The Winter Meetings concluded day two yesterday at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.  Seen at the Gaylord so far was the best free agent starter (Rich Hill) signing, one of the best closers available (Mark Melancon) signing, and Curt Schilling protesting that the Gaylord Resort should not be allowed to marry.  “Is it going to start calling a lobby ‘Bobby’ and adopt a baby too?”  That’s Curt Schilling with his own special brand of crazy. With Giants’ signing of Mark Melancon, I’m saddened to remember all the good times I had over the past few years with the Giants’ bullpen.  Here’s those times condensed into a single run-on sentence, “I can’t believe I drafted Santiago Casilla, ugh, maybe I’ll back him up with Sergio Romo, oh man, that hurts just as bad, fine, I will grab Hunter Strickland, and he’s killing me too.”  Scene.  Yeah, those times, in theory at least, are behind those owning the Giants’ new closer, Melancon.  For 2017, I’ll give Melancon the projections of 4-1/2.26/0.97/58, 42 saves in 62 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, how’s everyone holding up without fantasy baseball every day?  I don’t know what to do with myself!  This week I wandered into a Starbucks and told the coffeerista about Aaron Sanchez for 2017.  Then I sobbed into a cheddar scone until someone asked me to leave.  We’ve gone over the final 2016 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters.  This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15.  That’s hardcore nerd shizz!  This is simply fantasy baseball, we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle.  So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left.  You’re welcome.  I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2017 rookies.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Today, ladies and gentlemen, is officially the last day of school. And by school I mean me writing fantasy baseball posts in 2016. Over the next few months I’m sure Grey will take a gander at the numbers to determine if yours truly will be back in 2017. Hopefully my eight remaining followers have enough pull to see me through to the other side and get me invited back to Razzball Spring Training. But if not, it’s been a good run. This post is my 94th baseball-related post. I have big incentives in my contract if I make it one hundred, so I hope that doesn’t influence Grey’s decision in a negative way. There are a lot of hungry points league writers out there that just might be willing do what I do for even less. Will they be as cool as I am? Doubtful. As funny? Certainly not. And lastly, will they have the maturity level of a third grader? I certainly hope so. Here’s to hoping Grey just flips a two-headed coin.

Before I jump the gun and start saying any official goodbyes, I think we should take a look back at 2016 and what happened in points leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You literally can’t find a middle infielder with less than 20 homers.  You can’t.  Try it.  See?  This year there are more players with 20 homers than any other season in the history of baseball.  Some conspiracy theorists have said the new commissioner, Our Manfred, is sticking Capri Sun straws into baseballs and juicing them, but this year is odder than that and deserves a better conspiracy theory.  No one is hitting 50+ homers like during the Steroid Era.  Only one guy is even close to 50 homers.  Instead of a few guys doing insane damage in the power department, everyone is doing better, moderately.  It’s the trickle down theory.  If you’re not familiar with that, I’ll explain it.  When Kim Kardashian first appeared on the scene, only she was smoking hot, but rather than Kim hogging the hotness to herself, it trickled down.  Khloe went from a 3 to a 5, Kourtney went from a 5 to a 7, Kris went from a 6 to a 8, the two Jenner girls came of age, going from untouchable to 8’s, and even Bruce went from a zero to a three, becoming a woman that you’d throw one if you were drunk enough.  This is also what’s happened in the majors.  Jean Segura, and all middle infielders, went from fours or fives to 20s.  Yesterday, Segura went 1-for-4 with his 20th homer, hitting .316, to go with his 30 steals.  It’s going to be hard in 2017 to know if these are legitimate gains in power, for Segura and a whole slew of other players, or if half the league is going to regress.  Kinda like Brody Jenner, who was so popular before Kim, ahem, came on the scene.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.”  I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV.  It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend.  Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways.  After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news.  I shut it off and turned to the internet.  I’m still piecing together my thoughts.  He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life.  I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties.  I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels.  There’s a giant pit in my stomach.  Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling.  Not having fun.  I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time.  That exuberance came through in everything he did.  I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile.  How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons.  “That was us.  That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said.  How baseball does that.  How special that is.  You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Real talk:  is there some kind of unwritten law that the first year a new baseball commissioner takes over he’s allowed to institute juiced baseballs?  Is Our Commissioner Manfred sticking Capri Sun straws in baseballs across the league?  Does he have someone else do the actual juicing?  When Bud Selig told Manfred that he could juice the baseballs did he finish by doffing his toupee?  Does Manfred own Dozier in fantasy?  