The top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball were once as bad as the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball that I went over the other day.  Now the shortstops have had an influx of youth — or utes, if Joe Pesci is reading — and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades, Arvid.  I’m happy for the shortstops, and happier for myself.  For a while, the top 20 shortstops were Tulo and those other guys.  Kinda like the top 20 catchers is Posey and those other guys.  Oh, and there was a top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball post already too (organic linking!).  Hopefully, the shortstops aren’t just showing up in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and appearing sexy, then turning out to be Sally Jessy Raphael.  As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Unsuccinct!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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To make sure I don’t miss any player in my rankings, I go through every team’s depth charts and I go through every eligible player who is projected for at least one at-bat by Steamer.  After I looked through the players with at least one at-bat at 2nd base, I vomited in my mouth, then spit said vomit onto the ground and it spelled out, “Gnarly.”  My vomit is right.  2nd base is not a pretty position.  Shortstops got younger in the last year and some guys are coming to make it even better.  The top 20 1st basemen wasn’t straight gorge, but there was plenty of talent there from veterans.  The top 20 catchers are always ugly, but these top 20 2nd basemen are giving the catchers a run for their money.  There’s only three guys with legit 20-homer power and three guys with easy 20-steal speed.  One that will hit .300 and zero that will get 100 RBIs.  I don’t know what happened to the latest crop of 2nd basemen, but I have a theory.  Twelve years ago, when these 2nd basemen were learning the position, their role model was Bret Boone.  Boone used to frost his hair blonde, so all the kids learning 2nd base at that time, frosted their hair too.  Then their friends beat the crap out of them, and that was the end of all future 2nd basemen.  Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2016 fantasy baseball.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are under that linkie-ma-whosie.  As always, my projections and tiers are included for the low, low price of zero dollars.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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We’re more than halfway through the minor league previews, and this Nationals list was the first one I really had a hard time whittling down to fifteen names. It’s not that it’s packed with studs, it’s more that there’s lots of interesting upside. You’ve got your no brainers like Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner of course, but we also saw a big breakout with Victor Robles. There seems to be a focus on speed, toolsy outfielders with good defensive skills, and up-the-middle talent. It’s all good stuff for fantasy players, and since even your great-grandmother has heard of Giolito, I find the lower levels of this system to be a lot more interesting to talk about. Don’t believe me? She has a cross-stitching of his curveball grip. Stepping away from the farm, 2016 will be the sophomore campaign of Michael Taylor, whose power and speed will probably come cheap in drafts this year. He doesn’t have to rack up that many more hits to make his average palatable as a 4th or 5th outfielder. Hey, I managed to write the whole intro without mentioning Bryce Harper! D’oh!

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Yesterday, Lucas Duda went 3-for-5, 3 RBIs with two homers (26, 27).  He now has five homers in the last three days.  Duda goes from doodie to Duda in the blink of an eye.  He’s like a sports car that goes 0 to 60 in five seconds flat that you only drive three times a year, because, while your penis may be small, you’re also reasonable enough to realize if someone crashes into you, you’re going to cry and that’s embarrassing in front of your future trophy wife.  It seems like no matter how many games Duda misses and no matter how deep his slumps get, he gets scorching hot at some point and will get to thirty homers.  His hot streaks are shorter, but he reminds me of a poor man’s Chris Davis.  I will call him Piss Davis.  Maybe I won’t call him that to his face.  Somehow, Duda is available in over 40% of ESPN leagues. (Though 85% of leagues are abandoned already so he’s owned in 125% of leagues.  Hmm…) So, if he’s out there, grab him before he takes the car back into the shop and pays $54,000 for a new taillight.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tomorrow is September 1st which means:  Hooray for September roster expansions and the many interesting players likely to be called up.  My recent focus for Steals Ain’t Got No Face advice has been a weekly reminder to use our SAGNOF stolen base success rates versus starting pitchers tool.  This goes hand in hand with the September call ups because most of these players won’t play anywhere near everyday, but some of them might make great ‘streaming for steals’ options.And guess which type of players are among those getting called up?  Some of the trendy SAGNOF sleeper types from earlier in the year, including one of my favorites, Dalton Pompey (bats Both, plays OF) of the Toronto Blue Jays.  Eric Young Jr. (B, OF, New York Mets) is on the way up as well and I think we all know what he can do.  James Jones (L, OF, Seattle), he of the 27 stolen bases in only 108 big league games last year, could be called upon as well.

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Let’s start on Jose Berrios with what Prospect Mike said, “Berrios has a great starter’s arsenal with a plus fastball (sits mid-90s) and a plus curveball coupled with an above average slider and changeup.  The ceiling is a #3 starter with good ratios and decent strikeout totals.  Most reports rave about his maturity and ability to make adjustments, which could give him a better shot at making it in a big league rotation.  Imagine a scale of good and evil with Maikel Franco on the good side and that Albright fella on the evil side, Berrios is more on the Franco side.”  Why am I a part of this example?  If I could quickly evaluate the Twins current crop of starters that are prospblocking Berrios:  Garbage, More Garbage, Utter Garbage, Shirley Manson in Garbage, Magic Garbage.  (Magic Garbage is Utah garbage where you find soiled magic underpants.)  I haven’t even started talking about how Berrios was bred in a lab in Knott’s Berry Farm by founder of the boysenberry, Rudolph Boysen, whose grandchild killed his parents and is currently behind bars (true story; yes, you’re dropping the ball, Dateline, by not featuring this).  The only thing that’s been stopping me from adding Berrios in every league is I have no idea when he’ll be called up.  I would add him now to see if he’s called up when rosters expand on September 1st, then drop him soon after in redraft leagues if he’s not called up.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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I’m in New York celebrating my grandfather’s 88th birthday, or as he calls it “achy-ache,” and we started talking about Caitlyn Jenner, and he said, “She’s a hot number, I’d throw her one.”  Throw her one, I believe, means have sex with her.  I thought this was pretty forward thinking for my grandfather, then he continued, “Do you know how they put lost children on the side of a carton of milk?  I heard if Caitlyn got lost, they’d put her on a carton of Half & Half.”  Ah, there he is.  Reminds me a bit of Marge Schott, which brings us to Raisel Iglesias, who threw a gem yesterday — 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 13 Ks.  “Raise the Church” has looked far superior since he returned from his stint in the minors with an ERA that’s bordering on startable everywhere (3.93), and peripherals that look ownable everywhere (9.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 3.42 xFIP).  At this point in the year, I would go one start at a time for him, but I would definitely own him, and start him for his next one.  Now, if you excuse me, I have to get back before my grandfather tries to “throw one” at Cougs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Here’s a look at the best prospects for fantasy baseball right now. It’s a fluid list, and you’ll see some big changes as well as some new faces from the preseason Top 50. I’m sticking to a cap of 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues when determining who is still eligible for this list. So while some of the names have already been promoted this year and are expected to graduate, I’m still going to rank them. If Miguel Sano drinks too much nerve tonic with only 100 MLB at bats, he’d still qualify for prospect lists heading into next year, so he’s included on this one. This list does not include any 2015 draftees or J2 signees. The +/- column on the right shows how much each prospect rose or fell from my preseason list. I wouldn’t sweat players who moved just a few slots. Instead, I’d focus on the double-digit changes and the new additions. For lengthier notes on some of the biggest movers, you should check out last week’s post. Personally I skew towards hitters and rank only a handful of pitchers that I really like. Keep in mind that I’m coming at you from the perspective of our fantasy game, so it may differ from a traditional prospect list when it comes to certain players. Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, here is this year’s midseason Top 50 prospects for fantasy baseball…

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So he’s not technically a prospect, but Jon Singleton returned to the majors on Friday after spending the first three months in Triple-A. Still just 23 years old, the slugging first baseman/designated hitter was on point in the minors to start the year – leading the Pacific Coast League in homers (17) and RBI (66!) while slashing .280/.387/.553 in 70 games with Fresno. Singleton got a taste of the bigs last year and hit 13 homers in 362 plate appearances. He also hit .168 and struck out at a 37% clip though, so the Astros put him back in the easy bake oven to start 2015. Hopefully the extra time in the minors has him better prepared for major league pitching this time around. The Astros seem to think so, as GM Jeff Luhnow mentioned that Singleton would likely eat into both Chris Carter and Evan Gattis’ playing time. He’s worth a look in pretty much any format thanks to his power, but don’t expect much more than .240 from him in the batting average department. It’s also worth mentioning that after hitting ten homers in May, Singleton only hit three in June and saw his slugging percentage dip to .457. Wet blanket…engaged! Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Steven Matz is getting the call to the majors, a day after the Mets received this call, “Earth to Mets, your season is slipping away, and stop crashing back into me.” Though, it was kinda nervy of Earth to call collect. Earth added, “Sorry, I also invested in Madoff.” Thankfully for Mets fans, the Mets accepted the charges for Earth’s call, but declined Ian Desmond’s. If you are a fan of the Mets, I’d immediately write them a strongly-worded letter to not trade for Ian Desmond. I just gave you my Steven Matz fantasy. It was written on the backside of the napkin where you wrote your phone number. Not a whole lot has changed since then, except he’s added some more wonderful to his statz (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?! Sorry, I’m using a keyboard sponsored by Marcus Semien and the keys are sticky.). Matz’s IP count is now up to 90 1/3 with a 2.19 ERA and 94 Ks. Before you scoff, you scoffer, it’s in the PCL, where they use helium balloons as baseballs. I’d absolutely grab him in all leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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