So, Rudy and I took part in Yahoo’s Friends & Family league hosted by Brandon Funston.  I believe Rudy and I are on the Friends side of equation, but some of the things I find on Ancestor.com could shock you.  I’m only like 12 cousins removed from my wife.  I’m so well-adjusted that doesn’t even make me shudder anymore!  Could Brandon Funston be my uncle?  Unkie Funston?  That would be cool.  I would be like, “Unkie Funston, can I have your old baseball card collection?”  And he’d be like, “Sure, if you trade me Starlin Castro.”  In this league is a few Rotoworld guys, a few Rotowire guys, a few Yahoo guys, a Wall Street Journal guy, a boneheaded Razzball guy and our very own, Rudy Gamble.  Quite the array of talent.  It’s like a Dave Navarro supergroup and I’m Sammy Hagar.  “Have you tried my tequila?  It’ll make you slap your momma and call her daddy.”  That’s me as Sammy Hagar.  This league is a standard Yahoo league with a 1400 max IP for pitchers.  Anyway, here’s my Yahoo 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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It’s been a helluva busy morning. Your boss is on your case to get that report in by the end of the day. You only got to spend five minutes checking out Razzball today. Work sucks. Thankfully, it’s lunchtime, and just in the nick of time too. You’re famished. You’re on the clock though. Don’t have a whole lot of time to dick around and enjoy a sit down meal. You need to grab something quickly. Panera’s out. Look at that ridiculous line. Is there a “you pick three” special today or something? Chick-fil-A and Chipotle are out too. It seems like everyone is eating out today. But there are only four cars in the McDonald’s drive through. Looks like it’s the McHeat lamp special for you today! Cheap, quick, and somewhat edible. Not the worst thing in the world, but not exactly what you were looking for either. More of a “plan D” than anything else.

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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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One word about this top 100 for 2016 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words.  I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2016 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 2016 fantasy baseball, the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Gucci handbags for 2016– 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.  400 or so, to be inexact.  Next up, there will be a top 500.  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 2016 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 2016 fantasy baseball:

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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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It’s time for everyone’s favorite game that no one knew was their favorite game, Fun With Numbers!  As a contestant of this wildly popular game that you didn’t know existed, I’m going to give you the numbers of two pitchers.  You won’t know either pitcher until I dramatically reveal their names, but you’ll probably guess Taijuan Walker is going to be one.  Okay, the suspense is killing me, so here goes!  The first pitcher had 174 Ks and 56 BBs in 195 IP (8.03 K/9, 2.58 BB/9), compiling a 4.43 ERA.  Then, the 2nd pitcher had 157 Ks and 40 walks in 169 2/3 IP (8.33 K/9, 2.12 BB/9) with a 4.56 ERA.  The 2nd pitcher is Taijuan Walker (how’d you guess?!).  The first pitcher is… Here it comes…Shoot, I left the name in my car.  One second.  Okay, I’m back!  The 2nd pitcher is…Max Scherzer in 2011!  In 2011, Scherzer was 27 years old and looked headed to the “Great Stuff, Unsure If He Can Put It Together” bin with some other hard throwers.  Then, obviously, everything clicked and he was completely dominant for the next four years.  In 2015, Taijuan was only 22 years old for most of the season, and now he’s 23.  So, is Taijuan also a hard thrower that can’t put it together or is he on the verge of greatness?  I think you know what camp I fall into.  One more Fun With Numbers, because the nonexistent audience insists!  In 2013, this pitcher threw 147 1/3 IP with 136 Ks and 33 walks (8.31 K/9, 2.02 BB/9).  That pitcher was Corey Kluber at the age of 27 before he went on to win the Cy Young the next year.  It’s not hard to recognize what these pitchers have in common.  It’s what I seek most of all, besides One-Eyed Willie’s treasure.  If a guy strikes out a lot of hitters while walking few, they need to get really unlucky to not be usable.  Taijuan’s walk rate in 2014:  4.26.  His walk rate in 2015:  2.12.  I.e., Walker’s no longer a walker.  Taijuan Walker averaged a 94.3 MPH fastball, tied for the 13th best in baseball, right behind Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco.  Walker, velocitease or “Here comes the velocity-rapture?”  Again, you know where I stand (sit).  Taijuanna know more?  I bet you do.  Anyway, what can we expect from Taijuan Walker for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about a few of the specific hitters and starting pitchers who I felt might be useful as well as a few who might struggle during the remainder of the 2015 MLB regular season. With just over two weeks remaining until our fantasy fates are determined, I’d like to focus on the types of players who are worth targeting and avoiding down the stretch, aka the final bears and bulls of the season. As Judge Alvin Valkenheiser would say, it’s “last chance saloon” to make a few key moves and take home your league titles, so let’s get to work.

