Greetings, friends. I hopped over to the football side of things once last year’s baseball season ended, but now I’m back. And apparently, I am such a disturbed individual that I am doing fantasy baseball mock drafts in early January. And, I am writing about them. And, well, I just wanted to start another sentence with and because it feels so wrong but so right at the same time. Anyway, moving on.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft, and we’re going to recap it here. This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1). As long as I did that math correctly, that is 23 spots.

Below, I will provide the results for the first six rounds and a give my thoughts for each round. I’ll do the same for rounds 7-12, 13-18, and 19-23 in subsequent posts. I’ll try to keep it brief. All we really care about are the results here, right? Feel free to tell me how awesome or crappy you think my team is, along with what you think were the best and worst picks of the draft or the different rounds…

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The White Sox traded Adam Eaton for Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning and top pitching prospect, Lucas Giolito; the second day in a row top prospects are headed to the White Sox.  It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities that Theo Epstein is studying abroad this winter and abroad is the South Side of Chicago.  “Excuse me, but, uh, why do you have this electrodes hooked up to my brain?”  That’s Theo Epstein as Rick Hahn dips out of the interrogation room to get coffee.  If I were a fan of a club that had no chance of winning next year, I’d want my team to go about rebuilding like the White Sox.  “What, you don’t like our signing of Ian Desmond?”  I’ll get to you in a second, Rockies.  The White Sox have taken a bunch of lemons, planted lemon seeds next to a sugar plantation that they purchased off eBay and should have lemonade in a few years.  They might even trade that old guy from the Country Time Lemonade commercial for another prospect!  As for fantasy, Adam Eaton went 14/14 and 14/18 the last two years, which is deceptively awful.  It’s one thing to go 14/14, it’s another thing to go 14/14 in 619 ABs.  He’s like Markakis as a middle infielder.  If you own Eaton in any fantasy league shallower than 14-team mixed, you should lose your league.  The problem with a guy like Eaton in a shallower league is anyone who is even half paying attention should be able to beat his stats with just a few decent waiver wire grabs.  You can likely beat Eaton’s numbers by just streaming hitters every day, and never even holding any guy who gets hot.  Eaton’s stats come out to one homer and one steal every two weeks.  Holy Jewish Jesus, that’s bad.  Sure, there’s some value to his 90+ runs and .280+ average, but if you can’t get runs and average that matches that from streaming, again, you deserve to lose.  For 2017, I’ll give Eaton the projections 102/12/49/.277/16 in 605 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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What is a finale in fantasy without a final closer report?  Nothing I tell ya.  It’s like a compound without an element, or a really cool shout out to the Low End Theory.  I salute the 14 sober readers of that “not firmly planted” on the porcelain thinking throne.  So this is it my friends, the last of the last of the last.  I was debating on what to do for the last post of the year.  Something cliche, something with recycled jokes that you see all the time… wink.  Nah, I am an original, I survive millennials and the whole generation X by just being me.  Not loved by all by liked by most and yet here I still sit.  Shout out to all the readers I lead astray, and the ones I actually helped.  Not everyone gets everything right all the time, but I try.  I am human.  You would think a computer generated version of Smokey would have a cooler avatar than a bear that looks like an extra from the Fat Boys movie Disorderlies.  So to keep it chalk, I will keep it plain and simple and do what I have done for years.  Give you a final ranking of all the closers this year and a glimpse into the future of closers.  As in the who will be closing next year for every team or at the very least an estimated guess straight from my basement.  So with the final post of the year for me from a baseball perspective about to wrap, I enjoyed bringing you the jazz and the haps on the relief game again, this my eighth year at Razzball nation.

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When it’s fourth and long and 20 years ago, I believe the old song from the sea goes… You don’t look at the stats to date, especially when it’s with two weeks to play. What is ahead of you is all that matters. There is no loyalty, this isn’t the time to dance with the date you brought to the dance. You are looking for stats in any shape or form, period. So I give you the list, yes, the list is the bible of what guys are and what they have done for the year, but if you have an inkling that player A is going to save three games compared to player B getting one, then that answers your own question and you have deemed me useless. It kinda hurts that you deem me useless, but I will move on. I have been through a few relationships where it was a “it’s you not me” type scenario. Regardless, I have taken pride in bringing you the best that I can give in terms of fantasy bullpen type goodies on a weekly basis. After all, it is the readers of fantasy that make fantasy go round. So I would like to say thank you, no there is at best two more post to end the year but I wanted to say thank you now since we still have some attention span left instead of steering it towards fantasy football, which is awesome and you should go check out what Jay and the boys (and girls) are dishing out top notch type stuff. Before you click over to that, stay here for some fantasy bullpen chicanery and knowledge courtesy of your’s truly.

