Writing this as I watch the WBC Championship game I might be drafting Marcus Stroman on a few teams.  The World Baseball Classic is pretty darn entertaining with so many good lineups and watching the US pull off the win has been awesome.  I like that over the past couple weeks I can have it on in the background because it’s competitive baseball, but there’s no fantasy implications so I can just enjoy it.  These are all-stars playing for their country (for the most part, we all know that “team” Italy, Israel and the Netherlands are stretches) and so so so much better than watching spring training games.

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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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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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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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How many hot’s is too many? I’ll say three. Because three’s are wild when I’m dealing. Third Base is going to provide a ton of power this year (we really need to appreciate how many homers were hit last season, and wonder if regression is coming…but what fun is that? Let’s predict even more Power for 2017, shall we?) and there are some speed guys, and some multi-position qualifiers, and just a whole cornucopia of idiosyncrasies going on at third base.

It might be my favorite position this season.  I typed that, never having thought that before, having a favorite fantasy position. Fantasy baseball position, you know that’s what I meant.  My new favorite player, World Series Winner (typing that makes me so dang happy) Kris Bryant, qualifies there (and in the outfield, too) and if you’re a fan as well, check this out.  While he’s number one in my heart, he’s number two in my rankings.   Though number two ain’t bad (well, it depends on who number two works for, doesn’t it?).

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What’s good baseball peeps? For those of you not familiar with me, I’m Honcho and I’ve dabbled in fantasy here at Razzball on the football side and helped with DFS a bit. This year, well, I’m jumping into the season-long game. Once we get to opening day, my posts will consist of pitching and hitting streamers based on the results of the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron each week. Until then I’ll be contributing a bit of everything to help get you primed for the 2017 season. For this particular piece, I’m looking at a few players who I believe are sitting just a tad too high based on Grey’s rankings. Now, before we move on, let me say this: Grey is the best in the business. His rankings are absolutely rock-solid and you’ll be a better fantasy player just by visiting Razzball on the reg. I like to think of Grey as the Mike Trout of fantasy analysts, or better yet, the David Hasselhoff of industry experts. If fantasy baseball was exclusively played in Germany that is. He’s like the Adam Lambert of… ahhh never mind! You get the point. He’s really, really good and this article is not meant to disparage his work in any way. I’m just going to point out a few examples of guys I think should be knocked down a few spots in his rankings. This doesn’t mean I hate the players I’ve listed below, in fact they’ll most likely wind up on a few of my teams in the coming weeks. For example, Grey has Todd Frazier ranked as the 10th best third baseman. Know what? It’s hard to argue against a guy coming off a 40 HR/15 SB type year. But here where I disagree slightly. Frazier, who will turn 32 before the season opens, suffered a 6 point drop in his hard contact percentage last season (31.3%), falling from 37.3% in 2015. His strikeout rate rose to an unsightly 24.5%, which happens to be the highest of his six seasons at the major league level and checks in at fifth worst among qualified third basemen. Perhaps the most frightening item in play here is the mysterious finger injury that suddenly popped up a few weeks ago. He’s scheduled to return to baseball activities on March 1. With all that to digest, it’s hard to imaging Frazier finishing 2017 with a batting average above .240. I still expect he’ll reach 30 HR, but you’ll pay considerably more than you should to obtain his services. Considering what his counter rate is at the moment (5th round NFBC) I’ll gladly take Jake Lamb, Alex Bregman or Jose Ramirez to fill out my CI or 3B position.

Here’s a look at a few players who I believe were ranked while Grey was sipping on grandpa’s cough medicine:

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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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Let me take you through the thought process of a writer like myself.

I constantly have thoughts relating to the game of baseball passing through my head. I’m sure many other baseball fanatics can relate. Ideas that have an added layer of intrigue tend to find there way onto my iPhone’s Notes app, to be revisited in a triage-like manner at points later in the day. What I’ve learned is that you can’t force these ideas.

So last Tuesday Grey and I joined a 12-team roto mock draft with the CBS Sports crew and I soon realized two things…

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When the Gotham City Police Department turns on the Bat-Signal, Bruce Wayne ceases doing whatever gagillionairres do and dons his costume and rushes to where he is needed. When that fine girl you “daydream” about finally texts….Ok, let’s not get ridiculous here. Crime fighting Batman I can wrap my head around, but that? No way. When ANY girl texts you for that booty call late at night, you immediately take off all your clothes and Uber your ass to wherever she is. When Grey asked for me in his Top 20 3rd Basemen for 2017, what do you think happened? You got it. I took off all my clothes and sent for an Uber. By the way, Grey could of just emailed, texted, or called me, but Commissioner Gordon could’ve beeped, texted, or called Batman, rather than use a specially modified searchlight to project a symbol into the sky that can’t be seen if Bruce Wayne is not looking into the sky. Ya heard? So with that said, in honor of this off-the-cuff piece, here is this week’s musical interlude.

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Now that we’re four positions in we can get a sense of how deep each position is.  Our thermometers?  Jedd Gyorko and Wilmer Flores.  If Wilmer cries, the thermometer has gone too deep.  So, on the top 20 1st baseman for 2017 fantasy baseball, Gyorko and Wilmer were 26 and 41, respectively.  Here, they’re 24 and 38, so we have less depth in the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball.  At the top 20 2nd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball, they are 22 and 37.  So, 3rd base and 2nd base are fairly close, but, they’re all crazy close.  Finally, the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball, only has Gyorko where he is 19th overall.  So, depth rankings on infield are shortstops, 2nd base, 3rd base and 1st base, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.  Carpenter is 12th here, but 21st on the 1st basemen, and Villar is 5th here and at the 2nd basemen.  There are areas where each infield position has its strengths and weaknesses and relative equality like I’m not sure we’ve seen before, which is what everyone says about everything.  People say now we have more things we’ve never seen before than any other time in history.  Any hoo!  My projections are noted for every player and all positions are at the 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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