and could potentially change with a big injury or Miguel Cabrera breaking a tooth on his maple bat as he tries to extract hops.  So while it is the 2012 fantasy baseball gospel, take it with a tablet of salt.  Tomorrow we will cover the rest of the top twenty for 2012 fantasy baseball then we will go around the horn with a top 20 list for every position.  Then for pitchers and outfielders, I’ll turn the dial to 80.  Listed next to each player are my 2012 projections.  Did I consult with whoever else does projections?  It would be ignorant not to, but in the end they are my projections.  Players need 10 games at a position to get included in the positional rankings.  Finally, as with each list in the 2012 fantasy baseball rankings, I will be mentioning where I see tiers start and stop.  I look at tiers like this, if Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols are in the same tier, it doesn’t matter if one guy is ranked 2nd and one guy is ranked 3rd, they’re both very close. It comes down to personal preference.  I would prefer the guy at number one better than the guy at three, but you do you, I’ll do me and let’s hope we don’t go blind.  Anyway, here’s the top 10 for 2012 fantasy baseball:

1. Ryan Braun – Would I be happy to take Pujols third?  Oh, hecksfire.  I’ll bludgeon snitches for Pujols third.  Still doesn’t mean Pujols is first.  I’m not ranking Braun number one to be different than every Tom, Dick and Berry.  Braun’s gonna be 28 and he’s headed for a Hall of Fame career.  Pujols is a Latin 32.  The 1st base eligibility is nice, but outfield isn’t exactly stacked in 5 outfielder leagues.  I don’t think we’re going to get another season of 33 steals, but he steals 15 bases like a fat kid likes cake.  He gets little bumps and bruises, but he also hasn’t played in less than 150 games in his career (excluding his rookie year).  His average last year was on the high side, but he’s still a career .312 hitter.  Are you paying for an MVP year by taking him first?  Maybe, but his off year is better than 99% of players and he’s consistent.  Give me consistent and let me gamble later in the draft.  That’s not Rudy Gamble.  Oh, and this is the first tier.  It goes from here until Bautista.  I call this tier, “The top five.  Dur.”  2012 Projections:  105/35/110/.310/15

2. Miguel Cabrera – Even while touring the country with his stage production of Leaving Las Vegas, he still put up MVP-type numbers.  Know why?  Cause Swiggy Cabrera is a freak of nature.  Look at Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Sam Kinison.  Substance abuse never stopped any of them… Until they hit their 40’s, started bloating and showing up places three days late with nothing but a red Solo cup.  I almost ranked Pujols number two and Miggy third.  If you went that way, I wouldn’t hate on you.  They’re in the same tier, y’all!  I’m still looking forward, not looking back.  Miggy will be 29 years old for the majority of the 2012 season and he’s solidly in his prime.  He doesn’t give you around ten steals like Pujols.  You know what Pujols doesn’t give you?  Healthy elbow tendons.  Miggy’s power has been just okay for him recently, but he’s still good for 30 homers.  So, like Miggy should’ve done, just temper yourself. 2012 Projections:  105/32/115/.325/3

3. Albert Pujols – I already went over my Pujols 2012 fantasy.  I wrote that while base jumping in the Grand Canyon.  I will say something less sarcastic than Grey usually says (but just as 3rd person-y).  Grey got to see the tail end of Pete Rose’s career, Barry Bonds’s head swelling, Pedro Martinez’s prime with him asking “Who is Karim Garcia?” and enjoyed Cal Ripken’s achievements, but, with Pujols, we’re witnessing one of the top five greatest baseball players ever.  That’s pretty cool.  I will now return to being as cynical as the internet requires.  Thanks a lot, Al Gore!  2012 Projections:  100/35/110/.305/7

