It’s barely May and we have already seen several anticipated rookie pitchers make their MLB debuts. If memory serves me correctly, it was actually Robert Stephenson who got the first call back on April 7th. After an unimpressive first outing in which he got the win, he was optioned back to Triple A. Yep, his outing was so mediocre that he was sent to fix flat tires in the greater Cincinnati area. Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly what happened. Two weeks later, however, Stephenson was recalled for another spot start. This performance was much more impressive. He got another win and was again sent back down.

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My schmohawk posts are like the fantasy equivalent of Final Destination.  First, A.J. Pollock loses his season, then Kyle Schwarber is carted off the field after running into Fowler.  If I were Miguel Sano, I’d look both ways while carefully crossing to the plate to strikeout.  And Tulo, well, I would just stay in the hyperbaric chamber that you sleep in for your hamstrings.  I’m not sure if it was the writing of the posts, publishing of the posts or simply thinking about writing the posts that jinxed these players.  Where does my kavorka start and end?  Is it okay for me to think bad thoughts about Trevor Story?  How serious are my premonitions?  Oh, and one side note, you never want to see anyone get hurt, but how on earth did Schwarber get hurt and Fowler was fine?  Schwarber’s got like 200 pounds on him.  Damn, Dexter Fowler is one strong bean.  So, Schwarber has a sprained ankle and is headed for an MRI today.  He could be gone for a while, which could help Jorge Soler see some light, though I’m not sure this won’t just mean more playing time for Matt Szczur, Javier Baez (when he returns) or Kris Bryant into the outfield.  I’m not even joking; Maddon’s playbook is written in hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone didn’t make it through baggage claim.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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*takes a long inhale*  “You smell that, Roberta?  You, with the yellow-stained armpits and sweatpants, I’m calling you Roberta.  That’s baseball you smell.  In its infinite complexity and finite simplicity.  The foul lines whiter than any Lohan mirror.  The grass?  Manicured better than any Vietnamese lady could.  The object of the game?  Accumulate the most stats so I win my fantasy league.  Simple, yet complex.  Like trying to understand Jeff Foxworthy’s appeal.  From today forward, this is our Independence Day (from all that other shizz in our life).”  The preceding was Bill Pullman visiting the set of Field of Dreams.  To that end, Roberta and your long-flowing sideburns, if the idea is to win saves, that difficulty intensifies when you draft Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson becomes the closer.  That’s funny, because the Astros beat writer the other day said GILES IS THE CLOSER.  Caps his, not mine.  I know how to shut off my caps lock.  So, now that GILES IS THE SETUP MAN, I would GRAB Gregerson in EVERY league, though, if it’s competitive, he’s likely GONE by NOW.  No idea why Giles is NOT the CLOSER.  My GUESS is the Astros went OUT and GOT Giles withOUT their manager, A.J. Hinch, agreeing, so Hinch IS now BEING petulANT.  I’d prefer if he were petulANT with A closER I DO NOT OWN.  Hey, it looks like I’m typing this on a busted Smith-Corona.  Fun.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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And so it begins, the 2016 season. With three games on the slate today and another 12 on Monday, baseball is upon us. With the beginning of the season also comes clarity as to who’s making the cut for the 25 man roster. Coming out of every spring it’s important to take a moment and assess what players have seen an uptick in value heading into your dynasty league season. These are all players that are on my short list of targets in trades, those that could bring immediate returns in leagues this year. For the most part we’re discussing players that won’t cost you premium dollars to acquire. Some I’ve beaten to death over the last few weeks and others are popping up here for the first time. All in all the goal is to get you thinking about some potential breakout candidates to swoop on. Feel free to share some of your own.

