The top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball were once as bad as the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball that I went over the other day.  Now the shortstops have had an influx of youth — or utes, if Joe Pesci is reading — and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades, Arvid.  I’m happy for the shortstops, and happier for myself.  For a while, the top 20 shortstops were Tulo and those other guys.  Kinda like the top 20 catchers is Posey and those other guys.  Oh, and there was a top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball post already too (organic linking!).  Hopefully, the shortstops aren’t just showing up in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and appearing sexy, then turning out to be Sally Jessy Raphael.  As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Unsuccinct!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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To make sure I don’t miss any player in my rankings, I go through every team’s depth charts and I go through every eligible player who is projected for at least one at-bat by Steamer.  After I looked through the players with at least one at-bat at 2nd base, I vomited in my mouth, then spit said vomit onto the ground and it spelled out, “Gnarly.”  My vomit is right.  2nd base is not a pretty position.  Shortstops got younger in the last year and some guys are coming to make it even better.  The top 20 1st basemen wasn’t straight gorge, but there was plenty of talent there from veterans.  The top 20 catchers are always ugly, but these top 20 2nd basemen are giving the catchers a run for their money.  There’s only three guys with legit 20-homer power and three guys with easy 20-steal speed.  One that will hit .300 and zero that will get 100 RBIs.  I don’t know what happened to the latest crop of 2nd basemen, but I have a theory.  Twelve years ago, when these 2nd basemen were learning the position, their role model was Bret Boone.  Boone used to frost his hair blonde, so all the kids learning 2nd base at that time, frosted their hair too.  Then their friends beat the crap out of them, and that was the end of all future 2nd basemen.  Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2016 fantasy baseball.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are under that linkie-ma-whosie.  As always, my projections and tiers are included for the low, low price of zero dollars.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, the Twins traded Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for serial-killer-in-name-only, John Ryan Murphy.  Here’s what I said earlier this year, “When Hicks first came up, people thought he was going to be better than that Pollock fella.  No, not a stereotypical dumb person, but as in A.J. Pollock.  In Double-A, Hicks had 12 homers, 32 steals and a .285 average.  Then strikeouts enveloped his game in the majors and he hit .192 with a 27% K-rate in 2013, and hit .215 with a 25% K-rate in 2014, but this year, .277 and a 17% K-rate!  That’s a huge improvement.  That’s what she said!  What?” And that’s me quoting me!  On a side note, am I the only that sees K-rate and then tries to chop in half a wooden block while screaming hi-ya?  “Today, Daniel-san, we will talk about K-rate.”  No?  Okay, maybe it’s just me.  *Grey does a flying crane kick*  “Oh, he’s been practicing his K-rate.”  Still nothing?  Okay, I’m moving on.  One more Pollock comparison that is likely coincidental but I’m gonna throw it out there.  Pollock didn’t break out until his age-27 season and Hicks is only 26.  Okay, one more Pollock comparison, Pollock never stole 39 bases in the minors leagues, but just did it in the majors.  Hicks never stole more than the aforementioned 32 bases, but that means nothing.  Okay, fine, one more Pollock comparison!  Pollock never hit more than ten homers in the minors and he just hit 20 homers in the majors.  So who cares Hicks never hit more than 13 homers in the minors.  That’s still above anything Pollock did.  Okay, and I really mean it this time, one more comparison to Pollock.  The excitement I had last year for A.J. Pollock when I called him a sleeper is nearly identical to the excitement I have right now for Hicks.  Okay, okay, one final thing on Pollock!  The mistake I made last year when I didn’t draft him after flagging him as a breakout won’t be repeated with Hicks.  Let’s go over quickly what Hicks did last year, he hit 11 homers with a 11% home run to fly ball ratio, which is completely repeatable, so last year in 155 games he would’ve had 18 homers.  He also had 13 steals and four steals in September.  If he stole 4 bags every month, he’d have 24 steals.  