After I finished my Top 100 Prospects post, I had a whole lot of leftovers of players who didn’t quite make the cut. The thing is many of these players were at one point in my Top 100, and therefore had a write up. Today’s post is those leftovers, it’s the turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving, or the album a band releases a year after a successful album of all the songs that didn’t make the cut. It’s me being lazy, but also kind of wanting you to have as much of my info as possible. I get a chance to go into detail on a few last minute subtractions, and get you familiar with some players that will be jumping into my top 100 by mid-season. These are the bubble players, those that are every bit a top 100 level player as those that just limboed under the line, some flameouts looking for redemption in 2017, and everything in between. There’s a little bit of everything! I hope you enjoy, it’s the Leftovers.

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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, Nick Doran, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2017 holds for the Cincinnati Reds!

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The theory of SAGNOF is simple, don’t pay for saves on draft day.  This theory is, well, in theory, correct in most instances.  Saves and Holds categories are won every year by being a straight waiver wire assassin.  The “fluidness” and volatility of the position makes it such.  Saves and Holds are a success driven organization.  It is basically the frozen concentrated orange juice stat of the MLB.  So fortunate for you, I am sorta of your Billy Ray Valentine.  I agree in principle with the “don’t pay for saves” theory, except I usually implore you to get one of the top-12 guys instead of filling in the holes and playing the guessing game late in the draft.  As I stated in my last post, there are easily 6-7 closer jobs up for grabs this year,  and that doesn’t even include injuries and save speculation types.  That leaves about 12-15 guys who could garner saves or gain the job even before the job is theirs.  Drafting for speculation is fun when you have a Kimbrel or Melancon or Oh in the bank already, but when you are basically relying on luck and happenstance in the save game, it basically means you are taking an early punt or hoping to be better then everyone else at the waiver wire.  Odds aren’t always good depending on waiver rules, because not everyone lives in their mom’s basement has all the time in the world to do waiver wire adds all day once breaking news erupts.  So for the average Joe’s out there, here are five sleeper save guys and five sleepier holds candidates to consider on draft day.

Razzball Commenter Leagues are open! Play against our contributors and your fellow readers for prizes. Join here!

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I hope you do, because I’m at best, lukewarm (Yay! Starting off exciting).  I’m not sure which I like least, Catchers in Fantasy Baseball or Kickers in Fantasy Football.  Both score points/runs, both are integral to their teams, and both bore the ever-living crap out of me.  But they are a necessary evil (though would anyone have a problem if we did away with fantasy catchers?  I’m sure less would than doing away with kickers) that we have to play with, so while that’s the case, they get rankings.  Now that you’re sufficiently warmed up, let’s get to it.

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Just finished my first draft if you’re reading this as I type it, and other than one shirtless man in yellow sweatpants standing behind me in this internet cafe, I don’t think anyone’s reading this as I type it.  Unless, of course, there’s micronauts living inside my brain watching as my inner monologue is sending info to my fingers.  Gadzooks, I got micronauts in my brain!  I wonder if these micronauts made me draft Eric Thames.  I need to delve deeper into this subject.  Maybe I will in my pastel journal that is covered in Giancarlo’s picture from ESPN’s nude magazine.  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an NL Only league that was hosted by Scott White of CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Please be a commissioner, we need leagues, thank you, and Oxford comma.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

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One of the bigger challenges for fantasy baseball drafts and auctions is how to value players who are not projected for a full-season’s worth of at-bats or innings. If you run their partial-season projections through any standard player rater, they are unfairly penalized as it assumes zero replacement stats when we know we can get someone on waivers to fill in for them while they are not on the major league roster.

These types of players fall into four buckets:

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Your classic 12 team, 25 man roster format, will sift through 300 players in creating the other 11 competitors to conquer for fantasy glory. Once you kick it up a notch to 15 teams, rosters start looking uniquely constructed, especially yours, if you choose to wait a little bit longer on pitching in favor of all the electric bats on display in the top 100 – I’m looking at you Dominic Brown.

I’ve paid extra attention this offseason to some deep starting pitchers, which in early drafts, I have gladly targeted at their current price tags to create some SP depth. These guy are somewhat overlooked, placed in the 300+ sphere in Razzball’s top 500 rankings, and sure to give you heart palpitations come April 2nd and beyond. Why care about them? Well, it really only takes one or two of these guys to hit and you’re staring at a top 40 SP that you paid a Jered Weaver price tag for.

That tag apparently says $3m on it too. Wait, wasn’t that what Dellin Betances got in his horror story arbitration hearing over the weekend? Something seems a bit off. If Randy Levine thinks Betances is surely worth less than $5m, I can’t imagine his thoughts on Jered Weaver.

Razzball Commenter Leagues are open. Play against our contributors and your fellow readers for prizes. Join here!

