True story:  I was walking through the mall in spandex shorts and a headband, strutting really.  The year was 1981.  I was perhaps the most handsome, well-groomed five-year-old the planet had seen.  Okay, a seven-year-old pretending to be a five-year-old.  Who wants to be older?  Not me, Cousin Sweatpants.  So, I’m cruising for chicks, crushing the scenario, when I see this total fox.  I stop her and ask for a name.  She says, “Jennifer Beals,” and I say, “You’re gonna be a star, kid,” then covering my mouth I say how her fame will be short-lived but how she will get some decent character work later in life.  I spotted her sex appeal two years prior to her breakout role in Flashdance.  I can always spot sex appeal.  It’s my cross to bear.  Speaking of crosses to bear, holy Jesus Harry Christ my Tout Wars team is sexy!  The league is 12-team, two-catcher, NL-Only and perhaps the most respected fantasy league in the country.  Sure, we’re still mocked by 99.9% of the world, but a solid chunk of other fantasy baseballers respect the Tout!  Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars team and some thoughts:

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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HDMH is a motivational phrase created by Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. It stands for ‘Height Doesn’t Measure Heart’.

On Saturday night, Marcus Stroman twirled a 4.2 inning gem against the Dominican Republic, striking out four batters, walking none, and allowing only three ground ball singles. When Stroman was removed before his 65th pitch – the limit for starters in the pool round of the WBC – Tanner Roark, David Robertson, and Andrew Miller proceeded to give up seven earned runs on seven hits. Combined, that trio recorded only nine outs and threw 19 more pitches than Stroman, producing substantially less impressive results. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed with how the Blue Jays starter carved through the Dominican Republic’s lineup.

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Greetings! Last I recall, the Elders and I were passing Thai sticks in the Secret Pool of Kuang Si, discussing some profoundly important subjects while we took turns etching ancient symbols into the skin directly on and surrounding the pubic region. But of course, our bodies are all immaculately smooth, hairless and chiseled, as if made from marble and then formed in the scorching lava of Mount Kilimanjaro. Why does this matter, you ask? The context will be necessary on our journey together through what looks to be a tumultuous 2017. Trust me in this, and the opportunities for massive glory in all forms of life may fall at your crusty feet like droplets of acid rain that will one day doom this planet (but not yet), burning all your self-pity and self-doubt away, peeling your skin off like a viper, you can be born anew, with a clearer vision and a more artful plan of attack. Anyways, I just woke up on an airplane, as it seems I’m headed back to the United States and below we have what one could consider a synopsis of sorts, of what the Elders and I discussed about fantasy baseball and “other things”.

I am the great Tehol Beddict and this is Disgrace/Delight! Take Heed!

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The phrase “I’m excited for Spring Training” is a double edged sword, especially in fantasy baseball. We’re all excited to see the early signs of life on our already drafted fantasy teams, yet there is still a month of emptiness before the actual returns start trickling in. That leaves ample time for overreaction to minor injuries and excessive helium for players who put together a few good at bats.

Although many owners have the discipline to completely neglect the impacts of recency bias during the Spring, some will always fall prey to the hype, and you will feel the resulting impact in the draft room. Sometimes, it may even be good to fall prey to that hype. As we all know, fantasy baseball is often a game of balance. Below I’m going to aggregate my reaction to what has happened in the few games we have seen so far and how, if at all, I have translated these points over to the fantasy section of my baseball mind.

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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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