Last year, he had a .256 batting average with a .285 BABIP, which is low for him.  He’s got some speed and a .310 BABIP isn’t out of the question (he had years of a .340+ BABIP in the minors).  If he gets to a .310 BABIP, he’s going to hit .270.  Really, that’s not a stretch, which is also a nickname no one ever called Altuve.  18 HRs, 24 steals with a .270 average on the year?  If he would’ve done that, I’m not sure we’d even be talking about Hicks as a sleeper, but rather as a top 20 outfielder.  And this isn’t me fighting hard to get him to these numbers.  Like a migrant worker, I’m cherrypicking a little with the steals by saying he’s going to get four a month because he did that in September, except (!) he’s likely closer to a guy that could take six bags per month.  When Steamer projects Hicks for 10 HRs and 11 steals with a .256 in 2016, it doesn’t worry me.  It actually makes me more excited because that means most people aren’t going to be excited about him.  Steamer is very conservative and doesn’t flag breakouts; that’s my job.  For 2016, I’ll give Hicks the projections of 82/15/52/.274/26, assuming the Yankees find a way to get him a starting job this offseason, which seems all but assured.  So, my question for you is, who’s the Pollock now?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort.  This sends an interesting message.  I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort.  Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing.  Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season.  Also, what does this say about Ausmus?  That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort?  Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort?  How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort.  I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do.  What?  You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place?  Please!”  Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night.  Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year.  This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tonight we get to play everybody’s favorite game, “Guess the lineup for Game 2 of the Coors Double Header”. Just rolls off the tongue really. I love me some Coors field, but I dread days like this when there’s a double header with start times spaced 5 hours apart. What stinks about this is when the first game gets finished up around 6:30 EST or so, there’s 30 minutes until most games kick off and zero percent chance that Walt Weiss can muster up a lineup in that small amount of time. This leads us to either fade Coors, yikes, or take a guess at what we think the lineup will look like and leaving our lineup flexible enough to make changes late. This might mean we fade the early games entirely and it creates some interesting opportunities depending on how much you want to gamble. Here’s what I mean: if you think a lot of people will be off the Coors game due to lack of lineups and not wanting to sit around and wait for them, stack away and hope for a big leg up on the field. On the other side, if you think a lot of people will be waiting for those lineups to post and thus ignoring the 7:00 EST start times, load up on earlies, find a nice stacking option and hope you can shoot the moon. If you are going to wait around for the Coors lineups, I’d suggest having a lineup ready and being prepared for as many scenarios as you can. This means going through the options if each player is out of the game 2 lineup. There’s a handy feature DraftKings has that I’m not sure a lot of people know about or use. If you click on “My Lineups” up at the top there’s a button that reads, “Create New Lineup”. Here you can play around with all the lineups you want to create, you can make one for every scenario you can dream up and save them all to your lineups page without entering a contest. Having these lineups ready to go will not only give you a better handle on your options when, say, AJ Pollock is suddenly out of the game 2 lineup, but will also make for a little less sweating as you can simply import your “No Pollock” lineup and be ready to roll while others are floundering. I love fish puns, let’s get to some more picks, just for the halibut.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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A player’s eligibility is a huge factor in evaluating their price or draft status. All else being equal, a 20 home run outfielder is very different from a 20 home run shortstop. Of course, from this season to next there will be a number of hitters losing specific position eligibility, and thus their value takes a dip as well. The season is not yet over so these could change, but as of right now, we’re losing a lot of third base eligible players.

