Anthony Rendon was cleared for baseball activities, which meant he was able to spit sunflower seeds and adjust his jockstrap with no pain. Then he reported discomfort when he bent his knee. Matt Williams, singing a’la Weird Al, said, “Rendon’s Opening Day is in jeopardy…Baby…Ooh…” Honestly, I feel like I’m in a pickle wrapped in a can’t-win-shituation surrounded by a chimichanga of head scratching with a Mexican saying, “No lo se,” and me saying, “No lose? More like no win, Jose!” We’re still two weeks away from Opening Day and Rendon could be fine by the end of the first week, which means he’ll miss maybe 25 ABs, which is nothing in the big picture. Dock him 3 runs, 2 RBIs and four hits and move on. This could actually be a buying opportunity in drafts if he falls too far. But if he’s downplaying his injury as every player who has been injured does, then he could struggle, hit the DL for a month or two and have a lost season. He never had blazing speed, so I worry that he might not steal with the knee injury or at least not as much in the early part of the year. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis I lowered him out of my top 10 and into my top 20 where I’d be more comfortable drafting him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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I joined Funston, Behrens, Pianowski, Dalton Del Don, Not The Noise (someone drafted using Brad Evans name, but it wasn’t him), Rudy, Paul Singman and others. Since Singman writes for us now, we’re up to three writers in the Friends & Family draft held at Yahoo. Within ten years, it’s going to be 14 Razzball writers vs. Funston, and Funston will prolly still win after only drafting Howie Kendrick. I’m not being entirely facetious, Razzball’s results in this league have been less-than-stellar. I don’t mention this to be modest — modesty’s for nuns! — I tell you this to preamble my reasons for drafting Billy Hamilton. I feel like my Friends & Family mojo is leaking oil, the carburetor is coughing up fumes and I’m on the side of the road, with my skirt hiked up, and no one’s stopping. So, I decided to draft someone I have never drafted before and paid full price, to boot! (By the by, when I go to Italy, I like to shout, “To boot!”) Well, enough about me, more about my team! Anyway, here’s my 15-team, 5×5, roto, Friends & Family fantasy baseball draft:

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This post will attempt to identify thirty prospects with the most value for 2015 only. These are players with less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched at the major league level, but who are expected to arrive in the bigs at some point this season. Typically, we’d rank prospects overall on one big list, but I’ve broken the list up into three groups to try to make it easier for fantasy players in 2015 redraft leagues. The prospects are ranked within groups that are based on the projected ETAs (early/mid/late). While they are still just projections, the groups should help sort through who you need to be drafting versus who you need to be picking up off waivers and when. There are a few general comments after each group and, like any list, there are a few names on the cusp that didn’t make it. We can tackle them in the comments if we need to. Here are the top 30 prospects for 2015 redraft leagues…

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We now get to the ugly step-sister of rankings and the waiver darling position that we all chase.   The relief pitcher is by far the most debated position on who to draft, where, and when.  For the most part, I agree with you (with whatever you think), but the guys you want…if you get them where they are being drafted, usually beat or exceed value.  Injuries suck and do happen, you just can’t prevent them. You just have to be in a position of favor and hope that you land his replacement.  Sucktitude, i.e see Joe Nathan last year, is just a roster burden and usually drags you down all season because he isn’t someone you can just drop, but he makes it awfully hard to roster.  It’s a catch-22, to stat or not to stat.  Last year saw an unforgivable 10 closer changes in the first six weeks. That is not something you can pad your roster with enough save-cuffs for.  So let’s get to the first set of rankings of the year.  I will get into draft strategies for them, and as always, cover holds in the countdown to the season.

Note: Don’t forget to come visit me on the new Razzball Fantasy Soccer home everyday of the week. If you’re not familiar with the format, NBD, relax, you got us. Ralph and I are giving you the best Fantasy Premier League coverage out there. If you haven’t tried fantasy EPL, you’re missing out…

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Pardon me if I’m daffy with silly pills, but, with these top 100 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball, I’ve put out all of my 2015 fantasy baseball rankings. Hahahahaha… Breathe, Grey, breathe! Whew, almost lost it there for a second. Tomorrow will be the top 100 overall, then the top 400 overall, but that’s just putting everyone in perspective. I’m going to now soak my finger bunions in pickle juice and read a good book. Anyone read the Teri Garr autobiography? I hear it’s a real eye grabber. Oh, guess I should finish this post first. As always, my projections are included and where tiers start and stop. Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (15) | 2013 (22) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (4) | 2010 (19)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [83-79] AL East
AAA: [77-66] International League – Buffalo
AA: [66-76] Eastern League – New Hampshire
A+: [77-61] Florida State League – Dunedin
A: [62-77] Midwest League – Lansing
A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League – Vancouver

