“‘I need a bouncy C.  Not a bouncy castle!’  Billy Beane screams into his headset, when an intern interrupts him and his daughter, practicing her guitar, while they are both on a treadmill.  The intern tells Beane that Jesse Hahn has a blister.  The intern turns and it’s Jonah Hill.  Fat Jonah, not “He doesn’t look right skinny” Jonah.   Beane then looks at the camera to establish empathy and says, “Get me Sean Manaea.”  Only he adds three extra syllables to Manaea’s naeame.   And…scene!”  The producer smiles, “That’s a great pitch.  If only Manaea looks that good.  High-five!”  So, Manaea has been called up to start on Friday.  He’s looked downright fantastic thus far.  Upleft fantastic too.  He’s a six-five Samoan, but he doesn’t weight 475 pounds.  He could be the Rookie of the Year; his stuff is that TNT with SVU reruns.  I also think there’s more downside here than, say, Berrios.  He’s had moments where his command leaves him, and he becomes a 5+ IP, 4 ER guy.  His delivery looks to me like he could get wild very easily.  Wide range of possibility here, could be a #1 or could be a #4-5 that you only own in AL-Only leagues.  Of course, I’m taking the flyer in all leagues for the chance he comes up and wows upsides our fantasy heads.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Where do you hide your stash? Over the years I have used such hiding places as my original Nintendo Entertainment System (where you put the cartridge in), inside one of my Bauer ice hockey gloves (masks any odors) and in the back pocket of the pants of my homemade Cobra Kai outfit. However, the most important part about hiding your stash isn’t necessarily where you actually hide it, but instead, actually remembering where you hid it. And the key to remembering is based on your “state of mind” when you hid it. I’m pretty sure I just blew through my allotment of commas. If you’ve never spent hours searching for a stash, or stumbled upon a stash weeks later, you’re a better man than I. As for Grey, he hides his stache in plain sight, right on his face. That’s how cool he is!

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I don’t know where it’s coming from with Jeremy Hazelbaker, so I called Keith Morrison of Dateline to investigate.  He went to St. Louis to investigate and left me this message, “Here, in bucolic St. Louis, all seemed right in the world.  Jeremy had just married his high school sweetheart, and they were on a honeymoon of a lifetime when the unthinkable happened.”  I picked up the phone, because I use an old school answering machine, “Keith, St. Louis isn’t bucolic, and I’m not looking for a suspicious murder scenario.  I want to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker is for fantasy baseball.”  Keith continued, “The neighbors had nothing but nice things to say about the couple.  But they didn’t see the dark side.”  “Keith, yesterday, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, and is hitting .526 through a week’s worth of games and hitting 2nd on most days.  Can he continue it?”  “Only that wasn’t pine tar on his bat, it was iron-rich blood.  Coming up after the break–”  So, I don’t know how the Cardinals do this with outfielders every year.  These outfielders that just come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant; I will call them, The Sons of Ludwick.  Will it continue for Hazelbaker?  It seems highly unlikely.  He profiles as a 5-7 HR, 15-17 SB guy who might hit .245.  But, ya know what, I don’t need to know where it’s coming from or if it will continue to own Hazelbaker, as I now do in a few leagues.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Shawn Tolleson went zero innings and gave up five earned for the blown save.  Why is there blood dripping down the back of my leg?  OH GOD, TOLLESON, WHAT HAVE YAO REEKED?!  Yao is totally a medieval word for you, by the way.  Yao Ming was medieval for “You mean?”  Rather popular question in the olden days.  Any hoo!  Jesus, Tolleson, I wish I owned Jesus Tolleson, the Dominican League 2nd baseman from the Punta Cana Putas, instead of you.  That was egregious, my man.  At least buy me dinner before touching up my nethers with an iron maiden.   Someone tase me so I forget about it.  I immediately grabbed Sam Dyson and Keone Kela, wherever I could.  It’s not completely clear who would be next, but Dyson has been used as the 8th inning setup man recently, so he’d be my first choice.  If Tolleson looks wonky in one more game, he might no longer be the closer.  Or as Elvis Costello would say, “Tolleson, I know the M’s are killing you, but my aim for SAGNOF is true.”  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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Seems like Andre Ethier followed Natalie Portman’s advice in Garden State a little too closely when she told Braff that The Shins will change your life.  Dodgers announced that Ethier would miss 10 to 14 weeks with a fractured tibia.  What is that, two days after I drafted Ethier in Tout Wars?  Two and a half?  One and one three-quarters of a tibia later?  All you can do is laugh.  A high-pitched, crazed laugh like when you lose your job, then step in an empty elevator shaft.  One of those real crazy laughs that you expect to hear from someone pushing a shopping cart filled with Ho-Ho boxes that have been removed of Ho-Hos and replaced with dog turds.  One of those kind of laughs.  Filling in for Ethier will be some combo of Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford, Kike Hernandez and Trayce Thompson, a group that could be summarized with:  Bleh, Meh, Jewish, Girl.  I removed Ethier from my top 100 outfielders and top 500.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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This happened during the holiday season in my house:  Me, “Do you know what not winning the Cy Young did to your mother?  I don’t care, personally, if you throw your life away being an ace while never bringing home the postseason hardware, but your mother, she told all of her friends at her Wally Lamb book club for three straight months that you were going to win the Cy Young.  She even made me go to Costco, on a Sunday during their busiest time, and buy burgers and buns for a Sonny Gray Cy Young party.  Then you only receive one 2nd place vote and no first place votes.  I’m disappointed, and you giving your mother and I Billy Butler BBQ sauce for Christmas doesn’t really make up for it.”  Sonny, “Sorry, Pops.”  “Did you even buy this or did you get it free?”  I then threw Billy Butler’s BBQ into the fireplace and screamed, “Did you?!”  It was an ugly scene.  He’s my boy, Sonny Gray, and I love him very much, but it’s time we look at him through a non-familial gaze.  Last year, he had a 2.73 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 208 IP while breaking out as a number one fantasy starter.  Or did he?!  Ah, Reversal Question, you are quick…Or are you?!  I am!…Or am I?!  Anyway, what can we expect from Sonny Gray for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him overrated?