4. Joey Votto – He’s more or less a 30-homer, 10-steal, .315-average, 100-run, 100-RBI hitter.  If you get more, then you have the best hitter for fantasy baseball.  If you get less, you will barely get less and he will still be a top 20 hitter.  I’ll take that every day and twice on Muesday.  Last year his walk rate went up and K-rate went down.  His line drives went up so high (not literally) that it actually hurt his power a smidge.  Whatever.  If the worst thing that happens is that he hits too many line drives, you need to listen to your grandfather tell you about walking to school barefoot in the snow while wearing a burlap sack and being required to sing Ethel Merman, i.e., things could be worse.  2012 Projections:  100/30/110/.315/10

5. Jose Bautista – Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room.  No, Prince Fielder isn’t in my room while I write this.  The elephant in the room is I have Bautista after Votto.  I have Bautista lower than some other fantasy baseball ‘perts.  It’s the same tier, but I’m still wary of Bautista.  I’m trying here.  I made a life-sized Bautista cardboard cutout with outstretched arms and I fell into it for a trust exercise and he dropped me.  Bad omen, I say as if I were Yoda.  My biggest fear is after not trusting Bautista last year I will finally draft him and he bombs in the bad way.  Since there’s nothing in his stats that say this should happen, it’s probably totally unrealistic.  Yet… Ugh.  Bautista, why do you conflict me?   2012 Projections:  100/38/105/.265/10

6. Evan Longoria – I want Longoria in every league this year.  If I see him ranked 5th overall by someone else, then I’m moving him up to 4.  If he’s ranked number 4 by someone, I’m moving him up to 3.  If someone has the gall to rank him first, I’m ranking him zero.  And don’t make me go to Sub-Zero.  Ryu-ken!  You best believe I’m Tekken Longoria!  (That’s a pun for the kids.)  His average was .244 last year due to a pee-poor BABIP.  Yet, his K-rate actually went down and his walk rate went up.  His steals went down but he was on first 28 less times last year.  He can easily get 7 to 10 steals if he sees first just a few more times.  I’m not even going to talk about runs and RBIs because of how fickle they are, but there’s no reason to think he won’t see production.  You’re not drafting guys for last year.  You’re drafting them for 2012.  Wanna play in a 2011 throwback league?  Get in a DeLorean and hit the gas.  I’m living on Wisteria Lane and texting Tony Parker what he’s missing.  This, friends, is Longoria’s MVP year.  Oh, and this is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Justin Upton.  I call this tier, “I’m fine taking one of these guys with my first pick; Tulo better not disappoint me.  Why do I always have such trepidations about Tulo?  Maybe it’s the fact he can’t ever stay healthy.”  2012 Projections:  105/34/120/.280/7

7. Matt Kemp – When he lost the MVP, he said now he’s going to go 50/50.  That’s nice, and Tom Cruise wants to be five inches taller so he can see the top of Katie Holmes’s head.  Neither are happening any time soon.  Kemp’s BABIP last year was .380.  Even with his career BABIP’s being fairly high, that’s high.  When his luck regresses and, with as much as he strikes out, he’s not hitting .324 again.  He probably won’t hit .300.  With less times on base, he’ll have fewer steals.  His power was off the charts too.  2011 was a career year.  No matter how much he wants to exceed it.  That doesn’t mean a .290 hitter going 30/25 can’t be valuable.  2012 Projections:  100/30/105/.290/25

8. Troy Tulowitzki – Something about 30 homers just makes everything better.  If Tulo would’ve missed the month of September and only had 27 homers, I think more people would’ve been pushing away from him this year, but he reached that arbitrary benchmark and he has the nice position eligibility.  One of these years we’re actually going to get a full season from Tulo and he’s going to blow the world away.  Since he’s only 27 years old for 2012, it may as well be this year.  Worst case scenario, you get solid 5 categories from a terrible position and he misses a month of games.  Best case scenario, he plays 150+ games, puts up MVP-type numbers and wins you a house during the Century 21 Home Run Derby.  2012 Projections:  95/32/110/.305/10

