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Aw, sookie.  Our first look at all the closers for the 2011 fantasy baseball season.  That is a bird on your window and it’s singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.  I went over Kevin Gregg signing with the O’s when it happened and Putz to the Diamondbacks.  I didn’t go over Frank2 signing with the Jays, but he’s the closer and that’s all I’m saying on that for now.  I have bigger fish to fry in this intro, The Rays. (<–bad pun point!)  I usually don’t have a problem deciding who I think will get saves on a team.  I mean, I may be wrong, but I can decide.  On the Rays, um, yeah, it’s a mess.  Right now, I see people predicting Kyle Farnsworth, the Cuddle Boy extraordinaire.  Some have Lovey’s son, J.P. Howell.  Others have Jake McGee.  So J.P. McFarnwell is closing for them?  Yikes.  Can’t they trade one of their 28 1st round draft picks for a closer?  Here’s my best guess at how it breaks down.  Farnsworth is thrust into the closer role does as he always does when he’s the closer, sucks.  Then Howell gets the role that earned him 17 saves last year.  I don’t think the Rays go to McGee because of inexperience.  Anyway, here’s all of the closers for your fantasy baseball team, as of right now:

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Mariano Rivera (Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain)
2. Heath Bell (Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, Mike Adams)
3. Joakim Soria (Jeremy Jeffress, Robinson Tejeda)
4. Brian Wilson (Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla)

Donkeycorns

Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes his the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.

5. Carlos Marmol (Kerry Wood, Andrew Cashner)
6. Neftali Feliz (Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, Alexi Ogando)
7. Jonathan Papelbon (Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks)
8. Jonathan Broxton (Hong-Chih Kuo, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen)
9. Jose Valverde (Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Perry)
10. Francisco Rodriguez (Manny Acosta)
11. Andrew Bailey (Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour)
12. Huston Street (Matt Lindstrom, Rafael Betancourt)
13. J.J. Putz (Sam Demel, Juan Gutierrez)
14. John Axford (Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, Zach Braddock)
15. Chris Perez (Rafael Perez)
16. Craig Kimbrel (Jonny Venters, George Sherrill)
17. Drew Storen (Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett)
18. Brad Lidge (Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, Danys Baez)
19. Francisco Cordero (Aroldis Chapman, Nick Masset)

Brain Freeze

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Kevin Gregg– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Brian Roberts in the head with a pickoff throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

20. Leo Nunez (Clay Hensley, Edward Mujica)
21. Matt Thornton (Chris Sale, Jesse Crain)
22. Frank Francisco (Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor)
23. Ryan Franklin (Jason Motte, Kyle McClellan)
24. Joel Hanrahan (Evan Meek)
25. Matt Capps (Joe Nathan, Pat Neshek)
26. Fernando Rodney (Hisanori Takahashi, Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs)
27. Brandon Lyon (Wilton Lopez, Jeff Fulchino)
28. Kevin Gregg (Koji Uehara, Mike Gonzalez)
29. Brandon League (David Aardsma)
30. Kyle Farnsworth (J.P.Howell, Jake McGee)

  1. La Peste says:
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    Am I missing something? These rankings don’t jive with your post from a couple of days ago where you had Marmol at the top.

  2. Steve says:
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    Ah yes. Juan Gutierrez. Pouring petrol on a fire since 2007.

    D-backs must be hoping that Putz , erm, stands up OK under the pressure.

  3. Giant JJ says:
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    In a deep league I would think you could do fine with a couple of brain freeze closers as long as you grab closers where there is no doubt who the handcuff is, like Nathan/Capps or aardsma/league. Of course you’d need to make sure you draft the handcuff or you’ve screwed the pooch.

  4. Dom says:
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    Assuming Aardsma comes back healthy, is he a Donkeycorn or a Brain Freeze? What’s the expected timeline on his return? I have him set as a low salary keeper right now, good call (Minor would be the alternate)?

  5. jonnycat says:
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    I have never paid $12 for a salad or taken a closer before the 10th round.