Here are the types of players that I’m bearish on over the next couple of weeks:

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Yesterday, I was watching the Twins game and I fell asleep and had a dream that Razzball’s Twitter account got one of those blue check marks.  I’m not sure what this says about my fantasies, but it says something about Tyler Duffey and the Twins.  They lack a certain je ne sais Michelle Kwan.  The Twins seem to do this on purpose.  Very workmanlike.  Like a Minnesota woman who would handily beat me in an arm wrestling match.  Pun noted.  I’ve never been to Minnesota, but I picture the women looking like Jesse Ventura when he used to wear feathers in his hair and leotards.  As with just about every Twins pitcher since Radke, minus Liriano and Johan, Duffey is yet another Twins hurler that has solid control and okay, not great strikeouts.  Yesterday, he went 6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 9 baserunners, 7 Ks vs. the Tigers, and had a 2.53 ERA in Triple-A with a 7 K/9.  I don’t see any huge upside here and is better in real life, which apparently the Twins play in.  The Stream-o-Nator hates his next start, but I would start him if I needed to gamble.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka went 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 10 Ks.  I took some guff in the preseason for being down on Tanaka, in the non-sexual way.  I projected him for the line of 10-4/3.49/1.15/150.  His line right now is 11-6/3.57/1.01/125.  Yeah, I was waaaaaaaaay off.  Multiple A’s to allow time for an eye roll.  Kids write me letters and say, “Unkie Grey, how did you know what Tanucky (sic) would do so mediocrely?”  My answer is always the same, I’m a witch.  Then I continue, “No, that’s just a broom.  Male witches ride around on Vespas.”  Tanaka was an easy person for me to avoid this year due to his elbow tendon.  For 2016, sadly, I don’t see my enthusiasm changing.  Or at any point for him until he has surgery, rehabs for 12-16 months and then returns.  I wish he would, because I would like to get excited about him, but it’s just not gonna happen, said like Dana Carvey impersonating George H. W. Bush.  Now, excuse me, I double-parked my Vespa on Sandoval’s foot.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hello! How many of Y’all remember the early 90’s? I don’t mean you were 5 and sort of remember it. I mean you know all the words to Color Me Bad, “I Wanna Sex You Up”, or K7’s “Come Baby Come”. How many of you had a fly honey in high waisted shorts and a fresh perm? Can you bust out a Running Man or the Wop? If you caught even 60% of what I just said this one’s for you. You know for all my overall shorts with the one strap rocking CooleyHighHarmony heads. We’re bringing it back New Jack Style with some of the flyest threads of the early 90’s. Ya heard?

One big change before we go forward, the format of the charts got a little remix treatment here in the two-trey. Yours truly, decided to roll out a different set of wOBA ranks, scrapping the righty/lefty splits and instead looking at the entirety of the second half. This should give you some idea of what offenses are A. Hot and B. Putting it together following any acquisitions they made before the trade deadline. Because who really cares what a team looked like in April or June, right?  Should we let our judgement be skewed by first half data if a team has been awful for all of July and August? Hell no! So we made that change for your benefit I’m a giver. The other change is we dropped the k% and added the ERA/FIP/xFIP of each potential two start pitcher over their last 5 or so turns. We did have a couple with under 5 starts total for the season, but it was just two (Zach Davies, and Cody Martin). Once again this is taking a look at the current form of each starter, not how they were pitching two months ago. Ya Dig? Good, well let’s get to it.

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