A few quick notes:

  • The players are separated into their respective divisions. The following is not every player losing eligibility, just those most fantasy relevant.
  • I’m using Yahoo! eligibility rather than CBS or ESPN not because of any specific fondness, but Yahoo! has the most lax requirements at 10 games appeared or five games started.
  • I considered splitting up center field specific players from the general outfield, however in standard leagues no such distinction exists.
  • All these players can be plugged into a utility spot, so when I say outfield only, I’m implying UTIL as well.
Please, blog, may I have some more?

Of course, the title is referring to Nelson Muntz, but Jimmy Nelson sounds like a sitcom character too. Like the kid who is sweet to the parents, but is really the devil incarnate when no one is looking. Eddie Haskell, if your references go back that far. Fun fact! Chad Billingsley’s grandma starred in that show. So, Jimmy Nelson had a solid game last night (6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, and his ERA is down to 3.57), but that’s not THAT good (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics). No, but his month of July ERA was 1.64. THAT is THAT good (not for emphasis, but now my autocorrect ‘learned’ THAT and wants THAT capped and I can’t shut THAT off). Where is all of this coming from? Great question, clunky expositional transition! I’d say it’s not where it’s coming from, but where has it been? Ooh, you like that switcheroo. Nelson had a 1.46 ERA in the PCL with a 9.2 K/9 last year, throws 93 MPH and has worked hard to add a curve that he never had before this year. He feels like a guy that will click at some point, and be a top 20 starter. This year could be rocky still, but I think he’s worth trying for a few starts to see if he’s already turned that corner. I’ve been rocking three starters in my RCL league since April, but after streaming Nelson yesterday, I kinda want to hold him. While an Air Supply song plays softly in the background. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Brandon Crawford went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs with two homers (17, 18). Crawford has a big flashing sign over his head that reads, “Career Year.” Under said sign, he has a smaller sign that reads, “Or could this be a legitimate breakout?” Under that sign, there’s yet another sign that reads, “There is no third sign.” Then under that there’s a smaller sign that reads, “Is that meta? Why even go through the trouble of hanging a third sign?” Then there’s yet another smaller sign that reads…Ugh, I can’t even read it, the font is too small. Let’s stick with the signs we can read and that make sense, “Career year” and “Or could this be a legitimate breakout?” His previous career high was 10 homers in 153 games last year, and prior to that he had never homered ten times in any professional league. In four full years with the Giants, he only had 26 homers coming into this season. That was in over 1800 plate appearances. His previous career high in HR/FB% was 7%. This year it’s over 17%. He’s in the top 30 in the league for homers per fly balls. For the most part, a guy who hits a lot of homers per fly balls are, as you can imagine, not guys that had a previous high of ten homers in over 1800 plate appearances. They’re guys like Just Dong, Braun, Te(i)x, Miggy, etc. etc. etc. The homers will disappear, but I wouldn’t mind so much if Crawford was more than a .255 hitter. The most obvious comp is a young J.J. Hardy, if he was an actual comp, but he’s not. Hardy hit 26 homers in his 2nd full season, Crawford never came close to this before, and I don’t think he ever will again. So…*picks up megaphone* All right, guys, let’s lose all the signs, except the first one. And get back to work! Ugh, teamsters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Groove with me, won’t you? Admittedly I’m not much of a dancer. I can Macarena with the best of them but that’s about it. In fact, if a song is in 4/4 time, that’s my go to dance move outside of the towel off. Never heard of the towel off? Well, grab a towel and pretend like you’re drying off but to the beat. Grab it and swipe it back and forth against the back of your neck. Good, now down to your shoulders. Alright, now down to your butt. The crescendo? Between the legs swipe! Now start from the top and repeat. Once you have that down, feel free to throw in a little variety. Maybe a ’tilt your head to the side and one hand shake dry your hair’ if you’re feeling frisky. You’ve got it! Now don’t forget who brought this dance craze to you cuz I don’t wanna have to sue you! Yeah, I patented that shizz, wouldn’t you? But enough about my sweet dance moves, lets talk some Jesse Chavez. Baltimore is a team that Ks no matter who they’re facing or where they’re at. That said, away from Camden Yards, their whiffiness takes a bit of a leap as it sits at 23.8% entering Sunday’s contests, placing them third worst road K% right behind the Rockies (24%) and Cubs (23.9%). Notice those numbers? They’re basically tied for first here, y’all, and I plan to take advantage of it with Jesse and his splits. Chavez enjoys the cavernous confines of O.Co just fine, thank you, doling out a 2.33 ERA to go with a drop in BB/9 by nearly one from his road starts. It’s all interpretation, but methinks he is willing to challenge hitters at home more because of the size of the stadium. This is one of those starts that could yield you 8 to 10 Ks and minimal damage. For the miniscule price of $6,800, you are gonna be hard pressed to find a better deal. So come out on a the dance floor and cha cha Chavez with me, won’t you? But enough rug cutting, let’s have at it. Here’s my Flamenco hot takes for this Monday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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I get them all the time. The DFS man-crush. The players in the game that I latch onto and can’t stop rostering them, through the good times and bad. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, when you know a guy is in a good spot, it’s important that you not bail like a newb at the first 0-4. Park is good, he’s making hard contact, the handedness is in his favor again, then don’t worry, just go with it. In fact, it may make sense to commit to a player for a whole week if he’s locked in and hitting with authority.

Right now my DFS crush has been J.D. Martinez and has been for almost two months. I’ve had exposure into J.D. almost every game for between 30-45 games and the results have been fantastic. He’s been the top hard contact/expected power player over the last 30 days and has launched 13 home runs over that period of time. There have been clunkers, too, but knowing he was going good and having the prices way below his production, those days were mere speed bumps on the way to the cash freeway.

Some crushes last shorter than others. The 2014 summer of Scooter Gennett was fun. Johnny Paredes had his week or two this season and Gerardo Parra has been on man crush status for some guys as long as I’ve been on Martinez. Parra is still inexpensive, too. The newest sensation is Kyle Schwarber in Chicago. The catcher eligible slugger popped two home runs and scored 40 points Tuesday night, which may have just made many a DFS player swoon right into crushdom.

They wear off eventually – everything has to come to an end, but it’s a fun ride.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?