Here’s what I said last year, “We’re gonna find out if the top 20 shortstops are as Ken Bonerific as the top 20 2nd basemen.  Hint:  they are.  Damn, I gotta work on building suspense.  That hint pretty much gives the whole kit away and tacks the kaboodle onto its back as it’s walking out the door.  Goodbye, kit and kaboodle, I just gave you away for nothing.”  And that’s me quoting me!  This year?  Not so much.  Without further Machado, 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 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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With the majority of my roto leagues signaling their solidarity, I’ve found myself enamored with 2018, more so than any other year of my fantasy baseball playing career. There is a point – in most leagues – where the tides of 2017 halt their shifty tendencies. No longer is that seventh place team making a four-spot jump over one weekend; no longer are you running to MLB.com’s shop to buy a shirsey of a player who just tagged three homers for your squad.

In these moments you no longer think of a player like Byron Buxton, Zack Godley, or Hunter Renfroe with wonder for his next two weeks, but instead fix keen eyes on any adjustments that might stick when the new year comes. Figuring out your level of trust with players like this is essentially mock drafting… with yourself… in your own head.

My last two columns on Razzball covered some guesses for hype-laden players and their 2018 ADP (here and here). Natural progression suggests that it’s now time for some mock drafting. Justin Mason of Friends with Fantasy Benefits wrangled some analysts and poof, we currently have FOUR mock drafts running. At the writing of this, each sits different pick intervals, with about 60 spots worth of picks between the freshest and most antique .

Follow the action as it unfolds. Notable participants include…

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Yesterday, Gabriel Ynoa threw a gem, 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 3.41 in just under 32 IP.  His name is pronounced EE-know-a.  As they say, the more you EE-know-a.  Ynoa was only at 94 pitches, so don’t you let Ynoa try for the complete game?  I mean, Ynot?  He looks like a number five starter, though on the Orioles that likely means a number three starter.  He can touch mid-90’s with his fastball, but he’s missing a decent breaking ball and tends to get beat up by lefties, like Fox News.  Though, better things may await him because the Mets traded him away.  He will likely come up a little short of the Mets’ all-time worst trade of Nolan Ryan, and even their 2nd worst trade of Amos Otis to the Royals for a prospect with a giant baseball head.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tim Anderson is a guy that I would glance at earlier in the season and then move on with my life and with our beloved Top 100. He is a nice young player and all, but he wasn’t spongeworthy. Now, though, we’re in the last couple weeks of the season, and homeboy is lighting it up. And more than just hitting, TA is running wild. He has six stolen bases in his last seven games after not running much at all this year, so he is providing SAGNOF value, as well.

Anderson has been so hot that he is your PR15 king this week, with a 17.18 rating. That stretch of games only includes two home runs, which should give you an idea of just how hot he has been at the plate in order to be able to record a 17+ PR15 with only two long dongs. Our boy is hitting everything in sight and swiping bags now.

If you are battling down the stretch in roto leagues, Anderson can help you while providing some SAGNOF. If you are battling it out in weekly H2H league playoffs, though, he doesn’t have the same kind of appeal. IF (read: big IF) he stays hot, he will help across the board except for power and possibly RBI, while helping with AVG, R, and potentially SB. Compared to the standard stiff on the waiver wires, he looks like a stud. But in terms of cross-category production and overall value, he does have a pretty low ceiling. Grab him for the hot streak, but don’t drop anyone of value for him if you can help it.

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Come hell or high water, Grey Albright and I will not stop until a Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast is delivered right to your doorstep. Or more accurately, right to your phone app. When the Singularity arrives, we’ll be able to upload it directly into your cerebrum, but until then, please bear with us while we work out some technical kinks due to switching recording software. We start the podcast by discussing the interesting fantasy seasons of Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Corey Seager, and how we project their numbers for 2018. Then, we talk about Yu Darvish’s relatively disappointing season and Robbie Ray’s breakout, before finishing the show by talking about some possible sleepers for next season, including Tim Anderson and Ian Happ. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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So, where does Mookie Betts go in 2018?  That’s what we all want to know, right?  That and WHAT TIME IS IT?!  Sorry, was listening to Steppin’ To The A.M.  I was not listening to Time to Get Ill, however, because I don’t like the Beastie Boys, but it might be more appropriate with The Bettsie Boy, Mookie.  Home run distance is a weird thing.  Well, maybe not weird, but hard to trust.  Yeah, that’s the ticket, said like that Jon Lovitz character.  In hindsight, it’s obvious.  Mookie had so many Just Enough home runs last year, of course, he’s not hitting as many this year, but I thought there would be enough mitigating factors to lessen Betts’ drop off.  He’s young — power still peaking; he’s in a good park — Pesky/Wall; the lineup — oh, that lineup.  Didn’t play out that way for power and average.  His average is nearly fifty points off of last year, and his power will end likely down about five homers from last year.  Not huge?  Well, that is around a 15% drop — even after his big game yesterday of 3-for-5, 6 RBIs and his 20th and 21st homer.  So, what does all this mean for next year?  I think he’s going to be undervalued, and I expect a bounce back of sorts.  Likely closer to a 27-homer guy than his 30+ last year, but there’s no way he hits near-.265 as he is right now.  He’s hitting as many line drives as last year, hitting the ball harder, in general, and a .267 BABIP.  He’s gotta be one of the unluckiest hitters this year.  He’s basically hitting line drives up the middle, but a squirrel is knocking it down into a fielder’s glove.  Maybe he’s not Mookie Best this year, but I’m not counting out Mookie Ballgame yet.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Thursday night marked the beginning of 2017-2018 concussion football season. If your fantasy baseball league lacked waiver activity prior to kickoff, I can only imagine the subsequent days will be as lively as this fan falling asleep in the fourth inning of a Yankees-Red Sox game back in 2015. Those who stick around care; they flaunt their championship around friends, family, pets, significant others, potential significant others – just kidding, please don’t do that – while their league mates consult countless websites wondering whether this stupid kicker, or this other stupid kicker is the better play. Don’t be that friend asking about a kicker, put your time into something more valuable.

