Way back in January, when the very first signs of ADP data sprouted out of the ground, I went down the rabbit hole, hoping to catch a glimpse of early signs of value. ADP at that point was more convoluted than forming an expectation for how much Pablo Sandoval would weigh coming into Spring Training, but since it was the only sign we had as to the ‘market’ rate for various players, I utilized it as much as I could.

James Paxton was the poster-boy of my early preseason eyebrow raise. He was going past the 200th overall pick with a maximum just outside of the 11th round. Paxton sits right now with an ADP around 192 overall according to NFBC data, with a max that has ticked up to 109 overall. Grey has Paxton as his 41st ranked starting pitcher and his 162nd overall player. Finally in the process of publishing my personal rankings, Paxton is my 27th overall starting pitcher and my 115th overall player, with still some finagling to bring that up even more if I feel so moved.

What Paxton accomplished last season was nothing short of fascinating. We see mechanical changes in pitchers a lot, but rarely do we see changes that cause such palpable success and subsequent expectations that aren’t afraid to project out that success. Fangraphs did a really nice dive into exactly what Paxton changed and why success followed. Simply put, Paxton reverted to his natural arm slot on the mound, opting to venture away from the ‘over-the-top’ motion he used that we’ve seen cause problems in the past – see Wacha, Michael. This slot helped him hone his command on the inner third of the plate to righties, opening up the outside of the plate to his insanely effective cutter/slider. Eno Sarris breaks this down in the piece linked above.

When I uncovered this story last season, I was wildly intrigued for one reason. A natural arm slot, logically to me, would mean less risk for injury. The DL is something Paxton hasn’t been able to avoid for most of his career, but if there was ever a storyline to give hope for health, I can’t think of a better one than him being more comfortable on the mound…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To paraphrase Tupac from Brenda’s Got a Baby, “I hear Grey’s got 2017 fantasy baseball rankings, but Grey’s barely got a brain.  A damn shame.  That guy can hardly spell his name.  GREY’S….GOT EM….RANKINGS!  Don’t you know he’s got ’em.  He wrote them solo, and he wrote them on his bathroom floor and didn’t know what to throw away and what to keep.  He crumbled these rankings up and threw them in a trash heap.   GREY’S….GOT EM….RANKINGS!  Don’t you know he’s got ’em.”  Don’t say I don’t keep my shizz socially conscious.  Or is it socially conscience?  Meh, doesn’t matter, I do it either way.  So, this top 60 starters has seven pitchers I’m not crazy about.  That’s more than the last post, but still not that many.  I.e., there’s a ton of starters to draft.  As with previous rankings posts, my projections are included and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Kyle Hendricks went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, lowering his ERA (if that’s even possible at this point) to 2.09.  The Seattle museum, Experience Music Project is going to need to update their Hendricks section.  EMP Tour guide, “In 1970, Hendricks said, ‘I’m going to take my guitar, grab Janis, impregnate Afeni Shakur, have my lawyer write a letter that says Ben and/or Jerry can never name an ice cream after me while simultaneously sucking and blowing this joint.  Then thirty-six years later, I’m going to win the NL Cy Young if the BBWAA votes based on ERA.’  Now, let’s move on to our five floors of Nirvana memorabilia.  There’s some interesting flannel stories I can’t wait to share.”   No, of course, Kyle Hendricks isn’t this good.  His fastball velocity is down to 87 MPH, he’s relying heavily on a changeup that isn’t that much slower and his BABIP is absurdly low.  Not saying you drop him, but if Hendricks does win the Cy Young, in 2017, the same faith that befell Dallas Keuchel this year will happen to Hendricks too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Dodgers were one of the hottest clubs offensively coming into this game, so, what happened?  Baseball happened, and Matt Moore throws a gem — 8 2/3 IP, 1 Hit, 3 Walks, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.95.  There’s no sport like this anywhere in the world.  Though, my 89-year-old Italian grandfather says the bounce on the bocce ball court can be tricky.  By the way, I recounted the other day on the podcast how he drove back from Florida, non-stop, in flip-flops.  So, yesterday, he went to the doctor because his foot was bothering him and the Pakistani doctor said it was due to the flip-flops.  He said, “Get out of here!  Your people wear nothing but sandals!”  So, great start by Matt Moore, no dur, but he threw the most pitches in a game this season at 133 pitches.  Why do you think?  Because he can’t throw strikes.  Dodgers just happened to feel like swinging at balls.  That’s what I hope she didn’t say!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?