9. Justin Upton – In the first few rounds, I want as many proven, consistent performers as I can find.  I don’t think that’s Upton.  But he’s so tantalizing!  And talented!  And he’s not an average drain like Fellatio Upton, who is not Kate Upton, though you’d like to think so.  Upton might be the best outfielder and the number one overall pick by next year.  He just went 31/21/.289 at the age of 23 and didn’t do a whole lot that says he can’t do it again.  If anything, he could easily exceed last year’s numbers. At such a young age though, he could take a step back and disappoint.  At the turn in the first round, it’s not a bad gamble to grab Upton and someone less risky like Prince Fielder.  Want someone that could put up the season Kemp just did in 2011?  Little Ups is your man.  2012 Projections:  100/30/100/.300/20

10. Prince Fielder – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here into the top 20 for fantasy baseball.  I call this tier, “Less exciting than the next tier, but more consistent.”  Immediately you have to ask yourself if you want sexy or consistent.  Sexy can win championships, but consistent can too, which is in no way related to Jorge Cantu.   Fielder is the Saberhagen of hitters.  Your grapes would be hard-pressed to find a hitter that alternates between a great year and a solid, if unspectacular year more than Fielder.  If that holds, we’re looking forward to a solid, if unspectacular year, which almost had me knock him down the rankings.  In the end, I felt that whole on-again, off-again year-to-year performance thing was too anecdotal to give too much credence.  Then I sued John Fogerty because I wanted to use the word credence.  When Prince signed with the Tigers, I went over my Prince Fielder fantasy.  It only has two fat jokes.  Sorry.  2012 Projections:  100/37/115/.280

  1. Steve says:
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    Awww.

    I had roast pork belly for dinner last night, and this is almost as good.

    That’s how good this is.

  2. chata says:
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    @Steve:

    votto at 3 ??!!

    you must be loving this .
    especially since in our on-going slow mock , votto fell to you @ 11 ,
    after i took fielder @ 10 .

    note that i took fielder the day BEFORE it was announced that the rangers
    were meeting with him on his recent “tour” .
    credit me with knowing that he will play for the rangers .

    credit him , for making both you and Grey cry for missing out on his
    50 + HR season .

    that hot arlington air is going to work magic on fielder’s line-drive rate .
    coupled with the A ‘s signing colon to a one-year deal ,
    i feel safe with cleansing my soul with the following projection :
    .319 BA … 54 HR’s … 131 RBI

    am NOT going to bet with you on this one , since you neither lose ,
    nor pay up .

    • Greg says:
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      @chata,

      Ouch. That kinda of sucks for your reputation as a prognosticator now, doesn’t it?

  3. Dave says:
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    Wish I would have listened to you RE Upton last year. I remember that posted something like . . . “you wont be able to touch upton outside of the top ten next year.”

  4. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    aw,now its getting good,grey is heyward a sleeper or a creeper this year?

  5. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:
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    It’s like fantasy baseball Hanukkah this week! A present each day!

    btw. this was awesome

    :I’m trying here. I made a life-sized Bautista cardboard cutout with outstretched arms and I fell into it for a trust exercise and he dropped me. :

    HAHAHAHA

  6. Tony says:
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    i agree grey, something about Bautista, i dont know if I can ever own him….

  7. schlitzy says:
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    Me this morning: “wonder if grey would post on this holiday Monday…let’s check.” Nice!! Reading this while drinking my morning coffee and not going to the office has made my day (but I’ll tell the wife I’m so happy because we get to spend the day together). This calls for a Shake Shack lunch celebration.

  8. STEVE B says:
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    @ schlitzy
    holiday?Only if your government,union worker or a bank.The rest of us poor schmucks gotta work

  9. Big Magoo says:
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    Nice list, Grey. Pretty much what I expected you to have. I think you were a little low on Kemp’s steals and a little high on Upton’s avg., but it looks a lot like my first round. You could probably copy-paste Upton’s Kemp comment for CarGo too, as long as his wrist’s good to go.

  10. Alex says:
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    This is just my opinion but I’d lay off Bautista from the top 5 (I’m a Jays fan so there’s no hatred for him or anything). In 65 post allstar games last season his line was .257/.419/.477 with 12 HR. Beastly in real life but unless your league counts OBP, it hurts because he gets pitched around a lot.

