Honestly, I can’t remember the last time a Yankee felt like a sleeper to me.  Well, maybe last year with Aaron Hicks, but that became a playing time issue by the time we got to March.  It’s also not every day I point out a 1st baseman sleeper.  I don’t like punting corner infidels and punting a 1st baseman is especially treacherous.  By the by, treacherous there is a negative even though it sounds like a word that would be positive in a rap song.  You want big-time production from your 1st baseman, and you should be looking for the same from your corner man.  For unstints, I like to take a 1st baseman in the 1st or 2nd rounds and don’t mind grabbing a 2nd one and my corner man before I’m out of the top 100 overall.  Do you want Rizzo vs. the guy trying to piece together Chris Carter and Belt?  Yes, yes, yes.  I want Rizzo over the guy taking Abreu, even if that means having Lindor vs. Altuve.  1st base is sneaky scarce this year.  We got middle infielders coming out of ears like potatoes on the guy that never uses a Q-Tip.  By the by, you should be listening to the new Tribe album, though I’m waiting for someone to Soundcloud-up a new Tribe album with Jairobi spliced out.  Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis, there’s a case to be made for a sleeper 1st baseman, and specifically Greg Bird.  So, what can we expect from Greg Bird for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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No one is drafting Joc Pederson.  I got an email from the barber that used to trim Fidel Castro’s beard before emigrating from Cuba and he said, “No tengo Joc Pederson en fantasy beisbol.”  Granted, he also asked for me to wire him $1000000000 to help pay for a dead aunt I hadn’t heard of previously, so the legitimacy of the email could be debated, but Pederson as non-entity is legit.  This is likely due to his known quality, as in ‘it is known he is not quality.’  If I had to guess why, I’d say it’s because people assume what they’re going to get from him — low average, some pop, prolly platoon.  Okay, that’s enough to be unenthused, I can understand that.  I think that’s selling him short like Christian Bale moving tranches as he waits for a bubble to burst.  Just to be clear, you’ve moved your enthusiasm away from a 24-year-old who had 25 HRs and 6 SBs last year and has hit that many homers for two straight seasons and has 30+ steals in two separate minor league seasons.  Yeah, no hitter has ever been better in his third full major league season.  That was sarcasm.  Lots of data has shown the third-year breakout season doesn’t exist, but there was some data there to begin with to even investigate it.  In other words, that third-year breakout theory isn’t a bastard child because there’s data there.  So, what can we expect from Joc Pederson for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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I think there’s a fairly evident reason it took Edwin Encarnacion a while to sign with a team.  Doode’s a leather-bound book with dust.  In the future, will a little boy sit down to hear a tale from his grandfather and the grandfather will blow dust off a Kindle?  “In the fall of 2016, I bought this Kindle from a garage sale.  What’s a garage sale, you ask.  It’s an informal market of used products that is held outside a house by where one stores their automobile.  What’s an automobile, you ask.”  Please, Grey, leave this metaphor alone!  You’re prolly right, Random Italicized Voice.  Speaking of grandfathers, this was overheard at the Christmas table yesterday:  My grandfather, “I took Viagra and only my nipples got hard.  Don’t think I got the pill all the way down.”  Any hoo!  Edwin’s ground ball ratio went up and his fly balls went down.  He still hits the ball hard, and, if he were 27 years old, none of his red flags would even be flags, they’d be red handkerchiefs for my white suit when I’m feeling especially Scarfacey.  His Ks went up, so he’s a .260 hitter now instead of a .270 hitter?  Big whoop.  I’m having a hard time being negative on Edwin, except he will be 34 years old.  Guys do excel in their mid-30s, but not as much as they don’t.  Am I excited about Edwin after he signed with the Indians?  Not particularly, but thinking he’s going to fall off, is you talking hunches and that only works if you’re making small talk with Quasimodo.  For Edwin’s 2017 projections, I’ll give him 88/36/105/.260/2 in 535 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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On Dancer!  On Prancer!  On–Oh, I didn’t hear you come in.  Welcome, reader!  Grab some egg nog and brandy it up to the fire.  You look festive.  I love that Rudolph tongue ring.  That’s the great thing about Christmas, no matter what your interpretation is, it’s all about commercialism.  That’s unless you light the Munenori Kawasaki. The 2017 fantasy baseball rankings are not far away.  