True story:  I was walking through the mall in spandex shorts and a headband, strutting really.  The year was 1981.  I was perhaps the most handsome, well-groomed five-year-old the planet had seen.  Okay, a seven-year-old pretending to be a five-year-old.  Who wants to be older?  Not me, Cousin Sweatpants.  So, I’m cruising for chicks, crushing the scenario, when I see this total fox.  I stop her and ask for a name.  She says, “Jennifer Beals,” and I say, “You’re gonna be a star, kid,” then covering my mouth I say how her fame will be short-lived but how she will get some decent character work later in life.  I spotted her sex appeal two years prior to her breakout role in Flashdance.  I can always spot sex appeal.  It’s my cross to bear.  Speaking of crosses to bear, holy Jesus Harry Christ my Tout Wars team is sexy!  The league is 12-team, two-catcher, NL-Only and perhaps the most respected fantasy league in the country.  Sure, we’re still mocked by 99.9% of the world, but a solid chunk of other fantasy baseballers respect the Tout!  Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars team and some thoughts:

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Chris Davis is barely a replacement player in most standard points leagues. Some might find it hard to believe that a guy that is nearly a lock for close to 40 home runs almost deserves to go undrafted, but it’s the truth. In auction leagues I love to nominate him and let people throw away their valuable auction dollars on Davis. According to my valuations, he is worth one dollar. Yes, to no surprise here are his sale prices in my last few auctions: $13, $3, $12 and $6. That should read $1, $1, $1 and $1. I am very glad it does not because that means that one team in my league now has that many less dollars to spend on players and they spent it foolishly.

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It’s been a long tradition here at Razzball, passed on from generation to generation by word of…keyboard; don’t draft a starter in the first round.  There always seems to be those faces in the crowd that will argue until they are blue in the face that Kershaw is worth a top 2 pick.  All leagues are different, of course.  There are leagues, such as NFBC leagues or other leagues with limited moves where quality innings are hard to come by that top pitchers make more sense.  However, we tend to focus on the ESPN 12 team leagues we know and love, the RCLs.  In this format, you’re doing yourself a disservice drafting a first round pitcher.  I’ve said it, “I’m not here to suggest that if you draft a pitcher in the first round, you’ll lose the league, but you’re not doing yourself any favors.”  Grey has said it, “These tiers are from Kershaw to Lester.  If you draft someone from these tiers, you’ll probably lose your league or get lucky with your hitters.”  Countless other top RCLers have echoed the same sentiment.  Yet, there is Clayton Kershaw with an ADP of 10.5 and a high pick of #2 overall.  Just last week in an RCL I put together there was a spirited discussion as a drafter took Kershaw 4th overall.  The debate raged on as this drafter went on to take Max Scherzer in the 2nd round, 21st overall.  There were talks of “1/6th of my GS will now have elite ratios” and “Elite starters are so valuable with all this offense around the league”.  I’m not typically one to throw out anecdotal claims, so let’s look at some cold, hard numbers to see if the old spiel holds true.

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When twelve writers get together for an RCL draft you know they are going to have something to say about it.  After all, we’re all loaded with opinions and clearly love to hear ourselves talk (type).  The Writers League RCL has been debunk for a little while but Grey had me revive it this year.  I was thrilled to get my fellow writers together for a season of RCL fun.  On Thursday, March 9th at 9pm EST, eleven other writers and myself settled in for an early season draft.  You can check out all the draft results HERE to follow along.  This season’s participants in RCL draft order are:

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

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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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