    Lawrie will help but he probably won’t hit clean up (Lind/Encarnacion)

    That being said, Jose is still a great pick and I’d grab him near the end of round one.

  11. Hawk says:
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    Grey…

    I’m in a 12 team, 7 keeper 6×6 league (5×5 with OBP and Holds). I’m keeping Joey Votto, Robbie Cano, Starlin Castro, David Wright, and Carlos Gonzalez on the hitting side. Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw are my keeper pitchers.

    My question is: Should I begin planning my victory celebration now or should I graciously allow the league to play to its inevitable conclusion?

    Your thoughts?

  12. Fugate says:
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    Tom Cruise probably sees a lot of the top of Katie Holmes’s head. Think about it.

  13. Wake Up says:
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    Yes…Longoria for MVP-47!

  14. Phil says:
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    Long-term keeper question.

    In a league with myriad keepers — 2 prime (up to 5 years), minors (up to 5 years) as well as others.

    Drafted J Upton in year one as a minor leaguer, and have had him as a minor keeper since. His eligibility is up now, so I have to decide whether I upgrade him to a prime keeper (Free, 4 years left), or pay to keep Miggy ($20) for his last year of eligibility. Also have Kemp (Free, 4 years left) who I plan on keeping.

    Concerned about keep two OFers, particularly two with a history of streakiness. But also concerned about the “what if” of Upton and letting him go. Thoughts?

  15. Schmohawks Bob says:
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    So happy that we’re officially rolling with the Top 10. Now patiently waiting for answers to many other questions such as where does the Hebrew Hammer get ranked. Can’t wait to find out.

  16. Captainpyper says:
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    Aaaaaaaaaah! I just don’t trust Upton yet, especially with Cano and Ellsbury are already putting up sparkly, twinkle, twinkle, numbers. If I want 30/20 Im drafting Jason Werth! j/k (but seriously JW owes me big from last season)

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Schmohawks Bob: You got some time for that answer.

    @Captainpyper: Upton’s always been regarded as a natural talent, and he finally looks to be putting together.

  18. Hans says:
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    welcome back grey, Can’t wait for the season to start!!!!! Sergio Santos!!!!!

  19. chata says:
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    @Grey:

    sorry , i can’t wait .
    but , if you could rank these 2b’s now ,
    i could find out if my last pick in the slow mock draft was a mistake ,
    and if Kiwi is about to make a mistake .

    utley / phillips / zobrist

    thanking you , in advance .

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Hans: Thanks!

    @chata: 2nd basemen rankings will be up in the coming days.

  21. sandles says:
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    @Grey
    I could not sleep last night knowing the top 10 was being drop around midnight!
    I started reading close to the start of the season(2011) last year. This is my first January Grey and I was very excited!
    I even thought about waking up my one year old(but the wife said no go)!
    On to my question…
    12 team H2H 5*5 & standard roster.
    Say you miss out on the selection of 3rd basemen(Longoria, Beltre, Wright, Zimmerman, Pablo, Rameriez and Lawrie) by round seven.
    What rout would you go in filling your 3rd base slot?
    Is Mark Reynolds say in the 120 range a good option? Or would you just wait and take a flyer on a guy?
    Thanks!

  22. royce! says:
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    Seth Smith to the A’s for Outman and Moscoso. Not all that interesting in itself (Smith is not great away, and is more of a platoon type), but it does seem to indicate that the A’s are planning to use their prospects arms (Milone, Parker, Peacock) now, instead of having them play AAA ball. Could be some great sleepers there.

    Moscoso could also be a great streaming SP for games away from Coors.

    BTW, I agree about Longoria, and am sad to see that you have him so high, because I was hoping to get him later in the first or in the second in the RCL. I also had targeted Teixeira due to his low BABIP (.239), but then realized that it’s just a product of the shift against him when he bats lefty (.222 BABIP as a lefty, .278 as a righty). Does anyone know if teams have always used a shift against him as a lefty?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sandles: Ha! Reynolds isn’t bad there…

    @royce!: The Rockies just hated Smith, never really gave him a fair shake. He’s not interesting at all in Oakland. Blech. Moscoso doesn’t seem terrible when in LA, SF or SD. I think the Tex shift is something that started in NY.