Right now, January Grey is throwing darts at a board to figure out where to rank Jay Bruce.  Exciting!   In the meantime, let’s look at the players who have multiple position eligibility for this upcoming 2017 fantasy baseball season.  The biggest surprise from this list?  Marwin Gonzalez played how many games at 1st base?  Hayzeus Cristo!  I did this list of multi-position eligible players because I figured it would help for your 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  I’m a giver, snitches!  Happy Holidays!  I only listed players that have multiple position eligibility of ten games or more played outside of their primary position.  Not FIVE games at a position, not six, definitely not seven. Ten games.  10, the Laurel & Hardy of numbers.  So this should cover Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, et al (not the Israeli airline).  Yes, Christmas came two days early this year.  Players with multiple position eligibility are listed once alphabetically under their primary position.  This is the only time a year I do anything alphabetically, so I might’ve confused some letters.  Is G or H first?  Who knows, and, better yet, who cares?  Wow, someone’s got the Grinchies, must be the spiked egg nog talking.  Anyway, here’s all the players with multiple position eligibility for the 2017 fantasy baseball season and the positions they are eligible at:

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The Phils have a game plan, and it looks a something like this:  trade and/or sign washed-out AL East starters.  Worked last year with Jeremy Hellickson, and now they’ve traded for Clay Buchholz.  This is the first trade where I can declaratively state both teams won and I don’t even know who Josh Tobias is, the infielder the Phils sent to the Red Sox.  Yes, I used declaratively.  Watch out, reading comprehension!  Looks like Tobias has some speed, but it doesn’t matter.  The Sox needed Buchholz off their team because they have a set rotation without him, and the NL East is about as good a landing place can be, even if Citizens Flank is slightly offensive-minded, and I don’t just mean the insults that rain down from the stands.  “The only time the Phils ever strung three W’s together is with their website.”  That’s a Philly fan.  “Now lean down so I can puke on you.”  That’s the same Phils fan.  Buchholz looks to be in possession of all his pitches that he had when he had a 3.30 xFIP in 2015.  Of course, those pitches couldn’t have looked more pear-shaped than last year with his 5.32 xFIP.  Honestly, I think he could be anywhere from a 3.50 ERA pitcher to a 4.50 ERA one.  Is he a mixed league starter?  Maybe as a streamer, or if he starts off well, but not out of the gate, as they say in horse racing.  For NL-Only, I’m going to like him as a late-round flyer.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 8-10/4.07/1.31/117 in 145 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Sure, you can consider Devon Travis injury prone.  You can also consider Rob Kardashian the hot Kardashian.  This is no sweat off me.  Labeling any player under 27 years old injury prone is a mistake, which is different than Ruth Chris, she’s Ms. Steak.  I’ve been guilty of labeling players injury prone in the past.  For years, I called Ian Kinsler injury prone because up until the age of 26 he missed around forty games a year for three straight seasons.  Now, Kinsler has three straight seasons of 150+ games and in five of the past six seasons.  I did the same thing to Nelson Cruz.  In his first few seasons, he averaged about 108 games a season.  He now has three straight years of 152+ games.  I also think Nelson Cruz was only injury prone when he was Nelson Cruz Jr.  No idea if the weight of his pops’ shadow played into this.  Not all players are injury prone across their entire careers like Glass Chipper.  Devon Travis had one major injury in 2015, a shoulder injury.  He returned from that injury and hit for power and average (11 HRs, .300 in 101 games).  He’s had the usual nicks and bruises here and there, he’s even dealing with a knee thing right now which should be fine by February, but one injury does not make an injury-prone player.  I guess you can consider him injury prone, but if you believe his shoulder is all good to go now, there’s no injury, there’s just prone, and I’m prone to like that.   There’s no reason to think Travis won’t play 150+ games this year.  In 163 major league games across two seasons, Devon Travis has a stat line of 92/19/85/.301/7.   Now, we’re talking my language.  So, what can we expect from Devon Travis for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Technically, Charlie Tilson could’ve been listed in my fantasy baseball rookie series, and Tom Murphy could’ve been listed in the fantasy baseball sleeper series, and Jason Heyward could’ve been listed in the “I will never draft him again” series if there was a “I’m never going to draft him again” series, but here we are.  