3rd basemen are the new Dolly Parton.  They are so top heavy they haven’t seen their toes in years.  After the top ten 3rd basemen, the rest are a wing, a prayer and Winger doing a cover of Living on a Prayer, which can’t hold a candle to Bon Jovi, because A) Jersey B) No one can hold a candle to Bon Jovi because of Jersey. C) There’s no C.  D)  Jersey!  I can’t remember a position like this for any other year in recent memory, but I’ve killed my brain for years with hard drugs.  If you don’t have a 3rd baseman by the 100th overall pick, you might be kissing your 3rd baseman position goodbye.  Literally, smooching your computer monitor like you’re in that Spike Jonze movie with Scarlett Johansson robot-talking.  By the way, Johansson is 31 years old, in nine years, she’s gonna be old.  In nine years, I’m gonna be distinguished.  Damn, Hollywood, you’re messed up giving me these ageist ideas!  As always, my projections and tiers are noted.   Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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The rebuild is in full swing and the Phils are sporting a new general manager. They sold off their best trade chip in 2015, Cole Hamels, and regardless of your opinion on the return, the Phils landed three of the prospects in this year’s preview in addition to some pitching depth. 2015 also featured solid performances from rookies Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, and Odubel Herrera, which gave fans of this team reason for optimism – something they’ll need in 2016 as it will almost certainly be a continuation of the rebuild. Philly will also have the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, which will add a premium prospect to what is now a deep and impressive collection of minor league talent.

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A couple of years ago Bret Sayre invited me to participate in his dynasty league – The Dynasty Guru Expert League, or TDGX. At the time I was writing for him at his site, and while I don’t anymore, I’ve been allowed to remain in the league as a representative of Razzball. I’d like to say my team has been killing it, but that hasn’t been the case in the first two years. The league is a lot of fun, and there are representatives from sites like Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Baseball HQ, and CBS. It’s deep and it’s challenging. Tim McLeod and Ian Khan took the championship in each of the first two years, so major kudos to them.

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ss2

Despite a season of disappointment and injury, Stephen Strasburg won me my points league championship. As one of my keepers coming into this season, I was excited for the potential of a Cy Young campaign. Instead what I got was a season of heartache and despair as he spent more time on my bench than he did in my lineup. In his last three starts however Strasburg threw a total of 23 innings, striking out 37 batters, walking 3 and yielding only 2 earned runs. During that three game stretch he scored 103 fantasy points for an average of 34.33 points per start. I’m happy when I get 25 points from a start. Just when I thought I had my keepers figured out for next season, Strasburg has to go and do this and put his name solidly back into the mix. On a side note, a few weeks back I suggested he grow a Bumgarner-like beard in hopes of helping him find his lost ways. Instead he seems to have shaved himself clean and I am thrilled with the result it has had on his performance. I just re-read that sentence and it can certainly take on a different meaning.

