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?

With these top 100 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball, I’ve finished our (my) 2017 fantasy baseball rankings for positions.  Still coming will be a top 100 overall and top 500 to see how all the positions mesh together like your mesh Redskins jersey that meshes with your burgundy sweatpants.  Trust me, when you see how long this post is, you’ll be glad I kept this intro short.  As always, my projections are included, and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  If you want an explanation of tiers, go back to the top 10 overall and start this shizz all over again.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Imagine the Cubs decided to use Lester, Hendricks, Hammel and Lackey in the playoffs, and not Jake Arrieta.  Not sure it would be the wrong move either.  Arrieta isn’t just out of gas, he’s on a late-70s gas station line, cursing Jimmy Carter.  He’s eaten six Chalupas and a Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell, washed it down with a 16-ounce Coke, and can’t produce any gas.  He’s staying at a Marriott in Saudi Arabia where OPEC is meeting and all hotel guests get a complimentary barrel of petroleum and Arrieta can’t produce any gas.  Yesterday, Arrieta went 5 IP, 7 ER and his ERA went up to 3.10.  About five months ago, I said Arrieta doesn’t look right.  I said it around the time of his no-hitter.  That took some pants grapes.  What’s funny (not funny) when you’re super early at calling something out, people write you off as cuckoo in the coconut.  On April 29th, I said, “It’s hard to find a positive when you take this year’s numbers vs. last year’s (of Arrieta).  Velocity is down, K-rate is down, walk rate is up, xFIP is up, luck is up, homers are up, ground balls are down and fly balls are up.  It’s like looking under a Maserati’s hood and seeing a Mercedes engine.  It’s not bad, but it’s not a Maserati.”  And that’s me quoting me!  On May 9th, I said, “Not to sound like a broken record, but his peripherals just haven’t been as good as last year thus far.”  And that’s me quoting me sounding like a broken record!  I continued to say more or less the same for a few months, then SUDDENLY everyone else started saying it.  For 2017, I picture Arrieta being drafted a lot like Felix Hernandez in the preseason this year.  People are concerned, but he’s so good, they’re still drafting Arrieta around 60th overall.  Yeah, and it won’t work out either.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Can you imagine such a surprise thing in the delivery room? I can barely fathom the idea of fatherhood, let alone the extra money and work having two babies at one time can be. Thankfully, this isn’t a stay at home dad blog so of course, the title don’t mean shizz in terms of giving birth to two bundles of expensive joy at once. Nay, I’m talking about my favorite type of bundle of joy: cash. The kind of cash you get when starting someone against the Twins. Heck, you can look back just to my Friday post to see how I think of said Twinkies. Synopsis: they trash and I look to take advantage of that knowledge as often as possible. How do I plan to implement this info today, you ask? By starting Jason Vargas. Yes, I hate Minnesota that much…apologies to Prince #RIP. Vargas showed decently in his last outing but really, this is a two fold call. One, the Twins have been at or near the bottom all year in terms of offensive output and are currently streaking further down, dropping a wRC+ of 41 and a 31.3% K rate over their last 7 and a 62 and 27.9% over their last 14. Basically, Dozier stopped hitting a HR every day so their offense went south. Funny that. Anyhoo, we now get to look at that Vargas price tag of $4,600 and get to ask ourselves a very simple question: can he score around 15 points against such a bad opponent? Well if his 11.2 in Cleveland over just 4 innings in his last outing is any indication, the answer is yes. Due to pitch count concerns and because, well, he IS Jason Vargas, I wouldn’t play him outside of tourneys tonight but he’s a great price reliever if you wanna pay up for an SP2 or for big bats. So grab a couple of cigars and celebrate with me. Here’s my spank to make you cry taeks for this Wednesday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday October 3rd to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mets outfielder Michael Conforto was 2-for-3 last night, scoring two runs with his 12th home run, and three RBI. Could this be the start of something big? Who’s Conforto, you ask? Lol, you pleb–Don’t you know anything? He’s just an uber prospect for the New York Mets.  *Sips cold brew coffee, adjust horn rimmed glasses, strokes beard* Sigh. You’ve probably never heard of him. Have I mentioned he’s the hipster’s favorite player? Do I really have to mention that? The man hit .365 with four homers, 11 doubles and 18 RBI in April, then completely fell of the planet. He was busy working on his documentary film/visual novel/app for dogs. Sitting in an abandoned warehouse turned secret speakeasy/corn hole arena/craft cider house/live-bluegrass music cafe, I sip my gluten-free organic cold brew coffee (cage-free beans, obv) and curl my finely waxed mustache, pondering what life would be like with a fantasy baseball championship. I put down my Gabriel García Márquez book (I only read South American novelists), let my hair free out of its man-bun, and realize that Michael Conforto could be the key to everything. All that magical realism is really paying off! Sure, he struggled mightily all year, and sure, Jay Bruce threatens to steal some of his playing time. But Bruce is also 2-for-31 (.065 BA) in the past two weeks, and Conforto’s got all the upside. If I were you, and I’m not, because I’m obviously way hipper than you, I’d grab Michael Conforto, who’s available in about 90% of fantasy leagues, before he gets hot. In fact, this could only make you cooler because when he does finally break out, that means you picked him up before he was cool. And there’s nothing cooler than that!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Shhh, can you keep a secret? Please don’t let him know. I’ll be passing the ‘Do you love me? Check yes or no’ note to Carlos Perez prior to first pitch so please don’t blow my cover, internet, on which I am writing about Alex Meyer for everyone to see. Ok, maybe ‘love’ is a strong word for a pitcher with only 18.2 career innings and a 7.23 ERA. At 26, the shine is probably off this former first round pick, but the course to true ‘love’ – ok ‘like’ – never does run smoothly…especially when it goes through Minnesota! If you know me, which of course you do, you know I have despised the Twins organization for quite some time. This is the team that told Francisco Liriano to pitch to contact. Said Liriano went to Pittsburgh and became a fantasy star again. This is the team that willfully started Eddie Rosario in 2015 and compounded this failure by actually making him a part of their 2016 ‘playoff contending team’. They are one of the worst developers of young talent this league has so whenever I see a pitcher move away from them, my interest is immediately piqued. The cliff’s notes version of Meyer’s scouting report is as follows: good stuff, shaky command. There’s nothing that says this still isn’t a problem, but hey, this is DFS and we care about price and expectations. The Astros are 4th in the league in K% on the year and Meyer rolls in with a 10+ K/9 over the course of 2016. A 10+ K/9 at the $4,000 pitcher min salary? *Inserts ‘OK’ Emoji*. There’s obvious no floor here so rostering Meyer is strictly for tourneys, but 16 points isn’t an unlikely outcome and really, that’s all you want when your pitcher is a free space. So who will I pair him with? What types of wondrous bats can I pay for with him on my roster? Follow on to find out. Here’s my ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ taeks for this Friday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday September 26th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

