Is it just me or is this offseason crawling along?  There are still three weeks until Opening Day but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.  This week I want to go over a few last strategy tidbits before I get into some in depth draft numbers the next couple weeks.  I have one last note on the draft as well as a loophole you should know about and take advantage of.  These are the last couple of things I couldn’t cram into my other posts but I think are too important to just let go.  I’ll also be sharing the newest week’s worth of draft data with you.  We had a splurge of drafts Thursday night and with one close call Friday we got 15 leagues drafted.  The Razzball Writers League got drafted up Thursday evening and we’ll be posting a Q&A style recap of that draft in the next week or so.  Keep an eye out for that if you’re interested but in the meantime, let’s cover the last few tips you need before tackling your own drafts in the weeks to come.

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On Tuesday March 7th, I took part for the 3rd straight year in the 15-team Tout Wars Mixed Draft. Fueled by good fortune (and perhaps the 5×5 OBP format), I have fielded championship-level teams in both years only to finish in 2nd place to Adam Ronis of Scout & SiriusXM. It is like I am the Patriots but, unfortunately, he is being coached by Tom Coughlin.

I picked 1st last year and had an insane Trout/Scherzer/Sale start to my draft when the room drafted an unfathomable 28 hitters in the first 29 picks. The rest of the draft turned out fairly well and my in-season pickups were strong. Looking back, not coming out of the draft with enough speed (damn you Magoo and Grey talking me into DeShields) or Saves (Boxberger/Storen was brutal, half-salvaged with a Colome handcuff) hurt me in the end.

One reward for top teams is that the previous year’s order is used for determining draft pick. With second choice, I just had to rank my two preferred spots. By reflex, I chose 1st than 2nd since I have found those are the two most valuable spots (followed by 3, 4, etc.). Once Ronis wisely chose 1st, I realized I should have spent a little more time thinking about it as there is not much consensus on a #2 pick in 5×5 OBP this year.

Here are the full results of the 2017 Tout Mixed League Draft. Below are my picks and my analysis:

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

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Usually, as one does, I type with my fingers.  Hunt and peck with mostly the index’ers, but definitely fingers all the way.  I’m so pumped up going for the win this year I’m typing up this post with both fists.  WE MUST WIN!  BY WE I MEAN ME!  BY ME I MEAN I, IF “I” WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED IN THAT SENTENCE INSTEAD OF ME; I DON’T KNOW, AND AM TOO HYPED UP TO LOOK INTO IT, IN FACT, THIS SENTENCE IS KINDA KILLING MY HYPE BY EVEN DISCUSSING GRAMMAR.  GRAMMAR BOO!  WINNING THIS LEAGUE YAY!  Actually using my fists is not enough.  I will now type up this post by banging my forehead on the keyboard.  ABCJIVS1I7$  Damn, that didn’t work so well.  Maybe I’ll try my nose.  Hekko, froend.  Ugh, that didn’t work either.  Okay, I’m gonna use my fingers again, but I’m just as pumped up.  RAWR!  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family team, it’s a 14-team, mixed league:

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RCL draft season is still creeping along.  We are up to 7 drafts now with another one that went off late last night.  We’ll be getting into the thick of it here shortly but while we wait for draft-mania to start, let’s look at some more RCL strategy.  

This week I wanted to briefly go over some notes on pitching in the RCLs.  I say briefly because this subject has been covered many times before, quite brucely, much more succinctly than I could cover it.  I’ll tell you young Razzballers a story, about where it all got started, way back in a time known as ten after twenty.  There was a man that went by the name Oaktown Steve.  If there were a Hall of Fame for commenters, Steve would be first ballot.  Occasionally, the Steve from Oaktown still pops in with a comment or two but gentlemen and six ladies, OTS was all over this streaming phenomenon; the pioneer of the movement if you will. Next came Simply Fred.  Fred was onto the streaming movement along with a handful of others and this is where the revolution really picked up steam.  Rudy felt he could improve the process and the Stream-O-Nator was born!  The world hasn’t been the same since.  Finally, Rudy covered the importance of maximizing IP and how to value our streamers here.  That should be enough clickbait and reading to get you off to sleep tonight where visions of ERA, WHIP and K/9 will dance in your head.  If you’re feeling lazy though, I’ll give you the cliffs-notes version with a couple of my own notes.

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Hey everyone. Sorry for the relatively short notice but we have decided to go back to NFBC for our sponsored paid leagues in 2017. This is the $150 Draft Champions format. It is a 15 team mixed, 5×5 format with 50 rounds (done via a slow draft that takes about 2 weeks). The major quirk is that there are no trades OR free agent pickups. You can update your starting hitters twice a week (Friday and Monday) and pitchers once a week (Monday). I love this format as a complement to standard formats as it rewards drafters who can find breakout candidates/bargains on draft day. Here is a link to the full rules.

Once we have enough people to fill a league, NFBC will create the league. I recommend creating an account at NFBC if you do not have one as that will expedite everything.

