In case you live under a rock, which is actually Billy Butler in a boulder costume, and it wasn’t as obvious as the fact that Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura are going to combine for zero fantasy points this season, fantasy baseball draft season has begun. And in case I wasn’t aware of it, the unending requests for my rankings has surely served as a reminder. Last year I received quite a few emails in anticipation, some of which were rather entertaining. This year, however, one person has topped them all. The email read something like this. “Can you tell me when your rankings will be released? It’s the only post you write that I really care about. My draft is on the 12th.” To that guy I replied with a link to last year’s rankings. I wonder how his draft went. I hope his league gives points for honesty…

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The OPS Top-200 is now!  Get excited! Are you pumped?!?  Take a deep breath and let’s get to it.  First though, some strategy.  Take it or leave it, it’s your call.  I recommend taking it with a nice glass of “you want your fantasy teams to be better, don’t you?”

If you’ve been following along (or if you haven’t, click on that link and get yo’self familiarized), I tier hitters by position.  I do the same with pitchers. Then, on draft day, I put all my rankings on one piece of paper, and scratch their names off as the draft goes.  That way, I know what positional tier is losing guys quickly and which others I can wait.  It’s worked for years, and I highly recommend you try it.  I do this in addition to entering in rankings in Yahoo or ESPN or whatever website you use. Always, always, ALWAYS do this.  They hide good players in the 300’s for some reason.  I think once they rank the top-150, they call it a day and let the monkeys with typewriters finish off the rankings.

Now in football, this works better as multiple position eligibility can make things a bit more difficult.  I don’t want to be scratching out Jedd Gyokro’s name at all the positions he’s eligible at (for me, it’s only at second base), so, depending on the league, I’ll use a top-200 to supplement my one page sheet.  Two pages?  Of actual paper?  From actual trees?  Why not just use excel?  Well I do use excel and formulas for my rankings, but draft day I like to keep it simple.  Pen and paper and the draft app.

Last week I did two ESPN drafts at the same time, one on the computer the other on the app, and for ESPN, the app is better (as long as you entered your own rankings).  I’ll try Yahoo and let you all know (or let me know which you prefer in the comments).  Alright Razzballers and Razzballettes, here’s the list:

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You’re the monster preparing for your fantasy draft, and I’m Dr. Frankenstein telling you it’s all going to be OKAY.

If you are one of our beloved loyal Razzball readers, you know by now that this site tends to discourage you from taking catchers early in fantasy drafts. The argument is simple: the difference between a top 5 catcher and a 5-15 range catcher is negligible. At other positions, the difference is much more significant. Plus, there are always surprises who end up either getting drafted later or picked up on waivers who put up top 10 catcher numbers.

Some years ago, a younger Grey with what we can only assume was a less prominent mustache wrote about his draft strategy for punting catchers. I’ll wait here while you give it a look. Go ahead. It’s the same website, so I won’t get in trouble. I might even get some kind of bonus for encouraging clicks or something.

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Excuse the exposition and this clunky intro into aforementioned exposition, but here’s the catchers to target, 1st basemen to target, 2nd basemen to targetshortstops to target and something to stick to your dartboards to target.  These 3rd basemen to target are being drafted after 200 overall.  Keep in mind, nephew (and five niece readers), your Uncle Grey likes to have a corner man drafted by the time these guys appear, so you’re looking at potential utility men more than anything.  Now, this is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Indonesia) supplement to the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2016 projections.  Anyway, here’s some 3rd basemen to target for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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You don’t really care about prospects, and I get that. You’re a redraft player, and probably a damn good one. You don’t want a top 100 list where half the guys won’t sniff a major league field for the next 2 years +. You need the right now, the rookie nookie, the sleepers in the waivers. The ones waiting in the weeds until the call comes, and the earliest bird plucks them minutes before the rest of the league, to a collective of moans and groans. This is the song of the RCL rookie scavenger. The man beating you to Trea Turner by 3 minutes, the guy who stashed Alex Bregman on and off for a month. You need to beat him this year, let this be your map, and the Twitter/MLB/Traderumors alerts be your batphone. I think I just mixed metaphors. Whatevs!!! You get the jist. Behold! The Top 25 Rookies for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. By the by, this list is 100% 2017 focused, so ETA, lack of a platoon or temporary fill-in status matters. I don’t care what he’s going to be in 2 years. THAT DOESN’T MATTER!!! It’s all about the right now, the present. I’m listening to Right Now by Van Halen. I’m wearing white jeans. I’m holding up signs that say, “Right now someone is drafting Ian Desmond unaware of his injury”. It’s that real.

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Image result for tyler saladino mustache   Image result for tim anderson

I awoke on Monday, still discombobulated by the fact that some individuals decided that it would be a good idea to shorten our existence on Earth by one hour, when… But Son, we get that hour back later in the year. Que? Talk about a frivolous thing to concoct. I’d rather listen to my wife talk in circles about some thing that she often talks about than try to understand why we need to do this. But…I try and leave no stone unturned, so like a good little grasshopper, I Googled why we have Daylight Savings. Mmm hmmm. Yeah. I see…..Still cockamamie. Anyways, as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, I received THE Razzball Son signal. If you don’t know what that is, just click here. No more discombobulation. If you’ve ever taken Ritalin, that’s what happened to my mind. If you’ve never taken Ritalin, do it. The mind just warps into a state of Zen-like focus.

