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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My name is Didi. My world is fire and blood. I also have some pop in my bat, and play excellent defense. I wear this metal mask on my face so I can field grounders with my teeth. I wear one shoulder pad so I can lean into the batters box, and I rescue the most beautiful virgins in my Dystopian future because I have nothing better to do. I also play for the New York Yankees, drive giant spiked vehicles and enjoy blowing things up. Didi Gregorius stayed hot Friday night going 2-for-4 with his ninth home run and 4 RBI. After struggling most of the season, the Gregorius D.I.D. has been Born Again late in the season. In the past two weeks, he’s batting .408 with 11 runs, 3 homers, 16 RBI and a .463 OBP. Grey told you to BUY Didi last week, but he’s still less than 30% owned in most leagues, so I’m telling you again. I could blame Yasiel Puig for my season’s struggles. I could blame Stephen Strasburg. I mean, I have so many people to blame! But there’s no time for that. Like Mad Max, now’s the time for balls to the wall action. Now’s the time for silver spray paint on the lips and shouts of “Witness me!” You’re trying to win this fantasy thing, right? Well, now’s the time to grab the hot bats like Didi Gregorius or the guitar-flame guy, and ride them to your championship.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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The King has returned to Middle Earth, to rule over the hobbits and elves and the other woodland friends. His name is Bryce Harper, and he will dole out fiery OPS vengeance upon any foolish enough to oppose him. Yes, friends, Harper, our long-time OPS champion, has enacted his fury this past week, going 10-for-23 with 5 homers and 6 RBI. His OPS for this period was a gorgeous 1.753. If Harper doesn’t win the NL MVP award, something is very wrong with the BBWAA. Harper has the 2nd highest OPS all-time for a 22-year old, behind only Teddy Ballgame. Almost more impressively, if the season ended today, Harper’s OPS would be the highest since Barry Bonds’ in 2004 (Bonds had an absolutely inhuman 1.422 OPS).

