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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Boy does it feel good to be back!  I can’t wait to be half as productive at work and start losing countless hours of sleep staying up to watch the finish of the [email protected] game  just in case there is a closer injury.  Football was a fine diversion, but I always feel a little empty without baseball.  I’m happy to be back for another season as your Razzball Commenter League (RCL) tour guide.  I love these things.  Really, they play to my strengths and offer ample opportunity to test strategy and ideas.  I love the constant ability to go for every last hit, RBI, SB.  Weekly lineups/moves have their place, I just don’t find them as fun.  The format, the League Competitive Index competition, battling hundreds of other managers for the top of the overall standings and of course, the non stop action make this a unique and fun challenge.  It’s kind of like pounding a pot of coffee every hour, on the hour for six straight months.  I’m also a huge nerd for all the numbers and data that gets collected from running so many leagues under the Razzball umbrella.  I will do my part to share some of these numbers with you along the way and try to glean some info from all that data.  VinWins was my hero back when he ran the RCL Updates, so I’ll do my best to be his protege.  In order to make the data pool even larger though, we need you, and you, and you too.  You see, what makes RCLs great is all of you.  Man that sounds mushy, but it’s true.  In an ideal world, every Razzball reader would head on over to the RCL sign-ups, pick a league and all would be right with the world.  For those of you that aren’t so eager, let’s sit down and chat it out.

First of all, if you’re on the fence about joining an RCL, that can’t be comfortable.  You really should hop down from there and just join a league already.  I get it though, back in the late aughts, when I first started lurking around Razzball I too was reluctant to join an RCL.  I kick myself now though for not joining in the fun sooner.  I’ll give you the reasons I was staying away and then explain why it was complete bunk.  Maybe I can sway another 2-3 of you to come join the masses.  If you have other reasons for keeping away, by all means, lay them on me in the comments.  I love talking RCLs and if we can be doing something better, I’ll be your voice to the big wigs.  So, here we go:

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The end is here my friends.  I thought for a second there we might have some Monday rain delay controversy, but it all worked out and it was Team Levy who took all the glory!  We’ve never had a team with a perfect season until now.  This guarantees Team Levy will remain in the RCL record books for all time as the perfect season can never be beaten, only tied.  That’s pretty amazing to think about.  Out of all the teams that have been managed throughout the the (seven?) years of RCLs and all the leagues we’ve seen, no one has ever pulled off the perfect season.  An amazing achievement!  For their efforts Team Levy takes home a shizz ton of loot.  Let’s see…hold on, searching the site to find the list of goodies…ah-ha, here it is: an autographed baseball of the player who is Grey’s avatar.  That’s right, an autographed baseball of… Well, I guess only Grey and Team Levy will know.  Levy will also receive an autographed baseball of Oscar Gamble!  That’s two, count ‘em, two autographed balls and last, but not least, a $250 Best Buy gift card.  I remember Best Buy, that was the place we used to go before the internet was invented to buy things like video games, CDs and speakers.  I’m pretty sure my local Best Buy just went out of business as a matter of fact.  Good times!  Oh, and Grey says he’ll throw in a Razzball T-shirt as well.  I don’t believe Team Levy has checked in via comments at all this year, but now would be the time.  Levy fended off some very tough competitors this year to claim the RCL crown and it took every bit of that perfect score to win.  Cram It put up a valiant final few weeks but came up 1 point short of going back to back.  Still first, followed by 2nd overall, beating out thousands in the process is no laughing matter.  Cram It deserves some major kudos.  This is Team Levy’s moment though, so hopefully they show up, take a bow and soak it up, they earned it.  Here’s what else what happened this year and this final week of the RCLs:

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It’s hard to believe there’s only one week to go in this marathon of a season.  We’ve tortured ourselves for 25 long weeks, agonizing over batty calls, dipping into the streamers with mixed results, cursing players and praising others.  We’ve ignored our families, our jobs and our personal hygiene and now it all comes down to the final week.  You may smell like stale Funyuns, but dagummit, that virtual fantasy trophy is all yours.  Team Levy is perfect yet again, gaining back the point they lost last week.  After some good conversation with the crowd I came around a bit on Team Levy last week.  I was surprised to learn that no one in the history of the RCLs has ever gone perfecto.  That just goes to show you what a special feat it is, regardless of league competitive index.  We’ve had 117, 118, even 118.5, but never 120.  That’s a lot of teams in a lot of leagues, some of them pretty terrible I’m sure.  We could be witnessing RCL history folks and if it takes a historic achievement to take down a team from a high LCI league, so be it.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the RCLs this week, in the week that was, week 25:

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We now have two weeks to go and a new contender has made a push.  Team Levy slipped back down to 119 points this week and Team Lion of South Side Titans gained two points, bringing their league total to 112.  The South Side Titans somehow holds an LCI of 101.  I say somehow since, you may recall, this was the league where Cody Allen was drafted 4th overall…right.  It appears to be a battle of the higher scoring teams in less competitive leagues right now.  The next three teams in the standings have all scored between 104-105 points in their respective leagues and all three leagues have a very high LCI of 106.  These three teams all sit 6-7 RCL Points behind Team Levy though.  It’s a bit of a bummer that the RCL Point formula doesn’t make this race a little tighter right now.  Having played in several of the higher LCI leagues over the years I have a bias towards those leagues.  I thought the formulas for this year was pretty solid and I suppose if it takes a perfect score in a below average league to win, that says something.  Still, a 108 or 109 in a high index league should be more in the mix.  I’m rooting for one of those to take that next leap these last two weeks.  Here’s what else took place in the week that was, week 24.

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Perfection achieved!  Perfection sustained is TBD, but I don’t see how anyone can chase down Team Levy in All Beddict Tha God in any category.  Maybe Ron Chi can catch Levy in saves, but I doubt it.  Maybe Team Nereim can catch Levy in HRs, but considering he’s got Logan Morrison, and even worse, Lance McCullers, in his starting lineup still, I don’t see that happening either.  The only other team in the league that seems to be playing still is The Talent Show, who’s in 2nd place.  The Talent Show is so far behind Team Levy in every category though, there’s little chance they catch him either.  So, this is Levy’s game to lose it would seem.  The saving grace for Cram It and Backdoor Sliders is that despite reaching a perfect 120, the LCI for All Hail Beddict Tha God dropped to 99, meaning it’s now officially a below average league.  That drop in LCI meant that moving from 119 to 120 had absolutely zero affect on Team Levy’s RCL Points, which stayed at 116.6.  With only 3 owners really doing much, the LCI could continue to drop which would only narrow the gap.  If the LCI in DFSers Anonymous or FCL grows above that 106 mark, things could get pretty tight.  It’s a long shot, but Team Levy should send out a league wide e-mail to his stagnant league mates to try and drum up some activity.  Maybe offer them all some Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons if they come back and at least set a roster for the week.  Anything would help with three weeks to go.  Here’s what else went down in the RCLs in the week that was, Week 23:

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