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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Fact. Everybody loves January Grey. In December you get Santa Claus and in January you get Grey. Instead of the jolly fat man, you have the jolly mustache man. Well… guess who’s making his January debut, has two thumbs and loves Blow Pops? That’s right, “this guy”! I actually don’t like Blow Pops, but I wasn’t sure it would get past our editors had I said “blowjobs”. I’m sure at least two of my ten readers from last year were wondering if I’d be back in 2016. Well, the suspense is now over. December Grey offered me the opportunity to continue sharing my immature and opinionated “points” of view and I accepted. I considered taking my talents to South Beach (espn.com), but then I remembered that they suck. So do many of the other sites and blogs out there “on the line“. Razzball is where the cool kids hang out.

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I sure wish Grey would do his 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Wait, I am Grey and this is those rankings.  Holy crapballs, this is the greatest day ever!  Now, only 400,000 words more until I finish my top 400 and I’ll be done.  Worst day ever!  Damn, that excitement was fleeting.  Well, not for you because you don’t have to write all the rankings.  You lucky son of a gun!  I wish I were you… *wavy lines*  Hey, why am I balding and wearing sweatpants?  *wavy lines*  Hmm, maybe we’re okay with who we are.  Now before we get into the top 10 for 2016 fantasy baseball (though I imagine every single one of you has skipped this intro paragraph), I’m gonna lay some ground rules.  First, keep your hands and legs inside the trolley.  Second, send me all your money.  Damn, tried to trick you!  Okay, here’s where you follow us on Twitter.  Here’s where you follow us on Facebook.  Here’s our fantasy baseball player rater.  Here’s our fantasy baseball team name generator.  Here is all of our 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2016 fantasy baseball.  And here is a picture of my son.  What a punim!  You may not get all of those links in such a handy, easy-to-use format ever again this year, so make proper note.  (Unless you just go to the top menu on this page that says “Rankings” and click it, but semantics, my over-the-internet friend, semantics.)  Now my expositional half insists I breakdown some generalizations about these 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  The 2016 fantasy baseball rankings will be an ever-evolving mass like the blob.  This fantasy baseball top 10 for 2016 list is as of right now and could potentially change with a big injury or Mike Trout quitting baseball because he’s bored with being the best and wants to play competitive Mahjong.  So while it is the 2016 fantasy baseball gospel, take it with a tablet of salt.  Tomorrow we will cover the rest of the top twenty for 2016 fantasy baseball, then we will go around the horn with a top 20 list for every position.  Then for pitchers and outfielders, I’ll turn the dial to 100.  Listed with each player are my 2016 projections.  Did I consult with anyone else who does projections?  It would be ignorant not to, but, in the end, these are my projections.  Players need 10 games at a position to get included in the positional rankings.  Finally, as with each list in the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, I will be mentioning where I see tiers start and stop.  I look at tiers like this, if Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt are in the same tier, it doesn’t matter if one guy is ranked 2nd and one guy is ranked 3rd, they’re both very close.  It comes down to personal preference.  I would prefer the guy at number two better than the guy at three, but you do you, I’ll do me and let’s hope we don’t go blind.  Anyway, here’s the top 10 for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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What a wild year for the Astros. They made the playoffs, called up their star shortstop Carlos Correa, and made some big trades that have changed the look of this farm heading into 2016. It’s still very strong and full of great fantasy options, but just look at the list of players who left this system – Brett Phillips, Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Domingo Santana, Rio Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano. Not to mention losing Delino DeShields in the rule five draft and the quality graduations. That kind of hit would cripple most systems, and yet here we are with still one of the best farms in the game right now. Last year’s draft netted the Astros two top bats in Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, and they saw a big breakout in A.J. Reed, who could be in line to play first base for Houston early in the 2016 season. It’s a good time to be an Astros fan.