  6. PepeSilvia says:
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    “The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves.”

    I think this might be one of my favorite sentences on the whole internet. Puts a little hop in my step everytime I see it.

  7. majortommy says:
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    I know you probably went over it, and you will most likely just point me to where you said it, but do you think Sales and Nathan will regain their respective closer roles? I heard rumblings that Sales may end up in the rotation.

  8. Wilsonian says:
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    Is JP going to be ready for the season? I’ve read a few things pointing to McGee as the closer. Just wondering what your thoughts were on the shituation there in TB.

  9. Eddy says:
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    Grey, I just wanted to be sure: this list is compiled in the order that closers are being drafted, correct?

    Also, I’m planning on drafting 4-5 closers in my yahoo league again. How many from what tiers should I aim for?

  10. FishMan says:
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    I’ve got Lyon in an 8 team NL only for $15. I’m not going to protect him, but could he have any less competition for the closer role? BTW Grey, you look like a relatively young guy, but those tv references are cracking me up and take me back to my youth. Would you happen to be a child of the early 60s?

  11. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    @Wilsonian: As much as it pains me to write i have seen Farnsworth getting the early nod. And Howell isnt going to be ready until around May 1st.

  12. Gumby says:
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    Heh. Donkeycorn.

  13. NewBVick says:
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    I wouldn’t follow J.J. Putz even if he was Charlie The Unicorn. Shhhuuunnnnn the belivers!!!

  14. scott says:
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    sorry to throw this in your closer post but it doesnt look like there are any recent comments on the 3b post. assuming figgins starts the year at 3b, where does he rank on your 3b list?

  15. GopherDay says:
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    This little snippit from Yahoo’s “Pressing Questions: The Toronto Blue Jays”

    What the heck do we do with Jose Bautista(notes) in 2011?
    The Regression Police are having a blast with Bautista’s shocking 54-homer season. Don’t chase last year’s numbers, they tell us. Don’t expect another 54 dingers, they advise us. Don’t overpay for this season, they share with us.
    If only that sort of advice had any value to it. Stating the obvious (and widening the landing strip) gets you nowhere in this game.
    Bautista’s ADP is currently 48.89 – the end of the fourth round in a standard league. I can sign off on that. He’ll carry eligibility at two positions (third and the outfield), and I like that his stats improved as the 2010 dream season went along (Bautista had a 1.099 OPS and 30 homers in the second half of the year). If pitchers didn’t figure out Bautista down the stretch last year, why should anything miraculously change in 2011? Bautista has always had a good eye at the plate, he’s always been a pull-happy slugger with decent power, and he’s gotten better at putting the ball in the air. I think he coasts past 30 home runs easily, and gives us a valuable three-category season.

  16. Wilsonian says:
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    @Smokey: ugh, that’s nasty. He shouldn’t even be considered unless he’s the last pick in a 20 team (40 man roster) league. I like Howell, dude has good stuff if his arm doesn’t fall off. Hopefully I can sneak him in and he’ll obviously take the job from the Farns when he continues his long stretch of suckitude. The only thing the Farns has ever done right was spear my cousin, Paul Wilson, back in ’03.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @La Peste: $12 Salads are overpriced….
    Mariano is the definition of a $12 Salad. I don’t think Marmol fits the definition yet this preseason.

    @Steve: Ha

    @Giant JJ: Sure, and they move up to donkeycorn status.

    @Dom: He’d be a Brain Freeze for a month or so then if he’s good he’d move up. End of April as of right now. Go with Minor.

    @PepeSilvia: Ha

    @majortommy: I’m assuming Capps and Thornton will be the closers to start the year. Nathan is a must draft handcuff though as of right now.

    @Eddy: Grab a donkeycorn or two. Maybe a Brain Freese late.

    @FishMan: Not a child of the 60′s. Yeah, Lyon is pretty secure and will probably be a donkeycorn in no time.

