This is one of the most difficult posts to write all year.  Maybe I shouldn’t try to write it with my feet.  Eff it, you know what?  No guts, no glory.  No toes, no post either, naw mean?  There’s just so many different ways the top 20 for 2016 fantasy baseball could go.  Maybe next year I’ll write a top 10 with a ten way tie for the tenth ranked guy.  Last year, I had Nolan Arenado higher than anyone and Ian Desmond.  You win some, you lose some.  I also had Donaldson, Bryce, Hanley and Bautista in the top twenty.  Again, win, win, lose and…DRAW!  Two words…I’m drawing what appears to be a pirate only he’s in front of a mic stand… It’s Fetty Wap!  I wouldn’t draft a starter in the top twenty, so I rank them accordingly.  If you want to bemoan my ranking of Kershaw or any pitcher, then bemoan away.  Just remember, a bemoaner sounds a bit to me like “U be a boner.”  All the positional rankings will live under the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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I sure wish Grey would do his 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Wait, I am Grey and this is those rankings.  Holy crapballs, this is the greatest day ever!  Now, only 400,000 words more until I finish my top 400 and I’ll be done.  Worst day ever!  Damn, that excitement was fleeting.  Well, not for you because you don’t have to write all the rankings.  You lucky son of a gun!  I wish I were you… *wavy lines*  Hey, why am I balding and wearing sweatpants?  *wavy lines*  Hmm, maybe we’re okay with who we are.  Now before we get into the top 10 for 2016 fantasy baseball (though I imagine every single one of you has skipped this intro paragraph), I’m gonna lay some ground rules.  First, keep your hands and legs inside the trolley.  Second, send me all your money.  Damn, tried to trick you!  Okay, here’s where you follow us on Twitter.  Here’s where you follow us on Facebook.  Here’s our fantasy baseball player rater.  Here’s our fantasy baseball team name generator.  Here is all of our 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2016 fantasy baseball.  And here is a picture of my son.  What a punim!  You may not get all of those links in such a handy, easy-to-use format ever again this year, so make proper note.  (Unless you just go to the top menu on this page that says “Rankings” and click it, but semantics, my over-the-internet friend, semantics.)  Now my expositional half insists I breakdown some generalizations about these 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  The 2016 fantasy baseball rankings will be an ever-evolving mass like the blob.  This fantasy baseball top 10 for 2016 list is as of right now and could potentially change with a big injury or Mike Trout quitting baseball because he’s bored with being the best and wants to play competitive Mahjong.  So while it is the 2016 fantasy baseball gospel, take it with a tablet of salt.  Tomorrow we will cover the rest of the top twenty for 2016 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 100.  Listed with each player are my 2016 projections.  Did I consult with anyone else who does projections?  It would be ignorant not to, but, in the end, these are my projections.  Players need 10 games at a position to get included in the positional rankings.  Finally, as with each list in the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, I will be mentioning where I see tiers start and stop.  I look at tiers like this, if Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt 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 two 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 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Even with an average-at-best fastball (90-ish MPH), Aaron Nola had a 3.59 ERA in 77 2/3 IP last year on the Phillies.  This is the first bit of good news for the Phils in a while.  The bad news first started in 2012 and it hasn’t let up.  The bad news began when Ruben Amaro Jr. read an eHow article titled, “How To Be A MLB GM,” that was authored by Jim Bowden.  “You’re saying I can sign Michael Young and no one will stop me.  Escuchame, this is bueno.”  “Someone take the “Out of Order” sign off of the bathroom, we just got a brand-new Ibanez.”  “This GM business is fine and all, but, damn, if I could only be a 1st base coach.”  Back to present day, and Nola’s average-at-best fastball doesn’t matter.  It matters about as much as the fact that Kanye thinks George W. Bush doesn’t care about Nola.  (Oddly enough, Nola went to college in Louisiana.  Weird, right?  Speaking of which, shouldn’t weird be spelled wierd?  Seems odd.)  What matters for Nola is his pinpoint control.  This is where his bread is buttered.  This is where his steak gets Salisburied.  This is where his hot dog does bikram yoga.  As I’ve mentioned many times before, guys that throw fast that are wild, have huge upside and downside.  Guys like Nola that have solid control don’t have the ceiling as those fastwinders, but they also don’t have a basement with a tied-up gimp.  At worst, their basement has a pool table with some rips on the felt.  Anyway, what can we expect from Aaron Nola for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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It’s time for everyone’s favorite game that no one knew was their favorite game, Fun With Numbers!  As a contestant of this wildly popular game that you didn’t know existed, I’m going to give you the numbers of two pitchers.  