I feel like I could list every Boston Red Sox player in my post this week. A bunch of their players came down with the flu, even the untouchable Andrew Benintendi, who apparently threw-up in the dugout during a game this week. He might’ve ralphed due to hearing about his .174 AVG so far though. Relax everyone, he’s 14-years-old and we’re only in Week 2. Don’t overreact! However, if you happen to visit Fenway this week for their games — make sure to wash your hands well, seal up your plastic bubble boy suit and keep away from patient zero (probably Dustin Pedroia — he seems like the superstitious type to not wash during the season for luck).

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The City of Brotherly Love opened up its sweaty arms, where the hair is growing weirdly on the backside of the biceps, and said, “Come here, and get some of these meatballs that Clay Buchholz is throwing.”  Yoenis Cespedes hit his 2nd, 3rd and 4th homers (4-for-6, 3 runs, 5 RBIs).  In Philly, they say he hit three wiz wits and a Tastykake; Neil Walker (2-for-5, 1 run) had a Tastykake and a dollop of light cream cheese; Asdrubal Cabrera (4-for-6, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer) had a wiz wit, a Tastykake and three dollops of light cream cheese; Lucas Duda (4-for-6 and his 2nd and 3rd homers) had two wiz wits, a Tastykake and a dollop of the good stuff that is like curdled mother’s milk.  Yoenis started off slow, which is a ludicrous thing to say, he has four homers in eight games.  He’s on pace for 80 homers.  I mean, you really need to take a lesson from Uncle LL, and chillllllllll.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If I didn’t wear cowboy boots to the community pool.  If I didn’t ooze machismo like I’m Fonzie and John Wayne’s baby which they had during the intermission of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  If I weren’t such a gee-dee man’s man — exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark — I’d el oh el right now like a 13-year-old girl.  Perfect through six and two-thirds (final line: 7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 2 baserunners (0 BBs), 11 Ks, ERA at 3.97) from a guy that has caused more ulcers than your wife’s best friend’s bright idea to videotape your wife’s bachelorette party.  She cheated on you, doode, and he was hung like Carlos Lee.  Michael Pineda, why do you cause such ulcers, I ask like I’m at Ellis Island in 1931.  I also have the scurvy, as I continue for no apparent reason.  Okay, seriously, I don’t know what to make of Michael Pineda.  He has the stuff, as George Carlin once said, to be a 2.50 ERA pitcher with 220 Ks.  He could also have a 5.50 ERA and be sent down by July.  If someone tells you they know which one he’ll be, they’re lying.  Would I own him?  Sure.  Would I always enjoy it?  C’mon, man, pay attention!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Writing this as I watch the WBC Championship game I might be drafting Marcus Stroman on a few teams.  The World Baseball Classic is pretty darn entertaining with so many good lineups and watching the US pull off the win has been awesome.  I like that over the past couple weeks I can have it on in the background because it’s competitive baseball, but there’s no fantasy implications so I can just enjoy it.  These are all-stars playing for their country (for the most part, we all know that “team” Italy, Israel and the Netherlands are stretches) and so so so much better than watching spring training games.

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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You’re the monster preparing for your fantasy draft, and I’m Dr. Frankenstein telling you it’s all going to be OKAY.

If you are one of our beloved loyal Razzball readers, you know by now that this site tends to discourage you from taking catchers early in fantasy drafts. The argument is simple: the difference between a top 5 catcher and a 5-15 range catcher is negligible. At other positions, the difference is much more significant. Plus, there are always surprises who end up either getting drafted later or picked up on waivers who put up top 10 catcher numbers.

Some years ago, a younger Grey with what we can only assume was a less prominent mustache wrote about his draft strategy for punting catchers. I’ll wait here while you give it a look. Go ahead. It’s the same website, so I won’t get in trouble. I might even get some kind of bonus for encouraging clicks or something.

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There are some big names dropping this week. I am less worried about players with broken bones because for the most part they break, they heal. They play. Ligament, muscle, and other meaty bits of your body are a bit trickier to play with. So Ian Desmond and Tom Murphy? Will come back and be fine. Draft ‘em and stash ‘em for a month. Carlos Carrasco, Anthony deSclafani, Jason Kipnis and Sonny Gray? Cause me a bit more concern. These injuries can often linger or flare back up.

Here’s who’s meaty bits have been swelling, inflaming, and tightening this week:

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I have no idea if anyone at ESPN actually ranks people.  There’s talk of it.  Like, “Yo, Klara Bell, you do your rankings yet?”  “No, did you?”  Then Cockcroft makes farting noises with his armpit.  All I ever see at ESPN is consensus rankings.  I have to figure out how to do this “consensus” thing.  Talk about a nice way to avoid taking any blame for anything.  “Hey, man, sorry about Andrew McCutchen being ranked so high this year, but these are ‘consensus’ rankings.”  Let’s turn to a conversation between two random fantasy baseballers.  “Cockcroft has said he doesn’t like Cano this year.”  “But ESPN has him 34th overall.”  “Yeah, doesn’t apply when talking about Cockcroft.”  “So, when does it apply?”  “When talking about ESPN.”  “But Cockcroft is at ESPN”  “Yeah, still doesn’t apply.”  “Can you explain that?”  “Nope.”  Then heads explode.  Consensus rankings are done by committee.  Only thing ever done better by committee is jerk seasoning.  Now, while you might think ESPN’s rankings have a ton of jerk seasoning, they are just an indecipherable mess.  But why bring up all of this when I’m about to take a blowtorch to Yahoo’s 2017 fantasy baseball rankings?  Thanks for asking, clunky expositional question!  Yahoo has consensus rankings, but they also show their work.  Each ‘pert is accounted for in their rankings.  This is already much better than ESPN.  You can at least see what Pianowski, Funston, Behrens and Triple D are thinking individually.  This, of course, doesn’t mean I agree with all of their rankings, but at least I can point to how they came to their consensus.  Anyway, here’s where my 2017 fantasy baseball rankings differ from the 2017 Yahoo fantasy baseball rankings:

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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.

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The Giants are one of the more unheralded organization’s in sports when you step back and consider the immense success they’ve achieved over the past 10 years. Yet they seem to rarely get credit when talking about the top teams of the last decade. And from a player development standpoint they’re just as underrated. While they’re certainly no juggernaut on par with the Astros, Red Sox, and Dodgers of the world; they’ve done a good job of developing a solid core of players, including two of the best at their respective positions in Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. However, in recent years the Giants have been short on high impact prospects, instead churning out role players, and back end of the rotation pitchers. While not much has changed in that regard, there’s hope that Bryan Reynolds, Heath Quinn, and 2015 2nd rounder Andrew Suarez could give them a few above average major league players in the making. Real baseball Ralph…… Why do I care? Honestly, depending upon league size you don’t have to. But for those of you who are deep league junkies like myself, there’s a core of interesting fringe prospects that could offer sneaky value in the short term. So you’ll notice there’s no Tier 1: Specs On the Beach in this system, but they’re overflowing with Tier 2: Floorbored types, led by 2014 first rounder Tyler Beede. This falls in line with their overall draft strategy over the past few seasons, preferring high floor picks to those with higher ceilings. I think this year’s crop strayed from that mantra a little in the later rounds but I’m sure San Fran will boring them up. Okay, now that I’ve attached one hundred qualifiers to this intro, let’s talk some prospects! It’s the Top San Francisco Giants Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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