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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Brad Rowland, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Atlanta Braves!

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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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It feels like the Tigers have been searching for a closer since Todd Jones retired — Percival, Valverde, Nathan, Soria.  They prey on dead meat so much, they’re more like the Vultures than Tigers. Papelbon recently was heard saying, “I am going to close forever.  Wait, are those Tigers’ front office people circling above me?  Crap!”  It’s too bad none of the Syrian refugees don’t have closing experience.  So, hopefully, the Tigers’ wait to find a closer is finally over.  Unless Bruce Rondon is reading this, then the wait has just begun.  Assuming Francisco Rodriguez doesn’t get off the plane in Detroit, see an Alburquerque jersey, think he’s in New Mexico, then beat the crap out of an American Airlines pilot for flying him to the wrong city, and get arrested by federal authorities for beating up an employee of a company with the word “American” in the name and get sent to Gitmo.  Sure, this sounds unlikely, not impossible though.  With K-rod sent to the Tigers, I’ll give him the projections of 4-2/2.69/1.02/66, 42 saves in 61 IP.  As for the Brewers, their closer now is Jeremy Jeffress, Will Smith or Corey Knebel, i.e., the offseason is still young and they could trade for someone.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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The Cardinals never not produce prospects out of nowhere.  Double negatives don’t not be damned.  Or is that be damned?  There’s likely hundreds if not thousands (maybe five or six) prospects that have come out of nowhere for the Cardinals.  The big one I can think of is Albert Pujols.  Pujols was originally signed as the 402nd pick overall and turned down an offer of $10,000 to play instead in the National Baseball Congress, against Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi.  Finally, he signed with the Cardinals when no one else wanted him.  We know how that turned out.  Jason Motte was a 19th round selection in 2003, and he was still closing games this year (though for the Cubs).  In 2001, the Cards drafted a little known shortstop, Michael J. Fox, in the last round and he had a fine career in sitcoms and starring film roles.  So, Thomas Pham was drafted in the 16th round of 2006 and came up with little fanfare.  “Little fanfare?”  No way, this is St. Louis baseball, we have the best fans yadda whatever!  Pham was considered a fringe prospect at best and a Thai beef salad at worst.  Could’ve Pham just got lost in the shuffle?  In 2014, he had 10 HRs, 20 SBs, hitting .324 in Triple-A.  Then, with no room to play in the majors, he went back to Triple-A this year and hit 6 HRs with 9 SBs and a .327 average in 48 games.  He’s likely more interesting in fantasy than real baseball, but, guess what, you numbnuts, we’re talking about fantasy.  For 2016 fantasy baseball, I could see him being a 14 HR, 25 SB, .280 hitter, who gets a huge boost if he stays at the top of the order as he’s been doing thus far.  For right now, Pham’s hitting near-.400 in the last week, and taking this back to the beginning with Pujols, he’s in the two-hole with his Phamy jewels.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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For many a year, it’s been well documented that Jorge De La Rosa was a bit of a homeschooler. Of course, that in and of itself isn’t something that would make a person curious; plenty of pitchers have road splits that make them look pedestrian. But Jorge is a Rocky and two things go with that. One, your bats are terrible away and two, your pitching is terrible at home but Jorge is not about that life. He’s had a ton of success at Coors Field which makes my call maybe seem odd given the context but Jorge is doing a bit of a reverse of his already seemingly reversed splits so far this year. Over 32.1 IP this year, Jorge has held his opponents to a 1.67 ERA to go along with 26 K. I know, those Ks don’t sound appealing but they just got a nice bump via the opponent in the Padres. Despite being a heavily righty lineup, San Diego boasts the highest K% against lefty pitchers in all of the MLB and they’re near the bottom in wRC+ and ISO against them to boot. Starting a road pitcher is never safe, of course, so I’m just recommending Of The Rose for tourneys only but there I could see putting him as your SP1 cuz you’re gonna get another cheap option from me below. Ooooh, foreshadowing! So lets not dawdle any longer. Here’s my hot takes for the start of the second half of the DK MLB slate…

