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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Earlier this week I partook (a much fancier word than participated) in my first mock draft of the season. As most of you know I am much more of a points league player, but I have no issue going both ways. This draft, however, represented a less common fantasy baseball format known as the 5×5 head-to-head league. This was actually the first time I had even drafted for this format, and with barely an hour to prepare, I’m not sure how I feel about the results. In hindsight, had I had more time to calculate more precise player values for this league format I believe I would have applied a different strategy when selecting my players. While I obviously cannot go back and actually change my picks, I can imagine the results with a different outcome. After all, imagination is the essence of discovery.

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One word about this top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words.  I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Gucci handbags for 2017– Ah, I almost got you.  This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other.  Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from.  416 more, to be very exact.  Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 516.  Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500, then a top 25,000, then a top 600,000, until we end up with a top kajillion in April.  Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel.  Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2017 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.”  Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters.  Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Even though it’s barely February, I thought it was time to put together some very early pre-projections rankings for points leagues. I’m not a big fan of early rankings because so much can change between now and draft day, but why not give it a go. I never understood how people could buy those fantasy baseball magazines they sell at the newsstand. They are printed months in advance, and the content is easily outdated by the time you read them. I guess with the internet now those have seen a drastic drop in sales, but I can’t tell you how many guys used to pick one up on the way to the draft and use that as their holy grail.

I found these gems in a box in my basement!

Personally I dislike online drafts. Don’t get me wrong, they are convenient and, at this point, a necessity, but they take way too much of the preparation out of the process. I miss the days when I had to show up live with a Trapper Keeper containing the research I had done over the last four weeks. Players organized by position using folder tabs, handwritten cheatsheets, a set of highlighters and, of course, one of those magazines I just sh*t on just because I felt I had to. Now you can log into your league’s online draft site ten minutes before your draft and it has all the players laid out for you with rankings, projections and average draft position. What used to take weeks of hard work and determination has now been reduced to something many take for granted. What I hate the most is that a player isn’t going to slip by someone because they missed them when doing their research, or they forgot to write their name down when they were transferring their notes from a page of scribble to a much neater sheet of players. Now when it’s your turn it pretty much shows you who you should pick. With that all said I realize that the days of live drafts has come and gone. They are just not realistic anymore. My primary points league has participants spread out all over the country. Does California still count? Aren’t they pushing for secession? That’s about as good of an idea as drafting Yordano Ventura with your first round pick! Too early?

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies.  It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown.  I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted.  Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth.  Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around.  Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April, and then they disappear.  With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest.  There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck.  Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to shift due to which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs.  Finally, the best starters can give you four categories.  The best hitters can give you five categories.  As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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The Giants are one of the more unheralded organization’s in sports when you step back and consider the immense success they’ve achieved over the past 10 years. Yet they seem to rarely get credit when talking about the top teams of the last decade. And from a player development standpoint they’re just as underrated. While they’re certainly no juggernaut on par with the Astros, Red Sox, and Dodgers of the world; they’ve done a good job of developing a solid core of players, including two of the best at their respective positions in Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. However, in recent years the Giants have been short on high impact prospects, instead churning out role players, and back end of the rotation pitchers. While not much has changed in that regard, there’s hope that Bryan Reynolds, Heath Quinn, and 2015 2nd rounder Andrew Suarez could give them a few above average major league players in the making. Real baseball Ralph…… Why do I care? Honestly, depending upon league size you don’t have to. But for those of you who are deep league junkies like myself, there’s a core of interesting fringe prospects that could offer sneaky value in the short term. So you’ll notice there’s no Tier 1: Specs On the Beach in this system, but they’re overflowing with Tier 2: Floorbored types, led by 2014 first rounder Tyler Beede. This falls in line with their overall draft strategy over the past few seasons, preferring high floor picks to those with higher ceilings. I think this year’s crop strayed from that mantra a little in the later rounds but I’m sure San Fran will boring them up. Okay, now that I’ve attached one hundred qualifiers to this intro, let’s talk some prospects! It’s the Top San Francisco Giants Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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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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All the final 2016 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2017 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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papiout

Today, ladies and gentlemen, is officially the last day of school. And by school I mean me writing fantasy baseball posts in 2016. Over the next few months I’m sure Grey will take a gander at the numbers to determine if yours truly will be back in 2017. Hopefully my eight remaining followers have enough pull to see me through to the other side and get me invited back to Razzball Spring Training. But if not, it’s been a good run. This post is my 94th baseball-related post. I have big incentives in my contract if I make it one hundred, so I hope that doesn’t influence Grey’s decision in a negative way. There are a lot of hungry points league writers out there that just might be willing do what I do for even less. Will they be as cool as I am? Doubtful. As funny? Certainly not. And lastly, will they have the maturity level of a third grader? I certainly hope so. Here’s to hoping Grey just flips a two-headed coin.

Before I jump the gun and start saying any official goodbyes, I think we should take a look back at 2016 and what happened in points leagues…

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On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.”  I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV.  It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend.  Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways.  After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news.  I shut it off and turned to the internet.  I’m still piecing together my thoughts.  He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life.  I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties.  I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels.  There’s a giant pit in my stomach.  Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling.  Not having fun.  I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time.  That exuberance came through in everything he did.  I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile.  How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons.  “That was us.  That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said.  How baseball does that.  How special that is.  You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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