    @scott: After Pablo

    @GopherDay: Interesting how people say things like he was getting better then hedge by saying 30 homers. That’s 24 homers off his pace last year. If he was getting better, why not say coasts past 40 homers?

  18. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    Love the site Grey, I just found it about a month ago and it’s GREAT! I haven’t seen anywhere better for great insight that’s got some style and humor to it. And donkeycorns, which confused the hell out of me from your top 20 MR and CL posts, makes so much sense now that it’s scary!

    I also wanted to see what some of you thought of this team. 10 team league, 9th pick on CBS. This is the first time I’ve ever used CBS and I’ve got to say…….Wow!

    C – Santana (13)
    C – Ruiz (23)
    1B – Votto (2)
    2B – Weeks (11)
    SS – Rollins (9)
    3B – Longoria (1)
    CI – Zimmerman (3)
    MI – Hill (16)
    OF – Holliday (4)
    OF – Kemp (6)
    OF – J. Upton (7)
    OF – C. Young (12)
    OF – Bourjos (19)
    UT – Dunn (10)
    Bench – P. Alvarez (20), Crisp (24), A. Escobar (28), J. Montero (29)
    P – Kershaw (5)
    P – Liriano (8)
    P – D. Hudson (14)
    P – G. Gonzalez (18)
    P – Chacin (21)
    P – E. Jackson (25)
    P – Broxton (15)
    P – Valverde (17)
    P – Nunez (22)
    Bench – De La Rosa (26), Chapman (27)

    CBS Rankings make it almost unfair in some ways, because some guys are just soooo under-ranked, like Kemp for example. Believe it or not, in 9 out of the 10 spots there were actually people picking, so the fact that I got 5 guys who where ranked in my top 15 is mind boggling to me.

    Anyway, I’d appreciate any input on how this team looks from the outside.

  19. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    I actually find myself drafting Lyon in a lot of mocks. He’s going WAY late and has no significant competition for the job. (Plus he helped win me a championship down the stretch last year.)

  20. Pretty Toney says:
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    I have a question….I love Drew Storen.

  21. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    @A Hill O’ Beans:

    Team looks real solid to me, although a bit too “upsidey” pitching-wise for a 10 teamer. But your bats are a fantasy all-star team.

    Here’s the results of the 14-team Razzmock I did last night:

    PulledGroins

    Player Team Acquired
    1B Joey Votto CIN R1 P7
    1B Kevin Youkilis BOS R2 P8
    1B Ike Davis NYM R15 P7
    1B Matt LaPorta CLE R24 P8
    2B Dustin Pedroia BOS R3 P7
    2B Juan Uribe LA R20 P8
    3B Adrian Beltre TEX R4 P8
    SS Starlin Castro CHC R13 P7
    C Carlos Santana CLE R11 P7
    OF Delmon Young MIN R6 P8
    OF Nick Markakis BAL R7 P7
    OF Carlos Lee HOU R8 P8
    OF Brett Gardner NYY R12 P8
    OF Logan Morrison* FLA R18 P8
    OF Scott Podsednik* FA R22 P8
    SP Justin Verlander DET R5 P7
    SP Brett Anderson OAK R9 P7
    SP Javier Vazquez FLA R14 P8
    SP Josh Beckett BOS R16 P8
    SP Ervin Santana* ANA R19 P7
    RP Jonathan Papelbon BOS R10 P8
    RP Brandon Lyon HOU R17 P7
    RP Dan Bard BOS R21 P7
    RP Hong-Chih Kuo LA R23 P7
    RP Jason Motte STL R25 P7

    The guys with asterisks were autodrafted. I was fumbling around a bit towards the end. I like the team, despite the weak outfield. This league has MI, CI and 1 UTIL spot. Let me know what you all think.

  22. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    Also, that league above starts 5 OF. Part of the reason my OF is so weak.

  23. Wilsonian says:
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    @RandomItalicizedVoice: I was really hoping he’d fall to me in my 16 team league that I’m drafting right now, but a couple guys read this site, so I’m sure he won’t make it back to me in 14 picks.