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Since the All-Star break, Joey Votto is hitting .399 with a .576 OBP.  His season line is 27 HRs, 70 RBIs, 81 runs, slashing .316/.457/.567.  Or as Reds manager, Bryan Price, would say, “I want to sew a sock puppet in Votto’s likeness, then put it on my c*** and–”  Okay, maybe we shouldn’t ask Bryan Price, he can’t keep things PG-13.  “PG-13 is for a man with a Cavapoo puppy.  Real men take their Votto-faced, sock puppet and pay an old stripper to suck its f****** yarn until those little f******** eye rolly glue-on things that you bought at Michaels Arts & Crafts store roll up into its f******* sock eye sockets.”  Yesterday, Votto had another big day in a 2nd half of lovely — 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 27th homer.  To recap, or just tell you for the first time, Rudy almost drafted Votto in the 2nd round of Tout Wars (it’s an OBP league).  Rudy ended up getting Donaldson and is in first place, so I’ll be sure to bid a penny on eBay for the world’s smallest violin for him.  But for 2016 fantasy, I have to think Votto is right there in the 2nd round again for all leagues, OBP or not.  Good for Joey, making pitchers ‘roo the day!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Cubs traded a player to be named later for Austin Jackson.  Assuming the player to be named later isn’t anyone on their current roster, this was a solid trade for them from a real baseball perspective.  Real baseball has more spitting than fantasy baseball, but about the same amount of scratching.  The areas that are scratched are similar too.  Like just below the FUPA.  Austin Jackson clouds up the Cubs’ current roster in all the worst ways.  Can one team have too much of a good thing?  The short answer is yes.  The long answer is yeeeeeeeees.  Now, Coghlan (1-for-4), Fowler (2-for-5 and his 15th homer), Schwarber (1-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI) and maybe Baez, when he’s called up, are squeezed for playing time.  If anyone can make this work, it’s Maddon.  Sadly, only Maddon will understand how, why, what and every journalistic question as to when Jackson or anyone will play.  Oh, and Soler will return shortly too.  And by “shortly,” I don’t mean the manner in which Altuve does something.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Domingo Santana homered again last night going 1-for-3 with his fifth dinger, his third homer in six games since debuting with Milwaukee. Domingoes deep–again! In the minors, they called him Domingo the Flamingo, because he could hit homers standing on just one leg. OK, I made that up, but it sounds cool, and clearly Santana has some serious power. That much I promise you I’m not making up. In AAA this year, Sunday Santana hit 18 homers with 77 RBI, batting .333 and slugging .573. His .426 OBP was also real nice. Domingo was the major return in the Carlos Gomez trade, and who are we to doubt those delicious Houston prospects at this point. Santana has been real smooth since joining the Brewers, and those in need of some power should definitely take a look. Grey told you to BUY, and now I’m telling you. Three home runs in six days?! Get outta here! Extrapolate that! Calculating…calculating…calculating…he could hit you 20 home runs from now until the end of September. Wait. No, math. That seems high. But still, if he continues at this pace, 8-10 home runs from Santana the rest of the way is not as crazy as it sounds. Don’t get stuck standing on one leg! If you need pop, I’d take a flier on Domingo the Flamingo before he’s Domingoing, going, gone!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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*swirls a glass, takes a gulp. spits it back in a bucket*  “That’s vintage Justin Verlander,” said Kate Upton.  “Okay, this might sound gross, but can you spit into my mouth?”  That’s you getting up the nerve to say something to Kate Upton.  I just thought of a moneymaking idea for Shark Tank!  You stand outside of Comerica Park with a cardboard cutout of a naked Verlander and have people pay $10 to take a picture with him, pretending to be Kate Upton.  Oh, and no, this post isn’t an attempt to Bleacher Report up Google’s rankings by mentioning Verlander and Upton repeatedly, though it does seem that way…Verlander/Upton, Verlander/Upton and Verlander/Upten for the illiterates.  So, Verlander did look magnificent yesterday until the 8th inning when he began to tire, ending up with a one hitter –> 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (1 Hit), 9 Ks with an ERA at 3.45.  Big Magoo captured Verlander’s upside about two weeks ago with this post.  Worth reading, but the key part (cause I know, y’all can only read so much), “Since the All-Star break, Verlander’s 7.25 K/BB ratio is the 5th highest among qualified starting pitchers, and his 1.1 BB/9 is the 6th lowest.  He shares the same swinging strike rate (12.1%) as Jake Arrieta and Gerrit Cole over that span as well.  Now, excuse me as I go drain the weasel on a picture of Grey.”  Hey, wait a minute!  I didn’t remember that last part.  So, if Verlander is out there in your league, the one-hitter yesterday doesn’t seem to be a hirame.  Sorry, I just had sushi.  It’s not a fluke.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Jonathan Papelbon has a contract that insures that he remains the closer if he’s traded. He would likely be the closer in Washington even without that stipulation, but it’s so like Papelbon to have that in his contract. Should just call that the douche clause. To fix him, the Nationals should bring him into games where they’re up one run in the seventh and run him out there for three innings every night until his arm falls off. Sure, they’d cost themselves a closer and games, but isn’t spite worth it? I know it is when Cougs says she has a headache and I say, “Fine, I’m gonna sleep in the bathtub!” Sure, I could stay in the bed, or even opt for a couch, but the spite wouldn’t be driven home as well. Papelbon’s trade obviously kills all value for Drew Storen. Shame, his career feels like the exact opposite of Fernando Rodney. No matter how well Storen pitches every year he seems to lose the job for some unforeseen reason. Maybe he can figure out a way to work into his contract, “Must pitch after any white guy that is a terrible dancer whether that is Mark Madsen, Grey Albright or Papelbon.” Of course, in Philly, this means that Ken Giles gets his long-deserved chance to close for the Phils. All three games where they’re leading. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Late last night, Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays. Both hammys, his quads, his obliques, his elbow tendons, both groins. Why does he have two groins again? Maybe we don’t need to know. The Rockies getting rid of Tulo makes me think of when a kid is dropped off at the airport to fly alone. A flight attendant walks with the kid, trying to make conversation, waits with them at the gate, helps them into their seat, watches after them on the flight, escorts them off the plane and walks them to their uncle. Once the Rockies representative handed Tulo off to his uncle, Alex Anthopoulos, the Rockies representative went into the bathroom, did a line of blow and dialed the Rockies, “We got rid of him!!!” The Blue Jays longed to have a shortstop with two good legs. Sadly, they traded Jose Reyes to the Rockies, so now they still have a shortstop with one good leg, unless the deal includes Reyes leaving behind a hammy. Obviously, leaving Coors isn’t going to help anyone, but Tulo’s big problem has always been his health. If he stays healthy, the Blue Jays aren’t exactly the Kalamazoo Fightin’ Zebras playing in Petco. The lineup around him will be better, and he’ll get to face a junkload of terrible pitchers in the AL East. As for Reyes, he might not be long in Colorado, and if he is, then he gets a boost in value, until the Mile High air creeps into his hammys and does its worst. Reyes could now get back those extra five homers that seem to have disappeared from his usual batting line. Also, in this deal, LaTroy Hawkins went to the Jays. He was the flight attendant in the above scenario. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yasiel Puig might be the most polarizing player in major league baseball right now. Since making his MLB debut in June 2013, the 24-year-old Cuban defector’s off-the-field antics, such as repeatedly showing up late for games and displaying a questionable work ethic in the weight room, have angered fans and teammates alike. If you don’t believe me, just check out what some of his current and former teammates have to say about him. On the field, however, Puig has displayed the rare skill set of a five tool player – speed, power, the ability to hit for average, and throwing and fielding abilities. As fantasy baseball players, the first three skills (speed, power, contact) are the most pertinent, and Puig has certainly proven that he’s proficient in each of these key areas as a professional ball player.

Let’s take a look at his MLB career statistics to date:

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