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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As soon as you’re finished with this post, I want you to close your laptop, step outside and look at a bird in flight. Pick up a flower, breathe in its fragrance, sneeze from your allergies, wave to a neighbor and close your robe because you’re not just waving with your hand. How does that feel? Exhilarating? Then your dedication sucks! It should be a total bore. You should be more interested in whether or not I’m going to have a top 100 for the 2nd half of fantasy baseball tomorrow than what your significant other has been doing for the last three and a half months. Luckily, I will have a top 100 tomorrow, and your significant other can remain your fantasy team. Okay, enough hubbub on the tomfoolery! Yesterday, Rob Refsnyder went 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer as the Yankees called him up on Saturday to be their 2nd baseman. My middle infielder slot on all of my teams feels like the old adage, “Ridden hard and put away wet.” If a fantasy team slot could catch an STD, my MI slot would be it. There might not be a starter on any team that I haven’t tried once, thanks, Rendon! Refsnyder had seven homers and ten steals with a .290 average in Triple-A and looking at him, I’m immediately reminded of Pedroia. In other words, goodbye, Jace Peterson, hello, Refsnyder! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Justin Bour celebrated the birth of our nation Friday night by going 2-for-3 with his 10th home run, making that four straight games he’s homered. Bour is hotter than a roman candle! He’s hotter than a screaming mimi, on top of a snicker blaster with a sparkling spleen splitter igniting a whistling kitty chaser! Thems fireworks, y’all!  I will try to keep it short and sweet today, we’ve all got American beer to drink, things to set on fire, second amendment rights to practice, BBQs to ruin and so, so many hot dogs to eat, but Justin Bour deserves a moment of your short, sweet American attention span. He is hitting .412 in the past week with 4 jacks and 8 RBI. The rookie struggled, batting just .138 with two homers in June, but with the oh so tragic injury to Giancarlo Stanton, Bour has slid into the clean up spot in Miami and it has agreed with him so far. Overall the season numbers aren’t that bad either, he’s slashing .271/.350/.521 with 21 RBI. Grey told you to BUY this hot little potato, especially if you need more power. No one is saying he’s going to replace Stanton in your line up or your heart, but with the Marlins offense in need a big boost, Justin Bour could be the 6’5, 250 pounds of All-American hero that your fantasy team and our nation, needs right now.

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

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Kennys Vargas was demoted to Double-A. Shouldn’t it be Double-Kenny? It’s official, the Twins hate Vargas. They gave him all of about ten days to prove himself this time around. Maybe they just get off on killing Kennys. Oh, well, that’s all I wanted to say in the lede. Nothing else. Just gonna pick my cuticles until I get to that “Anyway, here’s what else” jazz that I always write. Oh, I guess I could mention Miguel Sano is being called up. I buried the lede worse than Kendall Graveman! First Buxton and now Sano, this is the most excitement Minnesota’s seen since Prince was spotted at a Cold Stone Creamery ordering raspberry sorbet, and, without missing a beat, the cashier said, “And if it was warm, you’d order much more,” then high-fived his oblivious co-worker. I just gave you my Miguel Sano fantasy. I wrote it with an 80’s glam Sharpie. I’ll add one thing to that. Grab him right now! He could hit .180 with power or he could hit .250 with power, but, either way, at corner infidel, you do worse, as my Jewish grandmother would say. After saying, “Oy, it’s hot in here.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Dude’s on fire. No. Need better! He is a high-speed torrent download of a yule log burning. Need better! He is Smokey the Bear at a Porno for Pyros concert, wearing earbuds and listening to Firestarter by Prodigy. Need better still! He’s a pyrotechnician smacking a sparkler out of your hand and giving you instead the detonator for the Statue of Liberty’s 4th of July celebration fireworks. Yesterday, Mitch Moreland went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and his 13th and 14th homers, and now has five homers in four games and six homers in six games. I already told you yesterday that Moreland has been better than Brandon Belt, Lucas Duda and Brandon Moss, and some other corner infidels, according to our Player Rater. That’s on the year, not in the last week. In the last week, Moreland’s been better than everyone. Let’s take a hootie-hoo at who Moreland has more homers than on the year: Prince Fielder, Beltre (not close), Adam Jones, Big Papi, Tommy Tomstein, Freeman, Yoenis, Billy McDugal, Kris Bryant, Tulo, McClutchin and Sandoval. Sure, some of those guys I only named to rub salt in my own wounds — I hate you, Sandoval! — and other guys I mentioned don’t even exist, but Mitch don’t kill my vibe for the better part of the season now, and, if he’s available, I’d grab him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Just like Modest Mouse, this is good news for people who love bad news! Back today — and every Sunday of the season— is the weekly injury report. Here is this week’s injuries and health situations to keep an eye on.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: Cutch was removed after being plunked on the elbow from an errant Julio Teheran pitch in the first inning of Saturday’s game. An initial X-ray came back negative, though the club is set to reevaluate him at some point today. Over the past three seasons McCutchen has been struck by 28 pitches, tied for eighth most in the majors. Despite being pelted by inside pitches, he’s managed to appear in more than 145 games every season since 2010 and has been a durable and reliable offensive force. If Cutch does go on the disabled list, some time off for him to rest his legs may not be the worst thing as he’s recorded just four steals on six attempts. It’s possible he’s simply running less due to his spot in the lineup, but last year he nabbed 21 bags. The Pirates haven’t changed their overall run philosophy as heading into Saturday they’ve attempted the sixth most steals so the running game appears to be up to Cutch.

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