  24. royce! says:
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    You gotta get someone to make one of these for razzball: http://tinyurl.com/4c2p4l4

    I suppose you’d have to come up with colors and design a razzball hat, and it might be a little cult of personality (worked for Fairey), but…damn it’d be cool.

    Also a bit disappointed that no Padre was worth making one for- Winfield’s the only HOFer who had both a mustache and played for a significant amount of time with SD.

  25. Chris says:
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    @Grey:

    I think for next year you should reconsider using the word “rankings” for these lists and find some alternative like “drafting tiers” (I know, doesn’t quite roll off the tongue…find something better if you’d like!). I’m already getting really annoyed with the fact that half your readers don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish with your rankings…I can only imagine how you feel, having to explain yourself over and over.

    As soon as I saw Rivera at #1, I just shook my head for the confused comments that were undoubtedly going to stream in, especially given your Marmol blurb the other day.

  26. napoleongs says:
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    Enjoyed the razzmock as well….I was Aardwolves
    Groins, Your team and mine seem a little weak on the SP side

  27. napoleongs says:
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    Here’s my team from the Razzmock:

    Final Roster
    Pos Name Team Pick
    C Buster Posey SF R5 P6
    1B Justin Morneau MIN R4 P9
    2B Howie Kendrick ANA R17 P6
    2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka MIN R22 P9
    SS Troy Tulowitzki COL R1 P6
    SS Rafael Furcal LA R12 P9
    3B Casey McGehee MIL R8 P9
    3B David Freese STL R19 P6
    OF Carl Crawford BOS R2 P9
    OF Nelson Cruz TEX R3 P6
    OF Jason Kubel MIN R11 P6
    OF Michael Cuddyer MIN R16 P9
    OF Andres Torres SF R18 P9
    DH Adam Lind TOR R9 P6
    SP Francisco Liriano MIN R6 P9
    SP Max Scherzer DET R7 P6
    SP Brandon Morrow TOR R10 P9
    SP Ted Lilly LA R15 P6
    SP Bud Norris HOU R20 P9
    SP Jake Peavy CHW R23 P6
    SP Clayton Richard SD R24 P9
    SP Kyle Drabek TOR R25 P6
    RP Andrew Bailey OAK R13 P6
    RP Chris Perez CLE R14 P9
    RP Chris Sale CHW R21 P6

    COMMENTS ??

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @A Hill O’ Beans: Thanks for the kind words! Your team looks great, which is a testament to you, me and CBS’s godawful rankings. Do agree with RIV that your staff may have issues in a ten team league. Not terrible though.

    @RandomItalicizedVoice: Yeah, I almost moved him up to a donkeycorn and probably will in March.

    @RandomItalicizedVoice: You look weak on power and you may only have one good pitcher and not in April. Team’s okay.

    @royce!: I love those. Wish someone would make a Razzball one.

    @Chris: I knew it was coming today when I flipflopped the top few names to put them into the Salad category, but I had to stay true to me.

  29. Eddy says:
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    Grey, this is my team from last night’s RCL Razzmock (14-teams). There were about 4 no-shows, so that kind of diminished the competition a little bit.

    C Chris Iannetta COL R19 P11
    1B Ryan Howard PHI R1 P11
    CI Justin Smoak SEA R17 P11
    Util Freddie Freeman ATL R21 P11
    2B Chase Utley PHI R2 P4
    MI Gordon Beckham CHW R14 P4
    SS Stephen Drew ARI R9 P11
    3B Mark Reynolds BAL R7 P11
    OF Jason Heyward ATL R3 P11
    OF Chris Young ARI R5 P11
    OF Shane Victorino PHI R8 P4
    OF Travis Snider TOR R11 P11
    OF Angel Pagan NYM R16 P4
    OF Kyle Blanks SD R25 P11
    SP Jon Lester BOS R4 P4
    SP Cole Hamels PHI R6 P4
    SP Edwin Jackson CHW R12 P4
    SP Ricky Romero TOR R13 P11
    SP Jonathon Niese NYM R18 P4
    SP Homer Bailey CIN R22 P4
    RP Neftali Feliz TEX R10 P4
    RP Matt Thornton CHW R15 P11
    RP Leo Nunez FLA R20 P4
    RP Jonny Venters ATL R23 P11
    RP Aaron Heilman ARI R24 P4

