It was quite the week for trading in the Razzball Commenter Leagues this week as we saw 16 trades completed, several of which caused some commotion and consternation.  Those 16 trades don’t include the several vetoed trades (looking at you Cougs R Us) nor the few trades that were accepted Sunday but won’t be processed until Monday.   Those will be included in next week’s data.

Mike Maher and myself got the party kicked off last Tuesday morning, a couple hours before last week’s update hit.  You may have seen last week’s comments filled with talk of Bryce Harper.  In the deal I sent Mike Ryan Braun ($19.0), Miguel Sano ($18.7), Dallas Keuchel ($16.0) and Travis Shaw (-$10.2).  In return I received Bryce Harper ($38.0) and Carlos Santana ($20.0).  Those values in parentheses are the Rudy/Steamer Rest Of Season values as of Monday afternoon.  That comes out to (ignoring Travis Shaw, who was a throw in) $53.7 for Mike and $58.0 for myself.  At the time of the trade Ryan Braun wasn’t on the DL yet so his value was a bit higher.  This also doesn’t take into account the lineup flexibility I gain from the deal.  For example, I was able to add Alex Wood, who could end up being this year’s Dallas Keuchel circa 2015 if the Dodgers don’t yank his chain too much as well as a streaming spot for hitter/RP/streaming starter.  Grey was chirping and the consensus was that I had ripped off poor Mr. Maher.  In fact, Tehol posted two days AFTER the trade processed that the league should “do the right thing” and veto the deal.  This led Mike (who you should totally follow on Twitter – @mikeMaher) to break out the following Twitter Poll.  Only 4 out of 20 of Mike’s Twitter followers seemed to think I won that deal, with one Twitterer going on to say it wasn’t even close (which Mike agreed).  So, what does the rest of Razzball nation have to say about this deal?  I hate to make the entire lede about a deal that involved my team, so let’s bring this back to trades in general.  I’m entirely anti-veto.  Unless there’s money on the line and something can be proven that two parties are conspiring with one another to win a league and split the prize, I say let the deal stand.  In general, these RCLs are filled with people who don’t really know each other, just like a public league on any other site.  The only thing most of us have in common is reading Razzball.  Bryce Harper could snap any number of tendons tomorrow and then I’m left standing in the rain, cold and sad.  Managers evaluate talent differently, what you view as a good deal, I might not.  It’s your team though, so you do you, I’ll do me and we’ll ridicule your trade in the court of public opinion in the comments below.

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Stick a fork in week 5, it’s done!  Now, if a fork only has three prongs, is it a threek?  Is a two-pronger a twoork?  Maybe a  twerk?  These are the questions that must be answered.  Another question that must be answered is can anyone can stop the RCL Auto-Bots engineered by Sullivan Inc.?  Last week Mr. Sullivan had three teams in the top with the fourth knocking on the door.  This week, the bots have kicked down that door and taken the top 10 by storm.  The bots now control the first, second, sixth and eighth spots in the overall top 10 and show no signs of slowing.  If there is one mortal who gives the human race some hope of defeating the RCL Bots, it’s Cram It.  After an overall championship followed by a 2nd place overall finish last season, our human hero has a team sitting just outside the top 10 overall this week at 11th.  It’s man vs. machine heading into the sixth week of the season.  This will be a fun battle to watch.  So, grab a twerk and let’s dig into all the stats in the week that was, week 5.

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Draft season is done and over.  Did that seem to drag or what?  I’m pretty sure I had a draft every night for about 11 straight days there.  I’m ready for real baseball.  You can close out of your cheat sheets now.  Take a breathe….OK stop….time to get on the RCL grind!  Grab your caffeine vessel of choice and start researching tomorrow’s batty calls.  

We’ll be looking at all the draft data that all of you contributed from the evening of February 22nd all the way until this past Sunday night.  That’s just over a month of draft data to break down, dissect and tear apart.  Next week, we’ll be able to dig into all those RCL teams a bit, but this week, it’s all about those drafts.  Without further ado, let’s dig into how the RCLers drafted this year.

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Long ago, when I was but a young boy, I would decipher Matthew Berry articles on ESPN, strategizing for my fantasy baseball draft with all my closest associates, writhing in anticipation. Soaked like I was just urinated on by a large pack of giraffes, waking up from dreams soaked in sweat, I wasn’t sure if this was all real or not. Did I really help cover up the murder of a stripper last night? Did I sleep with Anna-Nicole Smith? Isn’t she dead? I just adored fantasy baseball! Anyway, this went on for a few years until a grand man by the name of Josephine Morris told me of a certain gentleman, a mustached little man who curiously resembled Don Mattingly. Josephine told me:

“You, Tehol, my closest and must trusted friend, have mastered fantasy baseball. That is, mastered it against peasants like our peanut-brained friends… but if you want to go to another level of metaphysical wizardry, well, then you must go to a a little place where the beer flows like wine and the seagulls flock like the salmon of Capistrano… a little place called… Razzball.com…”

The rest is history. But now you know there was a man named Grey Albright and he saved me… in every way a person can be saved.

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We’ve called off the animals and what’s left standing are 74 Razzball Commenter Leagues.  That’s down from 85 in 2016.  We didn’t have VinWins creating 15 leagues all of his own this year though.  All in all, not too shabby.  If you missed the boat on joining, what took you so long?  If you’re really hankering for a league though, post below and if we get enough interest maybe we can get one last league brewing for all the procrastinators out there.  It will have to be a popular draft time (likely night, think ~9 PM EST) and it should give everyone plenty of time to join (Thursday/Friday/Saturday).  Let me know in the comments and we’ll get you hooked up.

