With the top 40 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball, we’ve finished all the hitter recaps.  We meaning me, but I’ll include you.  No, that’s not a cue to try to hold my hand.  Why are you now patting my butt?  Don’t muss my hair!  The pitching recap will begin next.  You can hardly wait.  No, you!  To recap, the end of the season rankings are based on our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  I felt the easiest way to keep it objective would to go this route.  This way when I say someone finished 30th and I ranked them 23rd in the preseason, it carries more weight like a non-vegan Bill Clinton.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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We already went over the top 20 catchers and the top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball.  Today, we dip our big toe into the top 20 2nd basemen pool.  Okay, it was actually more like a lake where lots of spring breakers are partying, and, instead of throwing beads at girls, they’re throwing 30 home run hitters.  It’s a little scary, for unstints (how I say it), that there were only six 2nd basemen that you wanted to own all year in 2015, and, this year, there’s a 30-homer hitter 2nd baseman that didn’t even make the top 25 2nd basemen — Jedd, you Gyorko!  1st basemen were still a little deeper, but barely.  2nd basemen, and the soon to be released shortstops got their sea legs in 2016.  To recap this crap (rhyme points!), this final ranking for last year is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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papiout

Today, ladies and gentlemen, is officially the last day of school. And by school I mean me writing fantasy baseball posts in 2016. Over the next few months I’m sure Grey will take a gander at the numbers to determine if yours truly will be back in 2017. Hopefully my eight remaining followers have enough pull to see me through to the other side and get me invited back to Razzball Spring Training. But if not, it’s been a good run. This post is my 94th baseball-related post. I have big incentives in my contract if I make it one hundred, so I hope that doesn’t influence Grey’s decision in a negative way. There are a lot of hungry points league writers out there that just might be willing do what I do for even less. Will they be as cool as I am? Doubtful. As funny? Certainly not. And lastly, will they have the maturity level of a third grader? I certainly hope so. Here’s to hoping Grey just flips a two-headed coin.

Before I jump the gun and start saying any official goodbyes, I think we should take a look back at 2016 and what happened in points leagues…

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Kevin Kiermaier might be my first sleeper of the 2017 fantasy baseball season.  The funny thing (completely and irrefutably not funny) is with fantasy football starting, fantasy basketball getting underway (don’t worry, I won’t clickbait you to death) and fantasy teams just falling out of contention, players that do well in September are often forgotten by next March even though they’re performing in the month closest to the next preseason. (Guys and five girl readers, if anyone says I don’t know the calendar, you tell them that is just inaccurate.  Grey knows the calendar very well.  Happy July 4th!)  Kiermaier has that potent mix that I crave so much.  No, not Russian dressing and relish, though that is delicious.  Your secret is safe with me, sauce!  Instead, I’m talking about a power and speed combo.  For 2017, it seems entirely possible that he gets to 25+ HRs and 30+ steals.  He’s only played in 91 games this year for 12 HRs, 18 SBs, and has a repeatable HR/FB%.  In fact (Grey’s got more!), with his walk rate trending up and speed, his average might be more like .275 in 2017 vs. .250 this year.  It’s not all yums ‘n roses with his Slash line.  He could be more Dexter Fowler (14-ish HRs, 17-20 SBs) than Correa.  That’s fine, because he’ll be drafted way closer, if not after Fowler.  As for why to grab him now?  He’s got five homers and six steals in the last ten days.  DUR!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I’m taking us down yet another rabbit hole, into yet another JB’s-vanity-project-abyss. Although, since the last time this happened only two weeks ago, Alex Reyes made it into the rotation! He was only “OK”, and we’re not sure if he’ll be starting again for the next turn, but at least we were put on readiness!

Of course since I added this guy in the REL, I’ve been following Brock Stewart pretty intently this season. Maybe it’s because Brock is a common name we share! But really, it has to do with his under-the-radar ascension through the Minors this season. He’s dominated in the minor leagues with a 9+ K-rate, a BB-rate well under 2, including a 2.49 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 50.2 PCL innings, with a 9.59:1.07 K:BB in OKC. Overall, his MiLB numbers are a 1.68 ERA 0.86 WHIP in 20 starts, with 126:18 K:BB in 118 innings. And yet, no one seems to care about this guy since they want Jose De Leon! While many may be surprised Brock got the call yet again to spot start over De Leon with an opening in the rotation, logistically he’s on the 40-man while De Leon isn’t and there’s a roster crunch. But it’s not like Brock isn’t deserving! And he’s got pretty good stuff – 93-95 MPH fastball, hard slider, and a change-up that is oddly WAY slower than the heater at 81ish MPH.

Obviously, at the Major League level, things couldn’t be more of a polar opposite. Going into yesterday afternoon, his ERA was over 11 in two spot starts and one relief appearance. In that 3 innings of relief his last MLB appearance, he walked 4, or what would’ve been 22.2% of all the walks he’s thrown in the minors all year. Someone isn’t suited for the bullpen! And the two awful starts? One was a little unlucky with some BABIP hits @MIL, then a murdering @COL. Way to make a guy who progressed all the way from A-ball pitch in the two worst parks in the NL! So the start this afternoon, hosting the Cubs, is BY FAR his best matchup. Man, trial by fire! With Stewart so far off the radar, I am hoping that being pot committed and writing this open before the first pitch will cause some cosmic karma and help Brock throw a breakthrough game. Here’s how he looked:

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So, I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m just gonna throw out the reason why right off the bat: I’m selfish and lazy. That’s what mid-August baseball talk is all about!

