As I begin to prepare my projections and rankings for the 2017 season, I like to look back on the previous season’s attempt to not only assess my work, but also to learn how I can do better next time. Projecting statistics in any sport is a tedious and arduous task. The variables, formulas and algorithms are constantly changing and if you don’t adapt with them, your results will lose their precision and accuracy. However, I’d like to make one point blatantly clear, projections are nothing more than calculated guesses. Some are better than the next, but none are even close to perfect.
Let’s see how I fared with my 2016 efforts. For all positions I will provide the following six numbers: projected points, actual points, projected rank, actual rank, projected points per plate appearance and actual points per plate appearance. I am including points per plate appearance because it helps put a player’s projections vs performance into perspective when they’ve missing time due to injury. For pitchers I’ve replaced points per plate appearance with points per start. I’ve also included a column showing the percentage by which my points projections were off. Any player with an “n/a” listed in this column is because that player spent at least 30 days on the disabled list.
Lastly, a quick note about the rankings listed in this post. These rankings are based purely on points. This season I plan to provide additional rankings that allow me to adjust them based on three important factors: intuition, gut and my sporadic conversations with Nostradumass.
The shortstops are stacked, yo. They are stacked like Dolly Parton on top of a stack of hotcakes. There is gorge as far as the eye can see. If a young boy happened upon this post, he would see love for the first time, then Norman Rockwell would paint him because it was the essence of Americana, if Norman Rockwell were alive and working as a caricature artist at a carnival. I wanna roll around in these shortstops like I’m Natalie Wood rolling away from a drunk Robert Wagner. Okay, enough hubbub! If you’re just joining us, all the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings are under that link-ma-whosie. With each player is my projections and where I see tiers starting and stopping. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball:
I blame Jonathan Villar, Dusty, Francisco Lindor and Rougned Odor, in no particular order. Those players and Dusty are the reason why I owned Trea Turner and dropped him. I mean, no one would be crazy enough to put Turner in at Utility when he was first called up. Wasn’t gonna play him at outfield. He’s a middle infielder, and I had no room. *puts thumbtacks on desk, takes particular care to make sure the sharp ends are facing up, slams head onto desk* If I owned him, Turner would solve so many of my problems. He’d even fix my irregular bowels! This weekend Turner had three homers (11), three steals (27) and is hitting .355 in only 60 games. Trea magnifique! I haven’t seen this kind of emergence since…Damn, I don’t know how long. Maybe last year with Carlos Correa? Ouch, that comparison means Turner could disappoint in 2017? Don’t hate the player, hate the knowledge that the player possesses that makes him say things that are unlikable, which I guess could be lumped in with ‘hating the player,’ making it okay to hate the player. About a month ago, I thought Turner was going to be drafted around top 100 in 2017, but that was prior to the power showing up. With each homer, he’s moved up about a round, and now he’s breathing down the 2nd round for 2017. Depends if you think you ain’t seen nothing yet with Baseman Turner Overdrive. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Real talk: is there some kind of unwritten law that the first year a new baseball commissioner takes over he’s allowed to institute juiced baseballs? Is Our Commissioner Manfred sticking Capri Sun straws in baseballs across the league? Does he have someone else do the actual juicing? When Bud Selig told Manfred that he could juice the baseballs did he finish by doffing his toupee? Does Manfred own Dozier in fantasy? I got questions, y’all! Yesterday, the Pirates added five more homers to MLB’s bottom line: Sean Rodriguez (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) with his 14th homer; Jordache Mercer (1-for-4, 3 RBIs) hit his 11th; John Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt (1-for-4) his his 6th, but the real damage was done by The Undread Pirate, Andrew McCutchen (3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) with his 22nd and 23rd homer, hitting .250. McCutchen got old real fast in every conceivable way over the last two years. His BABIP fell faster than a 40-year-old on the Cheesecake Factory Diet, his Ks shot up like he’s Danny Glover and he “ain’t got time” for walks and his steals dried up quicker than Cougs’ cactus. An actual cactus she bought at the supermarket and forgot to water over the course of three years. What did you think I meant? Oh c’mon! All of that for McCutchen who is still only 29 years old! I’m beginning to think he’s 29 years old like Debra Winger’s listed as 29 years old on her headshot. In 2017, I think McCutchen won’t be drafted anywhere near where he’s been in the last two years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall to the 75 to 100 range, which might actually reverse his fortunes and make him a value play again. Except for those that drafted Carlos Gomez this year, they’re not falling for the ol’ banana in the tailpipe again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Yeah, it is sort of a play on words for the band Journey, so what? The “so what” is that if you ever want a whole-hearted laugh to yourself, go watch Steve Perry sing the seventh inning stretch. It is fitting because the postseason save aftermath that is happening is coming from San Francisco, the home of the band Journey. See what I did there…? A huge cartwheel. The removal of Santiago Casilla, because he was a little save chilly has thrown the usual or at least semi-stable job into a committee situation. Never fun for anyone. Hunter Strickland got the first save chance post Casilla castaway. Bochy is a finicky beast, if he was a cat owner, never married, and possible a 50year-old scorned woman, it would make sense, but he isn’t, he is a manager that flies by the beat of his own drum. I usually have dynamite steals info, but since this happened in between my closer/reliever post on Saturday, you get a double dip of save-ness. The adds for me are Strickland, Romo, Cory Gearrin, a hold on Casilla and unless the inning is straight LOOGY’d up, Javier Lopez could be a factor. That is how I see the saves getting divvied up. That is a cavalcade of names to chase for saves, but if you wanna bank on one guy getting a mass majority I would look for Hunter to be that guy. So continuing on with the S part of the AGNOF, let’s see what has happened around the baseball fantasy universe over the past week in thievery.