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Yesterday, Lucas Duda went 3-for-5, 3 RBIs with two homers (26, 27).  He now has five homers in the last three days.  Duda goes from doodie to Duda in the blink of an eye.  He’s like a sports car that goes 0 to 60 in five seconds flat that you only drive three times a year, because, while your penis may be small, you’re also reasonable enough to realize if someone crashes into you, you’re going to cry and that’s embarrassing in front of your future trophy wife.  It seems like no matter how many games Duda misses and no matter how deep his slumps get, he gets scorching hot at some point and will get to thirty homers.  His hot streaks are shorter, but he reminds me of a poor man’s Chris Davis.  I will call him Piss Davis.  Maybe I won’t call him that to his face.  Somehow, Duda is available in over 40% of ESPN leagues. (Though 85% of leagues are abandoned already so he’s owned in 125% of leagues.  Hmm…) So, if he’s out there, grab him before he takes the car back into the shop and pays $54,000 for a new taillight.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort.  This sends an interesting message.  I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort.  Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing.  Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season.  Also, what does this say about Ausmus?  That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort?  Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort?  How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort.  I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do.  What?  You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place?  Please!”  Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night.  Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year.  This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Maybe because The Bastard Executioner premiered last night, but I’m feeling reminiscent for Sons of Anarchy — Jax, Clay, Peg Bundy and that Irish guy I couldn’t understand — and, specifically, to the Season 4 premiere set to Joshua James’s Coal War.  In that spirit, I ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Good Lord, when’s he gonna come!  I hate to give someone a lede soon after I just gave them a lede, but Stephen Strasburg had a line of 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk, 14 Ks, and I need to make exceptions.  As previously stated, Strasburg’s control and ERA (still at 3.98 on the year) have been all over the map like a drunk Magellan, but, as he showed yesterday, he could easily be a Cy Young candidate for 2016.  I just wish he’d wait until April of next year to show it so we can draft him for cheap.  Likely, most have moved on to fantasy football, so people will see a 3.90-ish ERA from him and under draft him next year.  That’s when we pounce like SAMCRO near an Elvis impersonator that’s not Bobby.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You wanna know what’s on my mind?  “If the Nationals wouldn’t have shut down Stephen Strasburg three years ago, would they have been eliminated a day earlier this year?”  No, that’s not on my mind.  “Is there anything to your business idea of selling 500-foot rulers outside the courthouse to people who just got restraining orders?”  That’s been on my mind, but that wasn’t what I was thinking about now.  “What does Strasburg offer us for 2016?”  Yes, that was what I was thinking.  How did you read my mind?  “I’m you.”   Shh, you’re ruining the illusion.  Yesterday, he went 7 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 6 baserunners, 13 Ks.  Prettttay, pretttay good.  Of course, Effin Stressbird has been an ulcer all year with his 4.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and continual injuries that have left him with only 98 1/3 IP.  When digging deeper — and it hurts me soul, Lupe Fiasco, to say this — he doesn’t look bad.  His velocity went up this year to 95.3 MPH from 94.8; his K/9 is down 10.1 to 9.7, but I think that’s just due to his control, and a 9.7 K/9 isn’t bad.  He hasn’t been as sharp with command, but couldn’t that be due to the back problems he’s fighting?  I hate him as much as anyone that is making hashtags by combining MLK and the dipshit in Kentucky, but if I’m looking at his stats with impartial eyes, he doesn’t look terrible for 2016.  For this year, just give me three more effin starts like last night, you Effin Stressbird.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Since the All-Star break, Joey Votto is hitting .399 with a .576 OBP.  His season line is 27 HRs, 70 RBIs, 81 runs, slashing .316/.457/.567.  Or as Reds manager, Bryan Price, would say, “I want to sew a sock puppet in Votto’s likeness, then put it on my c*** and–”  Okay, maybe we shouldn’t ask Bryan Price, he can’t keep things PG-13.  “PG-13 is for a man with a Cavapoo puppy.  Real men take their Votto-faced, sock puppet and pay an old stripper to suck its f****** yarn until those little f******** eye rolly glue-on things that you bought at Michaels Arts & Crafts store roll up into its f******* sock eye sockets.”  Yesterday, Votto had another big day in a 2nd half of lovely — 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 27th homer.  To recap, or just tell you for the first time, Rudy almost drafted Votto in the 2nd round of Tout Wars (it’s an OBP league).  Rudy ended up getting Donaldson and is in first place, so I’ll be sure to bid a penny on eBay for the world’s smallest violin for him.  But for 2016 fantasy, I have to think Votto is right there in the 2nd round again for all leagues, OBP or not.  Good for Joey, making pitchers ‘roo the day!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Cubs traded a player to be named later for Austin Jackson.  Assuming the player to be named later isn’t anyone on their current roster, this was a solid trade for them from a real baseball perspective.  Real baseball has more spitting than fantasy baseball, but about the same amount of scratching.  The areas that are scratched are similar too.  Like just below the FUPA.  Austin Jackson clouds up the Cubs’ current roster in all the worst ways.  Can one team have too much of a good thing?  The short answer is yes.  The long answer is yeeeeeeeees.  Now, Coghlan (1-for-4), Fowler (2-for-5 and his 15th homer), Schwarber (1-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI) and maybe Baez, when he’s called up, are squeezed for playing time.  If anyone can make this work, it’s Maddon.  Sadly, only Maddon will understand how, why, what and every journalistic question as to when Jackson or anyone will play.  Oh, and Soler will return shortly too.  And by “shortly,” I don’t mean the manner in which Altuve does something.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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