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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So the title is a bit of a superlative.  What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?”  You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you.  This is the best 2017 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is.  If I took Carlos Correa in the 2nd round, everything after would change.  If I took Arenado in the 1st round, everything after would change.  I’ve previously gone over my 2017 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Mike Trout first, because, well, I have him first overall.  Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks.  It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Scherzer and Kershaw in the first two rounds and I was able to take Rougned Odor in the 2nd round (which is very likely), but since Trout and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both.  Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken.  People tend to look at team need over value.  So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks.  Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team.  Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward.  Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky.  It should still be my ideal team… Or not.  Let’s see, shall we?  Bee tee dubya, this team is 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up or start a league).  Anyway, here’s the best 2017 fantasy baseball team:

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How many hot’s is too many? I’ll say three. Because three’s are wild when I’m dealing. Third Base is going to provide a ton of power this year (we really need to appreciate how many homers were hit last season, and wonder if regression is coming…but what fun is that? Let’s predict even more Power for 2017, shall we?) and there are some speed guys, and some multi-position qualifiers, and just a whole cornucopia of idiosyncrasies going on at third base.

It might be my favorite position this season.  I typed that, never having thought that before, having a favorite fantasy position. Fantasy baseball position, you know that’s what I meant.  My new favorite player, World Series Winner (typing that makes me so dang happy) Kris Bryant, qualifies there (and in the outfield, too) and if you’re a fan as well, check this out.  While he’s number one in my heart, he’s number two in my rankings.   Though number two ain’t bad (well, it depends on who number two works for, doesn’t it?).

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Let me take you through the thought process of a writer like myself.

I constantly have thoughts relating to the game of baseball passing through my head. I’m sure many other baseball fanatics can relate. Ideas that have an added layer of intrigue tend to find there way onto my iPhone’s Notes app, to be revisited in a triage-like manner at points later in the day. What I’ve learned is that you can’t force these ideas.

So last Tuesday Grey and I joined a 12-team roto mock draft with the CBS Sports crew and I soon realized two things…

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Gingerphobia is the fear, dislike, or hatred of people with red hair. If every red head looked like Carrot Top, I’d probably have gingerphobia myself. Fortunately, my ex-girlfriend looked like this.

It is said that 1-2% of the world’s population has red hair, so it makes sense that many would have some apprehension toward people with MC1R, the gene for red hair. For some, the experience of first contact was probably how the Native Americans reacted when they saw the first Europeans. If that doesn’t jive with you, then imagine how your first extraterrestrial contact will be. Personally, I didn’t even notice the color of my ex-girlfriend’s hair. In fact, I just now noticed that she had any hair on her head at all.

So why am I rambling about MC1R and Carrot Top for this week’s Bear or Bull? Because…..as much as we live in our fantasy baseball bubble…or mom’s basement….the outside world…aka…society…aka….people…still play a huge part in perceptions of players, ADP, etc. And where there are people…there are biases and values start popping up like magic mushrooms in the “?” box.

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Now that we’re four positions in we can get a sense of how deep each position is.  Our thermometers?  Jedd Gyorko and Wilmer Flores.  If Wilmer cries, the thermometer has gone too deep.  So, on the top 20 1st baseman for 2017 fantasy baseball, Gyorko and Wilmer were 26 and 41, respectively.  Here, they’re 24 and 38, so we have less depth in the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball.  At the top 20 2nd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball, they are 22 and 37.  So, 3rd base and 2nd base are fairly close, but, they’re all crazy close.  Finally, the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball, only has Gyorko where he is 19th overall.  So, depth rankings on infield are shortstops, 2nd base, 3rd base and 1st base, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.  Carpenter is 12th here, but 21st on the 1st basemen, and Villar is 5th here and at the 2nd basemen.  There are areas where each infield position has its strengths and weaknesses and relative equality like I’m not sure we’ve seen before, which is what everyone says about everything.  People say now we have more things we’ve never seen before than any other time in history.  Any hoo!  My projections are noted for every player and all positions are at the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Earlier this week, I posted the first six rounds of the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft. You’re never going to believe this, but I’m now going to post rounds 7-12. At the end of it all, there will be four posts and 23 total rounds. It’s a lot of work, but you guys are worth it.

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 did the last time, I’ll post the rounds below with some of my thoughts beneath the picks. I’ll keep the thoughts brief since we have a bunch of rounds to get through. That pissed off at least one commenter last time who apparently wanted more Mike Maher analysis and less Mike Maher patting himself on the back. Let’s see if I can do better this time around…

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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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Well, you knew this one was coming.  If you heard me once expound on the greatness of Maikel Franco, you’ve heard me expound on his greatness dozens of times and I have to say, I need to expound on how much I love this Word of the Day calendar.  It’s expounding my vocabulary!  I used it wrong there, didn’t I?  Let’s backtrack to the most basic common knowledge we have about baseball players.  They all spit.  Okay, Random Italicized Voice, let’s fast forward a bit.  Hitters sleep with a wOBA?  Now you’ve lost me.  Good, stop following me, you creeper!  Players usually take a few years to get comfortable.  Guys don’t usually peak their first full years.  Last year, Maikel Franco had a line of 67/25/88/.255/1 as a 23-year-old in his first full season.  Okay, so there were so many homers last year that David Eckstein would’ve hit 30 homers if he was still playing.  Fair enough, but you can’t possibly think Franco was a disappointment with 25 homers in his first full season.  On our Player Rater, Maikel Franco was ranked 154th overall.  Better than Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, Craig Kimbrel and Joc Pederson.  Sure, bit apples and oranges, but orange you glad I told you?  Okay, for that, I’m going into the pun penalty box for three minutes.  *sits in penalty box, smiles showing missing front tooth*  Okay, I’m back!  So, what can we expect from Maikel Franco for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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For those looking for pictures of ballplayers taking off their ballcap and recapping themselves, you’re in the wrong place!  Though, sometimes I get the sense people in the comments aren’t wearing pants, so if that does it for you, there ya go.  Oh, who are we kidding, I’m not wearing pants.  Pants are for conformist sissies!  Pound for pound, the top 20 3rd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball were as good as any other position.  In fact (oh, geez, here goes Grey adding on), Matt Carpenter was the 20th best 2nd baseman and samesies here, and was only the 22nd best 1st baseman, so not much more depth there. This recap ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked players in the preseason.  Now, let’s get this, young money.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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