Razzball Video Draft Kit 2018

I become obsessed with things. Sometimes it can be a particular food or an album (this Jimi Hendrix “vault cleaning” as Rolling Stone describes currently has my ear). Other times, as my mind is often tuned to baseball topics, I incessantly think about a concept from the diamond or evolution of a new statistic. Pitch tunneling is the recent topic earning a spot in my head.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gravitated towards pitch tunneling. Last year I wrote a column about Dylan Bundy’s cutter-slider, it’s usage, and why that pitch is one reason I irrationally like his volatile arm. As I’ve rekindled my interest in the concept, it was time for a refresh after Baseball Prospectus’ recent update. My motive was simple: combining what we know about a pitcher and what we can learn from tunneling might provide us with reasons for optimism.

I’ll admit, this post might get a little bit convoluted, so if you’re not in the mood to try and understand pitch tunneling and determine how much you value it, feel free to hop to one of my last three Razz articles – there’s something for everybody (On Scott Kingery; On ADP discrepancy; On Michael Wacha). Or just skip down to the heading for Patrick Corbin. I’ll try my best to keep things as simple and concise as possible. Teaching a concept is often a great form of learning, so I’ll admit that writing this post, in a way, helps me to understand the topic and its associated statistics better.

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When does excessive SAGNOF’ing become a problem? Do you like go blind if you do it too much?  The winning number for steals is the number in question here.  Whether that be in RCL’s or your home league.  The amount of steals you think you need is based on your league.  Just telling you a number like it takes 62 steals to win a league period, end of story, would be a boring article.  So getting to that proverbial X number to win your league is that question here.  It is subjective based on league size, shape and scoring.  Leagues with smaller team numbers is obviously smaller and so on. Starting roster size plays into it as well.  So what is it enough for winning or finishing in the top-3 in your league in the steals category?  The main strategy to implore during your draft is to see who is going excessive for the steals. If a team comes out the gate and has one of the elite three (TT, Lin Miranda and Flash Jr.) you know what’s up.  After that, it is a step down in expectancy.  As those three are all projected to have 50-plus steals.  So finding a great medium for filling out your set team is important, don’t punt steals all together and don’t overpay for steals too early as they never have a face later in the draft.  So let’s see what the trick to getting you onto the podium for steals in most of your leagues…

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The beginning of any minor league options article has to start with the definition of what is a minor league option. Well, I don’t feel like re-hashing it and there are plenty of places that you can obtain that information, so, I’ve placed a few links below that can provide you with you all the information that you’re looking for about minor league options.

MLB Index of Players Out of Minor League Options
Minor League Options, Explained
MLB Transactions Wiki

Now that we have the formalities out of the way, it is time to get into the actual information.  For each team, I listed every player that was out of minor league options, and then color coded them based on the key below, ranging from players that won’t likely be sent down to players that are not on the 40 man roster.

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Last year, I won Tout Wars in a wire-to-wire cakewalk.  So, before the Tout Wars draft this Saturday, I prepared like any great champ would.  I took a page from Rocky Balboa and ran up a flight of stairs, hands raised in exultation.  I took a page from Ultimate Warrior and ordered a group of preteen girls to tighten the slack on a jump rope and shook it furiously.  Finally, I took a page from E.T. and draped myself in a blanket, squatted in a bicycle basket and had Rudy pedal me around our hotel room floor.  Did E.T. have anything to do with being a champion?  Not especially, but I was feeling nostalgic for some faux sentimentality and Ready Player One isn’t out yet.  In my mind, I was standing, arms raised, with a lone spotlight shining on me as Lin-Manuel Miranda sang how I was not going to throw away my shot at a repeat.  Only it wasn’t in my mind.  In our hotel room, Rudy shined an iPhone flashlight on me as we played a rather tinny version of Hamilton off YouTube.  I’m past patiently waitin’ I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation!  And I’m not throwing away my shot!  *clears throat*  “Um, Rudy, could you help me down from this Marriott end table?  I’m getting vertigo.”  Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars, NL-Only recap:

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Welcome to Razzball’s 2018 team previews. As we’ve been doing the last few 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…

Here we have the Chicago White Sox, yet another rebuilding (read: tanking) AL Central team. Also known as the Pale Hose (not to be confused with a male Irish cabaret), we do have a team with some very intriguing young talent. The rotation is looking shaky at best (my God, look at those Steamer projections), but Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson are bringing some youth and speed to the top of the lineup with more exciting prospects on the horizon. Keep an eye on the closer situation heading into the season; veteran Joakim Soria is the current favorite, but Juan Minaya lingers, and Nate Jones looks healthy and could be dominant. I asked Collin Whitchurch of BP South Side about some of the more interesting players and playing time situations.