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What goes through J-FOH’s head when he does these ranks? I’m glad you asked. Wait… you didn’t ask? Are you sure? No? Not at all? Sheesh, thanks guys… and four girls. I’m going to be my usually contrarian self and tell you anyway. I’m looking at players from their floor to their ceilings over the next 3-5 years (and beyond). I’m looking at games played over the previous few seasons, projecting risk going forward, and predicting how they will age based on their skill set. A player whose value is heavily dependent upon speed will usually lose that speed going into the 30’s and players with power will usually keep that a little bit longer. There are always guys who defy the odds like David “I never juiced” Ortiz or Adrian Beltre. They are a special breed that should never be slept on ’til the day they retire. There is science, stats, and anecdotal B.S., and then there are “those guys”. Joey Bats and those sweet bat throws would fall into that class for me. Excuse me while I preach for a second. I love bat flips. I think they should be mandatory for any home run after the 7th, 6th for the Yankees. This is a kids game that is suppose to be fun and guys like Mad Bum need to either throw the punch or shut the front door. Any a-hole can stand there shouting with a team behind him. At least Robin Ventura had the cojones to try and fight. (I want that shirt!) Now that we have my major side track out of the way, let’s move down to some words about the list before we get to the list. Note to self, take an english class at the local adult education center next year.

Take on your favorite writers in the 2016 Razzball Commenter Leagues! Join here

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The 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are under that link.  Why are you lifting your computer?  Not literally under that link!  Okay, you’re thick like a CVS receipt folded in half twelve times.  In years past, the top 40 starters is a mix of guys I like and don’t like.  Like a high cholesterol cow, it’s about half and half.  This year, I really had to struggle to find guys that I didn’t want to draft in the top 40 starters.  There are four starters I wouldn’t draft in this top 40.  Four!  In the top 20 outfielders, I kept going back to how there was about eighty outfielders I would draft.  Here, it’s kinda different.  I don’t want to draft so many starters, but there’s a crapton of decent ones.  As with past rankings, my tiers and projections are included for the low, low price of $19.99!  Kidding, they’re free.  The oxygen you need to live while reading them is gonna cost you though.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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All the final 2015 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2016 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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