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I have no idea if anyone at ESPN actually ranks people.  There’s talk of it.  Like, “Yo, Klara Bell, you do your rankings yet?”  “No, did you?”  Then Cockcroft makes farting noises with his armpit.  All I ever see at ESPN is consensus rankings.  I have to figure out how to do this “consensus” thing.  Talk about a nice way to avoid taking any blame for anything.  “Hey, man, sorry about Andrew McCutchen being ranked so high this year, but these are ‘consensus’ rankings.”  Let’s turn to a conversation between two random fantasy baseballers.  “Cockcroft has said he doesn’t like Cano this year.”  “But ESPN has him 34th overall.”  “Yeah, doesn’t apply when talking about Cockcroft.”  “So, when does it apply?”  “When talking about ESPN.”  “But Cockcroft is at ESPN”  “Yeah, still doesn’t apply.”  “Can you explain that?”  “Nope.”  Then heads explode.  Consensus rankings are done by committee.  Only thing ever done better by committee is jerk seasoning.  Now, while you might think ESPN’s rankings have a ton of jerk seasoning, they are just an indecipherable mess.  But why bring up all of this when I’m about to take a blowtorch to Yahoo’s 2017 fantasy baseball rankings?  Thanks for asking, clunky expositional question!  Yahoo has consensus rankings, but they also show their work.  Each ‘pert is accounted for in their rankings.  This is already much better than ESPN.  You can at least see what Pianowski, Funston, Behrens and Triple D are thinking individually.  This, of course, doesn’t mean I agree with all of their rankings, but at least I can point to how they came to their consensus.  Anyway, here’s where my 2017 fantasy baseball rankings differ from the 2017 Yahoo fantasy baseball rankings:

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Image result for rize of the prodigy byron buxton  Image result for byron buxton and jackie bradley in same picture

 

All those B’s in the title got me bobbing my head to this. Man, I can listen to that song all day. Anyways, back to the order at hand. In preseason NFBC drafts, Jackie Bradley Jr. is being selected, on average, with the 146th overall pick. Byron Buxton is going at pick 147. I thought this would be an easy and straightforward piece to research and write. If you read last week’s Bear or Bull, you know that I eschew the hackers for the more disciplined batters. Choosing between the two proved to be a far more difficult endeavor, though.

In 331 plate appearances last year, Buxton struck out 35.6% of the time and had a 15% swinging strike rate. He managed to hit .225 WITH a .329 BABIP. Bradley Jr., on the other hand, clubbed 26 home runs, scored 94 runs, drove in 87, stole nine bases, and hit .267 while striking out 22% and walking 10% of the time. The 26 home runs really stood out to me, as he had never eclipsed 10 in any professional season. While ESPN Home Run Tracker labeled 10 of Bradley’s homers as “just enough,” his average true distance (399.1 feet) was close to the  MLB average of 400 feet. The more I kept looking at the advanced stats, the more comfortable I was getting with my initial assessment of Bradley over Buxton. He was hitting more line drives, hard contact % went up, GB%, FB%, and HR/FB were all in-line, and his plate discipline numbers actually got better. Yet, like any good grasshopper, I kept searching. Why you ask? Maybe it was because I didn’t want to get type-cast into being the GET OFF MY LAWN-boring-old guy. Whatever the reason may be, I found what I was looking for. Or maybe it found me. Or maybe…

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Last season I created a list of the who’s-who to follow in the Twittersphere.  The article won many awards (none) for being the article of the year, millions (tens…maybe) hailed it as a modern day classic (or just a fairly helpful time saver).  On the back of all that success a sequel was only fitting.  I framed this mostly as a Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) column at the time, but @Twitter is for more than just DFS players, Twitter is for any fantasy player that is looking for an edge.  Heck, if you’re a fan of baseball and have a smartphone, there’s no reason to not follow most of this list below.  That goes for DFS players and non DFS players alike.  There is no faster news source for lineups, weather, late scratches or other breaking stories out there (like closer changes for RCL leagues for example).  I love what Twitter has done for the game, it’s an ideal pairing I think.  I almost always have my laptop open with Twitter up while I’m watching games.  

The thing with Twitter though, is you have to be following the right people to make it worth your while.  Enter the @MattTruss guide to MLB Twitter 2017.  I’ve broken this up into different categories, so pick and chose, or follow them all, it’s your choice.  For 2017 I’ve gone through and cleared out and deadbeats that are no longer covering the team, covering different teams, retired, etc.  I hope this helps, I know it’s been an invaluable tool for me.  If nothing else, maybe it’ll save you an hour or so of Googling.  If it helps you out, say thanks by throwing a follow and a retweet my way.  Also, if there is someone I missed that you enjoy following, please add them in the comments.  Sharing is caring after all, and is what makes @Razzball awesome!

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