  24. royce! says:
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    @Grey: Makes sense for Teixeira- his 2010 splits told the same story, albeit not as bad (something like .250 BABIP from the left side). So, although I think he’ll rebound in the AVG dept., that rebound will be slight.

  25. Phil says:
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    @grey: Thanks. That’s were my head was, thinking long term. Still tough to send #1 overall packing. Though, we have an auction and I could always get Miggy back if I really wanted to pay up.

  26. Big Magoo says:
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    @Grey: Btw, I share the same concerns about Gonzalez’s ranking as you do. Being in the Boston area, I saw most of his games last year, and I expected him to drive the ball a lot more than he did. I know he had the shoulder issue prior to the season, but for a guy who brings no speed to the table, I need a guaranteed 30 bombs out of my first round pick, and I don’t think that’s the case. Hell, the ball exploded off of Ellsbury’s bat a lot more than Gonzalez, and that’s a concern. He will hit .300 though. Dude sprays the ball all over the field.

  27. chata says:
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    @Grey:

    thanks .
    hope i get around to reading it .

  28. Nate says:
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    Is it wrong I rubbed my hands together and cackled like a madman on Christmas morning when I saw this post?

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Maybe slight, I have my concerns.

    @Phil: No problem.

    @Big Magoo: Hopefully you’re right about his average.

    @chata: Me too…

    @Nate: Ha

  30. birrrdy! says:
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    I agree with the other commenters… January Grey with rankings is like a second Christmas. Almost wished I had stayed up until midnight too to perhaps see Santa Claus myself!!

    Grey, in an NL-only, 10 team, 5×5 keeper league with 1 (C,1B,2B,SS,3B), 5 OFs, 3 Us (1 must be infield), 9 Ps (SP or RP). 8 keepers max which count against our $300 draft dollars to fill all of the slots (min price $1).

    What do you think about Phillips ($21) for Alonso ($5) straight up? I’m mostly set on SBs already, but have had lots of trouble prying a decent long-term 1B out of anyone over the years and am looking to be ahead of the curve perhaps.

  31. MKEeast says:
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    If Braun escapes a 50 game suspension, does he crack the top 10?

  32. birrrdy! says:
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    @Grey (per message #33 above)… correction, it’s 10 Ps (not 9)

    Guy will also throw in any of Minor ($10), Tabata ($7), Mesoraco ($5), Presley ($6), Belt ($9), Chapman ($2), Teheran ($1), Jorge De La Rosa ($2), Cashner ($1), Pastornicki ($1), LaRoche ($1), Blackmon ($1) to sweeten the deal.

    Problem is I MUST keep anyone I trade for (can’t decide not to keep them in April, no matter what), and my current keepers are:

    Phillips ($21), Hanley ($31), Wright ($25), Dee Gordon ($13), Hart ($16), Holliday ($31), Santana ($3), Storen ($21

    with R.Roberts ($16), Mayberry ($7), D.Hudson ($17), Bell ($17), Hanrahan ($17) and S.Miller ($1) on my bubble.

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @birrrdy!: Ha… I’d take Alonso and Tabata and forget Storen at $21. I’d consider Hudson over Holliday too.

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @MKEeast: Sorry, missed your question. If he received no suspension whatsoever? Then he’d be in the top 5.

  35. birrrdy! says:
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    Thanks Grey. I’ll go ahead and propose that back. I guess you’re not too worried about Tabata’s injuries?

    Would poaching Aroldis Chapman at $2 also make sense in this deal, or is he too risky this year? I could probably trade Hanley or Holliday pretty easily as well. Someone offered me Latos ($22) and Strasburg ($18) for Holliday ($31).