    That Heilman pick was me trying to catch a lightning in a bottle and hoping his first start in April is an 8-inning shutout. Or not. And that Blanks pick was me getting sniped in the 25th round of a 14-team mock draft. Was aiming for David Murphy there.

  30. Tony says:
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    @Chris: they’ll figure it out or get left behind….

  31. Fanatic says:
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    @Grey – Do you foresee Jarrod Parker working his way into the D’Backs rotation this year, and if so, when? What would you project for him? I know he’s not someone to draft even in deep mixed leagues at the moment, but he’s a seemingly forgotten top pitching prospect due to his injury, and I’m curious how others feel about him.

  32. Dingo says:
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    @RandomItalicizedVoice: I don’t know about Lyon — he’s had a good couple of years, but he was a total brain freeze in 2008. He doesn’t do any of the “fundamental pitching skills” particularly well (6.23 K/9, 3.58 BB/9, 39.9 GB% in 2010), so he seems like a potential candidate for regression. The home park and lack of competition definitely help, but I see him as a few 3-run 9th innings away from getting replaced.

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @napoleongs: @napoleongs: Not completely terrible. I’d say your team’s a bit too strong on pitching and weak on hitting. The back to back Liriano/Scherzer picks feel like overkill. Instead of Scherzer, a hitter would’ve been good there.

    @Eddy: Looks like a well-balanced team. Solid SPs up top and a good mix on hitting. You’re light on speed, especially if Pagan doesn’t pan out, but steals can be found on waivers.

    @Fanatic: Probably not until late August as a bullpen guy to save his arm. If we see him at all…

  34. vinko says:
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    These are the result from Eddy’s Razzmock last night. Not sure what to make of this team. Think it’s good on power, but pitching will be wonky.

    1B Prince Fielder MIL R1 P12
    1B Gaby Sanchez FLA R11 P12
    2B Dan Uggla ATL R3 P12
    2B Sean Rodriguez TB R17 P12
    3B Pedro Alvarez PIT R6 P3
    SS Alexei Ramirez CHW R8 P3
    C John Jaso TB R23 P12
    OF Matt Kemp LA R2 P3
    OF Jay Bruce CIN R4 P3
    OF B.J. Upton TB R5 P12
    OF Carlos Quentin CHW R9 P12
    OF Ryan Raburn DET R14 P3
    OF Peter Bourjos ANA R20 P3
    SP Roy Oswalt PHI R7 P12
    SP Gio Gonzalez OAK R10 P3
    SP Jonathan Sanchez SF R12 P3
    SP Johnny Cueto CIN R15 P12
    SP Jordan Zimmermann WAS R18 P3
    SP Travis Wood CIN R21 P12
    RP John Axford MIL R13 P12
    RP Joel Hanrahan PIT R16 P3
    RP Aroldis Chapman CIN R19 P12
    RP Brandon League SEA R22 P3
    RP Luke Gregerson SD R24 P3
    RP Kevin Jepsen ANA R25 P12

  35. joe from point pleasant says:
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    @Grey, @Everyone:

    12 team H2H Points League that heavily values SP
    Each team keeps 5 players and we just recently declared our keepers.

    Just wondering if you could rank the top 3 teams in order, in terms of keepers. If you feel like getting crazy you could say why. Thanks!