So, Grey writes “Yo, Son. Write something on Tim Anderson.” Why I ask? Grey’s response…

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Last year, this post and the 2nd basemen to target were necessary evils like changing underwear.  Whether you wanted to or not, it was a good idea to take a flyer on a late middle infielder, and you were still expecting to get crapped on.  Now?  Well…. I like some late middle infielders, could see owning one, but there’s a ton of early, sexy-AF middle infielders, so there’s a chance I own an MI before I even reach the 100th pick overall.  In other words, I could own a shortstop, 2nd baseman and shortstop or 2nd baseman all in the first eight or so rounds.  Yeah, crazy time we live in.  In no other way is it a crazy time, except for fantasy baseball.  Then again, I have the 2016 election results on my DVR and I haven’t watched yet.  No one ruin the surprise!  This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Lichtenstein) supplement to the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball.  The players listed have a draft rank after 200 on other sites.  Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2017 projections.  Anyway, here’s some shortstops to target for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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You know what we’re really good at doing around here at Razzball? Giving the ‘Top’ of something. Check it out:

Grey’s Top 100 Overall
Grey’s Top 100 Outfielders (This is the Top 20. It goes to 100.)
Grey’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers (Same as above. Grey’s a rankings fiend.)
M@’s Top 100 Keepers (That’s ME…)
Ralph’s Top 100 Prospects
JB’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers

And that’s just the Top 100’s. Click here for all of our Rankings. But enough about those other guys (besides my Top 100 Keepers. Those are a gem), it’s time for the Top 100 that everyone cares about the most come draft time…HITTERS! This will be a weekly column again this year at Razzball, but before we jump in to the first installment a few things regarding the rankings:

  • I’m basing these off of 12-team roto leagues. That’s the format for our RCL’s. Oh, what’s an RCL you ask? It’s where you can face off against all of your favorite Razzball writers and others in the Razzball community! SIGN UP now to join an RCL, there are plenty of spots left. And if you don’t see a draft that works for you…create a new one!
  • Position eligibility is based on ESPN rules (to the furthest of my knowledge). RCL’s are hosted on ESPN, and it’s by far the best site for fantasy baseball. Don’t you dare try to make a case for freaking Yahoo, either. Josie Grossie.
  • don’t value steals very highly. You’ll be able to see that quickly. And I value those that essentially produce only steals even less. I won’t take many shares of Billy Hamilton or Dee Gordon this year, because I’d rather have players that contribute to 3, 4 or 5 categories as opposed to their dominance of one, maybe two. Five-cat players should saturate your early rounds. Mix in a little risk with a high ceiling, but go after the well-rounded options far before you begin targeting a SAGNOF.
  • As always, rankings are subjective! This is how I’d find myself drafting players, but even for me I’ll stray from these rankings depending upon how a draft plays out. Load up on Outfielders early? Not a bad strategy, but if you’ve filled them up you’d obviously draft Jake Lamb (87) over Stephen Piscotty (65). Craft your team based on your preferences and your needs. And your gut. You gotta vibe these drafts like it’s that girl across the dance floor (hopefully after you’ve imbibed yourself with some adult beverages if you’re a basic white guy).
  • If you don’t like them or disagree with something, THAT’S WHAT THE COMMENTS ARE FOR! Let’s keep the chatter going all March.

And now for the Top 100 Hitters (in case you actually read all that above…)!

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There are some big names dropping this week. I am less worried about players with broken bones because for the most part they break, they heal. They play. Ligament, muscle, and other meaty bits of your body are a bit trickier to play with. So Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy? Will come back and be fine. Draft ‘em and stash ‘em for a month. Carlos Carrasco, Anthony deSclafani, Jason Kipnis and Sonny Gray? Cause me a bit more concern. These injuries can often linger or flare back up.

Here’s who’s meaty bits have been swelling, inflaming, and tightening this week:

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The goal of a stat is to maximize it from the jump, and you could plan it that way even further on draft day.  There are certain pitchers that have a greater propensity to allow the stolen base, and exploiting that by originally drafting those players on draft day to get a jump on streaming isn’t an awful idea.  I used this feature multiple times  last year, so a preseason refresher is never a bad thing to prep you for the upcoming season.  The one bad theory that works against you when trying to stream is that some of these pitchers are fantasy stalwarts in the starting pitcher department.  The biggest name being Noah Syndergaard.  Because he is a good deterrent of actual OBPa, the stolen base becomes a risky proposition to try and gamble on with him taking the mound, most likely twice in the first six games. Because in actuality OBPa is a huge thing, because you can’t steal first. Picking on a pitcher isn’t the only way to go about it either as teams with poor catchers could also benefit you for the streaming guessing game.  The best thing here is that usually the first three days of the year have truncated schedules so picking and choosing your options could be the jump start you need to dominate a category from day one.  Here is a handy chart with last year’s stolen base totals, stolen base opportunities, and OBPa.  The three key factors to see who is easy to Winona…

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