True Story Alert!  Socrates Brito used to pause the Diff’rent Strokes credits for Dana Plato’s title card and would argue with the screen, calling himself a Socratic method actor.  This drove his family crazy.  For many years I’ve spouted off like Tom Selleck’s sprinkler the need to ignore spring training stats.  You should only concern yourself with injuries and position battles.  With that in mind, Brito is winning a position battle with Yasmany, leaving Yasmany baffled, “Do you people just want an outfielder with a long-flowing beard?  Is that what this is about?  What’s the argument for Socrates?  Am I making an argument for Socrates by annoying you with questions?  Is this table still blue to a blind person?”  In the top 80 outfielders, I added in Socrates into the Brendan Dassey tier.  Appropriate that he’s in the Brendan Dassey tier because if there’s any justice, there will be Socrates.  In Double-A, Socrates had nine homers and 20 steals, and Yasmany looks to be headed into the same Cuban abyss as Rusney Castillo and that guy that played Tony Montana’s buddy, Manny.  For 2016, I gave Socrates the projections of 56/7/47/.264/18 in 410 ABs, and if your league counts arguments with Plato, he has added value.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was trying to come up with some catchy way to introduce the definition of a “deep league thought”, but they all ended up in potty humor. Then I reached out to my BFF at Razzball, the Big Magoo, and that ended with him hanging up on me. So I decided to tell you what it’s not, so there is no confusion. It’s not for leagues of 12 teams or less. Of course, this doesn’t include those 12-teamers with 20 bench spots or whatever ridiculous “custom” roster settings the commish decides to use. Seriously though, the 12-team NFBC leagues with 7 bench slots would qualify as borderline deep leagues. The players I will be profiling can be had after pick 250, but most likely 300 and will be either risky young upside plays or boring veterans that may be overlooked on draft day. In years past my good buddy Sky, the DFS guy, would write these up, but since he is on a Brewbatical (yes, he’s taking time away from life to get in touch with his inner hops and barley child), I will be your host. He actually sent me his plaid “host” blazer, but it turned into fat guy in a little coat and now that vintage gem is getting donated to a Chuck Woolery Newlywed Game quilt…

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We’re nearing the end of hitters in the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, but there’s still a few buzzer-beating gems left.  Ranked this late last year was David Peralta….and he’s ranked again this late.  Also, Alex Presley was ranked this late last year.  Where did he go?  I know he left the building, but I didn’t hear where he was headed.  Anyone?  Well, I guess it doesn’t matter.  What matters is we have each other.  Now let’s sit on opposite sides of the couch and watch TV in silence.  Hey, it’s like we’re married!  As with the other rankings, my projections are included and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 80 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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A couple of years ago Bret Sayre invited me to participate in his dynasty league – The Dynasty Guru Expert League, or TDGX. At the time I was writing for him at his site, and while I don’t anymore, I’ve been allowed to remain in the league as a representative of Razzball. I’d like to say my team has been killing it, but that hasn’t been the case in the first two years. The league is a lot of fun, and there are representatives from sites like Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Baseball HQ, and CBS. It’s deep and it’s challenging. Tim McLeod and Ian Khan took the championship in each of the first two years, so major kudos to them.

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Rich Hill pitched a complete game two-hit shutout last night against the Mighty Orioles walking just one batter and striking out 10 for his second win. Where the heck was this guy in April when Justin Masterson and Steven Wright were starting? Am I really asking that question about a 35-year-old southpaw journeyman who hasn’t started a big league game since 2009, and was out of baseball in July? Yeah I guess I am asking that because Hill has been an absolute monster since debuting with the Sawx two weeks ago in Tampa Bay. In just three starts, he’s pitched 23.0 IP, allowing just 10 hits and 3 ER, with a 30/2 K/BB rate. Yes, my friends, the Hill Has Ks. That was almost your headline. Also, not for nothing, the three earned runs were surrendered to the Blue Jays, and I mean, come on, it’s the Blue Jays. And just in case you thought this story couldn’t get any sweeter, Rich was pitching for the Independent League’s Long Island Ducks just months ago. He holds a 1.70 ERA and 0.52 WHIP through three starts and although I love what he’s doing, he’s scheduled to take on the Yankees in New York next week and I wouldn’t call it a slam dunk. If you’re feeling lucky, by all means ride the snake, but I’m not sure I’d risk my fantasy season on Rich Hill, despite how awesome he’s been. But cool story, bro!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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I’ve made most of my recommendations this year with the long term in mind.  I’m not easily swayed by a “hot” hitter, instead I tend to lean on the projections to set an expectation level.  This late in the season, however, I’m uncertain of how effective that approach is.  We can’t exactly count on any “regression to the mean” happening over such a small sample size of games.  Some players will be good over the last few weeks, others will be poor and I don’t have a high degree of confidence that it is possible for me, or anyone for that matter, to predict the best base stealers to own these last three weeks (see this to know why).  But I have some names for you even though I have not a clue as to whether they’ll be difference makers over these last few weeks. Here’s my recommendations, I’ve attempted to rank them by number of steals they’ll get from now until the season ends…

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Give me a buy, a bouncy buy!  Wait, might have my Martin Short characters mixed up.  *Googling*  Damn, that was from his Irving Berlin.  Jackie Rogers Jr. didn’t have much of a catchphrase.  Last Saturday, JBJ was sworn in as the hottest schmotato in the land as Jackie O., his mother and who he was named after, held the Bible.  After the ceremony, JBJ stated, “Compared to taking a free pass, hitting is a cakewalk.”  Then he high-fived himself.  Jackie Bradley Jr.  is more or less a hot platoon player, but Cousin Sizzlechest is about as hot as they come right now.  JBJ will cool off at some point, he strikes out a bit too much, but he’s worth owning in all leagues where you’re hurting for that little extra spark.  Plus, to get JBJ on your team, you don’t need the assistance of the Cubans, the FBI, Frank Sinatra, Joe Pesci in a bad wig, a vast right wing conspiracy, Joe DiMaggio and some dude named Zapruder.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Guess who’s back?  Back again!  No, that’s not The Greek God of Walks, Kevin Youkilis, sufferer of chronic back pain, singing.  Besides, it’s “who’s back,” not “whose back.”  We’re not trying to identify a back!  Byron Buxton‘s back, baby, yeah.  With every positive reaction, there’s an equal opposite negative reaction, or so said Einstein when he was fiddling with refrigerator magnets.   And the negative reaction to Buxton coming back is Aaron Hicks hit the DL.  Too bad, so sad.  Buxton didn’t do much in his first stint in the majors, but he could be easily as good as Schwarber, Sano or any other rookie nookie that’s got your cookie all melty.  I would grab Buxton in every league.  I’m excited.  Uppercase yay!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?