Here’s a post that’s gonna make you wanna slap ya mama and tell her Don Magic Juan sends his best.  The other day I told you how to draft your pitchers for 2018 fantasy baseball.  I laid it out to you nice and simple (if you have a degree in “What The Hell Is Grey Talking About?” Not a PhD, mind you.  Just a BS.)  Today, we forget all that jabberwocky on the who-ha and get down to business old school-style (which means if you don’t comprehend, I will hit you over the head with a baseball bat signed by Joe Clark.)  What I’m hoping to lay out to you is who do you draft 2nd if you’ve drafted so and so first.  I think it might be helpful to go through pairings for your 5 outfielders, all your middle and corner infielders too.  I’m not sure I’ll have the time or patience to do them.  We’ll see!  Or not.  Your choice.  (Actually, my choice.)  For easy reference, the royal we will be using the top 10 for 2018 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2018 fantasy baseball and the beginning of the top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball.  I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1 Utility, 1 Catcher league, similar to our Razzball Commenter Leagues. (Sign up for multiple leagues, and beat the heck out of your frenemies and random strangers!)  Anyway, here’s some pairings for the first two rounds of 2018 fantasy baseball drafts:

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Time to sign up for those of you interested in competing against some Razzball writers (including Grey who won his league last year and myself – I won my league in 2016 and 3rd in 2017) in the NFBC $150 Draft Champions format. It is a 15 team mixed, 5×5 format with 50 rounds (done via a slow draft that takes about 2 weeks). NFBC’s moved to a new site that looks great and they have cut the clock between picks from 8 hours to 4 hours (except overnight).

For those unfamiliar, the major quirk vs most league formats is that there are no trades OR free agent pickups. You can update your starting hitters twice a week (Friday and Monday) and pitchers once a week (Monday). I love this format as a complement to standard formats as it rewards drafters who can find breakout candidates/bargains on draft day. Here is a link to the full rules.

Once we have enough people to fill a league, NFBC will create the league. We’ll try to start the leagues around the first week of March. I recommend creating an account at NFBC if you do not have one as that will expedite everything.


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The National League Central, the division that cannot be won unless you have a C in the name. Let’s see, the Chicago Cubs won in 2016 and 2017, the Cardinals won from 2013-2015, and Cincinnati won in 2012. A glitch in the Matrix occurred in 2012, when the Brewers took home the crown. Other than the Houston Astros, who won four division titles (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001) before getting the boot to the American League West in 2010, it’s been all Cincinnati, Cardinals, and Cubs. Pittsburgh. Where you at? Ah, it’s good to have baseball back. Each week, I will go through the position battles for each division. Let’s take a look at the NL Central.

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Just finished my first draft if you’re reading this as I type it, and other than one shirtless man in yellow sweatpants standing behind me in this internet cafe, I don’t think anyone’s reading this as I type it.  Unless, of course, there’s micronauts living inside my brain watching as my inner monologue is sending info to my fingers.  Gadzooks, I got micronauts in my brain!  I wonder if these micronauts made me draft eight Twins and White Sox players.  I need to delve deeper into this subject.  Maybe I will in my pastel journal that is covered in Giancarlo’s picture from ESPN’s nude magazine.  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an AL Only league that was hosted by Scott White of CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.  Or closet buddies, if you’re reading fast and/or experimenting.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team AL-Only team and some thoughts:

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There is a special day in mid-February where I can freely and shamelessly express my love. Appreciate my partner in life. Get lost in romance.

That is Valentine’s Day. But the day before it was the 15-team LABR Mixed draft which is more fun and less expensive.

As always, thanks to Steve Gardner at USA Today for the invite. Can’t believe this is the 5th year I’ve been in this league.

I was holed up in an NYC hotel for the draft where luckily the wifi did not shit the bed (nor did I). No kids disrupting the draft. A background soundtrack of sporadic car horns and loud-talking pedestrians. I was able to grab the HDMI cord from the cable box so I could rock the two screens. If only I remembered to pick up a pastrami sandwich and a six pack, I could’ve been in Costanza heaven.