You know how people write stuff on a grain of rice. With that in mind, on Rich Hill‘s blister this is written, “Took a whole lot of tryin’ to get up that Hill — R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley. I can’t believe I not only had room on this grain for an inspirational quote, but also room to attribute the quote to the wrong person and to also add in this meta comment about my inspirational quot–” Damn, he wasn’t able to fit everything. That’s the worst. That’s like when you’re writing a birthday card to someone and you start writing a note only to get to the end and need to start writing super-tiny and curved to fit it in. And that’s not the first time you’ve heard your curve is super-tiny. Rich Hill was perfect on Saturday — 7 IP, 0 ER, 0 baserunners, 9 Ks — but, to be honest, Hill has been perfect for the last two years (though only 29 IP last year). This year, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP with a 10.4 K/9 and 1.74 ERA over the past two years. So, ya know, your usual ace you get about 120 IP from. For 2017, it’s going to be hard to rank him much below the top 25 with the caveat that you’re only getting him for three to four months. Makes you wish rice grains were just a tad bigger to fit all of the superlatives on there for Rich Hill. Know what I mea– Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
As we always do about this time! *beat drops, Grey does the worm, Grey’s iPhone alarm goes off, time to put more money in the meter* Damn, how long was I worming for? September 1st hits and teams expand their rosters to the Four-Oh. Now pour some extra bullpen guys out for all the dead moments between pitcher changes. So, what does this mean for all of us, fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!)? It means call-ups and rookie nookie is aplenty. Aplenty, I tell ya! By the by, for big boned people, rather than an X-Large t-shirt, they should call them aplen-Tees. Yeah, I just made the English language better. High-five yourself for even knowing to read me. *Grey worms, alarm goes off* Damn, I need to get more coins. At this point in the year, you need guys that are getting everyday playing time, so I’m pumped up the jam on rookie nookie, but if a guy isn’t playing every day, he’s as good as dirt in redraft leagues, and I don’t have a Soil category, do you? It’s a most exciting time to be alive and be fantasy balling, but don’t lose sight of the real goal here: to get quality at-bats from guys that are playing, not to pick up a guy that will be great in 2017. (Unless you’re in a keeper league; then, by all means, knock yourself out! Not literally! Ouch.) Which bring us to Yoan Mocada. Red Sox manager, John Farrell, says Moncada’s promotion is eminent. They have a bobblehead giveaway planned, a kid’s jersey giveaway, a ‘Yoan yawn coverer’ which is really just a foam hand, a–*intern whispers in my ear* Seems I was misusing ‘promotion.’ I already gave you my Yoan Moncada fantasy. He’ll be up on Friday. He should be owned everywhere and will play 3rd base. No Gas Face there. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Who am I kidding? Jameson is meant to be savored, sip by delicious sip, not shot like some two bit well whiskey. Jameson on the rocks is more like it. Hopefully we don’t see any of Jameson on the ropes tonight though. Tonight is a bit of a weird night as far as pitching is concerned on DraftKings. There’s the big two and then every other pitchers is under $9,800. So, the question is do you pony up for one of the top two or do you cheap out and pay up for bats? My choice will be to drop down and Jameson Taillon will be my main guy. Jameson checks in at a mere $7,800 and has some of the highest upside of the bunch. The Reds are bottom five in all of baseball in team OPS and just traded away their biggest power threat in Jay Bruce. The Pirates are at home, something I always like in my top arm, and to boot, PNC Park is known to suppress lefty power, so Mr. Votto will likely have to settle for taking a walk to get aboard. Walking guys is not something Taillon has been apt to do this year, which is a trait I always adore in a pitcher. Across AAA and the majors, a span of 18 starts, Taillon has a 1.0 walk-rate. I’ll take that and an 8.0 K-rate all day for $7,800. Let’s take a look at some other picks that will have us sipping our finest whiskey in celebration tonight:
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Steve Cishek hit the DL with the same injury that sounds like it once affected Nadia Comaneci –a torn labrum. Grey’s got Olympics fever! Which this year sounds like it can be transmitted by a mosquito. “I’m not wearing my Brazilian national flag t-shirt to sit in the room all day! Actually, I feel a little woozy too.” That’s a family of four coming down with the Zika Virus at this year’s Olympics. With Cishek likely out for the year, grab Edwin Diaz in all leagues. On a related note, I’ll leave you with the Double Dutch Bus, a song that Missy Elliott later made famous on Gossip Folks. The chorus for Double Dutch Bus sounds like it’s just me trying to say the name Steve Cishek. Fast forward to 2:15 if you’re not feeling early 80s funk and just want the guy to say Steve Cishek repeatedly.
Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Wade Davis hit the DL with a forearm strain. Brooks Pounders was called up in a corresponding move. Brooks Pounders is also my favorite AVN starlet. This sounds ominous for Davis, a forearm strain is not good for pitchers. A precursor for Tommy John surgery, they say. They also chew Copenhagen and call everyone kid. The one bright spot in this dark, gloomy sky is the backdating of the DL stint. Maybe, just maybe, Davis will return right after the All-Star break, when he’s eligible. Yes, he could only miss seven games from now. That skywriter is trailing smoke behind him, writing, “Hope Davis.” But maybe he ran out of fuel and was gonna write, “Hope Davis Will You Marry Me?” In Davis’s place, Joakim Soria or Kelvin Herrera will replace him. Kelvin is much better, so why ‘You must be Joakim’ at all? That hard-to-quantify, harder even to justify outside of your own front office, closer experience. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: