As I begin to prepare my projections and rankings for the 2017 season, I like to look back on the previous season’s attempt to not only assess my work, but also to learn how I can do better next time. Projecting statistics in any sport is a tedious and arduous task. The variables, formulas and algorithms are constantly changing and if you don’t adapt with them, your results will lose their precision and accuracy. However, I’d like to make one point blatantly clear, projections are nothing more than calculated guesses. Some are better than the next, but none are even close to perfect.

Let’s see how I fared with my 2016 efforts. For all positions I will provide the following six numbers: projected points, actual points, projected rank, actual rank, projected points per plate appearance and actual points per plate appearance. I am including points per plate appearance because it helps put a player’s projections vs performance into perspective when they’ve missing time due to injury. For pitchers I’ve replaced points per plate appearance with points per start. I’ve also included a column showing the percentage by which my points projections were off. Any player with an “n/a” listed in this column is because that player spent at least 30 days on the disabled list.

Lastly, a quick note about the rankings listed in this post. These rankings are based purely on points. This season I plan to provide additional rankings that allow me to adjust them based on three important factors: intuition, gut and my sporadic conversations with Nostradumass.

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To paraphrase Tupac from Brenda’s Got a Baby, “I hear Grey’s got 2017 fantasy baseball rankings, but Grey’s barely got a brain.  A damn shame.  That guy can hardly spell his name.  GREY’S….GOT EM….RANKINGS!  Don’t you know he’s got ’em.  He wrote them solo, and he wrote them on his bathroom floor and didn’t know what to throw away and what to keep.  He crumbled these rankings up and threw them in a trash heap.   GREY’S….GOT EM….RANKINGS!  Don’t you know he’s got ’em.”  Don’t say I don’t keep my shizz socially conscious.  Or is it socially conscience?  Meh, doesn’t matter, I do it either way.  So, this top 60 starters has seven pitchers I’m not crazy about.  That’s more than the last post, but still not that many.  I.e., there’s a ton of starters to draft.  As with previous rankings posts, my projections are included and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Here we are, the third of four posts about the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft. Previously, I posted recaps of rounds 1-6 and rounds 7-12. This post is for rounds 13-18. The final post will be for rounds 19-23. Complicated stuff, I know. But try to keep up.

In case you have yet to see my previous posts, here is a quick recap of the league rules for this mock:

This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1).

As I have done with the other posts, I’ll post the results below by round and will offer a few of my thoughts for each round…

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Greetings, friends. I hopped over to the football side of things once last year’s baseball season ended, but now I’m back. And apparently, I am such a disturbed individual that I am doing fantasy baseball mock drafts in early January. And, I am writing about them. And, well, I just wanted to start another sentence with and because it feels so wrong but so right at the same time. Anyway, moving on.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft, and we’re going to recap it here. This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1). As long as I did that math correctly, that is 23 spots.

Below, I will provide the results for the first six rounds and a give my thoughts for each round. I’ll do the same for rounds 7-12, 13-18, and 19-23 in subsequent posts. I’ll try to keep it brief. All we really care about are the results here, right? Feel free to tell me how awesome or crappy you think my team is, along with what you think were the best and worst picks of the draft or the different rounds…

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Imagine the Cubs decided to use Lester, Hendricks, Hammel and Lackey in the playoffs, and not Jake Arrieta.  Not sure it would be the wrong move either.  Arrieta isn’t just out of gas, he’s on a late-70s gas station line, cursing Jimmy Carter.  He’s eaten six Chalupas and a Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell, washed it down with a 16-ounce Coke, and can’t produce any gas.  He’s staying at a Marriott in Saudi Arabia where OPEC is meeting and all hotel guests get a complimentary barrel of petroleum and Arrieta can’t produce any gas.  Yesterday, Arrieta went 5 IP, 7 ER and his ERA went up to 3.10.  About five months ago, I said Arrieta doesn’t look right.  I said it around the time of his no-hitter.  That took some pants grapes.  What’s funny (not funny) when you’re super early at calling something out, people write you off as cuckoo in the coconut.  On April 29th, I said, “It’s hard to find a positive when you take this year’s numbers vs. last year’s (of Arrieta).  Velocity is down, K-rate is down, walk rate is up, xFIP is up, luck is up, homers are up, ground balls are down and fly balls are up.  It’s like looking under a Maserati’s hood and seeing a Mercedes engine.  It’s not bad, but it’s not a Maserati.”  And that’s me quoting me!  On May 9th, I said, “Not to sound like a broken record, but his peripherals just haven’t been as good as last year thus far.”  And that’s me quoting me sounding like a broken record!  I continued to say more or less the same for a few months, then SUDDENLY everyone else started saying it.  For 2017, I picture Arrieta being drafted a lot like Felix Hernandez in the preseason this year.  People are concerned, but he’s so good, they’re still drafting Arrieta around 60th overall.  Yeah, and it won’t work out either.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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:

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Twenty-six years after my Lord and Savior, Reggie Jackson, retired from professional baseball to collect cars, full-length fur coats and start a business where you use cocktail franks as cocktail stirrers, I saw a young Mariner by the name of Brad Miller.  To this day, when you Google “Brad Miller sleeper,” you still see archival footage of Grey’s massive excitement — that’s not what she said!  I was jazzed back in 2013 because Miller had hit 20 HRs, stole 11 bases and over .300 between the majors and minors.  Then 2014 and 2015 happened, Miller did nothing, and I retreated into my cubby hole of snack food that I eat out of sight from my Cougar wife.  “I’m snacking on kale, baby doll!”  “Grey, you sound louder than usual.”  I was being amplified due to eating a nacho cheese Bugle.  Finally, this year I was sure not to own Miller anywhere.  So, of course, he breaks out.  Yesterday, Brad Miller went 3-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 25th homer, 5th homer this week, while hitting .265.  On our 30-day Player Rater, Miller is 5th most valuable for hitters.  The top 4 –> Blackmon, Hamilton, Braun, Betts.  Yeah, pretty good company, like Reggie’s cocktail frank stirrers’ company, The Dog That Stirs The Drink, Inc.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Mookie Betts went 4-for-6, 4 runs, 8 RBIs with three homers (24, 25, 26).  In the long, storied history of the Red Sox, Mookie Betts is only the 2nd Sawx player to have two three-homer games in a season; the other is Ted Williams.  Mookie Ballgame.  The Splendid Splurger.  The Greatest Mookie Who Ever Lived With Apologies To Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock.  The You Can’t Make This Up Because Your Imagination Can’t Come Up With Anything This Beautiful.  The Hamilton Musical In Baseball Form.  The Unfrozen Ted Williams.  I don’t think it’s hyperbole — which is not the chamber Michael Jackson used to sleep in — to think Mookie Betts will be a top three hitter in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  He’s now cemented himself in the three hole in one of the best offensive parks, surrounded by a team that is always potent on offense.  Betts or Trout?  There’s a legit case for Betts, The Splendid Splurger!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the roundup, just wanted to announce our RCL fantasy football leagues are signing up.  So, go over there and rush the QB!  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t stand for Q-Bert.  Anyway II, here’s the roundup:

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Rough year to be a Prince.  Watch yourself William, Henry and the kid who played Fred in the atrocious Scooby-Doo movies.  Prince Fielder is done from baseball with 319 homers.  Of the tens of thousands of other baseball players that have played the game, the only other person retired with exactly 319 homers is Cecil Fielder.  They are also the only two members of the 300-300 club — 300 HR/LB.  This also leads me to believe we’re on an 18-year loop with 1998.  Wait until Hillary Clinton meets a young Jewish intern in the White House who is just back from Cuba with some cigars.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As we’ve seen countless times, a logjam in a starting rotation never ends up being a hurtle. At first, the Astros were seemingly cutting out Lance McCullers with boring vets like Doug Fister and Scott Feldman, the latter who has really not worked out as a starter… Feldman was throwing some good RP innings though, before they dumped him north of the border… Anyway, with McCullers’ elbow barking, it opened a spot for Joe Musgrove to step right into the rotation.

I’ve been thinking back; has there been a more exciting SP debut for a guy coming out of the bullpen at first? 4.1 innings coming in for the injured McCullers with 1 hit, 1 walk, and 8 Ks and a Jose Fernandez-esque fiery presence from Musgrove. Brian McCann will be a big baby whenever the Yankees face him… 8 strikeouts has to be close to a record for an MLB debut out of the bullpen (broadcast tells me it tied the record, nice work Astros broadcast!)… I guess without the clear opening through the season, it dulled the fantasy love for Musgrove, who had a crazy 10.25:1.03 K:BB in AA and 8.69:1.07 in AAA. Makes Phil Hughes look wild! Although, throwing Phil Hughes’ name in here isn’t exciting anyone… Hopefully a good outing and sexy GIFs will do that! Here’s how Musgrove looked yesterday afternoon in his first career MLB start:

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