I’ve been waiting here at my computer crunching advanced sabremetrics in hyper-suspended cryogenic animation since we last spoke a la Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers, and yes, that was 100% an effort to shoe horn two of Hollywood’s most famous people into my lede for clicks. I may have had six months off, but I still know how to get those sweet, zesty page views. San Diego Padres outfielder slash hot shot prospect slash fastest man alive, Manuel Margot showed many why he’s so highly touted last night with a 2-for-4 night, including two home runs out of the lead off spot. So what happened while I was gone? The Cubs won what, you say? No way! And who is president? You are messing with me. Another Drake album!? How does he have the time? Well, Manny Margs is now slashing .263/.333/.632 with two homers, three RBI and a stolen base on the young season. Wait, did someone say–stolen base? Yeah, you did, ya joker. Ess Bees are basically the reason you drafted Margot. This doode can fly. The big return for San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel trade, he stole 30 bases in 517 ABs at AAA (.304/.351/.426). His speed and defense should ensure he gets plenty of playing time this year, and leading off for the ‘Dres makes him a player to own. A razzball preseason sleeper, he’s under 50% owned in ESPN leagues right now, but I see that number climbing real quickly after last night’s performance. Like, do your best Manuel Margot impression and go grab him quickly. Grey told you to BUY and if you got a need for speed pick him up before I do!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After fourteen drafts/auctions I am finally done selecting players. It was a long (and tiring) stretch of two weeks, but I don’t regret one thing. Although give me a few more days of watching my pitchers get knocked around and I might have a change of heart. The aforementioned drafts consisted of four points league auctions, one points league snake draft, five various mock drafts with the fantasy baseball gurus over at CBS, and four Razzball Commentator Leagues, concluding with the Razzball Experts league. Towards the end, my selections almost began to feel robotic. Something akin to a human auto-drafter. And while we’re discussing auto-drafting, I’d like to announce that I hate auto-drafters. Not the actual person, but the act of auto-drafting. Unless you’ve actually taken the time to legitimately rank your players, your presence (or lack there of) at our draft annoys me. And if you end up with two or more catchers or a handful of middle relievers/closers I’m talking about you.

Of all the drafts/auctions I participated in the one I’d like to discuss is the experts points league auction for the league known as The Points League. I’ve accepted that points leagues are the red-headed step child of fantasy baseball, but the bottom line is that many do play the format. Despite this fact most “experts” refuse to give points leagues much, if any, attention. And if they are in a points leagues, they generally don’t publicize as much. I bet the number of closet points league players is staggering. It’s 2017 people, you can come out of the closet.

A few weeks back I decided I was going to attempt to organize an experts points leagues by inviting some very smart, and mostly respected, fantasy baseball analysts/writers from across the online world of fantasy baseball. When all was said and done, and the league was filled, here are the fierce competitors vying to be the champion of The Points League:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So maybe the first day of a full slate didn’t go your way; the beauty of DFS baseball is that it is a daily grind. Tuesday offers an 8 game slate with some very solid pitching options such as Johnny Cueto, Carlos Carrasco, Lance McCullers Jr. and Matt Shoemaker. One young arm that stands out and could provide options to build around, though, is Sean Manaea. Priced only at $14,800, Sean allows you to pay up for some top bats. Manaea was the top Pitching prospect in the Oakland A’s organization last year before getting called up at the end of April. His season was the tale of two halves as he had a rocky start to his career. Carrying a 5.24 ERA through his first 12 starts, he was able to turn it around in his final 12 starts and recorded a 2.67 ERA, finishing with a 3.86 ERA for the year. The promising prospect looks to improve and become the Ace for the A’s. He is squaring off vs. the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night, an offense that can be neutralized. They ranked towards the middle of the pack in most offensive categories last season. Oakland is a -110 favorite and the run line is set at 7.5, not a lot of offense is expected. With that, lets take a look at the rest of the picks.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m not a woman.
I’m not a man.
I am something that you refer to as Fantasy Master Lothario.
I’ll never beat you (except in fantasy, that is my pledge).
I’ll never lie (except about how much I once liked Josh Rutledge).
And you’re evil but unless Rougned Odor disappoints I’ll forgive you!
Cause baseball will start 4 2!

