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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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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The Fantasy Baseball War Room is back!  I’m not saying the Fantasy Baseball War Room is back, as in, is a butt.  So, if Sir Mix-A-Lot is reading, I’m truly sorry for the confusion.  Our Fantasy Baseball War Room is one part draft tool, one part fantasy team evaluator, one part fantasy junkie’s s’s and g’s tool, one part holy, two parts smokes, three parts… How many parts is that so far?  Cause it’s only really seven parts total.  I think there’s one part kill-your-day-with-this-war-room-thing-a-maboob-as-a-pinwheel-spins in there too.  Essentially, this helps you practice building a fantasy baseball team.

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Draft This: Cesar Hernandez, PHI ~ Not That: Chris Taylor, LAD

I can’t wait to break this one down for y’all. The last paragraph is gonna be a real slap in the face! Chris Taylor played the majority of his games at OF last season (and will do so this again in 2018,) but he logged 22 games at second and for the most part that’s what I think people will be drafting him to play on their teams.

Let’s get this one out of the way. From the time he was drafted in 2012 until the end of the 2016 season Chris Taylor hit 24 HR over 1,948 ABs between the Mariners and Dodgers major and minor league systems. That is about 81 ABs between HRs. In 2017 he hit a career high 21 HR in 514 ABs. That’s 1 HR every 24.5 ABs. That is over a 300% improvement. This is where I’d insert the emoji of a guy scratching his chin. Hernandez missed 36 games in 2017 with the dreaded strained oblique. However, even in only 128 games Hernandez also crushed his career high HR in 2017 with a Ruthian 9. With those extra 36 games played, it is reasonable to believe he would have reached at least 12 HR. With Taylor’s HR expected to come down and Hernandez healthy for a full season I think a reasonable expectation is for both guys to hit about 12-15 HR.

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Last time we chatted, I talked about some National League players who, even this early in the pre-season, had already gained or lost value for me in terms of how likely I was to draft them. This time, we’ll look at a handful of AL guys. Free agents are finally signing and we’ll soon be getting all kind of reports from spring training, so player values are likely to fluctuate greatly over the coming weeks. But for now, I’m just looking at a few players who my opinion has changed on since the end of last season. I am taking into consideration anything I’ve read, or stats I’ve looked at more closely, and am paying particular attention to early NFBC ADP to see how the rest of the fantasy world’s opinion is affecting how likely I am to draft certain players. Sometimes, by the way, “bad” news on a player might, weirdly enough, make me more likely to draft him. For instance, last time out I mentioned Archie Bradley as someone I wouldn’t reach for due to several factors, including the presence of Brad Boxberger. Since then, D-Backs GM Mike Hazen has said he expects a “competition” for the closer job this spring. So while there’s no way I’d touch him at his current NFBC ADP, if others heed this warning and start to steer clear of Bradley, I’ll happily take a flyer on him if his price falls low enough. In the meantime, here are some AL guys who I’m feeling a little differently about now that I did last November:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   
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