Graduated Prospects
Marcus Stroman, RHP | Kevin Pilllar, OF | Ryan Goins, 2B

The Gist
Toronto saw the rise of both Marcus Stroman and Dalton Pompey in 2014, and both are going to be factors in 2015 fantasy leagues. In addition to Stroman, the Jays have two stud pitching prospects on the farm in Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez. Both have already seen time in the major leagues and should be on the radar for 2015 as well. This was a fun system to write up, since it has intriguing fantasy prospects from top to bottom. The major league club got a big boost when it acquired Josh Donaldson from the Athletics for three prospects, including shortstop Franklin Barreto. Barreto would have been an easy top five in this system, but Donaldson should be a fantasy beast in that lineup at the Rogers Centre.

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*rubs hands together, flour residue and sweat mix together forming pizza dough, places pizza dough in oven, pulls out pizza* Hey, I got an excitement pizza for Aaron Sanchez! Or maybe I should just wash my hands. Nah, this is an excitement pizza! Now, hold on, before you start stuffing your mouth with this excitement pizza, we should discuss why it’s so delicious. Last year in a two-month-long foodie festival that is called, A Taste of the Majors, Sanchez had a 1.09 ERA with a 7.4 K/9 in 33 IP. Hey, boring, drop your R because I have a boing! Know what his fastball averaged? 97 MPH. This is weird, I hate camping, but I’m sure pitching tents! I kinda just want to stare at the words-slash-numerals “97 MPH fastball” for a little while longer. Okay, kids might be reading so I need to move on. I’m just feeling so frisky. (Frisky should be spelled frisque; you messed up, English language.) Unfortch, Sanchez was working in middle relief last year with the Blue Jays. “Don’t play in a Holds league, Grey, let’s move on!” Wait a second, Jumpy McJumpstein, Sanchez was predominately a starter in the minors, and the Blue Jays were trying to keep his innings down. Jumpy McJumpstein, “Okay, I’ll calm down. Plus, that Third Eye Blind song just came on ’90s on 9!” Anyway, what can we expect of Aaron Sanchez for 2015 fantasy baseball?

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Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Man do I hate the end of the year. People chasing saves are all into it, while the ones that are dead in the water couldn’t care less. And let’s be honest, they were prolly dead in the water all year when it came to saves. The end of the year chase is starting to show casualties, like the fall from grace of Glen Perkins. Glen is the kinda guy that I like, home-grown guy, pitching in his home state, took a nice friendly contract from the team. He can totally date-my-sister type. Unfortunately, he is staggering to the finish with an unimpressive last few weeks. I personally feel bad, because I own Perkins in a lot of places. I have so many teams, that I actually counted and the only closer I don’t own is David Robertson. Yes, every other single closer on this list is owned in some way shape or form by yours truly. So back to Perkins… his ERA and his K/9 rate have seemed to morph into some sort of Jeff Goldblum fly concoction of fantasy uselessness. Overwork and or an injury are the only things I can think that are the problem. He is/was a semi-elite guy until the wheels fell off. So if you’re still chasing, Jared Burton and Casey Fien look to be the guys lost likely to take the helm until Perkins rights the ship…which will prolly be next year. Only two weeks to go and we will get one Bullpen Report and one more Closer Report to end the year. The last will be a souped up version with lot’s of 2015 treats and stuff. So stay tuned or don’t. Your choice.

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Nicholas Tropeano sounds like a sitcom character, doesn’t he? Like that’s his real name, but he goes by the nickname of The Boof or simply Boof. Then only his mom, Mrs. Tropeano calls him Nicholas. Some girls call him Nick, but Boof or The Boof, that’s what you know him as. At one point, he even went to a technical school with Arthur Fonzarelli and Joseph Tribbiani Jr. I went over The Boof briefly the other day when he threw a five inning, meh start. There I said, “Breezed through the minors as only an Astros prospect could. What I mean is they don’t have a ton of major league options, so if someone does okay, they promote the crap out of them. In Triple-A, he had a 8.7 K/9, 0.99 WHIP and a 3.03 ERA in 124 2/3 IP.” And that’s me quoting me! This Buy is more for AL-Only leagues and keepers (I’ll go over mixed league starters to stream in the post). Shoot, this Boof buy could even be considered more for 2015 fantasy baseball. Now, maybe I’m really just having residual feelings for what Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel did this year, but Tropeano looks like a $1 flyer in very deep leagues that could reap similar benefits. I know it’s far from glamorous to put faith in Astros, but I’m likely to call Tropeano a sleeper for 2015 and point back to this post next year. I’d love if his velocity was a tad faster to go with his nasty change, but The Boof could pay dividends for savvy owners in deep leagues. Ayyyyy! *pounds wall, jukebox turns on* Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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