Remember in high school when teachers preached earlier time investment for projects leading to better results? This column is the child of benevolence you sat next to who saw the test, and filled your study-less void five minutes prior to the start of the exam. It’s tough to become that kid unless you are a baseball nut like myself, so in the spirit of all that is Razzball, I’ve taken it upon myself to spur some early interest in 2018.

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There’s nothing more random than September baseball.  It’s a time where you throw season stats out the window and ride the hot bat or hot hand.  The mystery of a new guy can throw the league off for a few games and you can enjoy that all the way to a championship…or a few FantasyDraft bones.  Then there’s the recency of it all.  It’s always good to look at the 7 day performance of a given hitting team when trying to pick a pitcher during this time of year.  All year, it’s been a known thing: don’t start a pitcher vs the Dodgers.  Now?  Dodgers have been in a free fall and have the worst wRC+ over the last thirty days.  All this to say, this ain’t your mom’s time of year…hrm, not what I meant to say…namely cuz I don’t know what it means so instead I’ll just say over the last seven days, the Orioles have been one of the worst hitting teams in the league with a 53 wRC+ and a monstrous 28.2% K rate during that span heading into their matchup with Estrada last night (Marco was sitting at 3 K thru 2 as of this typing).  Why does all this matter?  Well, Joe Biagini already got to enjoy the mess that is Baltimore.  At Camden Yards on September 1st, Biagini went 7, struck out 10 so there’s a good chance this slide continues for these birds.  Keep in mind, this Biagini dream could quickly turn into a nightmare so stay away in cash, children.  Good?  Good.  With that out of the way, lets get on to this.  Here’s my Barbara Eden taeks for this Tuesday FantasyDraft slate (walks away humming the I Dream of Jeannie theme song)…

New to FantasyDraft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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Greetings and welcome back to everyone except salty commenter Fogimon. Just kidding. Love you, Fogimon. If you didn’t read Saturday’s post, I moved up north from South Florida just in time to avoid Hurricane Irma, avoiding the chaos of evacuating or staying and hunkering down for the storm. Can’t have much better luck than that, I guess.

Hopefully, you survived without me for a week as we head into the home stretch and fantasy playoffs. If you didn’t, then you are probably not reading this, I guess. So, welcome, survivors. Let’s all bring these leagues home.

We only have so much time left, so we have to continue to focus on the players who are contributing now. If that means dropping Miguel Cabrera (in non-keeper and non-dynasty formats) in order to pick up Matt Olson or a Nick Williams, so be it. Now is not the time for name value consideration. I usually preach patience in this space, but we only have a few weeks left here to close this out. Go, go, gadget Jose Reyes!

Expanded rosters make these last few weeks even more difficult, especially if you have players on teams like the Dodgers or Nationals who can afford to rest players like Daniel Murphy and Corey Seager. You want to make sure you have some additional positional flexibility where possible, which makes waiver wire additions such as Eduardo Escobar and Matt Olson that much more valuable. Not only are they producing right now, but they play a couple positions and give you some added flexibility.

I touch on Olson a bit in a blurb below, but Escobar is a guy who taking a look at because of his eligibility at both shortstop and third base. He won’t have too much value once Miguel Sano returns, but it sounds like Sano is progressing pretty slowly. With only a few weeks left in the season, we probably still have at least another week of Escobar playing time, if not more. There is no guarantee that he continues to play every day once Sano comes back, but it is equally possible that, if he keeps hitting, the Twins find a place for him in a lineup that could certainly use the help. For a guy with a 9.92 PR15 who is owned in less than 20% of ESPN leagues, I would definitely be willing to take a chance.

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Yesterday, Victor Robles was called up by the Nats.  He’s number two in Prospector Ralph’s top 100 prospects, and everyone loves him, even Brad Garrett!  Robles will likely be the first guy I go over this offseason when I go over some high-profile rookies for 2018.  He is real, and he’s beautiful.  So, here’s the text question I posed to Prospector Ralph yesterday, “Who gets more at-bats from now until the end of the season for the Nationals, Alejandro De Aza or Robles?”  At that point, Ralph stopped talking to me, but it’s even worse.  Prior to my text, I saw “…” showing that he was typing, then that disappeared and nothing.  Just silence.  Eventually, I got a text back that Robles could play half the time.  I don’t know.  My guess is Nats are promoting him as a sort of butt pat that he did well this year.  Maybe he replaces Werth, Kendrick or Taylor here and there and plays a few times a week.  Werth’s shoulder has been barking and he’s woof, in general.  I didn’t care about picking up Robles in a 12-team mixed league, but grabbed him in a 15-teamer to drop Francisco Mejia, who was last week’s “YOU GOTTA GRAB HIM!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?