Of our 74 RCLs, 46 of them have drafted.  Simple math tells us that we’ve got a lot of drafts going off this week.  Which means a lot more ADP data to look at.  The RCL ADP sheet has been getting lots of love.  There’s anonymous animals all over that thing from 7-10 PM every night.  I’m glad you’re all finding that useful.  We’ll be going over some more of that data today as well as some early trades that have taken place in the RCLs.  Let’s get to it!

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It’s been a long tradition here at Razzball, passed on from generation to generation by word of…keyboard; don’t draft a starter in the first round.  There always seems to be those faces in the crowd that will argue until they are blue in the face that Kershaw is worth a top 2 pick.  All leagues are different, of course.  There are leagues, such as NFBC leagues or other leagues with limited moves where quality innings are hard to come by that top pitchers make more sense.  However, we tend to focus on the ESPN 12 team leagues we know and love, the RCLs.  In this format, you’re doing yourself a disservice drafting a first round pitcher.  I’ve said it, “I’m not here to suggest that if you draft a pitcher in the first round, you’ll lose the league, but you’re not doing yourself any favors.”  Grey has said it, “These tiers are from Kershaw to Lester.  If you draft someone from these tiers, you’ll probably lose your league or get lucky with your hitters.”  Countless other top RCLers have echoed the same sentiment.  Yet, there is Clayton Kershaw with an ADP of 10.5 and a high pick of #2 overall.  Just last week in an RCL I put together there was a spirited discussion as a drafter took Kershaw 4th overall.  The debate raged on as this drafter went on to take Max Scherzer in the 2nd round, 21st overall.  There were talks of “1/6th of my GS will now have elite ratios” and “Elite starters are so valuable with all this offense around the league”.  I’m not typically one to throw out anecdotal claims, so let’s look at some cold, hard numbers to see if the old spiel holds true.

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When twelve writers get together for an RCL draft you know they are going to have something to say about it.  After all, we’re all loaded with opinions and clearly love to hear ourselves talk (type).  The Writers League RCL has been debunk for a little while but Grey had me revive it this year.  I was thrilled to get my fellow writers together for a season of RCL fun.  On Thursday, March 9th at 9pm EST, eleven other writers and myself settled in for an early season draft.  You can check out all the draft results HERE to follow along.  This season’s participants in RCL draft order are:

Razzball Commenter Leagues are open! Play against our contributors and your fellow readers for prizes. Join here!

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Is it just me or is this offseason crawling along?  There are still three weeks until Opening Day but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.  This week I want to go over a few last strategy tidbits before I get into some in depth draft numbers the next couple weeks.  I have one last note on the draft as well as a loophole you should know about and take advantage of.  These are the last couple of things I couldn’t cram into my other posts but I think are too important to just let go.  I’ll also be sharing the newest week’s worth of draft data with you.  We had a splurge of drafts Thursday night and with one close call Friday we got 15 leagues drafted.  The Razzball Writers League got drafted up Thursday evening and we’ll be posting a Q&A style recap of that draft in the next week or so.  Keep an eye out for that if you’re interested but in the meantime, let’s cover the last few tips you need before tackling your own drafts in the weeks to come.

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RCL draft season is still creeping along.  We are up to 7 drafts now with another one that went off late last night.  We’ll be getting into the thick of it here shortly but while we wait for draft-mania to start, let’s look at some more RCL strategy.  

This week I wanted to briefly go over some notes on pitching in the RCLs.  I say briefly because this subject has been covered many times before, quite brucely, much more succinctly than I could cover it.  I’ll tell you young Razzballers a story, about where it all got started, way back in a time known as ten after twenty.  There was a man that went by the name Oaktown Steve.  If there were a Hall of Fame for commenters, Steve would be first ballot.  Occasionally, the Steve from Oaktown still pops in with a comment or two but gentlemen and six ladies, OTS was all over this streaming phenomenon; the pioneer of the movement if you will. Next came Simply Fred.  Fred was onto the streaming movement along with a handful of others and this is where the revolution really picked up steam.  Rudy felt he could improve the process and the Stream-O-Nator was born!  The world hasn’t been the same since.  Finally, Rudy covered the importance of maximizing IP and how to value our streamers here.  That should be enough clickbait and reading to get you off to sleep tonight where visions of ERA, WHIP and K/9 will dance in your head.  If you’re feeling lazy though, I’ll give you the cliffs-notes version with a couple of my own notes.

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Last week we covered why you should join and RCL, so this week let’s start covering what to do once you’re in there.  To be honest, most all of this has been covered somewhere on the site over the years, most often by Rudy.  I covered this info last year, Big Odio has covered/ranted in the comments plenty about it as well.  If you haven’t been playing in RCLs though, I could see how some of this has been glossed over, so I’ll try to consolidate some info for the newbies.  Frequent players, feel free to skip ahead.

Should you take all my advice as gospel?  Nah, you do you, I’ll do me and we’ll both be happy.  All I can give you is a voice of experience.  I’ve played in these leagues for quite some time in some very tough leagues.  I’m not the best player around, but I can hold my own.  I’m here to help you do the same.  No one wants to be fighting for 11th place, so here we go!

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