Quick Perspective On The Difference Between 15-Team Mixed w/ Weekly Roster Changes vs. 10/12-team Mixed Daily Roster Changes
I am going to share with you the only relevant difference between these two formats. If you are someone who plays shallow leagues with daily roster changes (and typically a high transaction cap), repeat this as a mantra in your head when drafting in this format (like in NFBC).

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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The hits keep coming as Castle Grey-Shitz is ready to make your dreams come to true. Then again maybe your dreams don’t come true, and instead your team comes crashing down around you, leaving you preparing for your fantasy football draft in late May. Try and avoid that, listen to Grey’s top 20 Third Basemen post, and use this podcast as your book on tape. Draft good players, win your league! We can help! This is turning into an infomercial and not the introduction to a podcast. Where did I go off the rails? Any who, here we are, third basemen; Machado, Arenado, Bryant, Ramirez, Rendon, and the whole gang. We go about 30 deep on this one, giving you all the jewels and gems that Mobb Deep dropped on ‘Em. We talked to ‘Em and recovered the gems. Oh yeah, Third base be deep yo! Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

**On a more somber note, a member of the Razzball extended family was touched by the tragedy that took place last week in Parkland, Florida. Our very own numero uno sponsor Kenneth Cashman lives in the Parkland area, and one of his neighbors, and the niece of one of his close friends, Gina Montalto was amongst the victims. The family has setup a Memorial Scholarship in her honor, and it would be much appreciated if all of you could do your part by donating, liking, sharing or retweeting. You can get involved by clicking here. **

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“I’ll always remember 2018 as the year baseball’s free agents didn’t sign until February,” which is exactly what someone says after listing 3,500 things they’ll remember about 2018 before when baseball free agents signed.  J.D. Martinez finally signed in Boston for $110 million, after being previously offered $150 million, $105 million, $141 million, $15 million (this one was just to see if he was paying attention) and $300 million.  J.D. Martinez didn’t negotiate a contract, he was picking suitcases on Deal of No Deal.  “Howie, I’m going to take the #4 suitcase and give back the $150 million suitcase.”  *three days later*  “Well, that sucked.”  Yeah, I’m not sure what J.D. was doing.  His name is definitely not Just Deal, because he dragged his heels for three weeks and seemed to lose a lot of money, and bargaining ability.  Any hoo!  In the top 20 for 2018 fantasy baseball, here’s what I said, “Here’s what I would’ve said, had Martinez signed somewhere, “Sure, going to Chase Field for half a season in a walk year is like having some half-baked rhymes and getting to work with Dr. Dre.  You can throw out there a line like, “You think I’m being a cock with my rhyme, but I think chickens keep the thyme,” and that shizz goes triple-platinum even though no one but seventeen hipsters in Brooklyn buy albums anymore.  What do call a millennial that says ‘Bedford-Thighvethant?’  A lispster.  Take it, Highlights, it’s yours.  Being in Chase for half a season in his walk year was like being a nobody-nothing who is working an assistant job cleaning out potted plants that Weinstein just irrigated, then finding out you have a high count of midichlorians in your blood and you’re mothereffin’ Frank Skywalker, Luke’s other kid.  And you’re not Frank Skywalker like Frank Stallone, but you have some real qualities to add to the mythology.  That’s J.D.’s last year.  However (Grey’s turning the ship around?), J.D.’s able to hit wherever he’s played.  His home/away splits in his career are better at home, but everyone’s are.  It’s just easier to hit at home because you’re sleeping in your house, you don’t need to travel, you don’t have to tell the hotel’s front desk to please tell Archie Bradley’s room to be quiet.  Road scholars are rare, and are a little weird anyway.  Only thing stopping Just Dong, and what has also stopped him in the past is his health.  Other than subtracting 75 ABs from the bottom line, there’s not much we can do with that, i.e., I love J.D. but there’s injury risk.'”  And that’s me quoting hypothetical me!  As I said in the above blurb, Just Dong is who he is, and Fenway’s gonna be a lovely place for him to just, uh, dong.  With the signing of Just Dong, Hanley’s going to play 1st base, which means it will take one throw into the first base line for Hanley to lose his arm, and I lowered him in my top 20 1st basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this spring training for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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Eno Sarris has departed from Fangraphs. One of my favorite writers in the industry was a dream interview of mine and I spoke with him twice (one; two). He is an inspiration for how I’ve adapted as a writer in this space, taking a clever approach to analysis… and music. [Jay’s Note: And he really knows his beers. Like, more than we all think. He actually filled the hotel bathtub with ice and microbrews and was the beer sommelier the whole night at a Spring Training party with Grey and other industry peeps. I’d say I smelled his hair when he wasn’t looking, but his hair is OMNIPRESENT. If you’re in a 100-foot radius you can’t help but run into it…]

