I think this will conclude this year’s rankings for all players, but with the way closer roles can change between now and Spring Training, finishing will be bountiful. There seems to be a big difference among experts in the top-10, and I am no different.  Also, the bottom tiers for the rankings are a “wait and see” proposition, as there are easily 7-8 teams with a closer by committee situation, or at best, a closer who is a retread of a retread.   Everyone knows who you are Fernando, you don’t have to stand up and raise your hand or shoot an arrow fictitiously at me.  So as we approach draft season and beyond, use this list for now, because the situations will be fluid from here on out.  As I promised two weeks ago, you will get a new list every two weeks, with a holds post (no it won’t be in different color for people who just skip the preface of an article) in betwix.  Get excited folks! Spring is sorta here, and with that comes all of Grey’s rankings, my closer and bullpen stuff, and basically every tool under the sun to help you be the best you can be.  Now get out there and win one for Flipper!

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That is probably the worst word when it comes to drafting or even trusting in a reliever in a bullpen for fantasy.  The guy could be a tax evader, steal lollipops from kids, or never wash his hands after using the lavatory.  It still wouldn’t matter, the stigma of being placed into a committee is just awful come draft day.  This happens every year when bullpens usually light on talent get paired down to barely usable pieces, or when players return from injury and are an unsure thing.  Then again, you get a weird situation like that in Cleveland…  It’s very familiar to last year’s draft day conundrum with that of the Yankees.  Both Cody Allen and Andrew Miller are draftable and draft worthy within the first 150 picks or so.  That number increases for players in “Net Saves” and Holds leagues, because they will steal from each other but on the positive end, one will get a hold and the other the save, and vice versa.  The only problem is that Cleveland, after being in the World Series, is a hot button team and both players have some helium to their names, Miller especially.  So drafting both is a good idea, stats-wise, but bad for team building it’s structure in other areas.  So my best advice is to look elsewhere, yes the stealing thing I mentioned helps you in leagues that contain Holds, but in leagues that don’t, it could be a sticky situation of frustration over saves.  Last year down the stretch, Miller wasn’t the closer very frequently.  Allen steered that ship.  This year, I think the secondary stats: K’s, ERA, WHIP, will all be there, but the counting stats will be split.  And since I talk about saves and holds, I am most definitely referencing the saves here.  So with their respective rankings spread between 100-130 for both guys, I think the best offense, or with a committee situation, is to grab someone ranked in same neighborhood guys like Ken Giles and Kelvin Herrera.  You may thank me later, but I do occasionally deserve the bird.  So instead of just going into the rankings this far into preseason, here is a cool little chart for you to reference. I will update this chart all preseason and will add some sleeper posts for both closers and holds.  So enjoy my friends!

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Greetings, friends. I hopped over to the football side of things once last year’s baseball season ended, but now I’m back. And apparently, I am such a disturbed individual that I am doing fantasy baseball mock drafts in early January. And, I am writing about them. And, well, I just wanted to start another sentence with and because it feels so wrong but so right at the same time. Anyway, moving on.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft, and we’re going to recap it here. This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1). As long as I did that math correctly, that is 23 spots.

Below, I will provide the results for the first six rounds and a give my thoughts for each round. I’ll do the same for rounds 7-12, 13-18, and 19-23 in subsequent posts. I’ll try to keep it brief. All we really care about are the results here, right? Feel free to tell me how awesome or crappy you think my team is, along with what you think were the best and worst picks of the draft or the different rounds…

