“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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Welcome to Razzball’s 2018 team previews. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be previewing all of the teams and talking to writers who represent those teams around the web. We want to provide the best and most in-depth fantasy projections to go along with the asking the most useful questions to those who know their teams best. We want to talk about the players in the first half of your draft and also the deep sleepers that make you log into google and start watching Midwest Single-A ball for hours. Just kidding, don’t do that, hopefully we don’t go that far…

Baker finally hit the dust…y. Dave Martinez now takes over as the National’s manager as they try to bring Washington D.C. a World Series title. This lineup remains an offensive machine and still boasts a top half of the rotation that causes a lot of whiffs. There are still a couple of new faces to talk about and also a highly touted prospect who is sure to see at bats in the majors this season. I talked to Drew Douglas from District on Deck.

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It’s not often a team makes the playoffs and picks at the top of the draft in the same year, but the Twins have done a good job of syncing up their rebuild. With a core of some nice homegrown talent, the Twinkies have plenty more on the way. An exciting mix of five tool athletes, power hitters, power pitchers, and hit tool middle infielders, make this system one of the top to follow for fantasy purposes. With players like Royce Lewis, Wander Javier, Brent Rooker, Akil Baddoo, and Brusdar Graterol there’s some potential stars in the mix. Maybe it’s just my perception, but this feels like one of the more underappreciated systems. There’s a few diamonds in the rough to uncover, so let’s get this shindig started! It’s the 2018 Minnesota Twins Top Prospects for Fantasy Baseball.

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I want you to take some deep breaths and clear your mind. Now, I want you to fill in that blank space with the MLB’s most boring baseball player. He’s a bit older, has been in the league a while but hasn’t done anything too notable. He’s more than likely a utility infielder that doesn’t have great speed. He hits reasonably well but can’t get past 20 home runs and can’t hit too close enough to .300. Nothing terrible though. He holds his own. He definitely doesn’t play for a contender, the A’s perhaps. His name doesn’t stand out nor does his number. He’s no Rougned Odor. In your mind’s eye, you have conjured Jed Lowrie, the MLB’s most boring baseball player.

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A week after covering two of the less exciting systems in baseball, the Broshitz train keeps on rolling. Running on nothing but the pure excitement the Angels top 5 prospects bring. We don’t spend much time chit-chatting on this one, we dive right into Shohei Ohtani, his impact, outlook, and potential value in 2018. We spend a good chunk of time digging into the swings of Jahmai Jones and Jo Adell. Debating which Angels outfielder should rank higher, and what the finished products will look like. We discuss Kevin Maitan’s market correction, Brandon Marsh’s back hip coil, and which MLB player his swing reminds us of. There’s some discussion of the back end of the Angels top 10 and a couple of hidden jewels. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com 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:

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Analyzing the Jefe’s work in the top-500 and finding things you disagree with is difficult business. Not many come at the king, unless summoned to do so, and survive the fall.  I almost feel like some kind of twilight zone GOT episode where instead of medieval type barbs, we argue over swinging strike percentage and spin rate.  Loser walks down Second Avenue to get the freshest matzo ball soup.  No matter, here I sit looking over Razzball Top-500 for 2018 to see where rankings may be off for the good and the bad.  For other positions it may be an easier exercise, as the rule of thumb with relievers and closers is SAGNOF and Grey’s rankings show that his approach to that acronym hold true.  Drafting closers to me is always a value-type drafting situation.  Don’t be last, but don’t be first scenario.  Unless the value is too deeming and obvious that when it’s time to jump, you ask how high.  The second rule of the reliever fight club is don’t get sucked into a run on closers.  Wait your turn and get value at other positions and than if you get stuck, SAGNOF is always in your back pocket. Every year the closer market is a fluctuating beast that tempts you with fruit and flowers to jump on the next hot waiver wire add.  So be patient in your closer endeavors and the stat will run its course as long as you stay proactive on the free agent market.  So here is my stab at the King and who is underrated and overrated in his eyes.

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Welcome to the 2018 season of Razzball Fantasy Baseball OPS! I’m back as your host for the third straight season of OPS fun and right off the bat I’m challenging my intelligence. Same as it ever was, maybe that’s why I fit in so well here. Before I address the title, here’s a quick intro for those of you uninitiated. We talk On Base Percentage PLUS Slugging percentage and that gives us the magical OPS. Chicks dig the long ball and all that, but OPS isn’t just about hitting homers, because if it was, Rougned Odor would have been an OPS All Star last year withh 30 homer but a putrid .649 OPS.

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