    Thanks again for all of your help. This is already the best Janurary present ever.

  36. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @birrrdy!: No problem… Take Latos and Strasburg for Holliday. Sure, Aroldis at $2 is good. I almost said him instead of Tabata.

  37. Jake says:
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    @Grey

    If you had the #4 pick in a 16-team points league snake draft, would you take Longoria or Bautista? From reading your comments on Longoria, it seems like you would take Longoria.

  38. nyydj2 says:
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    Happy New Season Grey! Looking for some keeper advice here,
    12 team mixed H2H
    shaaaaalow 22 man rosters
    6X6 has OBP and L’s

    keep 3 each year for as long as ever, must be players drafted after round 5
    I’m down to these:

    Hamilton RD 6
    Stanton RD 9
    Desmond J RD 10
    Kimbrel RD 12
    MadBum RD 10

    I could lock up my OF, though Jennings bugs me a bit after he ended the season 0/24 and sunk me in the championship. Draft was crazy closer happy last year with 14 gone by round 9, could Kimbrel make sense? Really high on MadBum too this year but also really iffy on keeping a pitcher. What say you for best three?

  39. Jeff says:
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    I’m set on keeping Votto as a 7th round keeper and Kemp as a 3rd round keeper.

    My 3rd choice is between Kinsler and J. Upton as a 2nd rounder. I will not be able to keep either of them after this year, so who is a better player for this year only?

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jake: I’d take Bautista, but would hope someone else took him so I could take Longoria.

    @nyydj2: Lock up the OF.

    @Jeff: Upton

  41. Bob says:
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    @birrrdy!:

    sounds more like a puzzle than a fantasy baseball league!

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jeff: I’m sorry, just realized out of 3 you would have 2 OFs, go with Kinsler.

  43. Steve says:
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    Only the Razzball Top 10 could overshadow Bartolo Colon signing with the A’s.

    And let’s face it, you’ve gotta be pretty big to overshadow Bartolo Colon.

    Which gets me to thinking, how cool would it be to have a rotation anchored (deliberate usage) by Colon, CC and Sidney Ponson? Perhaps David Wells and Joe Blanton could round out the rotation, with Bobby Jenks to close.

  44. Jeff says:
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    Does it change anything if I mention we are a 16 team league and start 4 OF’s?

  45. xrayxtals says:
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    If you are taking the consistency of Votto (at #3 no less), where is Cano? 2B is deeper than either 3B or SS, sure, but he is the king of the two hole (okay that’s a stretch… double pun!)

    Also, you have Tulo high (I’m in the same boat), what about CarGo? The numbers (especially per game) are always there. I think I’d take him over either AGonz or Fielder, but maybe we’re just splitting hairs.

    I agree on the Longoria ranking, and unless I have pick #3 (where I have him on my top 10), I will likely get him much lower in all my drafts. If his has even a luck neutral year, for him, he will be worth his draft spot.

    Thanks for these lists, look forward to the rest!

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: And King Kong Bundy as the mascot?

    @Jeff: Not really, Kinsler’s not that far off from Upton for next year.

  47. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @xrayxtals: Cano and Cargo are on their way tomorrow… No problem…

  48. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Can’t argue with that.

    Just thinking about your Longo ranking, if his current ADP holds (big if I guess), I really hope I get to pick at the turn a lot this year…

  49. SwaggerJackers says:
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    Let’s try to figure out who’s 11-20

    Tex
    Cano
    Hanley
    Cargo
    Stanton
    Wright
    McCutchen
    Reyes
    Zimmerman
    Crawford/Ellsbury

  50. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Actually, Bundy only makes batboy. Haystacks Calhoun is the mascot.

  51. birrrdy! says:
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    @Bob – you’re right, figuring out keepers for this league is like solving a puzzle. Plus, you pull the trigger on a trade this early, you are STUCK if the guy gets injured in spring training. Only relief is if (1) you trade them to someone else; or (2) they get traded to the AL, but then you just lose them outright, which is usually worse. Some people try to save money on the draft, some just go for it. Prior experience has suggested that there is no keeper price high enough for truly elite players. They are just too valuable in our league with unlimited keeper rights. Doubly so if they are a hitter.