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Red Sox made a huge splash yesterday trading away Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Michael Kopech for Chris Sale.  Red Sox must be appealing to Bernie Sanders with their rotation: two lefties named Sale and Price.  Dave Dombrowski sure does love to trade away his top prospects.  Dombrowski buys 10 copies of Baseball Prospectus every year, crosses out the ‘u,’ and barters them for two cartridges of Nintendo Baseball Stars.  Dombrowski used to have four young kids, until he traded them to a Mormon family for an honors student three months from graduating high school.  Dombrowski dreams of finding the Fountain of Youth so he can trade it for a veteran fountain.  I’m not going to compare Sale to Price even if the Jew in me wants to talk wholesale.  Price had concerning stats going into last year and is older.  Of course, some of Price’s concerning stats were a lower K-rate and a falling velocity on his fastball, which are two warning signs with Sale too.  Okay, maybe I will compare the two.  Sale’s fastball velocity went from 94.5 MPH to 92.8 MPH, while relying on it 7% more of the time.  You’re a big-time Razzball noob — Razzboob? — if you think I’m going to suggest you draft an ace, and Sale is no different.  I’m not about to say he’s going to fall off, but declining velocity, K-rate and rising xFIP is not an ace I’d be excited about.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 18-8/3.31/1.08/244 in 225 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Daniel Norris went 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 3.81.  Deserved better than a no decision, but he’s 23 years old, making $500,000, so who cares what he deserves?  I deserve equal pay for cracking jokes about fantasy baseball for six months!  *marching with a picket sign*  Sign reads:  BLOGGER = Better Living-wage Or Gainful Gifts, Earnings, Reimbursements *pull back to reveal I’m marching in my underwear with my dog humping my leg*  Stop, Ted!  I’m trying to make a point!  So, Norris looked terrific, but he’s had a vexing season.  Vexing, I tell ya!  He was put in middle relief after a back problem that sidelined in the spring, then he returned and was almost immediately sidelined with an oblique problem.  Why do we care?  Well, I wrote a sleeper post about him last year, saying, “He’s a sleeper, because he’ll likely be drafted late since he appears to be a year away, and, sadly, he might not just appear to be a year away, but he might actually be a year away, though he might appear to be a year away and not be a year away.  I’m the Grand Champion of putting “year away” in one sentence, by the way.  Norris is a pure upside play.  He could be a 4+ ERA guy that bounces between the rotation, the bullpen and the minors or a 2.75 ERA guy with truckloads of Ks.”  And that’s me quoting me!  I quote that, because I was exactly right (I couldn’t have been wrong since I hedged more than Sonic) and for 2017 I’m going to like Norris for the exact same reasons while being a year closer.  Dot dot dot.  To getting a living wage!  I’m Norma Rae!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You know how people write stuff on a grain of rice.  With that in mind, on Rich Hill‘s blister this is written, “Took a whole lot of tryin’ to get up that Hill — R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley.  I can’t believe I not only had room on this grain for an inspirational quote, but also room to attribute the quote to the wrong person and to also add in this meta comment about my inspirational quot–”  Damn, he wasn’t able to fit everything.  That’s the worst.  That’s like when you’re writing a birthday card to someone and you start writing a note only to get to the end and need to start writing super-tiny and curved to fit it in.  And that’s not the first time you’ve heard your curve is super-tiny.  Rich Hill was perfect on Saturday — 7 IP, 0 ER, 0 baserunners, 9 Ks — but, to be honest, Hill has been perfect for the last two years (though only 29 IP last year).  This year, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP with a 10.4 K/9 and 1.74 ERA over the past two years.  So, ya know, your usual ace you get about 120 IP from.  For 2017, it’s going to be hard to rank him much below the top 25 with the caveat that you’re only getting him for three to four months.  Makes you wish rice grains were just a tad bigger to fit all of the superlatives on there for Rich Hill.  Know what I mea– Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Not quite as spiritually moving as John Lennon, but imagine for a moment Jose Abreu were to actually put together two solid halves in the same year.  “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.  No ‘He’ll end up below Andrus,’ for half the year.  Above Andrus only this Jose guy.  Imagine Abreu playing a decent, full season like today.  Aha-ha…  Imagine there’s no countries.  It isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to drop or trade for, and no ‘Abreu’s so cold it’s like this hell has a fridge in it’ too.  Imagine all the people living to get a piece of…Abreu…  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!  I hope some day Abreu’ll be better than Andrus, and play an entire season as one.”  So, Jose Abreu hit two homers yesterday (3-for-7, 7 RBIs, and 21st and 22nd HRs), and he’s been great recently, but it’s hard to get that excited about a guy for 2017 who invariably takes three months off every year.  Can’t imagine he’s a top 25 player ever again.  You-WHO-OOH!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

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He was well hyped in advance of his final promotion, so much so that Prospector Ralph’s pleated khakis looked like a circus tent. To his benefit, Trea Turner deserved the hype in preseason, he had the youthful vigor and the stats to back it up.  Alas, he wasn’t ever promoted and we played the waiting game while cursing the very existence of Danny Espinosa.  Then he got promoted and it was for a two game stint, sadness for all parties involved.  So the waiting continued, and what we were so patiently awaiting for has been a 39-game stretch by the youngin that has him slashing .341/.366/.548, good for .914 OPS.  To me, this is going to be one of the lads next year that is completely over-drafted and at the same time under-drafted, but next year is next year.  What we want from him is everyday line-up ability and to continue to be the steal every fourth time on base and 7-over-the-last-15 type of hitter.  That is impressive in itself, now take the fact that he is in a stacked RBI producing line-up and over the last 30 games or so could be a top 2-3 option at his position adding his speed into the equation.  His 26 runs scored over the last 30 games played trails only Bryant, Blackmon, Dahl and Brian Dozier. He still needs to learn how to take a walk, but even at less then 3%, his OBP is sexy.  I can keep spewing details that you can just easily look up yourself, but it’s fun to point out how good someone is now and will be next year.  So SAGNOF away, and if by some oddity of the world he is available, go say hi and invite him on your roster.  Be weary that rosters expand midweek and some situations will change for some teams out of the race…

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The Astros offense had some fun with the Orioles pitching staff Friday and Saturday night, collecting a total of 32 hits and scoring 27 runs. Solar plexus! Now those are some rockets that would make NASA proud. George Springer lead the way going 7-for-9, with 2 home runs (24), 6 runs and 4 RBI. Jose Altuve was 5-for-10 with a home run (20),  Evan Gattis was 5-for-9 with a homer (19) and a stolen base, and rookie Teoscar Hernandez was 3-for-6 with 4 runs, a homer (2) and 3 RBI. Well, I guess I know one team that prefers the sticky swampiness of the Baltimore humidity in the air. Even with all Houston’s stars doing their part it was the rookie phenom, Alex Bregman, who really impressed me, going 6-for-11, with four runs, his third home run and five RBI. Oh, hello there. What did you say your name was again? Alex slashed .306/.406/.580 with 20 homers and 7 steals in 80 games at AAA, but struggled to start his MLB career a miserable 2-for-38. But the top-prospect has come on strong of late batting .317 with 3 homers, 13 runs, and 10 RBI over the past two weeks. He extended his hitting streak to five games Saturday night, and has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 contests. The best part? While all your real life non-internet friends are off drafting their fantasy football teams, Alex Bregman sits on the waiver wire available in over 70% of leagues. I don’t want to brag, man, but it sounds like most of you gave up on Bregman too soon and he’s just now getting going. Grey told you to BUY this week and I’d grab Bregman everywhere he’s available for some sweet Houston upside in an even sweeter Houston line up. Don’t make me Breg, man! This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw Friday and Saturday in fantasy baseball:Sv

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