    TEAM 1 mauer morneau holliday cj wilson cahill
    TEAM 2 cano crawford lester lincecum j-sanchez
    TEAM 3 lee cain greinke liriano weaver
    TEAM 4 longoria waino price kershaw haren
    TEAM 5 votto tulo cargo felix oswalt
    TEAM 6 agonz cruz buchholz halladay garza
    TEAM 7 braun youkilis j-johnson gallardo hamels
    TEAM 8 pujols hamilton bautista verlander cueto
    TEAM 9 miggy-c hanley j-upton latos hanson
    TEAM 10 heyward teixeira carpenter hughes t-hudson
    TEAM 11 howard wright dunn sabathia ubaldo
    TEAM 12 fielder utley a-rod reyes morales

  36. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    @joe from point pleasant: Top 4 for me are 5, 11, 12 and 4. Or thats what my fortune cookie said to say.

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @vinko: I like your team a lot. Your pitching might be a little wonky, but in a 14 team league you could make it work.

    @joe from point pleasant: 9, 12, 7… Don’t mind other teams though.

  38. Tony says:
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    @grey: stanton, Bruce, Heyward for 2011…. rank em….

  39. k roc says:
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    Doesn’t relate to this but the guys over at Yahoo have got JBau down for at least 30 HRs and useful in 3 cats, what do you think of that?

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tony: They were ranked in the outfielder rankings.

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @k roc: I went over Bautista. What the Yahoo guys said doesn’t change my mind.

  42. chata says:
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    @joe from point pleasant:

    if this is a cbs points league , then team #3
    is easily the best .

  43. k roc says:
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    Alright well I’ll lean towards with what you said because you’ve always helped me so much :)

  44. yankees2010 says:
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    @Grey: You pump-faked me Grey. I thought I would be pouring over your Top 100 this weekend. Oh well. I have something to look forward to Monday before Yahoo opens up on Tuesday.

  45. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    @RandomItalicizedVoice

    Yeah, I found myself lured by all the hitters that were constantly available in the first half of the draft and had trouble pulling the trigger for veteran pitching in some spots. I found myself doing a lot of….Marcum or Dunn……T. Hudson or C. Young…..My first catcher in a 2 catcher league or Kuroda….A. Hill or Cahill….you get the picture. And I’ll admit, in the last 3rd of the draft I’m looking, maybe a little too much, for young(ish) upside guys. We’ll see how it goes. At least I have Kershaw and Liriano who I think will be solid at the top.

    @Grey

    Thanks. It does sort of have the look of a 12 team league pitching staff doesn’t it?

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    *****THERE’S A NEW POST FOR FOLLOWUPS.********

  47. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    @A Hill O’ Beans:

    As much as we love him around here…there’s really no reason to be drafting a Chacin, for example, in a 10-teamer. He’s a waiver wire guy in that format. In a 10-teamer, you should probably come away with at least 1 solid ace, and probably 2. Makes sense in a 10 teamer that you should have 2 guys from Grey’s (or whatever list you use) Top 20, right?

  48. ScottyM says:
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    @ RandomItalicizedVoice

    I don’t get the Youk in Rd#2 followed by Beltre in Rd#4??
    I think Votto at #7 is early too.
    I love Uribe there and hope he can repeat.
    Markakis seems a little reachy, but damn outfield is thin this year so maybe not.
    I don’ t mind the pitching. Beckett is pretty decent in Rd#16 and Verlander/Anderson/Vasquez/Erv isn’t bad.

    14 team is hard with CI & MI as talent gets thin.

  49. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    @ScottyM:

    I love the Vottobomber at 7 myself. Especially in a 14 teamer where 1B isn’t as deep.

    Agree I should have went somewhere else with the Beltre pick. But as you mentioned…there is a CI spot.

    I like Markakis at his ADP this year…especially in a 14 teamer starting 5 OFs.

    I kinda agree with Grey that my pitching is a bit thin. I’m a big believer in having a strong pitching staff, and Anderson and Vazquez are both gambles at 2/3. Can’t really go wrong with Beckett in the 16th, tho.

  50. I always chuckle at the $12 Salad category heading…until today, when it finally dawned on me that I routinely pay $12 for a salad. Sure, it has chicken in it, but…damn.

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