I’ve been thinking recently about that age-old question: is it better to keep a bad pitcher in your deep-league lineup than no pitcher at all? Maybe I feel this way every season at this point, but right now it seems like there are more starters than ever who are providing negative value. No matter how you plan your draft, in the deepest leagues, you’re probably going to end up with at least a couple of pitchers that no one would sniff at in a “normal” league. If you can figure out which of these guys are going to be able to eat some innings in your lineup without killing your ratios (or if you just luck into an Ervin Santana or Jason Vargas), you’re a step ahead of the game. But in a really deep league, if you get a few duds, it could ruin your year.

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Let the overreaction to Spring Training numbers begin! Gregory Polanco went 3-for-3 with 2 stolen bases in his debut — 115 SB prediction for Polanco! Jason Castro went 2-for-2 with a HR in his first game — 60 HR for Castro! Shelby Miller allowed 2 runs, 3 hits over 2 innings — that is actually pretty on-brand for Shelby Miller. Do not trust Shelby Miller! Health is really what you’re looking for in Spring Training and these guys are failing that test so far…

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Yasmany Tomas, Odubel Herrera, Nomar Mazara.  What do those players have in common?  Guys that were in last year’s top 100 outfielders post that made it out like this is Orange is the New Black and those guys were Taystee.  Only then Taystee got reincarcerated and brought with her that badass b*tch Vee, and Vee then started running shizz and that white ho, who the show was originally about that is annoying AF, started getting institutionalized with panty-selling and lez ho’ing and–Well, anyway, you get the point.  There’s not a ton of sunshine in this top 100 outfielders, but occasionally you do get glimmers of hope.  All the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings are under that link-ma-whosie.  As always, my projections and tiers are included.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Maybe it was the food poisoning I had yesterday, but I had a dream Toomgis, the AM/PM mascot, and I were driving around talking about September baseball.  It feels like half the teams are either resting regulars for the playoffs, or the other teams that are out of it are resting regulars to give rookies a chance.  Those are the matchups you need to capitalize on with starting pitchers.  By the way, Toomgis is so obvious a creation of stoned creatives.  It’s a collection of stoner food and Toomgis stands for ‘Too Much Good Stuff.’  Um, okay, but there’s an I in there.  Stoner creative, “Eye-shmeye, we just need to move on before I eat our prototype.”  One more Toomgis point, how is this not Colorado’s national bird?  Any hoo!  So, with this matchups point hidden amongst my fracking in on Toomgis, we have Jharel Cotton capitalizing.   In his first major league start, 6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 3 Ks.  Jharel Cotton makes me think of Faye Dunaway in a heavy Southern accent saying, “I shall avert my eyes.”  Cotton showed good control in the minors, and solid Ks, but in redraft leagues, you’re more worried about matchups this time of year.  For 2017, Cotton idolized Pedro Martinez and I can see why.  He’s five-eleven soaking wet (but I’m not sure people get taller when wet).  He also relies on the speed of the fastball and the break of the change.  A change that might carry him to glory, as soon as next year.  In keepers, I’d be very interested.  For this year, go with Toomgis’ advice on matchups.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s time we address the elephant in the room.  Not you, Sandoval.  I mean that one-time absurdist comedian and Red Sox knuckleballer, Steven Wright, has a 2.01 ERA in almost 100 IP after yesterday’s line of 9 IP, 0 ER, 8 baserunners, 6 Ks.  The Red Sox are so happy with him they are currently combing the minor league rosters for other Boston comic namelgangers, except for any Dane Cooks because people are going to see his Shocker pitch from a mile away.  Denis Leary has some decent pitches he stole from other pitchers, and he keeps trying to smoke his teammates’ chew.  While Lenny Clarke is a Quad-A pitcher, who everyone says is a great teammate, a real pitcher’s pitcher.  None are Steven Wright though.  Christian Vazquez came up to the mound during yesterday’s game and told Steven Wright he could throw a knuckleball at any time, and Steven Wright said, “I decided to throw one during the Renaissance.”  I did some dirty math on my own fantasy team where I have a 4.03 ERA (yup, my pitching is a mess!).  If I had Steven Wright on my team, I’d have a 3.74 ERA — a quarter of a run better — and an extra three points.  So, as a Bostonian would say, fahk me for not picking him up in April.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Shin-Soo Choo hit the DL again.  Yeah, surprise, surprise.  Never would’ve seen that coming, unless you’ve followed Choo’s career for the last three seconds.  In other news, Joey Gallo was called up.  Here’s my transactions yesterday:  Team Albright dropped Tyler Goeddel for Mikie Mahtook.  Twenty-nine minutes later: Team Albright dropped Mikie Mahtook for Delino DeShields.  Two hours later: Team Albright dropped Delino DeShields for Matt Holliday because someone else grabbed Joey Gallo already, and Team Albright didn’t feel like adding Junichi Tazawa for the sixth time.  Gallo has e-meants power.  His power is so e-meants I can’t even spell immense correctly, except there.  He had 8 HRs in 24 games this year in Triple-A and six homers in about a month last year in the majors.  This offseason I said, “I get the sneaking suspicion that Joey Gallo is going to be The Return of the Sucky Average Lagoon Monster, who was played briefly in an off-Broadway revival by Chris Carter.  In Double-A last year, Gallo had a 39.5% strikeout rate.  That’s absurd.  That’s the same rate historians have said Babe Ruth had after an all-night bender with Fatty Arbuckle when Ruth showed up and accidentally went up to bat still wearing his sleep mask.  Fun fact!  Sleep masks for the wealthy used to be made from raw hamburger patties.  So, with Gallo wearing a raw hamburger on his eyes, is there any chance of him hitting above .200?  Not if he can’t tame his strikeouts.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Good news, prematurely balding men and five lady readers, Gallo’s tamed his Ks by a lot this year in Triple-A.  He’s cut them to 22.6%, and was hitting .265.  If he can hit .265 with the Rangers, he’ll be more valuable than Prince Fielder this year because Gallo has 40-homer power.  I tried to pick him up in every league, and I suggest you do the same.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When it comes to rookies we all known the top 100 prospects, and the guys outside the rankings with all the helium, but more often than not it’s the unheralded prospects that can make all the difference in deeper leagues and dynasty’s. Ask the 2014 Charlie Blackmon owner, the 2015 Delino Deshields owner, or the guy that picked up Travis Shaw down the stretch. They’ll tell you that when everyone else was blinded by minor leagues stats, or top 100 hyperboles, they took a shot on a guy who had something more important than hype; playing time. When it comes down to it, no matter the format, or scoring system everything starts and ends with playing time opportunity. So, with that said, for the next two posts I’m going to take a look at players that have a chance of breaking camp with their clubs, and reaping the benefits of that most important thing. Today we focus on the hitters and Wednesday we’ll move onto the pitchers. These won’t be your heralded guys like A.J. Reed or Jose Peraza, but those less sexy “rooks” that toe the line of JAG, and sleeper. Behold, Dr. Lifshitz’s Sleeper Rookies for 2016 Fantasy Baseball!