When I first heard of Charlie Tilson, I thought it was a mispronounced dinner reservation for the former Dallas actress.  “Is there a Charlie Tilson here?  Your table is ready.”  “It’s Charlene Tilton.”  “And this is P.F. Chang’s, so you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t care.”  Damn, P.F. Chang’s needs to watch their customer service!  By the by, P.F. Chang’s might be the only restaurant where I look more forward to the free sauce they mix at the table than their actual food you pay for.  Me going there is like someone going to Burger King for their ketchup.  Okay, Charlie Tilson, or as you like to call him, “Who the fudge is Charlie Tilson?”  He’s the guy that stole 46 bases in Double-A in 2015 and was traded to the White Sox for Zach Duke.  He’s also penciled in as the White Sox starting center fielder.  Oh, and if you haven’t heard, the White Sox have already punted 2017.  So, what can we expect from Charlie Tilson for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Any reasonable man (which, technically, I am not, alas…) would tell you Jake Lamb is not a 2017 sleeper.  Last year, he had a line of 81/29/91/.249/6.  That alone should mean he isn’t a sleeper.  On our Player Rater, he was a top 15 3rd baseman last year.  I’ve seen him drafted after 200 overall already, so some have forgotten about him.  I’m not pointing any fingers, which is difficult because I’m wearing a giant, pointing Hulk Hogan foam finger.  Perhaps Lamb was too closely associated with Passover and, hence, ignored.  I think this is religious mores or less inaccurate.  If you think it has something to do with Lamb’s 2nd half, you’re getting shawarmer.  But his 1st half had us screaming, “Shanks, Lamb!  You’re my gyro!”   When the summer hit, Lamb was baaaahd in August and September, but wasn’t he mint in the sprig?  So mint, he was making others jelly.  All right, I’m gonna eat lunch and come back for the 2nd paragraph.  So, what can we expect from Jake Lamb for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Josh Rutledge steps forward.  A hush falls over the crowd.  Delino DeShields stops obnoxiously sucking on his soda straw when he realizes the crowd has silenced.  Rutledge continues, “At one time or another, we’ve all been sleepers.  Some of us never reached our potential.  Others have, but are still forgotten.”  Rutledge taps his chest with his fist and motions towards Brad Miller.  “While most of us have seen our best days pass us by without making good on being sleepers, one of us still has one year left to be a post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-hype sleeper.”  One man stands from the crowd, but Rutledge quickly gets annoyed, “Not you, Brett Lawrie.”  Lawrie shrugs and sits back down.  “No, I’m talking about you.”  Rutledge points into the crowd, realizing he’s not pointing at the right person, he asks, “Adam Eaton, could you move right or left?”  Finally, we see Rutledge is pointing at Leonys Martin.  He’s surprised to be singled out.  Martin tentatively stands, “Me?”  The preceding took place in The Tomb of the Forgotten Sleeper.  We’ve been here before with Martin, and this, I promise, will be our last time.  A’la Q-Tip, “All you bad sleepers, you must go…”  So, what can we expect from Leonys Martin for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Well, you knew this one was coming.  If you heard me once expound on the greatness of Maikel Franco, you’ve heard me expound on his greatness dozens of times and I have to say, I need to expound on how much I love this Word of the Day calendar.  It’s expounding my vocabulary!  I used it wrong there, didn’t I?  Let’s backtrack to the most basic common knowledge we have about baseball players.  They all spit.  Okay, Random Italicized Voice, let’s fast forward a bit.  Hitters sleep with a wOBA?  Now you’ve lost me.  Good, stop following me, you creeper!  Players usually take a few years to get comfortable.  Guys don’t usually peak their first full years.  Last year, Maikel Franco had a line of 67/25/88/.255/1 as a 23-year-old in his first full season.  Okay, so there were so many homers last year that David Eckstein would’ve hit 30 homers if he was still playing.  Fair enough, but you can’t possibly think Franco was a disappointment with 25 homers in his first full season.  On our Player Rater, Maikel Franco was ranked 154th overall.  Better than Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, Craig Kimbrel and Joc Pederson.  Sure, bit apples and oranges, but orange you glad I told you?  Okay, for that, I’m going into the pun penalty box for three minutes.  *sits in penalty box, smiles showing missing front tooth*  Okay, I’m back!  So, what can we expect from Maikel Franco for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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