*takes a long inhale* Can you smell the freshly cut grass?  No, because it’s still freezing in half the country?  Where’s your climate change now, Al Gore?!  I’m so hyped up about Opening Day, I’m slangin’ bean pies like Ice Cube and picking up and dropping catchers for s’s and g’s!  *goes to my Yahoo fantasy team page*

All right, so I guess I’m not making changes to my Yahoo team on this glorious of splendiferous days.  This day that is more beautiful than Giancarlo’s tukis.  This day that is the most frou-frou of all catchpennies!  Okay, I think my thesaurus steered me wrong on that last one.  On a sappy level, this was a weird offseason, and I’m glad to put the real world in my rearview mirror for six glorious months, and worry about nothing but winning as many fantasy baseball leagues as I can, and helping everyone along the way.  Now who was it again that had Greg Bird (0-for-4, but batted third; yes, you should own him) ranked higher than everyone else?!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holy moly, are we talking actual live MLB players past their limits this week? Yessiree Bobby Jimmy! Michael Halpern the smooth, and debonair brains behind Imaginarybrickwall.com, and yours truly bust into our Top Dynasty Targets for 2017. While we do blur the lines of reality, and talk some major leaguers, we don’t leave you hanging on the prospect front. It’s an all out attack on the senses. Seriously, this episode is so good you can both smell and taste it. Yummy seafood chowder! Am I selling hard here? Good, because in all truthiness, this is the episode where you get a new Ralph, a subdued Ralph. A Ralph who writes about himself in the third person. Maybe I always do that. We go in on everyone from Marcus Stroman to Tyler O’Neill, it’s the whole lot of dynasty values. So take heed, listen up, and check out the latest episode of the Razzball Prospects Podcast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to take a new approach with this post.  No, not because I’m typing with my elbows, but becooooze I’mmmm ryping–Okay, I am typing with my elbows.  On the heels of drafting my third team, I realize there’s some players I absolutely would draft and some I just won’t.  It’s not that I don’t like these players.  Well, some of them, but there’s just some players I won’t draft due to their ADP and where I’m looking to draft at any given moment.  It occurred to me when I was about to draft Carlos Carrasco (prayer hexagon, please) in the fifth round.  Top guys on the board at the time from my 2017 fantasy baseball rankings were Polanco, Myers, Segura, Kyle Seager, Arrieta and deGrom.  I already had two outfielders, so that eliminated Polanco for me; I called Jake Arrieta overrated; I wouldn’t draft deGrom, per my top 20 starters, and I really needed a starter.  I wish I had three picks at that point, because I like Myers and Seager and don’t fully hate Segura, though that price is high.  So, if this is how the 5th round shakes out, how can I draft Myers, Segura, Seager or Polanco this year?  It just seems like it’s not happening.  No matter if I like them or not.  Then, I thought deeper about my situation like I was KRS-One, and realized there were dozens of players I could’ve chosen at that point.  Hundreds of players, really.  I mean, only 60 players were off the board.  Couldn’t I have drafted so many other players?  Actually, no, I couldn’t.  Or, I guess better, I wouldn’t.  In my top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball, there’s approximately 20 players I’m drafting after the top 25 overall and before we’re out of the top 100.  Why after the top 25?  Because in the top 25, I’d take anyone.  Technically, I won’t draft Kershaw where I have him ranked because he’ll be drafted already, but now you’re quibbling, you quibbler!  Anyway, here’s twenty players I’m drafting in the top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Evan Longoria is a rare case. In a world of free agency and trades, Longoria has stayed with the Tampa Bay Rays for nine seasons, ever since he was drafted third overall in the 2006 draft. That’s some serious commitment. If I wanted to talk about a lack of commitment, I’d make a low-brow reference to Tony Parker and Eva Longoria. Heyo!

A three time all-star, Longoria used to be one of the first third baseman drafted. However, people tend to gravitate towards youth, sometimes valuing youth over established production. Longoria can still provide some very solid production, and at a discount with his current ADP.

The example I’ll provide is a comparison between Longoria and a fellow third baseman, Kyle Seager. Seager is a great hitter for the Mariners, and is being drafted highly. I’ll show that Longoria should provide similar stats to Seager, at a discounted ADP.  I’ll be examining the last four years of production for both players, which are strikingly similar…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Your classic 12 team, 25 man roster format, will sift through 300 players in creating the other 11 competitors to conquer for fantasy glory. Once you kick it up a notch to 15 teams, rosters start looking uniquely constructed, especially yours, if you choose to wait a little bit longer on pitching in favor of all the electric bats on display in the top 100 – I’m looking at you Dominic Brown.

I’ve paid extra attention this offseason to some deep starting pitchers, which in early drafts, I have gladly targeted at their current price tags to create some SP depth. These guy are somewhat overlooked, placed in the 300+ sphere in Razzball’s top 500 rankings, and sure to give you heart palpitations come April 2nd and beyond. Why care about them? Well, it really only takes one or two of these guys to hit and you’re staring at a top 40 SP that you paid a Jered Weaver price tag for.

That tag apparently says $3m on it too. Wait, wasn’t that what Dellin Betances got in his horror story arbitration hearing over the weekend? Something seems a bit off. If Randy Levine thinks Betances is surely worth less than $5m, I can’t imagine his thoughts on Jered Weaver.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?