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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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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What’s good baseball peeps? For those of you not familiar with me, I’m Honcho and I’ve dabbled in fantasy here at Razzball on the football side and helped with DFS a bit. This year, well, I’m jumping into the season-long game. Once we get to opening day, my posts will consist of pitching and hitting streamers based on the results of the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron each week. Until then I’ll be contributing a bit of everything to help get you primed for the 2017 season. For this particular piece, I’m looking at a few players who I believe are sitting just a tad too high based on Grey’s rankings. Now, before we move on, let me say this: Grey is the best in the business. His rankings are absolutely rock-solid and you’ll be a better fantasy player just by visiting Razzball on the reg. I like to think of Grey as the Mike Trout of fantasy analysts, or better yet, the David Hasselhoff of industry experts. If fantasy baseball was exclusively played in Germany that is. He’s like the Adam Lambert of… ahhh never mind! You get the point. He’s really, really good and this article is not meant to disparage his work in any way. I’m just going to point out a few examples of guys I think should be knocked down a few spots in his rankings. This doesn’t mean I hate the players I’ve listed below, in fact they’ll most likely wind up on a few of my teams in the coming weeks. For example, Grey has Todd Frazier ranked as the 10th best third baseman. Know what? It’s hard to argue against a guy coming off a 40 HR/15 SB type year. But here where I disagree slightly. Frazier, who will turn 32 before the season opens, suffered a 6 point drop in his hard contact percentage last season (31.3%), falling from 37.3% in 2015. His strikeout rate rose to an unsightly 24.5%, which happens to be the highest of his six seasons at the major league level and checks in at fifth worst among qualified third basemen. Perhaps the most frightening item in play here is the mysterious finger injury that suddenly popped up a few weeks ago. He’s scheduled to return to baseball activities on March 1. With all that to digest, it’s hard to imaging Frazier finishing 2017 with a batting average above .240. I still expect he’ll reach 30 HR, but you’ll pay considerably more than you should to obtain his services. Considering what his counter rate is at the moment (5th round NFBC) I’ll gladly take Jake Lamb, Alex Bregman or Jose Ramirez to fill out my CI or 3B position.

Here’s a look at a few players who I believe were ranked while Grey was sipping on grandpa’s cough medicine:

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I wonder if the Rays are mad at the Yankees for stealing their style? The kings of drafting/signing and stashing are back, with a whole new crop of youngsters, and there’s some underrated names to come. While their top specs may not have the name value the Yankees, or say the Braves have, many of them are destined to make an impact on fantasy in the coming years. One of my favorite shortstop prospects calls the Rays home in Willy Adames, who is at most a year away. As well as one of the more slept on corner infield prospects in Casey Gillaspie, who could have an impact this year. In fact the Rays have a lot of high floor, low ceiling types waiting in the wings in Durham ready to become wavier wire fodder, and hot schmotato’s. Not only do we have some Top 100 types, and some floorboreds, we also have some talented far off youngsters, ’round here we call them Lolita’s, for you to crush on. Without further ado, it’s the Top Tampa Bay Rays Prospects. That’s right, it’s TAMPA! Stevie J.

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Image result for do you like to live dangerously

I knew this girl in high school that got bored easily and always needed that tinge of drama or danger in her life. She was definitely not the missionary type. She enjoyed conflict because it made her feel alive. On the other hand, I knew girls that just reveled in the safety of companionship. Did I just humble brag that I actually knew a girl? Indeed, and not just one girl but girls with that capital “S”!!! My parents knew what they were doing when they named me Stan Son. Shout out to Momma and Poppa Son.

The differences are what make life awesome, interesting, and fun to experience. And so it is in the fantasy baseball world. There are so many ways to attack the maze that, more often than not, our personal biases and philosophies will dictate which player we choose.

Case in point, compare Daniel Murphy with Rougned Odor. They both play second base, bat left-handed, and are being selected close to each other in fantasy drafts, but they are very different players. The one you select will shed light on your personality, so let’s delve into each a little further and see if you are indeed a psycho that likes to live dangerously!!!

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Better late than never!  February in the following year is always THE BEST time to review last year’s follies and jollies, amiright Razzball Nation!?

After making it through the duldrums of Winter (which I haven’t really had in NC, but ya know, the EPA was lying about global warming), I’m finally catching up on my Pitcher Profile wrap-up for the 2016 season.  If anything, it turns out to be a pretty funny post!  Let’s see how bad JB/Grey/ESPN ranked the AL Cy Young Winner!  Always a good time…  They say hindsight is 20/20, but seeing how bad some of these went, I’ll need my hindsight to be 420 to get through this!

As I did last year and the previous seasons ere’twixt, I’m here to break down my initial 2016 Starting Pitcher Ranks with the – hot, hot, hot!  …or cold – hits and misses.  I compare and contrast what happened with Grey’s 2016 ranks at SP, along with ESPN’s initial ranks from the 2016 season, then make us all look foolish by lining these up with Razzball’s Player Rater rank amongst SP.  And as I did last year, complete the analysis with the Player Rater’s top-40 SP that I missed on in my ranks.  Lots of whiffing this season!  Whiffing as bad as I do when I play Rocket League, the boost makes you go too fast!

Here’s the recap to 2016’s starting pitching ranks (plus my 2017 ranks should be out hopefully in a week or two):

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Earlier this week I partook (a much fancier word than participated) in my first mock draft of the season. As most of you know I am much more of a points league player, but I have no issue going both ways. This draft, however, represented a less common fantasy baseball format known as the 5×5 head-to-head league. This was actually the first time I had even drafted for this format, and with barely an hour to prepare, I’m not sure how I feel about the results. In hindsight, had I had more time to calculate more precise player values for this league format I believe I would have applied a different strategy when selecting my players. While I obviously cannot go back and actually change my picks, I can imagine the results with a different outcome. After all, imagination is the essence of discovery.

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The Fantasy Baseball War Room is back!  I’m not saying the Fantasy Baseball War Room is back, as in, is a butt.  So, if Sir Mix-A-Lot is reading, I’m truly sorry for the confusion.  Our Fantasy Baseball War Room is one part draft tool, one part fantasy team evaluator, one part fantasy junkie’s s’s and g’s tool, one part holy, two parts smokes, three parts… How many parts is that so far?  Cause it’s only really seven parts total.  I think there’s one part kill-your-day-with-this-war-room-thing-a-maboob-as-a-pinwheel-spins in there too.  Essentially, this helps you practice building a fantasy baseball team.

If you’re unfamiliar with our Fantasy Baseball War Room, it’s a draft tool to help you track where you are at any moment in a draft.  It shows you if you have too many steals, homers… Or if your ERA or WHIP are too low.  Or too high.  Or if your lamb is still rare or should be turned (results vary on lamb).  If you’ve already drafted a team, go into the War Room, enter your team and it shows you exactly how stacked/dreadful the team is.  If you’re in the middle of a draft, you can filter which guys are left that have the most home runs according to my projections.  Or the most steals, or the most runs or the most whatever (only applicable if “Whatever” is a category in your league).  If you’re in a bind, go into a Warm Room and take a shvitz.  Ah…That’s better!  There might be some bugs in our Fantasy Baseball War Room, just comment here and we’ll look into fixes.  The default projections are mine from the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  Also, Rudy’s projections are now up!  They can be found at my ranking page that I just linked to or here:  hitter projections and pitcher projections.  There, you’ll see rankings for every conceivable league (OBP, OPS, Holds, etc).  Anyway, here’s the step by step instructions on how to use the Fantasy Baseball War Room:

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