Way back in January, when the very first signs of ADP data sprouted out of the ground, I went down the rabbit hole, hoping to catch a glimpse of early signs of value. ADP at that point was more convoluted than forming an expectation for how much Pablo Sandoval would weigh coming into Spring Training, but since it was the only sign we had as to the ‘market’ rate for various players, I utilized it as much as I could.

James Paxton was the poster-boy of my early preseason eyebrow raise. He was going past the 200th overall pick with a maximum just outside of the 11th round. Paxton sits right now with an ADP around 192 overall according to NFBC data, with a max that has ticked up to 109 overall. Grey has Paxton as his 41st ranked starting pitcher and his 162nd overall player. Finally in the process of publishing my personal rankings, Paxton is my 27th overall starting pitcher and my 115th overall player, with still some finagling to bring that up even more if I feel so moved.

What Paxton accomplished last season was nothing short of fascinating. We see mechanical changes in pitchers a lot, but rarely do we see changes that cause such palpable success and subsequent expectations that aren’t afraid to project out that success. Fangraphs did a really nice dive into exactly what Paxton changed and why success followed. Simply put, Paxton reverted to his natural arm slot on the mound, opting to venture away from the ‘over-the-top’ motion he used that we’ve seen cause problems in the past – see Wacha, Michael. This slot helped him hone his command on the inner third of the plate to righties, opening up the outside of the plate to his insanely effective cutter/slider. Eno Sarris breaks this down in the piece linked above.

When I uncovered this story last season, I was wildly intrigued for one reason. A natural arm slot, logically to me, would mean less risk for injury. The DL is something Paxton hasn’t been able to avoid for most of his career, but if there was ever a storyline to give hope for health, I can’t think of a better one than him being more comfortable on the mound…

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Here’s a post that’s gonna make you wanna slap ya mama and tell her Don Magic Juan sends his best.  The other day I told you how to draft your pitchers for 2017 fantasy baseball.  I laid it out to you nice and simple (if you have a degree in “What The Hell Is Grey Talking About?” Not a PhD, mind you.  Just a BS.)  Today, we forget all that jabberwocky on the who-ha and get down to business old school-style (which means if you don’t comprehend, I will hit you over the head with a baseball bat signed by Joe Clark.)  What I’m hoping to lay out to you is who do you draft 2nd if you’ve drafted so and so first.  I think it might be helpful to go through pairings for your 5 outfielders, all your middle and corner infielders too.  I’m not sure I’ll have the time or patience to do them.  We’ll see!  Or not.  Your choice.  (Actually, my choice.)  For easy reference, the royal we will be using the top 10 for 2017 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2017 fantasy baseball and the beginning of the top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball.  I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1 Utility, 1 Catcher league, similar to our Razzball Commenter Leagues. (Assuming ESPN ever opens its doors again.)  Anyway, here’s some pairings for the first two rounds of 2017 fantasy baseball drafts:

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It only seems fitting that I should take up the mantle of the 2017 Fantasy Baseball War Room. I’ll be the first one to admit that the satisfaction of working up a beautiful Excel spreadsheet gives me the same kind of goosebumps as when someone utters to Grey the words…“Giancarlo Stanton”. Is it nerdy? You bet. But nerds win leagues, so let me help you win yours. Without further ado, I present the 2017 version of the Razzball War Room “Excel edition” to assist in your league-dominating draft performance. Let’s delve into the features:

First and foremost, this workbook is auto-updating. So long as you click ‘refresh data connections’, you are guaranteed to be seeing Grey’s latest and greatest projections which are updated throughout the pre-season.  To do so: click the “Data” tab in your ribbon,  and then “Refresh all”; if you don’t know what the ribbon is, then this spreadsheet version is probably not for you, and let’s hope for your sake that your league opponents don’t read Razzball or are all drafting from Android devices with no Excel in sight. Seriously, though, if you find the Excel version too daunting, be sure to check out the web version of the War Room linked from Grey’s how-to post for the online Fantasy Baseball War Room.

Features in the 2017 Excel edition include:

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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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For these pitcher pairings, I’m going to be using our (my) 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  Notably, the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball, top 40 starters for 2017, top 60 starters for 2017 and the top 80 starters for 2017.  You can also just go to our Fantasy Baseball War Room.  Okay, formalities out of the way.  *rolls up sleeves, makes farting noise with hand under armpit, rolls down sleeve*   Let’s get busy!  Now, what is a pitcher pairing?  It’s your plan for putting together a fantasy staff.  A course of action.  If you have A pitcher, which B, C, D, E and F pitcher goes with him?  Which is different than ‘F this pitcher,’ that’s what you say in May.  You should have six starters.  The sixth starter is Blake Snell or take whoever you want.  I suggest an upside pick.  Snell comes to mind.  Or Mike Montgomery.  Daniel Norris also comes to mind.  I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5 and some variation of 9 pitcher leagues like the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Speaking of which, the RCL league signups will began as soon as ESPN opens for business. (NOTE: What you are about to read is massively confusing.  If it were found scribbled in a notebook, the FBI would be watching me.  If Charles Manson stood up and read this at the next prison Meet N’ Greet, no one would blink an eye.)  Anyway, here’s pitcher pairings for pitching staffs for 2017 fantasy baseball drafts:

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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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We’re coming to an end ladies and gentlemen, we’re almost through these damned system reviews, but not before we get through a couple we’ve been dying to talk about. Why are we excited to talk about Cardinals and Mariners? Couple of names for you Alex Reyes, Harrison Bader, Delvin Perez, Tyler O’Neill, Kyle Lewis, and many more. Lot of top 100 names to touch on, and some mixed league relevant guys too. I go on a rant about Tyler O’neill’s lack of love from the industry, and we make fun of Harold Reynolds making fun of the Baseball America guys. It’s our usual hijinks and prospect obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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Wait, what? This doesn’t look like Halph…SIGH, yucky words from Ralph. TL;DR…. Now that we got that out of the way. Yes, this Saturday you get yet another verbose, yet informative minor league rundown from Prospect Jesus himself. Not to worry, we just flip-flopped days, your weekly dose of the prospect podcast is coming tomorrow. Today we dig into the useful but always a little boring St. Louis Cardinals system. Only this time we got some sweet sweet muy caliente at the top of the system, with at least 4 members of my forthcoming Top 100 (dropping February 22nd Shameless plug). With Alex Reyes on the cusp of the major league stardom, and Luke Weaver and Harrison Bader not too far behind, the future remains bright in “The Lou”. Isn’t it always? Seems one generation leaves, and another comes up right behind it. Death, taxes, and the St. Louis Cardinals player development machine just keeps rolling along. It should come as no surprise that the 2016 draft yielded yet another strong crop of players including wunderkind Delvin Perez, and personal favorite Dakota Hudson. Not to worry there’s plenty more to discuss, and a lot of good names to be cognizant of for dynasty league managers. So off we go, let the trumpets blow and hold on because the driver of this mission is a pro. The Ruler’s back. The Top Cardinals Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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