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My initial thought regarding the NL Central was that it was the best division in all of baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals won 100 games last year, while the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs won 98 and 97 games respectively. To put that into perspective, since 1969, there have only been 47 teams to reach the 100 win mark. The division almost had three in the same season! Wilt would chuckle, but wouldn’t be impressed. Anyways, most of the great philosophical enlightenments come from cartoons. This one being particularly relevant. Put another way, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds are the cellar dwellers, both failing to win 70 wins last year. I guess the division is a microcosm of mankind. You got the “haves” and the “have-nots.” With two punching bags in the division, which elevates the win totals of the other teams, the NL Central cannot be considered the best division in baseball. That distinction probably goes to the AL East, but we are not here to talk about that. We are here to discuss the position battles in the NL Central. So without further adieu Pepe Le Pew….

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It’s going to be a tough act to follow for the rookies of 2016. After the “Year of the Rookie” in 2015, what can we expect from the freshman class this year? Will we have another deep class featuring numerous high impact players to fill our fantasy squads? Or will we scale back this year, and only have a few true must own froshes? Below we’ll dive into the high impact rookies to target in drafts, and keep an eye on for later season call ups. For these reasons, I’ve broken them into two tiers; those that should break camp with big league club, and those that should be high impact call ups during the season. Just for fun I’ve added top 5 lists from some of your favorite Razzball personalities to give you idea of what others besides myself are thinking. Enjoy!

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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Wick Terrell, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Cincinnati Reds!

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Well here it is the post you’ve been hollering for in the comments since November hit. That’s right ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, cats and dogs, pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts, white wall tires and low profile tires, good guys and bad guys, curved brims hats and flat billed caps, and anyone else that reads Razzball; it’s the top 100 live from my garage in suburban Massachusetts. Ahh-huh you’re being magically whisked away to a garage, with flickering lights and an awkwardly handsome gentleman with a laptop. That’s me, and on my computer is a list, it is yours to read, berate, discuss, commit to memory, burn to keep you warm. What you do with it, is really up to you I suppose. This ranking is pretty straightforward, it lists each player, their position, and a link to their team’s minor league preview. Within each preview you’ll find that players blurb. On one final note, all of these ranks take into consideration a variety of factors including ceiling, proximity, and floor. Consider this post interactive, instead of me waxing poetic after each player explaining why I rank so and so where, I leave it to you to call me to the mat and defend my rankings. Without further ado the 2016 Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

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If I told you this post ends our position 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, would you believe me?  What if I told you it while holding your mom’s hand while calling you son, would you believe it more or less?  Man, you got issues!  So, yes, this is the end of our positional rankings, but I’ll be along tomorrow with a top 100 and then a top 500.  That’s right, 500!  Like a baller!  There’s also our Steamer projections for all hitters and pitchers.  All of the fantasy baseball auction values are also up for over 1500 players.  There’s a ton of different formats located there too, like the 5×5 OBP rankings, 6×6 OBP rankings, 6×6 Holds and a ton more.  All of my 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are there.  My tiers and projections are noted in this post.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Robert Stephenson reminds me of another some-time-ago Reds prospect, Edinson Volquez.  Nasty stuff that some people thought could turn into a number two starter.  Unfortunately, for a while, Edinson was just a number two, but not as in a starter.  Then Ray Searage happened.  The Pirates pitching coach fixed Edinson like Chris Martin fixed Gwyneth or like Bill Cosby fixed your mom’s drink in the late 70s, essentially helping Edinson harness his control.  Edinson maxes out at 98 MPH, and Stephenson goes above that, touching 100 MPH on occasion.  Everything else looks to be similar.  Stephenson has no control, and the videos of him give me the impression that he’s still a thrower, not a pitcher.  It’s God’s cruel joke that guys that throw fast can never command their pitches.  Or Vishnu’s cruel joke if you’re reading in India.  Or General Tso if you’re reading in China.  Or Ben Carson if you’re a once-conjoined twin reading this in a church.  If Stephenson wasn’t ready for a starting rotation job out of this spring and able to have a 9+ K/9, we wouldn’t be here talking about him, but we are here and we are talking about him.  Anyway, what can we expect of Robert Stephenson for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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