    @ Grey — I posed the two offers: Phillips($21) for Alonso($5)/Tabata($7), and then Holliday($31) for Latos($22)/Strasburg($18). If both accept, I’m kinda screwed. My keepers would be:

    – [Alonso ($5), Tabata ($7), Latos ($22), Strasburg ($18)] [LOCKED IN] and Hanley ($31), Wright ($25), Dee Gordon ($13), and Hart ($16). Santana ($3), Storen ($21), D.Hudson ($17) and all the others would be outside looking in.

    Is that a good deal considering I had to give up Holliday and Phillips to get to that set of keepers? Also, throwing a BIG WRENCH in the equation… The guy with Latos and Strasburg has thrown out two interesting counters… Phillips/D.Hudson for Strasburg/Latos, OR Holliday/Phillips for R.Zimmerman($21)/Strasburg. In either of those scenarios, I would only be dropping Storen from my original keeper list (and keeping Santana and of either Holliday/Phillips). Which, do you think, is the best outcome for me overall?

    YES, I am trying to take advantage of early-Janaury Grey generosity before the deluge of desperate fantasy players hits (all requesting super league-specific advice)!!!!! ;^)

  52. Random Collmenter says:
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    @SwaggerJackers – good list, but u still have to include Braun, right?

    And I might stick Hamilton in there above say, Zimmerman.

  53. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: I think Longoria will be around in most leagues at the turn.

    @Steve: Fair enough

    @birrrdy!: Ha… Take Zimmerman and Strasburg…

  54. SwaggerJackers says:
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    @Random Collmenter: I’m not sure where to take Braun but I remember Grey mentioned that even after Braun comes back, he’s going to have to shake the rust off so I don’t think he’s top 20. Hamilton – maybe but injuries, blah, blah, blah, drugs, blah, blah, blah. You know the drill.

  55. Random Collmenter says:
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    Zim’s just as injury-prone as Hamilton and looked freaking terrible last year. I do like him for a bounce-back year for sure tho. Def 3rd-rounder for me.

    Curious to see where he ranks Beltre. He was such a beast last year…. Same with Granderson.

  56. birrrdy! says:
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    @ Grey. Ouch, too rich for my blood. Holliday ($31)/Phillips ($21) for Zimmerman ($21)/Strasburg ($18). Just can’t do it. You must really have Holliday low on your rankings this year. I think he’s still good for 25/5 with a .290 avg. Zim would probably just be 30/1 with the same avg. Problem is, Holliday might start stealing again and go 30/10 while Zim could get injured (as always) and put up partial numbers. Starsburg also on an innings limit.

    I think I’ll just go Phillips($21) for Alonso($5)/Tabata($7) per your original recommendation and just hold on to Holliday. If that falls through, then I’ll just go Phillips($21)/Hudson($17) for Strasburg($18)/Latos($21), or just Phillips for Strasburg straight up if he’ll take it. I know Holliday seems expensive at $31, but his value could be a lot more unless we know for sure he’s not gonna steal any more bases for good. He seems to compare evenly to Zimms in every other category, but Zimms will never steal.

  57. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @birrrdy!: 25/5 with a .290 average also sounds a lot like Mike Morse.

  58. Miami Mu$tache says:
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    5×5 13 team 12-16 flex keeper. I am deciding on the following for my last two keeper spots. Ian Desmond, Melky Cabrera, Gaby Sanchez, Aaron Hill or Papelbon. There will be at most 3 RP kept, so closers are very available in the draft. It’s the only reason Papelbon isn’t automatic. What two would you keep, just based on best production for next year.

