We are so close to the top 20 starters you can almost taste it, and it tastes like limoncello.  I wonder why that is.  From the top 20 outfielders through to this top 100 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball has been like the greatest mini-series ever.  Sorta like what I hope the O.J. Simpson show is.  By the way, don’t Google O.J. Simpson, major spoilers!  In most fantasy leagues, you won’t need to draft guys from this top 100 outfielders, and they’ll be waiver wire pickups.  A few of these guys will be drafted by people saying things like, “I’m really loving (fill-in name from this post) as a late sleeper,” then those same people will get to the middle of April and be saying things like, “I can drop (fill-in player’s name), right?”  As with other rankings posts, I go over where tiers start and stop and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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After the first two homer-game, I was like, “Yo, Grey, stop twirling your mustache and trying to squeeze into your Z. Cavariccis from high school and check out Travis Shaw.”  And I did.  Only, I wasn’t that impressed.  He had five homers in 77 games in Triple-A.  Then, a week or so later, he had his 2nd two-homer game and I was like, “Yo, Sir Hairlip-A-Lot, those Zubaz look awful on you, and maybe you look at Shaw’s numbers again.”  And I did.  His ‘big’ year in Double-A saw him hit 16 homers with a .221 average and again I came away yawnstipated; must be he’s showing some Maas appeal.  Then, yesterday, he went 4-for-4 with two runs and is hitting .371 in 22 games, and I was like, “Yo, Fantasy Master Lothario, just let Cougs clean out your closet for you and really delve into Shaw’s numbers!”  No, I don’t know what delve means but it sounds smart when I’m talking to myself.  I’ve said it before, but Shaw feels exactly like a Maas appeal-type player.  I bet after September he never even plays regularly on the Sawx again.  But now suddenly you’re worried about the future?  You weren’t when you were writing to the National Institute of Health about having nacho cheese classified as a vegetable.  Get a 401K and grab Shaw until he stops hitting.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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With three full months of baseball left to be played, a third horse may be emerging in the race for the first Razznasty dynasty league crown. R’azbahl Al Ghul has made solid win-now pickups and finds himself gaining some ground on the two frontrunners – Hannibal Montana and J-FOH. This month saw a group of about five or six teams ping-ponging around behind the leaders, but it’s been Ghul who has come out of June with sole possession of third place. Here is what else is happening around the league – including full standings, trades, and our league’s FAAB report…

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Hide the women and children. It looks like there’s a zombino on the loose! Torii Hunter (+53.6%) was the most added player in fantasy baseball this past week. I can’t believe that he was even available in the first place. Torii’s a beast! Sorry comatose Twins fan, but Hunter isn’t the same 25/20 player that he was during his first stint in Minnesota. The soon-to-be 40-year-old version of Hunter has held up remarkably well throughout the years though. His .783 OPS with the Tigers over the last two seasons is identical to Evan Longoria’s and ahead of players like Albert Pujols, Kyle Seager, and Alex Gordon during that time frame. This season, with the exception of stolen bases (just 1 this season, and 7 total from 2013-14), his numbers across the board rival those of his prime days with the Twins a decade ago. Can he keep it up? Well, his 10.9% LD% is way down (18.2% career), while his 14.7% IFFB% (11.6% career) and 12.1% SwStr% (11.3% career) are up. It’s difficult to envision a player of Hunter’s age maintaining a productive pace throughout the season as well. Depending on him as a key contributor to your fantasy team is kind of like sticking a bandage on a stab wound and then just leaving it there without addressing the situation further. It might be ok in the short term, but your team is likely to bleed out eventually. Here were a couple of other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball from this past week:

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Early yesterday morning, on Mother’s Day, Bill Hall hopped out of bed to the wail of sirens. There was a puppy tied to train tracks two miles from Bill’s house and the train was due for a gruesome splat in four seconds. If Bill flew at 500 MPH, he would get to the train tracks in a quarter of a millisecond, but Bill didn’t fly. Bill Hall moonwalked backwards, causing the earth to move in reverse five minutes and lifted the puppy off the tracks before the sirens even began. Next up, Hall was due at the ballpark in a face mask that resembled Michael Pineda. Yesterday, Bill Hall threw 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 hits, zero walks and 16 Ks. For Hall/Pineda this year, it’s been a bunch of Mother’s Days. His K/9 is 10.5, his BB/9 is 0.60 and his xFIP is 2.20. For those just joining us, those numbers are insane. If the difference between a K-rate and a walk rate is 7, we’re looking at an ace. Hall/Pineda’s difference is nearly ten! It’s better than Kershaw’s (11.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9)! So Hall/Pineda’s walk rate is absurd and we shouldn’t expect it to continue, right? His walk rate last year was 0.83 and he had a 1.89 ERA, which was in 76 1/3 IP. At what point do we consider Hall/Pineda an ace? I say this point. (I’m pointing my finger as well, to drive home the pointing point.) I’ve even considered that maybe that was Michael Pineda in a Bill Hall mask for all of those other Mother’s Days. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Evan Gattis went 2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 5th and 6th homers, while hitting four homers in the last three days. After the game, Gattis likened this streak to the five red lights in a row where the first car to stop had broken windshield wipers and Gattis had a squeegee. Adding, “Right now, I’m swinging the squeegee as good as ever. There was one guy, Non-Tall Paul, who claimed to get a six-red-light streak back in ’98. Non-Tall Paul reminds me of Altuve, actually. Size-wise. Not smell-wise. He smelled of grapes. Very, very rancid grapes.” Okay, Gattis! This weekend Gattis reminds us how ridiculous it was that people wanted to drop him in the first week-plus when he was striking out like Non-Tall Paul at a plus-sized model runway show. I think someone even asked me in the first two weeks if I had revised projections for Gattis. Guys and five girl readers (we have a new one! Hey, lady!), the season isn’t even a month old yet. You need to trust your players. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I’m popping a cherry of sorts here…  I’m double-dipping in my first ever Pitcher Profile on a hurler already profiled.  But things change!  People change!  Hairstyles change!  I’ll miss you the most, scarecrow!  (bonus points if you know that movie!)

Two years ago, I broke down Chris Archer‘s first career complete game that Summer…  Look at how much we’ve improved!  No weekly rankings, no GIFs, it’s like that was written in the stone age!  At the time, Archer was a young-up-and-comer who even surprised the most die hard of Archer fans, but after going complete twice in a three game span in 2013, really hasn’t shown uber-dominance in any long stretches.  Well, looking back at 2014 he did go on a huge roll starting at the end of May, but never more than say 6 or 7 starts.

After a meh opener, Archer has been a stud the last four, and at age 26 may be finally settling in to an ace-like season.  So I decided to break down his outing yesterday hosting the Blue Jays to see if I think this is a new Archer that is going to maintain dominant numbers all year:

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The first week I told you to buy Devon Travis. The 2nd week I told you to buy Steven Souza. This might be the most improbable streak since Joe DiMaggio’s. I’m not talking about his 56-game hitting streak, either. I’m talking about his lesser known streak, but equally improbable 117-day streak of him calling Marilyn Monroe, having another man pick up, but still thinking she was being loyal. That streak might actually be even more remarkable than the hitting one. “Who was that? Cable guy? There’s no cable for another thirty years. Oh, a guy that drives a San Fran cable car? It’s research for a part? Gotcha.” That’s Joe D. ringing up Monroe. Dexter Fowler‘s criminally underowned. Let’s just go on this alone: Fowler, Soler, Rizzo, Bryant, Castro. For the whole year. That’s the Cubs lineup. If Fowler doesn’t back into 95 runs, it’s due to injury. Next up, he looks like Pookie from New Jack City, but he has surprising ten homer power. Actually, 12 homers is likely the low end. A couple of windy days in Chicago when it gets hot and he’s getting 15 homers. If Jim Belushi bats his eyelashes at the right Cubs scorer, Fowler may just get gifted an extra homer. Steals? Well, that’s the tricky thing. He has 25-steal speed, but it’s been a few years since he’s shown it. He had 4 steals already this year. Just doing rudimentary math and he gets to 24 steals on the year. That can go up to 30 or down to 19. Either way, 95/12/40/.265/20 is ownable and startable in every single league. Now, excuse me, I’m returning to writing my one man stage play of Joe D. and Marilyn dating in heaven called, “And The Cloud Went Crazy.” Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Jake Lamb hit the DL with a stress reaction in his foot. Now the Diamondbacks’ defense will go from Lamb to the slaughter with Yasmany Tomas taking over. Yasmany makes Sandoval look like a gazelle. Yasmany has the agility of an extra-wide trailer. Yasmany looks like the genie in Aladdin, which means the D-Backs’s 3rd base shituation was Lamb-or-Genie, which is also a northern Italian farmer’s lamb that he hung a car medallion around its neck and rides around to swap meets. I’d look at Yasmany in all leagues (yesterday, he went 2-for-3, 1 run with only one error!), because he does have power to spare — think 27-homer power — and he could surprise people with some regular playing time. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Note: We’ve got real baseball games being played and I’m stuck in this theoretical auction world. If you’re not prepared to dive into coding and stat minutiae, maybe save your energies for my article next week. Fair warning…

If you were with us last time, I introduced a program that simulated an auction given a list of the participants, a list of the players to be bid on, and lists of how much each owner valued each player. The reason I built this program was to learn more about auction strategy. The issue with my program was, even though it simulated auctions well enough, it was hard to glean any meaningful information from the results.

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