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We’ve (Me’ve) have already gone over the top 20 catchers, top 20 1st basemen, top 20 2nd basemen and now it’s time for the top 20 shortstops for 2015 fantasy baseball.  It’s fun to see how many people read this in a way that makes them think this is for next year.  Let’s read it like them real quickly, “Top 20 shortstops…Tulo too low, Andrus too high, Lindor too low, how do I make a comment that illustrates my snideness about what an idiot I think Grey is without incurring the wrath of others so I can still ask a trade question in two months without any hard feelings?  Maybe I’ll just say a name with a question mark and that’ll be enough to inform Grey that I think he’s a moron, but vague enough to not set off others.”  Those people, who I’m sure aren’t reading this opening, are the true highlight of the offseason.  Here’s a comment for them to post, “Yunel???”  To recap, this final ranking 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 shortstops for 2015 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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It’s been a great year, and it’s been a pleasure talking to you all throughout the course of the season. But as much as I thank you for all the comments, feedback and conversation over the year, I have to thank all my favorite plays this season for the joy, and sometimes heartburn, they gave me.

SP: Zack Greinke, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale: Some nights I gave the ball to Greinke with no hope to cash in my lineups. The bats were cold, the chips were down…all was lost. But Greinke came through anyway, all season long. First month Kluber had the underlying metrics without the results, mid-season Kluber found the groove and made late season Kluber jealous. And Sale….well, nice knowing that it never mattered how many runs you have up, because those Ks….those sweet Ks, always delivered. Thanks, fellas.

C: Kyle Schwarber: The Swarb has a warm back rub when the day was so tense. Sweet, delicious power in a catcher, forever eligible on DraftKings. The stuff cash was made of.

1B: David Ortiz: Last season he led in both hard hit rating and expected power and he spent the last 2/3 of the season getting back to that. Never age, Papi, never age.

2B: Luis Valbuena, Cesar Hernandez: Valby has been a vs. RHP crutch since his time in Chicago last year. He goes for the downs every time up and does it enough to make it worth rostering him, though he cost a bit more as time progressed. Cesar was a sub-3K dynamo for far too long, ripping base hit and steals at the top of the Phillies lineup. Cesar the Great? He sure was.

SS: Carlos Correa, Andres Blanco: Correa came up and raked and hardly ever stopped. His price eventually rose to All-Star heights, but he was fun to own for long time. and Andres Blanco is my favorite vs. LHP masher at SS and is always priced like he’s homeless. Gotta love the vs. LHP Phillies.

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yangervis Solarte: ARod was fairly modestly priced all season and early on, he was a monster and great fun to roster as the Yankees were crushing. Solarte started leading off in San Diego and was a base hit, hard hit metrics darling and paid off often at his price tag, which always hovered around 3K.

OF: From Joey Butler and Grady Sizemore to Nelson Cruz and Mike Trout all the way through The Grandy Man, JD Martinez and Gerardo Parra, the Milwaukee version, the outfield produced so much good times, it’s hard to single anybody out. Thanks fellas.

Let me know who your favorites were in the Comments area and enjoy the last couple of days of baseball. I’m going to treat the Saturday slate as if these teams will all give a darn, but check the lineups for fun and games. Thank you all!

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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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Despite a season of disappointment and injury, Stephen Strasburg won me my points league championship. As one of my keepers coming into this season, I was excited for the potential of a Cy Young campaign. Instead what I got was a season of heartache and despair as he spent more time on my bench than he did in my lineup. In his last three starts however Strasburg threw a total of 23 innings, striking out 37 batters, walking 3 and yielding only 2 earned runs. During that three game stretch he scored 103 fantasy points for an average of 34.33 points per start. I’m happy when I get 25 points from a start. Just when I thought I had my keepers figured out for next season, Strasburg has to go and do this and put his name solidly back into the mix. On a side note, a few weeks back I suggested he grow a Bumgarner-like beard in hopes of helping him find his lost ways. Instead he seems to have shaved himself clean and I am thrilled with the result it has had on his performance. I just re-read that sentence and it can certainly take on a different meaning.

