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.

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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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Here we are, the third of four posts about the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft. Previously, I posted recaps of rounds 1-6 and rounds 7-12. This post is for rounds 13-18. The final post will be for rounds 19-23. Complicated stuff, I know. But try to keep up.

In case you have yet to see my previous posts, here is a quick recap of the league rules for this mock:

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 I have done with the other posts, I’ll post the results below by round and will offer a few of my thoughts for each round…

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We’re under a month away until pitchers and catchers report to two of the worst states in the Union. This is a good time to check-in with some of those idiots who ruined your fantasy season last year. Each week I’m going to be taking a look at any player who is listed as injured or is about to come back from injury or who is just an injury waiting to happen–looking at you Mike Stanton–I’ll call you Giancarlo when you start acting like Giancarlo. This first article might be a little long, but hopefully I won’t have to cover 14 injuries in a single week during the regular season.

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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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Chad Green was out there painting corners like he was on work release and someone decided the yellow curb needed to be yellower!  Green ball in the corner pocket is what he felt!  Green was dealing like a sad-looking, poker dealer at a poker room that is badly lit, which is known for having great dealers!  Green for the money, gold for the honeys!  Yesterday, Green was the envy of the league, though not a shizzton happened, admittedly.  He threw 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 11 Ks vs. the Jays.  Because his name is Green!  Nah, that’s prolly not the reason, but it’s an interesting thought.  Green has worked well in the minors (1.52 ERA in Triple-A), and gets strikeouts (9.5 K/9) with his mid-90s MPH fastball, and cutter.  At this point, I’d still rely on the Stream-o-Nator with him for shallower mixed leagues, but I could see a flyer on him in keeper leagues for a chance there’s something here moving into 2017.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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After producing disappointing results over the first four months of the 2016 season, it was pretty clear that the Los Angeles Angels would be sellers prior to this year’s trading deadline. The problem was that, outside of Mike Trout, there didn’t appear to be too many desirable players to sell off to contending teams. Jered Weaver and Huston Street have been absolutely terrible. Garrett Richards and C.J. Cron are currently injured. Perhaps Kole Calhoun could be moved for something of value, though it’s unlikely that any serious contenders would view him as a significant upgrade for their teams. Getting another team to take on even a fraction of Albert Pujols’ massive contract would be an effort in futility. Outside of Trout, the Angels have basically been the Bad News Bears of Major League Baseball. However, there has been one bright spot for the Halos recently. This week’s most added fantasy player, 25-year-old starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (37.4% owned; +28.4% over the past week), looks to be a potential building block for the Angels going forward. Since returning from Tommy John surgery earlier this summer, Skaggs has looked like a different pitcher from the one that he was pre-injury. The velocity on his fourseam fastball has spiked to a career high 93.46 mph, and his curveball looks as good as ever. He’s followed up seven dynamite rehab starts in triple A (12.53 K/9, 1.67 ERA) with two scoreless outings (0 ER and 13 Ks in 12.1 IP) following his big league promotion just over a week ago. The big southpaw has always kept the ball on the ground (46.4% career GB%), and he’s only allowed 2 homers in 51.2 combined innings across all levels this season. If you’re looking for an upside arm down the stretch, take a flier on Skaggs.

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

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Here’s what I said this offseason, “Before watching the video on Lucas Giolito, I looked at his vitals.  This is something I don’t usually do.  Doesn’t really matter to me if a guy is six-foot-one or five-ten.  But, dizzamn, Giolito is a strapping young man, huh?  He’s listed at six-six and 230.  He’s only 21 years old, but I think he’s done growing.  Hopefully, cause his mom tells CBS Sports that his “feet already hang off the bed.”  With a six-six frame, as you can imagine, he throws fast.  (Christall Young is the exception that proves the rule, an idiom that never made any sense to me.  If it’s an exception, how does it prove anything?  It proves that there’s exceptions, but that’s about it, right?  I’m gonna move on before my brain hurts in my thought-nodes.)  Giolito hits 97 MPH on his fastball, which is actually up a tick from the previous year.  If he keeps steadily increasing his fastball every year, by the time he’s 40 years old, he’s going to be throwing 117 MPH.  He throws from nearly right over the top, so the ball fires downhill and hitters have about no chance of hitting it.  A 9+ K/9 seems to be a given once he gets settled in the majors.  With speed comes no control, to sound like a drunk Yoda.  Or does it?!  Snap, reversed on that.  No, Giolito has control too.  97 MPH with command?  I’ll say it for you, hummna-hummna.  Oh, and his strikeout pitch is his hard breaking curve.  In 20 years, Al Pacino could be playing the role of a Hall of Fame pitcher in the film, Giolito’s Way.  Assuming Pacino has eighteen-inch stilettos.  He could be special, and TMZ spotted Pacino shopping for eighteen-inch stilettos, so that could be a good sign.”  And that’s me quoting me!  He should be added in all leagues, like yesterday.  To put just the tiniest bit of dampers in these happiness diapers, Kershaw had a 4.26 ERA his rookie year in 107 2/3 IP.  Rookies give roofies and take your kidneys.  Hashtag truth.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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A Duvall hasn’t looked this good since Popeye starring Robin Williams.  You thought I was going Robert Duvall and I steered it into Crazytown with Shelley Duvall.  By the way, don’t look at current pictures of Shelley Duvall.  She’s a Shelley of her former self.  I have a theory.  She had to do everything just so for Kubrick in The Shining, to the point where she couldn’t even think for herself, then she started working with Robert Altman, who was like, “Do whatever you like, improv,” and going from one extreme to the other drove her crazy.  I’d put money on it that this is the biggest update on Shelley Duvall you will ever get on a fantasy baseball website.  Any hoo!  Adam Duvall (1-for-4, and his 7th homer, hitting .284) has been crushing the ball for the last two weeks.  Now seven homers in 33 games.  Fluky, right?  Not so fast, Cousin Sweatpants.  Duvall hit 26 homers in only 100 games in Triple-A and 27 homers in 91 Double-A games.  He was always a power guy, just never really had a chance to play.  He’s now getting that chance and proving he can continue to hit homers.  Will he hit anything besides homers?  That’s yet to be seen, but I’d grab him in all leagues where I needed power.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

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