All of the infield has been done for the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Where it says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, that’s a link, and that link goes to the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings where there are more links to all of the positions that have been ranked for 2016 fantasy.  Seamless linking!  The top 20 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball is going to go into the top 40, top 60, top 80 and finally top 100.  I love a lot of outfielders this year, and will go over this more at a later time, but I could see myself leaving the top 100 overall with three outfielders while wanting, like, twenty-five of them.  Shoot (not you, Dick Cheney!), I desperately want five of the top ten outfielders and I’m not even counting the top four that are a given.  McCutchen is the only outfielder in the top ten I’m kinda whatevs on.  The last time I was this excited for an outfielder Ryan Klesko was delicately connecting his sideburns to his mustache.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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It was a year to remember for the Amazins in 2015. Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Noah Syndergaard fronted the best starting rotation in MLB. Yoenis Cespedes had a 2nd half for the ages after being acquired at the trade deadline. Curtis Granderson put his forgettable 2014 season behind him and played at an all-star level. Michael Conforto made quite an impact as a rookie following his July call-up. Jeurys Familia was one of the best closers in all of baseball. Daniel Murphy got white hot in October and helped propel his team to the World Series. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, there’s that Lucas Duda character. Does he even play there anymore?

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I’m a stat junkie. Way back in the pre-internet days when I was just a little Magoo, I would run outside first thing in the morning to grab the daily paper so I could immediately check out the previous night’s box scores. There’s Tony Gwynn leading the league in batting average yet again. A slam and legs (before I even knew what that was) by that Bonds fellow. The Big Unit piled up another dozen Ks. Another high scoring game in Colorado. What’s the deal with that place anyway?

This fascination with statistics has led to the fantasy baseball obsession that I’m burdened with today. Only now, with all of the advanced statistics and metrics that are available at the click of a button, the obsession is worse than ever. Fortunately for you, all of the man hours that I’ve wasted poring over stats this offseason has allowed me to discover some interesting nuggets of information that I think are fantasy-relevant for the upcoming season, and I’d like to share some of them with you today. At least, I find them to be interesting and potentially useful for fantasy purposes, and I hope that you will too.

From here on out, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on hitters only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (home runs, stolen bases, batting average, counting stats) to the slightly more advanced (plate discipline, batted ball profile).

And now, without further ado, here are some interesting stats and trends to consider for the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

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Went over the catchers1st basemen2nd basemen and shortstops and top 20 3rd basemen for 2015 fantasy baseball.  Guess what’s next!  No, not pitchers. Read the title, man.  In 2010, there were only 5 outfielders that hit 30 homers, in 2011 there were 9, 14 in 2012, in 2013 there were 3, a small bounce back with 6 in 2014 and this year there were eight.  Going the right way, for sure.  Though, steals were basically gone.  There were 14 outfielders who stole 30 bases in 2012, 10 in 2013 and there were 11 in 2014.  This year there were only five outfielders who stole 30 bases (only seven players total).  Five outfielders with 30 steals!  Dubya tee eff, we need Ron LeFlore and his cocaine, stat!  As before, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2015 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2015 fantasy baseball, I find myself with a group that actually really hurt or helped your team depending on how you drafted.  If you went wrong with your 1st baseman, it could kill your season.  Hey, Freddie Freeman, no hard feelings from me.  We are totally fine since I knew to not draft you.  If you went right, you might’ve won your league.  If you’re looking at the top 20 1st basemen in a vacuum, it appears that offense is making a comeback.  And my what a big vacuum you have!  Lots of guys on this list not only did well, but did better than their preseason projections.  In fact (Grey’s adding on!), if you followed my rankings (saying to avoid V-Mart and Freeman), you did just fine at 1st base.  To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2015 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Sure there’s roto leagues wrapping up, some final H2H matchups, but the Pitcher Profile isn’t going to help too many owners scout for the remaining 6 days of this season.  We are doing a little more looking ahead!  Progressive scouting is my term for this edition – makes me feel all front-office-y!

So I decided to find another off-the-map “prospect” to break down – Rays maybe long-term long-relief/maybe full-time starter next year, Matt Andriese.  I know what you’re thinking…  Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  But what really intrigued me was his AAA numbers this year.  In 12 starts (13 app.), 3-3 with a 2.35 ERA and 69 K in 65 innings.  He did have a 1.15 WHIP, but then in the deeper numbers it’s even more intriguing – 9.55:1.38 K:BB and all with a .344 BABIP, giving him – wait for it – a 1.94 FIP.  Whoa!  Given it’s a pretty small sample, but he’s been decent in 62.2 innings in the Majors as well.  I don’t really remember seeing any of those innings this year in the Majors (and I don’t think I saw him the few Durham Bulls games I’ve been to this year), so I decided to break down his spot start yesterday to see if there’s some deep league sleeper appeal for 2016:

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I can’t believe I’ve come to this point in the season but it’s that time, fam. Or ‘Pham’ if you’re into making things not only hip but fantasy baseball-related. This is the time of the season where you just can take that season-long ERA/WHIP of a pitcher here and there, throw them out the window, turn on your Janet Jackson album and sing ‘what have you done for me lately?’ *Singing optional…and some of you? Please don’t. Don’t look at me like that, you know why*. It’s one of the trickiest times of the year. Maybe it’s because the young arm is unknown and the vet team he’s facing didn’t scout well enough or is just plain tired from a long season? Or in the case of the vet arm, maybe they were hurt all year and are healthy and ‘fresh’ by comparison to the other team? I don’t know, I guess what I’m trying to say is this is the time of year for some truly bizarro world shizz and you gotta think about players you may not have at other times. Case in point, CC Sabathia. I mean, 4.80 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP is…well it’s…hrm, it’s…let’s just have Cleveland call it like it is. Yet he’s now had back to back 24+ point DK outings and gets a matchup against a team that currently floats near the bottom against LHP in wRC+ (29th), ISO (28th), and BB/K (28th). Am I confident enough in him to fling him out there in cash games? Ish you cray! But his $6,600 pricetag makes it easy to work in bigger bats and another big arm as needed so I’m all in on CC. Just remember when paying up today for your arms, the all important Beastie Boys words: ‘Cause what you see you might not get, And we can bet so don’t you get souped yet, You’re scheming on a thing that’s a mirage, I’m trying to tell you now it’s sabotage. But enough about my poetic license use of someone else’s poetry, let’s have at it. Here’s my Root Down hot takes for this Friday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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How much stacking is too much stacking? I mean, the reward is obviously there, but so is the risk. It’s an approach I took with my season-long league this year, as my starting lineup had Ben Revere, Troy Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista in each day for a categories league. It worked well enough to earn me a first-round bye, but it’s risky because if the Blue Jays had an off-series, I was screwed.

It’s the same approach with DFS. You want to stack hoping it hits, but if it doesn’t, you just wasted your money. Ballpark comes into play, and so does the pitcher. Today, I’m risking it, even if Turner Field isn’t great. Line me up some Blue Jays, good sir.

Straight to the cash, homie.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Don’t be judging my title. I’m always late to the topical title party. I’m lazy! I haven’t seen Straight Outta Compton because I refuse to pay for overpriced tickets to movies that have nothing visually cool to offer. Seeing the clips and Grey talking it up and being in the same room as Cube has made me reflect… When that album broke, I was in the 8th grade and it was the biggest game changer for us since the Beastie Boys and RUN DMC (I group them together because it felt like it was around the same time). I wasn’t a huge hip-hop head, but I had friends that listened to nothing but street poets. Then came NWA and Eazy-E (I say them separately because Eazy’s album dropped a month after Straight Outta Compton and was treated like a companion piece). It was impossible to own one and not the other. Now, I bring this up because this movie reminds me of the first time I heard Eazy Duz It. I was coming back from Carpenteria (its just south of Santa Barbara) with my good buddy and his mom. He asked her if we could play his new tape on the way home. She, being the very open minded lady she was, obliged and sat through that whole album. Damn, I don’t miss my buddy since he turned into a bitch ass when we got older, but his mom was the baddest mom I knew. From Boyz N’ Tha Hood to Eazy-er Said Than Dunn, we would bump this almost as much as SOC. Hey, we were from L.A., it was great to get someone changing the game from our backyard. Now, you might be asking yourself what this has to do with this weeks creeper. Nothing, I just felt like waxing about NWA.

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It’s a simple concept/guideline for life. Don’t make the circle try to fit into the square hole. It’s related to Occam’s Razor which says that the simplest explanation is the one that should be chosen. In DFS this means, don’t overthink things. Take what’s out there on a given slate, and don’t try to manufacture something or divine something that isn’t there. For example, you are looking at a slate and there are only a couple of pitchers that make sense, but you start thinking about diversifying and other techniques that you’ve picked up throughout the season and you begin to talk yourself into a couple of other starters to give you this diversification even though your research, and your gut, told you that there were only the two starters you liked. This is the way you turn your perfectly good knowledge into lost contests with your new creations that didn’t need to be there to begin with.

The alternative in that situation, if you feel like you shouldn’t put all your bankroll eggs for the night into a single SP basket, would be not to play the volume you normally would. If you feel that strongly about diversifying, but the SPs aren’t there to do it, emanate some inner strength and simply not play the additional volume you would’ve if you did have other SPs you liked.

The same goes with hitters. In a bunch of columns this season, I’ve varied the number of guys I’ve listed here. Today, for example, there are probably fewer than in past weeks. Why? There are fewer players I like on the slate, because of the matchup, prices, tap dancing skills, hat size, whatever. Therefore, I am likely going to play fewer lineups, contests, etc, based on this, although it’s tempting to play my full budgeted bankroll for the night because I like the action. But to do that would be me trying to fit an octagon into a triangle hole. Or something. Just don’t.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?