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

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First thing’s first, the Top 100 is here for your consumption. Now you can stop F$#@ing asking me. Kidding..kidding. This is complied from all the research I’ve done since November. Some players have moved up, others have moved down, some stayed the same, while others have straight left the top 100. My hope with the later release was that I would be able to do my deepest dive yet, and integrate the knowledge of off-season adjustments that we get in mid-spring. Hopefully this has led to my most extensive and comprehensive list to date. I’ve provided tiers within the rankings, to give you an idea of where one value level starts, and another begins. We’re going all the way to 300 this year with the next two 100s coming over the next two weeks. It’s the post you’ve been waiting for! I hope it was worth the wait…

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Draft This: Brett Gardner, NYY  | Not That: Tommy Pham, STL

I’ve participated in a half-dozen drafts already (sometimes 2 or 3 at a time) so I feel like I have a good grasp on potential draft steals that you can take advantage of. I’m actually representing the Razzball family in a 5×5 standard roto mock draft as I’m writing this! (Check the final results here.)

I know what you’re thinking already, “But Kerry, how could you take that old bag of bones over that young buck Tommy Pham?!” Tommy Pham is 30. You know every fantasy baseball manager recoils when they see a three at the front of a player’s age! Yes, Gardner is 4 years older than Pham — but as I’m about to show you — his production isn’t that far off.

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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…

The Yankees got an early jump on their expected window of contention (if such a thing ever ceases to exist with the Yankees), racking up 91 wins in 2017 and taking a Wild Card berth all the way to an ALCS Game 7. Aaron Judge exploded into a legitimate second coming of the Tall Man superstar, leading the league with 8.2 fWAR. Gary Sanchez confirmed his status as the top fantasy catcher, Luis Severino turned into an ace, and they traded for solidifying pieces Sonny Gray, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle. As if that wasn’t enough to make them the favorites to win the AL East, they took advantage of potential Yankees spy Derek Jeter’s Miami fire sale. They landed Giancarlo Stanton (and his $300 million contract) for next to nothing, giving them the most feared tandem in baseball with Judge/Stanton. They also added veteran Neil Walker on a cheap deal and traded for Brandon Drury, giving them easily one of the most complete rosters in baseball. I spoke to Fansided’s Yanks Go Yard editor Mike Calendrillo about the fantasy value of some of these studs…

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Can the Yankees just quit already? This current embarrassment of riches, with an enviable amount of young MLB talent, a stocked farm system, and a boatload of cash to splash in 2019 free agency, is not okay. How can you just be good at everything? Some guy’s just have all the luck. The Yankees are pretty much the Prom King/Football Star/Valedictorian. You can either choose to hate or appreciate. Lance and I fall in line with the latter, as we gush over Gleyber Torres, Estevan Florial, Miguel Andujar, and a laundry list of talented pitching prospects with mid-90s fastballs. It’s the New York Yankees Top Prospects people, get excited! 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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Holding off on info during the height of draft time is just not my M.O.  So I am bringing the goods and the reliever rankings a week earlier than anticipated.  Why go into battle with a water pistol when you can go with the boomstick?  At this point in the preseason, having a few teams with committee situations is normally a bad thing, except when you get to grab the right guy in that committee.  Having multiple draftable options from one team is more of a benefit than a detriment on draft day, because inevitably one person is going to be wrong in that selection process and it is usually the guy who gets drafted higher.  So looking at the situations with the White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks as they sit today committee’s exist.  Whether we want to believe it or not, each team has no clear cut closer and if you are skimming, this is still a good thing.  Let someone else draft Gregerson, Soria, Parker, and Claudio.  While you can sit back and wait a few picks or even rounds and scoop up Leone, Jones, Bedrosian, and Kela.  As the season draws closer, this advantage will dwindle down to nothing, but for now use it to your advantage.  Miss out on a top 8-10 closer, no worries, load up on the maybe’s and possibilities and if they don’t pan out than you can easily pivot to a more useful option on the waiver.  So when someone says a committee is a bad thing, laugh and agree.  Then drop the quartet of save possibilities into your team and see what happens.  At worst they will cost you four out of your last seven picks.  At that point in the draft, you should have an established team with all starters in place and you would be gambling on reliever talent anyways.  Now you have the knowledge in your corner and a little bit of rankings goodness from ole’ Smokey.  The initial installment of the Closer report with rankings is here, get excited!

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