Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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Greetings! Last I recall, the Elders and I were passing Thai sticks in the Secret Pool of Kuang Si, discussing some profoundly important subjects while we took turns etching ancient symbols into the skin directly on and surrounding the pubic region. But of course, our bodies are all immaculately smooth, hairless and chiseled, as if made from marble and then formed in the scorching lava of Mount Kilimanjaro. Why does this matter, you ask? The context will be necessary on our journey together through what looks to be a tumultuous 2017. Trust me in this, and the opportunities for massive glory in all forms of life may fall at your crusty feet like droplets of acid rain that will one day doom this planet (but not yet), burning all your self-pity and self-doubt away, peeling your skin off like a viper, you can be born anew, with a clearer vision and a more artful plan of attack. Anyways, I just woke up on an airplane, as it seems I’m headed back to the United States and below we have what one could consider a synopsis of sorts, of what the Elders and I discussed about fantasy baseball and “other things”.

I am the great Tehol Beddict and this is Disgrace/Delight! Take Heed!

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Let the overreaction to Spring Training numbers begin! Gregory Polanco went 3-for-3 with 2 stolen bases in his debut — 115 SB prediction for Polanco! Jason Castro went 2-for-2 with a HR in his first game — 60 HR for Castro! Shelby Miller allowed 2 runs, 3 hits over 2 innings — that is actually pretty on-brand for Shelby Miller. Do not trust Shelby Miller! Health is really what you’re looking for in Spring Training and these guys are failing that test so far…

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I have no idea if anyone at ESPN actually ranks people.  There’s talk of it.  Like, “Yo, Klara Bell, you do your rankings yet?”  “No, did you?”  Then Cockcroft makes farting noises with his armpit.  All I ever see at ESPN is consensus rankings.  I have to figure out how to do this “consensus” thing.  Talk about a nice way to avoid taking any blame for anything.  “Hey, man, sorry about Andrew McCutchen being ranked so high this year, but these are ‘consensus’ rankings.”  Let’s turn to a conversation between two random fantasy baseballers.  “Cockcroft has said he doesn’t like Cano this year.”  “But ESPN has him 34th overall.”  “Yeah, doesn’t apply when talking about Cockcroft.”  “So, when does it apply?”  “When talking about ESPN.”  “But Cockcroft is at ESPN”  “Yeah, still doesn’t apply.”  “Can you explain that?”  “Nope.”  Then heads explode.  Consensus rankings are done by committee.  Only thing ever done better by committee is jerk seasoning.  Now, while you might think ESPN’s rankings have a ton of jerk seasoning, they are just an indecipherable mess.  But why bring up all of this when I’m about to take a blowtorch to Yahoo’s 2017 fantasy baseball rankings?  Thanks for asking, clunky expositional question!  Yahoo has consensus rankings, but they also show their work.  Each ‘pert is accounted for in their rankings.  This is already much better than ESPN.  You can at least see what Pianowski, Funston, Behrens and Triple D are thinking individually.  This, of course, doesn’t mean I agree with all of their rankings, but at least I can point to how they came to their consensus.  Anyway, here’s where my 2017 fantasy baseball rankings differ from the 2017 Yahoo fantasy baseball rankings:

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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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Way back in January, when the very first signs of ADP data sprouted out of the ground, I went down the rabbit hole, hoping to catch a glimpse of early signs of value. ADP at that point was more convoluted than forming an expectation for how much Pablo Sandoval would weigh coming into Spring Training, but since it was the only sign we had as to the ‘market’ rate for various players, I utilized it as much as I could.

James Paxton was the poster-boy of my early preseason eyebrow raise. He was going past the 200th overall pick with a maximum just outside of the 11th round. Paxton sits right now with an ADP around 192 overall according to NFBC data, with a max that has ticked up to 109 overall. Grey has Paxton as his 41st ranked starting pitcher and his 162nd overall player. Finally in the process of publishing my personal rankings, Paxton is my 27th overall starting pitcher and my 115th overall player, with still some finagling to bring that up even more if I feel so moved.

What Paxton accomplished last season was nothing short of fascinating. We see mechanical changes in pitchers a lot, but rarely do we see changes that cause such palpable success and subsequent expectations that aren’t afraid to project out that success. Fangraphs did a really nice dive into exactly what Paxton changed and why success followed. Simply put, Paxton reverted to his natural arm slot on the mound, opting to venture away from the ‘over-the-top’ motion he used that we’ve seen cause problems in the past – see Wacha, Michael. This slot helped him hone his command on the inner third of the plate to righties, opening up the outside of the plate to his insanely effective cutter/slider. Eno Sarris breaks this down in the piece linked above.

When I uncovered this story last season, I was wildly intrigued for one reason. A natural arm slot, logically to me, would mean less risk for injury. The DL is something Paxton hasn’t been able to avoid for most of his career, but if there was ever a storyline to give hope for health, I can’t think of a better one than him being more comfortable on the mound…

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One word about this top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words.  I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Gucci handbags for 2017– Ah, I almost got you.  This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other.  Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from.  416 more, to be very exact.  Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 516.  Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500, then a top 25,000, then a top 600,000, until we end up with a top kajillion in April.  Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel.  Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2017 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.”  Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters.  Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Even though it’s barely February, I thought it was time to put together some very early pre-projections rankings for points leagues. I’m not a big fan of early rankings because so much can change between now and draft day, but why not give it a go. I never understood how people could buy those fantasy baseball magazines they sell at the newsstand. They are printed months in advance, and the content is easily outdated by the time you read them. I guess with the internet now those have seen a drastic drop in sales, but I can’t tell you how many guys used to pick one up on the way to the draft and use that as their holy grail.

I found these gems in a box in my basement!

Personally I dislike online drafts. Don’t get me wrong, they are convenient and, at this point, a necessity, but they take way too much of the preparation out of the process. I miss the days when I had to show up live with a Trapper Keeper containing the research I had done over the last four weeks. Players organized by position using folder tabs, handwritten cheatsheets, a set of highlighters and, of course, one of those magazines I just sh*t on just because I felt I had to. Now you can log into your league’s online draft site ten minutes before your draft and it has all the players laid out for you with rankings, projections and average draft position. What used to take weeks of hard work and determination has now been reduced to something many take for granted. What I hate the most is that a player isn’t going to slip by someone because they missed them when doing their research, or they forgot to write their name down when they were transferring their notes from a page of scribble to a much neater sheet of players. Now when it’s your turn it pretty much shows you who you should pick. With that all said I realize that the days of live drafts has come and gone. They are just not realistic anymore. My primary points league has participants spread out all over the country. Does California still count? Aren’t they pushing for secession? That’s about as good of an idea as drafting Yordano Ventura with your first round pick! Too early?

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies.  It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown.  I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted.  Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth.  Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around.  Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April, and then they disappear.  With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest.  There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck.  Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to shift due to which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs.  Finally, the best starters can give you four categories.  The best hitters can give you five categories.  As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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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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