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Tampa Bay’s farm system isn’t the best on the block for shallow league players, but there are a bunch of interesting fantasy pieces here to sift through if you play in a deeper dynasty format. The biggest news from the 2015 season was the explosion of left hander Blake Snell. He earned all kinds of accolades with his performance and now he’s set up to join the rotation in 2016. The Rays have good pitching depth again this year, and they’ll get Alex Cobb back at some point as well. Outfielder Steven Souza was a trendy sleeper prospect in 2015, but injury and strikeouts limited his value in his rookie year. He could be a decent buy low in dynasty leagues since the power and speed that made him interesting in the first place are still there.

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Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.
Baseball, the schedule they made put an end to you.
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song,
All I was wearing was a thong.
I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days when I thought the season would not end.
I’ve seen lonely times for Matt Williams, I mean, he’s a dope, but he can’t even find a friend from his own coaches.
But I always thought that I’d see Giancarlo again.

I believe they call that a prelude, but since it comes the day after the fantasy baseball season wraps up, it’s not a prelude.  It’s an epitaph.  Here, take a tissue.  You have to excuse me, I don’t have any clean ones.  What will we do for the next few months without an update on Ryan Zimmerman’s oblique?  Will Pablo Sandoval’s back hurt even if we don’t talk about it?  What will we do without a Hanley injury update?  WHAT?  WILL?  WE?  DO?  Prepare for next season, of course.  But, first, let’s bask in the last day of the season.  Today is the day when you realize you’ve spent 27,000 man hours this summer beating eleven other strangers to win a virtual trophy, and it feels great!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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