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Last week we covered why you should join and RCL, so this week let’s start covering what to do once you’re in there.  To be honest, most all of this has been covered somewhere on the site over the years, most often by Rudy.  I covered this info last year, Big Odio has covered/ranted in the comments plenty about it as well.  If you haven’t been playing in RCLs though, I could see how some of this has been glossed over, so I’ll try to consolidate some info for the newbies.  Frequent players, feel free to skip ahead.

Should you take all my advice as gospel?  Nah, you do you, I’ll do me and we’ll both be happy.  All I can give you is a voice of experience.  I’ve played in these leagues for quite some time in some very tough leagues.  I’m not the best player around, but I can hold my own.  I’m here to help you do the same.  No one wants to be fighting for 11th place, so here we go!

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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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Boy does it feel good to be back!  I can’t wait to be half as productive at work and start losing countless hours of sleep staying up to watch the finish of the [email protected] game  just in case there is a closer injury.  Football was a fine diversion, but I always feel a little empty without baseball.  I’m happy to be back for another season as your Razzball Commenter League (RCL) tour guide.  I love these things.  Really, they play to my strengths and offer ample opportunity to test strategy and ideas.  I love the constant ability to go for every last hit, RBI, SB.  Weekly lineups/moves have their place, I just don’t find them as fun.  The format, the League Competitive Index competition, battling hundreds of other managers for the top of the overall standings and of course, the non stop action make this a unique and fun challenge.  It’s kind of like pounding a pot of coffee every hour, on the hour for six straight months.  I’m also a huge nerd for all the numbers and data that gets collected from running so many leagues under the Razzball umbrella.  I will do my part to share some of these numbers with you along the way and try to glean some info from all that data.  VinWins was my hero back when he ran the RCL Updates, so I’ll do my best to be his protege.  In order to make the data pool even larger though, we need you, and you, and you too.  You see, what makes RCLs great is all of you.  Man that sounds mushy, but it’s true.  In an ideal world, every Razzball reader would head on over to the RCL sign-ups, pick a league and all would be right with the world.  For those of you that aren’t so eager, let’s sit down and chat it out.

First of all, if you’re on the fence about joining an RCL, that can’t be comfortable.  You really should hop down from there and just join a league already.  I get it though, back in the late aughts, when I first started lurking around Razzball I too was reluctant to join an RCL.  I kick myself now though for not joining in the fun sooner.  I’ll give you the reasons I was staying away and then explain why it was complete bunk.  Maybe I can sway another 2-3 of you to come join the masses.  If you have other reasons for keeping away, by all means, lay them on me in the comments.  I love talking RCLs and if we can be doing something better, I’ll be your voice to the big wigs.  So, here we go:

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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 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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If you’re like me on most Fridays, you’re sitting in your car beneath an underpass and writing ALF fan fiction, but today we have a different type of fantasy for you to engage in.  No, not your fantasy where it’s you and that girl from high school in a tub of Alphabet Soup and you write her a love letter on her back in noodles!  This is a fantasy baseball fantasy!  Because you know what would be really cool?  If you could join a fantasy baseball league that was against, like, 1000 other fantasy baseball teams.  But not a 1000-person league, where people are trying to figure out who the back-up third baseman is on the Single-A Astros affiliate, the Corpus Christi Amscrayers.  No, this is a 12-person league designed so you compete against eleven other people in your league, then 90 other leagues of twelve.  That would be cool.  Oh, wait, we’ve done that.  It’s called the Razzball Commenter Leagues, and they’re back, and you don’t even have to be a commenter to join it!  For a limited time only, get your loved one a fantasy baseball league!  That’s right, your hearts go pitter-patter or you’re dead on the inside (my condolences).  Since back in June when you abandoned your fantasy baseball team because it was totally sucking and you returned to your cubbyhole of leftover Chinese food and Teddy Grahams, you’ve longed for this day.  As Bob Marley sang, this is your redemption song, mon.  Or womon, for our five girl readers.  It’s time again to join some fantasy baseball leagues. Before you close all of your extraneous porn windows and rush to sign up, let’s explain how these fantasy baseball leagues are going to work.  We’re going to have a bunch of leagues and crown a winner from each, then we’re going to crown ONE winner from all of the winners.  We will be crowning the winner by taking each team’s points and multiplying it against a ‘league competitiveness factor.’  If you want to see how it worked last year, go here.  So we’re going to fill up as many fantasy leagues as we can for the next seven weeks.  Each fantasy baseball league will be a mixed league, 12 team, snake draft, roto, 5×5, 5 OFs, one Middle Infielder, one Corner Infielder, one Utility, 9 pitchers, 20 game eligibility, 180 Games Started max, 1000 IP minimum. Like last year, we will again be going with TWO DL SLOTS. The only things you need to change from the default settings is the 180 Games Started and the TWO DL SLOTS.  Please be vigilant about having the exact same league rules and setup as everyone else. The lineup is also known as:  C/1B/2B/SS/3B/CI/MI/5 OF/UTIL/9 P/3 BENCH/2 DL with 180 Games Started and 1000 IP minimum.  The fantasy leagues will be played in ESPN and they will be free to join.

We’re going to start with twenty leagues of 12 and see how we do from there. To join a league… Sorry, again for the people in the back of the room:

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