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As summer has come and gone and the weather starts the cool down in the Great White North, so have the Blue Jays. The Jays are still hanging on to a wild card spot, but have gone from first to third in the division. They have lost the last four divisional series, which hasn’t helped. There are 4 teams within 5 games back, all chomping at the heals of the Jays. Early in the season the pitching was a strong suit of the Jays, but now own a 4.46 xFIP so far in September. The Jays have migrated south to Anaheim and have found success. It seems all they needed was some California sunshine to get the back on the winning track. Tonight, Francisco Liriano will take the mound and look to continue the success he found in his last outing. His last outing came against the Rays, and consisted of 6.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk, while earning 6 strikeouts. While the Angels don’t strike out a lot (16.7% vs LHP), they lose a lot. Nolasco will be on the mound for the Angles, who is 1-6 since being traded. And with that I give you the rest of my Saturday DFS picks.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday September 19th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the past week, the most added player in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues was… Gary Sanchez. Seriously? Is it that difficult to part with Matt Wieters at this point? Sanchez should be universally owned (and practically is by now) and I’ve discussed him ad nauseam in this space over the past few weeks, so we’ll move on to the next name on the most added list. Let’s see… Ivan Nova (30.2% owned; +20.5% over the past week)? Step on up! The new Pittsburgh Pirate acquisition has left the unfriendly pitching environment of Yankee Stadium behind and seems to be enjoying a career renaissance under the tutelage of renowned pitcher whisperer Ray Searage. The main differences in Nova under Searage’s watchful eyes are that he’s throwing more strikes and keeping the ball in the park more effectively. In 97.1 innings with the Yankees this season, Nova allowed 19 home runs (1.76 HR/9) and had a first-pitch strike percentage of 58.4%, leading to a 2.31 BB/9. In five starts (31.1 innings pitched) with the Pirates, he’s allowed just 3 home runs (0.86 HR/9) and improved his F-Strike% by 11% (to 69.4%) in the process, walking just one hitter (0.29 BB/9) along the way. Consequently, Nova’s 4.90 ERA and 1.36 WHIP as a Yankee have improved to 2.87 and 0.99 as a Pirate. Nova appears to be well on his way to joining the ranks of pitchers such as Edinson Volquez, A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ whose careers were revitalized after suppling the teat of their new pitching daddy. If you need starting pitching help down the stretch, Nova is definitely worth a look.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Mookie Betts was 5-for-5 and drove in two runs Friday night. It was the first five-hit game of his career and the number of pets in New England being named Mookie is climbing quicker than his batting average. Let me gush about Betts for a minute, even though it might be tough because I know Xander is reading. (Do not worry, you are still my number 1, Awesome-X.) Mookie is slashing .320/.360/.557 with 28 homers, 93 RBI, 21 steals, and 99 runs scored. He is the only reason I am winning anything fantasy baseball this year and he is an early favorite for AL MVP. I tell all my real life friends, who are definitely all real life humans and not people I just made up for the purposes of the post, that Mookie Betts is my spirit animal. However, I was recently told I can’t say this because I’m not Native American and if you ain’t Native you can’t have spirit animals. That’s their thing. Quit trying to take their thing. Well, I just did San Pedro cactus and tripped out in the desert last weekend, does that mean I’m a real native now or nah? At the very least I’d hold it makes me much more spiritual. In the past two weeks, Betts is hitting .387 with 12 runs scored, 5 homers, 18 RBI and 3 steals. If those numbers don’t bring you existential enlightenment, I’m not sure a psychedelic cactus or a sweat lodge will either. He’s hitting close to .400 in August as he attempts to carry the Sawx to the promised land aka the postseason. In addition, since moving from lead off to clean up over the past week and a half he’s only gotten better, slashing .400/.455/.550 with two jacks and 8 RBI. I love Mookie Betts more than I could ever love a human baby. I think I am feeling more spiritual already.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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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

Please, blog, may I have some more?