  59. birrrdy! says:
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    @Grey ZING! nice one. I guess I still hold out hope that I’m looking at 30/100/100/10/.310 for Holliday this year, and this is where fantasy dreams come crashing down come June I suppose…. ;^)

  60. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Miami Mu$tache: Not great choices… Do you have a 1st baseman already? If so, Desmond, Papelbon…

    @birrrdy!: Could happen, not what I’m counting on though since we haven’t gotten that in 5 years…

  61. Bruce says:
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    If Tom Cruse was 5″ taller he just might be able to reach up and pretend to pull a quarter out of Katies ear…

  62. Heh. I’m remembering the forum talk about Votto last year. He may as well have been Dunn and Liriano’s lovechild, the way he was hated on…

    I never seriously entertained any thoughts of selling Votto low last year; I always figured he was just a hot stretch away from catching up to his mean, and he was…

    but I am surprised to see him ranked at 3, especially considering position scarcity. I mean, if you think Votto and Cano are going to give you similar numbers, why not take the 2B?

  63. T.Hunt03 says:
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    I can’t say much about these top10 as compared to my top 10. I believe
    half the Rangers lineup could out do this bunch. I’m not a rangers fan
    either. Longoria?, um do you live in Tampa Bay or something? I don’t see
    Longoria staying healthy long enough or enough clutch hitting to come
    close to guys like Hamilton, Granderson, Cano, Ellsbury, Tex, Braun ect.
    Also, I’m familiar with the numbers game, but what order is the key to
    your 5 numbers. Are the last 4, HR, BA, RBI, Steals? What is the 1st #?
    Nothing personal but I find each article about each player a little confusing and ‘degrading’. I have 6 years post H.S. and was the class ace in English Lit as an American in England, albeit late 70’s. Still reading
    your top rankings for 2012, Thanks.

  64. ryan says:
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    understand the high ground ball rate for a-gon but .275 average??? He has been close but never hit that low before, has to be at least .290

  65. jared says:
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    I’m confused why you have Bautista higher than Tulo. Your projections are very comparable for the two of them, each having the advantage in 2 categories. I think Tulo is more valuable because SS depth is awful this year. Thoughts?

  66. Matt T says:
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    I agree with putting Braun on top. Without his 50 game suspension it makes a huge difference in what his performance might look like. He is a sure player and one of the most consistant in the game right now. I believe that Bautista belongs higher than Tulo because of the homerun total. If Bautista keeps hitting as many homeruns as he has in the past two years, than he is a definate pick. So yes, I believe that Bautista belongs ahead of Tulo.

  67. Steven W says:
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    Are you not just a little concerned with Braun as the #1 pick without the protection of Fielder?

    • Zach O says:
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      @Steven W, I agree. Without Fielder behind Braun, he drops significantly. Without him Braun’s runs and total bases will drop so he is not going to be the same player he was in 2011. I also think that Kemp should move up to the 2nd or 3rd spot. he was only 1 home run away from a 40/40. Also the numbers he puts up and the weakness of his team are incredibly great. That’s why when someone asks what are good players on the Yankees. The answer to that is 5-7 players. But when someone asks you what are the good players the Dodgers, the answer is Matt Kemp and that’s about it. So that is my point. Without the other great players around Kemp he still puts up great numbers.

      • drew says:
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        @Zach O, That yankees/dodgers argument is valid for real baseball purposes, but only fantasy baseball matters for these rankings. Kemp doesn’t have more value in fantasy baseball just because he excels on a terrible team.

  68. Larkin Cunningham says:
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    Finally someone has some sense about Matt Kemp. He was on my team last year and I surely wouldn’t have won the championship without him. But the fact remains that last season’s statistics far exceeded Kemp’s true abilities. I’m expecting the following numbers this season: 90/30/95/.285/25. Don’t get me wrong, those numbers are pretty damn good – but they are far more in line with the numbers he put up prior to last season. Simply put, sports fans are putting too much value in Kemp’s numbers last season. He may put up similar power numbers but I truly believe the rest of his numbers will drop, especially his batting average. ESPN has him ranked 3rd and you have him ranked 7th. If it were me, I would have him ranked 12th. That may sound crazy to many of you baseball fans out there but by the seasons end you will see that I am right.

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