As part of my rebuilding efforts in the REL – well, I should say, my main anchor in my rebuilding efforts – I got Alex Reyes to hopefully be my staff stopper. I mean, have you SEEN the Brewers rotation?! Yikes. With some control issues and a pretty bad ERA in AAA, I wasn’t too surprised to see a fantastic arm like Reyes get the call-up anyway as a bullpener. This had been speculated upon all season – the Cards did this with their major prospects in Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez – so we’re not getting a big shock. And with Reyes called up at the same time as Luke Weaver, it appears they might piggyback each other for the foreseeable future. But Reyes clearly, CLEARLY looks like a dominant starter that’s about ready. After seeing his debut inning last Thursday night where he hit 101 twice, I’ve been eagerly awaiting an encore. Here’s how Reyes looked in his 2nd-4th career MLB innings Saturday afternoon at Wrigley:

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Hype is nothing new for Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. At just 16 years of age, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and labeled “Baseball’s Chosen One.” He was profiled in his own ESPN special prior to being eligible for the Major League Baseball amateur draft. Just a few weeks ago, he was shockingly listed as one of the top 100 MLB players of all-time. In a local radio interview this past offseason, he suggested that the interviewer shouldn’t sell him short when projecting him as MLB’s first $400 million player, and some within the industry even believe that he might still be a bargain at $500 million. At 23 years old, Harper is basically expected to maintain this lofty career trajectory, become the most highly paid player in MLB history, and waltz into the Hall of Fame twenty years from now. No pressure, kid. Except that the former #1 overall pick and youngest unanimous MVP in baseball history hasn’t quite lived up to expectations this season. This season’s .234/.378/.443 slash line pales in comparison to the .330/.460/.649 line that he produced last season. So what gives? Is it a down year? Bad luck? Or has Harper just been overhyped?

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Junior 2

When you have to tell people your favorite team’s ace is a 31-year-old rookie, you kinda make a face like Arnold Schwarzenegger right there…  It’s as uncomfortable as a dude getting pregnant!  But for a rebuilding team, I guess nothing is inconceivable after all!

As an unabashed Brewers homer, and owner of the REL Brewers where I have to own a certain amount from my parent team, I’ve been a big follower of the Brew Crew beat, and there’s been buzz for Junior Guerra ever since we picked him up.  I even brought him up on the Pod when he was promoted, much to Grey cackle-ment.  I of course never saw anything like this coming though…  I knew he had a fastball and a great splitter, but that splitter hasn’t been just “great”.  It’s been the best splitter in baseball.  His other stuff is pretty good, but he hit 98 MPH in his last start against the Pirates, and if he can throw gas like that, it’s going to make him a dynamic guy ROS.  So I decided to double up on my Sunday afternoon baseball watching by breaking down Guerra’s start against the Cubs, while watching my Brewers like I would’ve anyway.  Two birds one stone!  Sue me!  Here’s how he looked:

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Yesterday, Brian Dozier went 3-for-4, 4 RBIs with two homers (11, 12).  Dozier’s quietly had a great June (7 HRs, near-.350), after having a miserable May (2 HRs, .215) and an atrocious April (3 HRs, .191).  Who knows what July holds?  Which sounds like the title for a piece of art done by Daniel Johnston.  Let’s see, Daniel Johnston describing Dozier.  “June is Fun!  Fun!  Fun!  If I ever thought I could be happy, it was from Dozier.  Fun!  Fun!  Fun!  Oh!  That rock and roll!  It saves my soul!  Owning Dozier in June, it must’ve been a happy time, Kool Aid flowing like wine, the bubble gum, forever-ever-ever-ever-ever-ever after!  Now I will get on a random bus in Austin and ride to New Mexico.”  Oh, Daniel Johnston, you were taken from us way too soon.  *sees he’s still alive*  Okay, moving on.  So, Dozier has turned his season around and is close to the same pace as his previous season stats (28 HRs, 12 SBs).  Moreover, Dozier has cut his Ks by a lot, so he could hit for a better average this year (.250 vs. .235).  Daniel Johnston might be onto something.  About fun, fun fun not about getting on random buses.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Oh my God, Drew Smyly is more like Smyly Corleone.  Every time you think you’re out, he pulls you right back in.  Fredo, you went against the family, and we can’t have that.  “Smyly, is that you?  Why do you keep calling me?”  That’s Alfredo Griffin getting annoyed with Smyly Corleone.  “I made them offer at a pitch they couldn’t refuse.”  Seriously, stop Smyly Corleone!  So, there’s always one pitcher (sometimes more than one) that befuddles and seduces, seduces and befuddles.  Justin Masterson carried the torch for a while when he was Justin Masterson:  Passive Aggressive Starter.  Now, Drew Smyly seems to be carrying that same damned if you do, damned if you don’t torch.  Yesterday, his line was 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners with 12 Ks.  On the year, his K-rate and walk rate are 10.3 and 2.2.  Those are ace numbers.  Unlike a lot of other big strikeout guys and actual aces, Smyly doesn’t throw very hard and seems to tire after about two starts in a row.  His ERA on the year is 4.75, but that’s absurd, as in I will absurd you while you’re on waivers.  But, ugh, that K-rate, that walk rate, it’s hard for me to resist and if he was dropped in your league, I could see giving him another chance, but I’d be wary of matchups because I just don’t see him overpowering most teams when he’s not working on ten days rest.  He just doesn’t throw hard enough.  I.e., leave the speed gun, take the cannoli.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?