In what very well may be the first hostile takeover of the closer year, we turn our eyes to the land of Primanti’s and Yinzers.  Yes my friends, I am talking about Pittsburgh.  The incumbent closer there, Tony Watson, has had a rough spring training.  One that usually I would brush aside and say “ehh ST stats mean bupkis” and he has the vet preference behind him to back him up.  I usually believe that type of big brother back-up mentality, but not when they signed a free agent who was viewed by several other clubs as a closer, that player being Daniel Hudson.  So before we get to Danny, let’s stay on Tony Watson for a bit.  He is the 19th closer off the board in most scenarios, which by all intents and purposes puts him in the lower-middle.  Last season he only took over the closer’s role after the trade of Melancon and notched himself 15 saves on the year.  But they weren’t all comfy ones.  Tony Watson is a phenomenal relief pitcher, notice, I said “relief pitcher”.  In my mind, he is just not a closer.  A closer by default last year though?   Very much so.  Now, you add the tumultuous spring that he is having; faced 24 batters, allowed eight hits, walked three and eight ER in four-and-a-third innings. good for a 16 plus ERA.  Looking for a silver lining, okay, there are two!  Zero home runs allowed and a K-rate above 12.  Yah… for peripheral stats, Hudson has been basically himself this spring, high-K middle-3 ERA, and holding opponents to a .200 BAA, while everyone is hitting Teddy Ballgame against Watson.  I am not completely panicking yet, because in reality I would have two higher ranked RP before Tony Watson comes off the board, but those looking to get a cheeky head-start on the SAGNOF craze, grab you some Daniel Hudson.  So for the first invasion of the season, I am flying the Jolly Roger upside down for distress.  Let’s see what else is going down for the end game of ballgames…

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Today concludes the fantasy baseball sleepers‘ portion of our program.  *nudges homeless woman sleeping on my couch that I tried to get Cougs to agree to a threesome with*  No more sleepers, Francine.  Meh, I’ll let her rest.  Like the outfielders to target, this post is necessary.  You need to target the right names at the end of the draft for starters.  Last year’s starters to target post included Gausman, Paxton, Velasquez, Nola, McCullers and Rich Hill.  All guys who this year are in my top 40 starters.  This year…the world!  Well, not the world, just some starters.  As with other target posts, these guys are being drafted after the top 200 overall.  Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Evan Longoria is a rare case. In a world of free agency and trades, Longoria has stayed with the Tampa Bay Rays for nine seasons, ever since he was drafted third overall in the 2006 draft. That’s some serious commitment. If I wanted to talk about a lack of commitment, I’d make a low-brow reference to Tony Parker and Eva Longoria. Heyo!

A three time all-star, Longoria used to be one of the first third baseman drafted. However, people tend to gravitate towards youth, sometimes valuing youth over established production. Longoria can still provide some very solid production, and at a discount with his current ADP.

The example I’ll provide is a comparison between Longoria and a fellow third baseman, Kyle Seager. Seager is a great hitter for the Mariners, and is being drafted highly. I’ll show that Longoria should provide similar stats to Seager, at a discounted ADP.  I’ll be examining the last four years of production for both players, which are strikingly similar…

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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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I hope you like your Podcasts long, hard, and full of Top Chefs!  So much podcast today!  You can listen in portions, if you listen an hour straight, AUGUSTUS SAVE SOME FOR LATER!  Now Grey is excited to play slots again…  Almost two hours today!  On today’s ridiculously long super show, Grey and I recap some news around the league like a great Spring thus far from Taijuan Walker, then we interview our good friend Harold Dieterle, Top Chef legend for winning Season 1.  We catch up on his main team and some of Harold’s hot takes on the upcoming season.  Then Grey and I wrap up our Starting Pitcher Rankings talk with late-round fliers (WHERE ARE YOU NOW?!), then we catch up with our young and toolsy Prospecters!  Ralph and Halp join us from the Razzball Prospects Podcast to let us redraft plebeians know which prospects are going to be impact players when they’re called up.  Grey has another body builder to fall in love with, like Giancarlo!   Here’s the latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast:

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We (me) have gone over the catchers, 2nd basemen, shortstops and 3rd basemen to target, cause I have to do everything around here!  Look at me, throwing shade like a beach umbrella!  That makes sense…if you don’t think about it!  That’s what I want my bumper sticker to say, and then when I step out of my car, I want my clever t-shirt to say it too, “That makes sense….if you don’t think about it.”  How can I arrange my life so this happens?  I need a personal assistant.  “So, it says you worked as Kanye’s assistant and you bought mirrors for nine months straight….”  That’s me checking the CV of my favorite imaginary assistant.  Okay, so this post is all the outfielders that are being drafted after 200 overall that I have uber-sexy feelings for.  Last year, I featured Joc Pederson, Khris Davis, Wil Myers and some guy named Delino DeSomething.  No idea who that is!  Now, this is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Canada) supplement to the top 100 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2017 projections.   Anyway, here’s some outfielders to target for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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What’s the most common phrase you’ve heard this offseason among the fantasy community?

Steals are scarce is one. James Paxton is my sleeper might be another contender – I’m guilty of this one. How about player x is injury prone? This is one that I’ve heard numerous times, and for good reason.

There are a lot of players whom are properly tagged as a risk to not stay on the field. However, I always find myself stepping back from discussion whenever I hear the claim as I determine what the actual standard is for a player being prone to injury.

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Image result for trading places

Trading Places. A true American classic that breaks down society in a binary, Darwinian-esque way: win vs. lose, buy vs. sell, nature vs. nurture, white vs. black, rich vs. poor, and mustache vs. clean shaven. The genius of the movie is that all of it is masked via comedy. Kind of what we do here at Razzball. Holla!!!

In Grey’s Shortstops to Target piece, he went on a tangent over how certain “clowns” had Dansby Swanson ranked. Then THE Razzball Son signal went up and my brain immediately thought of Trading Places.

Before I explain why, let me ask you guys a very important question. For THE Razzball Son signal, do you prefer the Octonaughts siren (#DadLife), KRS-One, or Lion King? I need something because there’s obviously no big symbol shining in the sky. I’m open to any other recommendations as well.

Okay, back to the matter at hand. After THE Razzball Son signal went up and my brain thought of Trading Places, I pictured Klara Bell as Louis Winthorpe III and Grey as Billy Ray Valentine. Hey, Billy GREY Valentine!!! The Universe is a beautiful thing. AND they both have mustaches!!! I love you, Universe.

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Soda Glover, Yoda Glover, Coda Glover, but no Koda Glover.  That’s my constant struggle with my autocorrect.  Let’s break down those typos, shall we?  Soda Glover has been better than 7-Up and seven down.  Me strike out batters you like, man with toothpick, says Yoda Glover.  The concluding event at the section of the baseball game called the ninth inning will be the Coda Glover.  Dusty Baker hasn’t yet named a closer, but, unless they trade for someone (and this isn’t out of the question), all indications are that Koda Glover will be the Nats’ closer.  Jon Heyman wrote, “….but with Shawn Kelley not considered a closer candidate due to two past Tommy John surgeries…”  Such a throwaway line.  Like it’s common knowledge.  Either Heyman heard something from the Nats, which led him to believe everyone knew this, or Heyman’s totally in the dark.  Could be either, but I’m thinking Nat-Nat-Nat-Nats’ all folks for Shawn Kelley, who has barely thrown this spring.  In my fantasy baseball rankings and my top 500, I’ve moved Koda Glover above Blake Treinen and Kelley.  Also, adjusted my Fantasy Baseball War Room.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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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:

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