You won’t know either pitcher until I dramatically reveal their names, but you’ll probably guess Taijuan Walker is going to be one.  Okay, the suspense is killing me, so here goes!  The first pitcher had 174 Ks and 56 BBs in 195 IP (8.03 K/9, 2.58 BB/9), compiling a 4.43 ERA.  Then, the 2nd pitcher had 157 Ks and 40 walks in 169 2/3 IP (8.33 K/9, 2.12 BB/9) with a 4.56 ERA.  The 2nd pitcher is Taijuan Walker (how’d you guess?!).  The first pitcher is… Here it comes…Shoot, I left the name in my car.  One second.  Okay, I’m back!  The 2nd pitcher is…Max Scherzer in 2011!  In 2011, Scherzer was 27 years old and looked headed to the “Great Stuff, Unsure If He Can Put It Together” bin with some other hard throwers.  Then, obviously, everything clicked and he was completely dominant for the next four years.  In 2015, Taijuan was only 22 years old for most of the season, and now he’s 23.  So, is Taijuan also a hard thrower that can’t put it together or is he on the verge of greatness?  I think you know what camp I fall into.  One more Fun With Numbers, because the nonexistent audience insists!  In 2013, this pitcher threw 147 1/3 IP with 136 Ks and 33 walks (8.31 K/9, 2.02 BB/9).  That pitcher was Corey Kluber at the age of 27 before he went on to win the Cy Young the next year.  It’s not hard to recognize what these pitchers have in common.  It’s what I seek most of all, besides One-Eyed Willie’s treasure.  If a guy strikes out a lot of hitters while walking few, they need to get really unlucky to not be usable.  Taijuan’s walk rate in 2014:  4.26.  His walk rate in 2015:  2.12.  I.e., Walker’s no longer a walker.  Taijuan Walker averaged a 94.3 MPH fastball, tied for the 13th best in baseball, right behind Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco.  Walker, velocitease or “Here comes the velocity-rapture?”  Again, you know where I stand (sit).  Taijuanna know more?  I bet you do.  Anyway, what can we expect from Taijuan Walker for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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I wrote this Daniel Norris sleeper post at the same time I wrote my Carlos Rodon sleeper, because they’re similar, and not because they were born within a year of each other about 22 years ago.  Geez, 22 years ago, I could be Norris’s absentee daddy.  *checks Norris’s player profile picture for a mustache*  Nope, he ain’t mine!  Rodon touches 98 MPH while Norris touches 95.  Rodon has three pitches, while Norris has four pitches.  Rodon lives in a house, Norris lives in a VW van parked in a Target parking lot.  Hold on one second, what again were their similarities?  Oh, yeah, they can’t command their pitches.  Well, couldn’t up until last year.  In Triple-A last year, Norris threw 90 2/3 IP with a 4.1 BB/9.  In the majors thru 60 IP, he had a 2.9 BB/9.  Another thing that’s similar is both guys should reach around (not that kind of reach around) 180 innings this year and both could go over 9 K/9.  Now, whether it’s due to Rodon playing in college while Norris went straight to the minors out of high school, Rodon feels more polished.  That’s not to say he’s more like A.J. Pollock; wrong polished.  That polished is with cabbage.  As in, my babcha would Polish our forks with cabbage.  Now, Norris still makes the nethers attentive on a pure upside scale, so don’t let the “He’s not as good as Rodon” get you down.  He’s in Motown.  When a prostitute trips, a pimp yells hoedown.  And now I’ve painted myself into a limerick corner.  Anyway, what can we expect from Daniel Norris for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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I’m gonna give this sleeper post for Carlos Rodon in the simplest of manners like I’m trying to explain it to a Kardashian.  In August, the 22-year-old Rodon pitched in his third full month of major league starts and recorded a 2.48 ERA.  In his 4th month of his rookie year, he had a 2.03 ERA.  In those two months, he had 59 1/3 IP with a 2.28 ERA.  Let’s call that 60 IP for ease of basic math, because if there’s one thing that basic math should be is basic.  It should also be math, but we’re getting off the subject.  Streamline, Grey, streamline!  Rodon will throw 180 IP next year, barring injury, that’s 60 innings times three.  Show of hands for those that are lost?  Okay, just blink, guy from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  August and September is two months (this is more basic than computer science class in 1988) and the season is six months long, thus August and September times three equals a season.  If Rodon’s August and September times three equals a season, then he won’t just be a breakout, he will be a top thirty starter divided by ten for all of baseball.  To tag onto that August/September math, there has to be some consideration given that he’s only 22 and must’ve been tiring towards the end.  So, if he was tired in August/September, he could be even better this April-July, right?  So, if you times April-July, even though that looks like you’re subtracting July from April, you have the best pitcher in baseball.  Okay, my basic math went Willy wonky there.  Anyway, what can we expect from Carlos Rodon for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I went looking around The Google Machine for Nick Castellanos articles and they go like this starting in 2013 to present (I’m paraphrasing):  “Is High-Flying Prospect, Castellanos, The Next George Brett?”  “Can Castellanos Be Better Than Miggy?”  “Castellanos Hopes To Bounce Back After His Lackluster Rookie Season?”  “One Bad Year Behind Him, But He’s Still Young.”  “Castellanos Puts Second Poor Year To Bed, Will His Bat Ever Awaken?”  “Castellanos Is A Platoon Player, Face It.”  “Castellanos Shows Bat Is Ready For Prime Time….Prime Time In India Where CSI: Mumbai Is A Ratings Disaster.”  “Castellanos Is Greek For Can’t Stand Yous.”  “Castellanos Finally Shows Glimmer, Is It Too Late?”  “Castellanos Surprisingly Not Related To Nia Vardalos, Still Ugly If You Look At Him Too Long.”  There ya go, that pretty much tracks the career of Castellanos up until now through article titles.  In Triple-A in 2012, Castellanos had all the makings of a hot prospect at the age of 21.  Now, he’s 23 and it feels like that’s in dog years.  So, where’s the optimism, is it that I can’t let a top prospect go?  No, and I take offense to that.  I let Jay Bruce go…after six seasons.  Anyway, what can we expect from Nick Castellanos for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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*pushes aside the Lost Ark, pulls out a blankie labeled Shroud of Turin, tosses it aside, unearths a stack of old sleeper posts, flips through them, comes across one, blows dust off, sees the name Jedd and quickly moves on, blows dust off next one, smiles then sneezes*  Ugh, stupid allergies.  Luckily, I’m not allergic to calling Jonathan Schoop a sleeper, huh?  Right now, the Orioles lineup is listed from 1-9 as Hyun-soo Kim, Machado, Jones, Wieters, Trumbo, Schoop, Paredes, Hardy then Hoes.  Hardy Hoes sounds like what a jolly pimp says.  “Hardy Hoes to everyone!”  But I wouldn’t be cheery O’s.  Let’s assume the O’s re-sign Chris Davis.  That still leaves them a little short of a major league lineup.  What am I getting out, you ask.  Schoop won’t be batting lower than the six hole for the majority of the 2016 season as he comes into his own like the star of his own Lifetime movie.  Last year, he hit 15 HRs and .279 in 86 games after losing around two months to an injury.  Last year, I called him a sleeper as a guy that was bound to hit north of 20 HRs.  I see no reason that wouldn’t have happened if he stayed healthy.  Now that he is healthy, well…Anyway, what can we expect for Jonathan Schoop for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Honestly, in June of last year, if you would’ve asked me if I’d be writing this post come January, I would’ve said you were as crazy as the Republican field for president, but then July through the end of the year happened and Joc Pederson not only looked lost, but he lost his starting job.  Yes, Cro-Magnonly was their manager and you need to take all of his moves with a grain of salt, but anyone could see Pederson was struggling.  Here, I’ll test you to see if you could tell.  Pederson had a high for a month in power with 9 homers in May and followed that with seven homers in June.  He cruised into the All-Star break with 20 homers and a .230 average.  Post-All-Star break saw him hit only six homers and a .178 average.  That’s-a, how do stereotypical Italians say, notta so good.  Actually, “notta so good” calls up its attorney about pressing defamation charges for being used to describe Pederson’s 2nd half.  The proverbially wheels came off the cart Luke was pushing to buy some frankinstinks.  Is that a proverb?  I don’t know, but it sounds like it.  Anyway, what can we expect from Joc Pederson for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kenta Maeda signed with the Dodgers and has been labeled as “Not as good as Yu and Masahiro.”  Looks that good though.  Right?  I guess one can edit together 200 IP into a three-minute video to make Bartolo Colon look skinny too.  Okay, with some funhouse mirrors.  I say Maeda could be getting a favorable edit like CT after he started dating Diem because his K-rate was just 7.4 in Japan, which is solid, but not spectacular.  Baseball in the Land of the Rising Sun has often been compared to playing in Triple-A.  I’d like to add the Nippon Professional Baseball league is like Triple-A, but almost everyone is Japanese.  Perhaps an unnecessary distinction.  So, if a guy is 7+ K/9 in Japan (or Triple-A) that doesn’t land him in the elite class of pitchers like Yu and Masahiro.  If Darvish and Masahiro are toro, Maeda is the tuna they chop up for the spicy tuna roll.  Since it’s impossible to not compare one Japanese pitcher to another, a 7+ K/9 compares more favorably to Iwakuma.  Iwakuma is still a solid comparison for a pitcher to receive; that’s still a number two to (stutterer!) three fantasy starter.  Unfortch, I think Maeda is likely a notch below Iwakuma.  For 2016, I’ll give Maeda the projections of 14-10/3.66/1.16/152 in 200 IP.  On a real baseball note, Maeda’s deal was an 8-year deal for $24 million.  I’m guessing the Dodgers hired Melky Cabrera to hack into Japan’s Google, or as it’s known there, Googre, and change all recent baseball salaries to thousands rather than millions.  “So, David Price will earn two hundred and seventeen thousand dollars?  I’m definitely taking a deal for three million a year!”  That’s Kenta reading off of Googre.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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