Prior to any of his chats on Fangraphs, he would a link to a song; good, bad, weird, or confusing, your taste didn’t matter. It was there for you to consume. While I won’t do this religiously as the 2018 season nears, for I question where my musical taste falls among our audience of readers, when opportunity presents itself, I act.

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

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From a straight love em’ and leave ’em perspective, the middle relief guys (the ones that are only there for stream-ability) are the daily glue that keeps a lineup together.  Unlike hitters who get the spot start and we know pregame that they are in the lineup, inserting the correct reliever to help with K’s and ratios becomes a guessing game.  So we are still in draft mode and we can always go into the season with some idea of the guys in the middle relief core that don’t get the save love, but still are vital contributors to the fantasy community.  Their spotty appearances allow you to add innings with substantial K/9 value, and at a fraction of the innings price that streaming a starter would.  Because if there was a starter on the waiver wire that had a 12-plus K/9 rate, he would not be on the waiver wire. So adding to the sum total one inning at a time is a nice way to get a good chunk of strikeout and ratio help.  Granted that they don’t suck when they are in your lineup. My theory on in-season middle relief for leagues that don’t use Holds is this: Find two.  Fall in love with one (but don’t move in together) and promise the other you will call her all the while you are totally looking for that next best one the very second that the other pitcher pitches. I call it the “steady girl and grass is greener” theory. With the innings limit, and minimums upcoming for the Fantrax Razzball leagues, it is important to find middle relief that gives you some middle relief.  Roster one all the time, and always find a new fling on the horizon.  Here are some K/9 relievers that are late draft day boons to your fantasy roster from the jump. We are talking about the guys after Chad Green, Carl Edwards Jr., Chris Devenski and Dellin Betances are long off the board.

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It’s the Winter Meetings, Part 2:  This Time Free Agents Are Really Signing.  Starring as Eric Hosmer is Turtle!

Starring as Wil Myers is your goofy friend from high school who now works for Enterprise Rent-A-Car:

Trailer Voice, “What if all of MLB’s owners weren’t in collusion….But just the rich teams!”  In the last few days, the Padres, Twins and Rays got some deals done, which is kinda like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Some ‘perts will likely move Hosmer down in their rankings, but I always assumed Hosmer would be a Padre, and ranked and projected him as one in my top 20 1st basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball.  There, I said, “Here’s what I will say when Hosmer signs, “I made the case last year that Hosmer was Joey Votto Jr.  I called him Kangaroo Embryo.  I just thought of a kangaroo wearing a Kangol, but I’ve never thought about an alligator wearing an Izod shirt, I’ll have to discuss this with my shrink.  At one point, Wil Myers said he’d move to the outfield for Eric Hosmer to come to the Padres, and I thought to myself, “If I were Hosmer, I’d tell Myers to please not do me any favors.”  San Diego is like the Trojan Horse of cities (for baseball and just visiting).  It’s like this, “Oh, man, San Diego is gorgeous.  What’s this, 77 degrees every day?  I can get used to this!”  Five minutes later, “I am bored out of mind.”  Five minutes after, “Damn, can we get out of here?”  Ten minutes after that, “If I see one more white person in flip-flops I’m going to readily embrace going to Tijuana.”  Any hoo!  Hosmer isn’t exactly a home run hitter.  His fly balls were goofy low last year for a guy with 25 homers.  He was the third lowest for fly balls (22.2%), fourth highest ground balls and the 29th lowest for Hard Contact.  He does hit a decent amount of line drives, and feels like a 23-26 homer guy with a few more fly balls.  He might be Kangaroo Embryo this year, but to emulate Joey Votto Jr. he’s going to need to elevate the ball more.”  And that’s me quoting future me!”  And that’s me quoting me quoting future me!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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