I got questions, y’all!  Yesterday, the Pirates added five more homers to MLB’s bottom line:  Sean Rodriguez (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) with his 14th homer; Jordache Mercer (1-for-4, 3 RBIs) hit his 11th; John Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt (1-for-4) his his 6th, but the real damage was done by The Undread Pirate, Andrew McCutchen (3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) with his 22nd and 23rd homer, hitting .250.  McCutchen got old real fast in every conceivable way over the last two years.  His BABIP fell faster than a 40-year-old on the Cheesecake Factory Diet, his Ks shot up like he’s Danny Glover and he “ain’t got time” for walks and his steals dried up quicker than Cougs’ cactus.  An actual cactus she bought at the supermarket and forgot to water over the course of three years.  What did you think I meant?  Oh c’mon!  All of that for McCutchen who is still only 29 years old!  I’m beginning to think he’s 29 years old like Debra Winger’s listed as 29 years old on her headshot.  In 2017, I think McCutchen won’t be drafted anywhere near where he’s been in the last two years.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall to the 75 to 100 range, which might actually reverse his fortunes and make him a value play again.  Except for those that drafted Carlos Gomez this year, they’re not falling for the ol’ banana in the tailpipe again.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know how people write stuff on a grain of rice.  With that in mind, on Rich Hill‘s blister this is written, “Took a whole lot of tryin’ to get up that Hill — R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley.  I can’t believe I not only had room on this grain for an inspirational quote, but also room to attribute the quote to the wrong person and to also add in this meta comment about my inspirational quot–”  Damn, he wasn’t able to fit everything.  That’s the worst.  That’s like when you’re writing a birthday card to someone and you start writing a note only to get to the end and need to start writing super-tiny and curved to fit it in.  And that’s not the first time you’ve heard your curve is super-tiny.  Rich Hill was perfect on Saturday — 7 IP, 0 ER, 0 baserunners, 9 Ks — but, to be honest, Hill has been perfect for the last two years (though only 29 IP last year).  This year, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP with a 10.4 K/9 and 1.74 ERA over the past two years.  So, ya know, your usual ace you get about 120 IP from.  For 2017, it’s going to be hard to rank him much below the top 25 with the caveat that you’re only getting him for three to four months.  Makes you wish rice grains were just a tad bigger to fit all of the superlatives on there for Rich Hill.  Know what I mea– Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not quite as spiritually moving as John Lennon, but imagine for a moment Jose Abreu were to actually put together two solid halves in the same year.  “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.  No ‘He’ll end up below Andrus,’ for half the year.  Above Andrus only this Jose guy.  Imagine Abreu playing a decent, full season like today.  Aha-ha…  Imagine there’s no countries.  It isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to drop or trade for, and no ‘Abreu’s so cold it’s like this hell has a fridge in it’ too.  Imagine all the people living to get a piece of…Abreu…  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one!  I hope some day Abreu’ll be better than Andrus, and play an entire season as one.”  So, Jose Abreu hit two homers yesterday (3-for-7, 7 RBIs, and 21st and 22nd HRs), and he’s been great recently, but it’s hard to get that excited about a guy for 2017 who invariably takes three months off every year.  Can’t imagine he’s a top 25 player ever again.  You-WHO-OOH!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Rest easy, Dodgertown, it looks like your savior lefty has returned to the mound after bated breath. And after his triumphant return in the west he’ll be coming over the mountains to the east climbing hills a mile high. It’s part Gandalf coming from the east on the fifth day, mixed with a splash of Malibu Rocky (think ‘Malibu Ken’…but with Sly Stallone’s growl) and a heaping of Clayton Kershaw.

But wait (gasp!)…it’s not. There’s no Kershaw to be had! In his stead we see a genius front office deadline move come to fruition as none other than Rich Hill took the mound against the Giants this past week and slayed them in route to a 1-0 win. Blisters be damned! Now, Rich Hill’s no slouch; hasn’t been for a few years now. In fact, his numbers trump those above him in our two-start pitchers rankings this week, but both perception and name value may leave Hill a little underwhelming in the eyes of players. How mistaken you’d be if you fall on that side of the line. Let’s examine a little closer, and give a few words as to why my confidence is heavyweight strong for Hill in Week 22.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m being honest here when I say I don’t think you can stop Gary Sanchez.  Someone needs some breaking pitches and chloroform.  It’s a sequel, The Sanchize II:  Homers > Butt Fumbles.  Trivia:  Gary, Indiana is the birthplace of the Jacksons; Gary Sanchez is a Thriller that Ben making balls Beat It, since Imma sing on a song that Michael sung.  Yesterday, Chez Gary went 2-for-3 with his 9th homer in only his 19th game, as he hits .389.  He has 9 homers in 19 games.  Now is when you cackle deliriously.  Paranoid cause you’re a son like Elroy.  You’d be happy as hell if Sanchez was the real deal.  Please, tell me it’s not Maas appeal.  He had 10 homers in 71 games in Triple-A, so I’m all for the hype, but thinking he’s going to be a top 3 catcher in 2017 might be a bit much due to three weeks of play.  There’s no leagues where I wouldn’t own him right now, even if that meant starting him at utility.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?