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Thomas Pham is a 27-year old rookie who has made the most of his first month in the big leagues. Big Magoo wrote about him on Tuesday, saying “Enjoy the fling while it lasts, but be wary of a long-term commitment.” And I completely agree! I don’t think that Pham will be a viable option in shallow mixed leagues next year.

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Can he do it? Yes, he pham! Remember those great Jorge Cantu chants? Jorge can’t hit a home run! Yes, he Cantu!

My initial reaction was: could this be a Charlie Blackmon scenario? Blackmon’s first full season came at the age of 27, when he batted .288/.335/.440 with 19 bombs. But, Blackmon had already had plenty of major league action to that point, and his skillset was generally superior to Pham’s. So, I slapped myself and recognized that Pham is a perfect playoff schmotato and nothing more. Given that information, Pham has absolutely crushed over the past two weeks, posting a 1.350 OPS with 4 homers and 12 RBI. At this point in the year, you need to grab onto these hot streaks. And, Pham’s hot streak is molten right now.

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“All year.  All.  Year.  I’ve been starting Jeff Samardzija in one 15 team league.  It’s an NFBC league so I couldn’t drop him (there’s no waivers).  It’s not a great league to bench starters.  I had options like Colby Lewis and Adam Warren.  Not great options.  But, finally, yesterday, I decided enough was enough.  If I was going to lose, at least I would lose with Samardzija out of my lineup.  So, Samardnuts goes out and throws a one-hitter (9 IP, o ER, 1 Hit, Zero Walks, 6 Ks).”  That was how I concluded the story to the doctor when I first ended up in the mental asylum.  Samardzija is actually easier to type while wearing a straitjacket.  Coincidence?  Immediately following the story, I cackled myself to sleep in a puddle of my own bodily fluids.  I’m not even sure what fluid it was.  I’m guessing urine, but you got me on specifics.  As we know, earlier this year Oxford Dictionary replaced &@*^&*@%! that connotes a curse word with Samardzija, and I can think of nothing more fitting than screaming SAMARDZIJA!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I start my lineups these days in one place: the starting pitcher. They’re the fulcrum upon which all things must work. You can find way more diamonds in the rough among the hitters than you can on the hill, so it behooves you to focus on this position first before attacking the rest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t target hitters, especially when there are Coors games and the like, but those hitters aren’t going to lift you as high if there is a SP in your slots working a negative number.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should just pop the first two pitchers you come to in the salary list and then mine the lineups for values. That happens sometimes, but what you should really do is look at the SP trends, matchups, splits, parks, swinging strike and K-rates to whittle down the slate to a few good men you could live with for the night.

Oh I’ve gone through this process and ended up with some strange birds on the hill. There was a night this season where Joe Blanton, patron saint of gas cans, actually went into Safeco and helped me to a nice payday. Recently, even, Kris Medlen has been helpful with his low salary and decent performances, allowing me to target more prime bats.

As I look at the slate for Wednesday, I was hoping I could log on, take a quick glance and know where I was going, but I couldn’t. This was because the best two SP on the slate happened to be the highest paid as well:

David Price, SP: $12,500

Jake Arrieta, SP: $14,000

Price in Atlanta and Arrieta in Pittsburgh were, at first glance, the best SP, so I had to dig deeper just to be sure and, sure enough, they came through the process on top.

Since they are so high priced, about 6K more than I like to dedicate to the cause, I didn’t automatically ink them in the lineup until I could see if there was indeed enough value in the hitters to make it work. Looking down the list, it was clear that I could roster two or three Phillies, who can hit a lefty fairly well and have a nice home park, to make it happen. Facing Gio Gonzalez, who has a mid 4s SIERA and nearly 800 OPS vs. righties over the last 30 days also made it easy to go that route.

So I did. It looks like a newb move, rosting the top two SP of the night, but you have to trust your process. Other nights, I would lay up short well short of this $$ commitment at SP, but tonight, it’s pay up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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?