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So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

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The Astros offense had some fun with the Orioles pitching staff Friday and Saturday night, collecting a total of 32 hits and scoring 27 runs. Solar plexus! Now those are some rockets that would make NASA proud. George Springer lead the way going 7-for-9, with 2 home runs (24), 6 runs and 4 RBI. Jose Altuve was 5-for-10 with a home run (20),  Evan Gattis was 5-for-9 with a homer (19) and a stolen base, and rookie Teoscar Hernandez was 3-for-6 with 4 runs, a homer (2) and 3 RBI. Well, I guess I know one team that prefers the sticky swampiness of the Baltimore humidity in the air. Even with all Houston’s stars doing their part it was the rookie phenom, Alex Bregman, who really impressed me, going 6-for-11, with four runs, his third home run and five RBI. Oh, hello there. What did you say your name was again? Alex slashed .306/.406/.580 with 20 homers and 7 steals in 80 games at AAA, but struggled to start his MLB career a miserable 2-for-38. But the top-prospect has come on strong of late batting .317 with 3 homers, 13 runs, and 10 RBI over the past two weeks. He extended his hitting streak to five games Saturday night, and has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 contests. The best part? While all your real life non-internet friends are off drafting their fantasy football teams, Alex Bregman sits on the waiver wire available in over 70% of leagues. I don’t want to brag, man, but it sounds like most of you gave up on Bregman too soon and he’s just now getting going. Grey told you to BUY this week and I’d grab Bregman everywhere he’s available for some sweet Houston upside in an even sweeter Houston line up. Don’t make me Breg, man! This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw Friday and Saturday in fantasy baseball:Sv

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I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

Want to take on Razzball contributors and readers in a Fantasy Football League for prizes? Join here!

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Over the past few seasons, the blueprint for the New York Yankees franchise has been a predictable one: assemble an aging, overpriced roster, finish a few games over .500, rinse, repeat. Reload rather than rebuild. However, those days appear to be coming to an end. 41-year-old Alex Rodriguez and 39-year-old Carlos Beltran are gone. 36-year-old Mark Teixeira has been reduced to a part-time role. High priced relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller have been traded away for a boatload of prospects to restock the farm system. The youth movement is officially underway. One of the newest youngsters on the Yankee roster is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, 24-year-old outfielder Aaron Judge (34.8% owned; +31.1% over the past week). Judge’s 6-foot-7, 275 pound frame and impressive raw power have drawn comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. Stanton already had 154 homers on his MLB resumé by the end of his age-24 season while Judge is just getting started. I think that more reasonable comps would be along the lines of players such as Richie Sexson and Mark Trumbo – big, powerful righties who have racked up some impressive home run totals throughout their careers. Another trait that Judge shares with those sluggers is his propensity to strike out, as he’s whiffed in 24% of his plate appearances this season after doing so in 26% of his PAs last year. The homers could come in bunches at times, but there could be some cold streaks as well. A .250ish average with plus power is a reasonable projection for Judge moving forward. He’s worth an add in all leagues for his power upside alone.

Here are a couple of other recent Yankee call-ups who have drawn the attention of fantasy owners over the past week:

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The price that was paid, and the results that led him up to the trade had everyone believing that Andrew Miller would trump the incumbent Cody Allen in Cleveland.  Through two-pitched games, he has seen one save opportunity in the 6-7th inning, and the other was in a losing effort.  Now, I am not reading the tea leaves here, but after just two appearances and five games overall, I think Cody is not a droppable player in any format, saves holds or NSVH.  I mentioned it out loud to myself after the trade was completed, and also to Prospector Ralph.  With 55 games to play and save chances in 52 percent of games won… so that would leave 14 or so chances for the Indians and Miller to retain value.  And don’t get it twisted, he still has a ton of value with a ridiculous K-rate over 16, and the Indians are still a first place squad.  Just everyone that seems to matter has struggled with the Twins. It’s crazy that they are 20-plus games under .500.  So for the Allen owners, hold firm, like Gi-Joe style grip type stuff.  Miller owners, you have most likely owned him all year, so your peripherals aren’t going to be flawed because of him.  As far as saves go, I think it could go 70/30 the rest of the way and be a situational thing on occasion.  Let’s look at the plethora of changes that are basically pillaging the relief ranks around baseball…

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I was going to just delay this post due to inclement weather, but Grey’s super Doppler 5001, which is also a giant B.S. detector, wouldn’t let me.  So here we sit, some 48 hours before the list that you are about to see means about as much as single-ply toilet paper…  Really, what cheap s.o.b. concocted this idea of pinching pennies?  I mean everyone has had a run-in with it at some point.  Awful.  It’s part of the reason I have a salt-water bidet in all three outhouses at the Smokey compound.  So back to the deadline… closer gossip teams are lining up other contenders closers in such a bullish market, namely the rumors surrounding Mark Melancon.  The market and teams that need reliable relievers, let alone closers, is the Nationals, Indians, Rangers and Giants.  It is just the land of confusion and there is not enough LOOGY’S to go around.  I will touch on who I can see where after the bump to prolong the suspense, but the teams I just mentioned are teams to monitor on the opposite end of closers, because if the big names start rolling, all but Cody Allen looks to be out of a job.  Here’s what I can see going down by the deadline in the bullpen game, plus some rankings and next in line stuff.  Plus, Razzball Soccer has started pumping out quality, so go over and check it and join the official game…

Please, blog, may I have some more?