Home runs bring a different type of excitement to baseball.  Fan of the team or not, when hitters like Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez, (696), Willie Mays (660), or Ken Griffey Jr. (630) came to the plate, people dropped what they were doing to watch or listen, because they knew something big could happen.  Some of the numbers above are frowned upon or listed with an asterisk because of the introduction of performance enhancing substances that likely played a part in some of the added power.  For example, one of my favorite seasons of all time growing up was the 1998 season where Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa duked it out to catch Roger Maris’s record 61-home run season.  They both caught that record and everyone wondered how many more they would hit by the end of the season.  McGwire finished with 70 and Sosa with 66.  Not long after, Barry Bonds surpassed McGwire’s record with 73 home runs in 2001.  Looking back at all of those records broken can be looked at with a grain of salt knowing that all three were involved in the steroid controversy, whether they admitted it or “didn’t understand the questions” (cough Sosa cough).  Low and behold, the home run ball is back and better than ever.  According to statistics from Baseball-Almanac, home run totals by season have steadily increased over the last century.  2017 saw the most home runs in a season with 6,105 homers.  To put that number into perspective, that record-breaking season in 1998 saw 5,064 home runs.  Will we see another uptick in the 2018 season, or was last year just a fluke?  Let’s take a look at the potential top-ten home run hitters for 2018.  Included is Razzball’s own preseason overall rankings, and FantasyPros ADP. Please feel free to follow up in the comments with your own opinions!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Several of you have asked via email, Twitter and the comments sections of previous posts if I will be generating my spreadsheet again this season. The short answer is, I think so. The follow up question has been, “when?”. To that I say, based on the last two years, it will most likely be some time around the second week of March (or so). Gotta love how I give myself the “or so” escape clause. These things take time. In all seriousness, it really does take a “you know what” load of time to get ready. In the meantime, as part of my preliminary work in generating said projections/rankings, I am publishing my early rankings right now. I thought about starting with shortstop because I’ve yet to see someone start with shortstop, but instead I’ve decided to be boring and kick it off with first base.

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So the title is a bit of a superlative.  What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?”  You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you.  This is the best 2018 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2018 fantasy baseball.  Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is.  If I took Cody Bellinger in the 2nd round, everything after would change.  If I took Arenado in the 1st round, everything after would change.  I’ve previously gone over my 2018 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Mike Trout first, because, well, I have him first overall.  Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks.  It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Scherzer and Kershaw in the first two rounds and I was able to take Freddie Freeman in the 2nd round (which is very likely), but since Trout and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both.  Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken.  People tend to look at team need over value.  So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks.  Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team.  Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward.  Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky.  It should still be my ideal team… Or not.  Let’s see, shall we?  Bee tee dubya, this team is 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up).  Anyway, here’s the best 2018 fantasy baseball team:

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Creep with me as I cruise through Wakanda where all the kids in the jungle call me: Don Beddict Benihana. Ah yes, that they do my goodmen, that they do. WAIT, JUST A MOMENT! Oh, I’m sorry, I must apologize, for many of you may not have the slightest idea of who it is I actually am. Yes, that was a double apology. No, I didn’t succumb to the Syphilis that turned into my junior pogo stick into something resembling a rotting Pacific geoduck corpse. [Jay’s Note: Probably don’t Google that.]

TIS’ I, the enlightened and compelling intercontinental fantasy sports Magus, follower of the Gods of Eld, sexual liberator of nations, father to chickens and Chinese Crested’s alike, the adopted son that Grey and Rudy never wanted, thee greatest showman TEHOL BEDDICT! I am the reaper and death is my shadow! (Is that too dark?)

Anyhow, I’m assuming most of you either have already seen Black Panther or are planning on seeing the Black Panther in theaters, unless of course you’re in the Ku Klux Klan. If that’s the case, I’d recommend you stay home, for your brain might explode. If you truly cannot afford it and you have a child you’d like to take, please write to me below in the comment section and I will take care of you.

Most of you will come to know and love Wakanda through the comic books (like, three of you) or most likely, the record-breaking phenomenon that just hit theaters last weekend. I, on the other hand, have actually traveled there. Tis’ true, I swear it on my dead step-uncle’s soul.

As an honorary Wakandan, mostly due to my Razzball affiliation, I was immediately allowed entry. Did I have an immense longing to dine, drink, and dance the night away, doing Bobby Brown push-ups with some of the most superb female specimens on the planet? Well, yaaah, I almost tore a hole through my chinchilla man thong just thinking about it. I’m only human…. but yet, more. Anyway, I said: “NO!!!! I must speak with T’Chaka, the fallen king at once, for we have extremely important business to discuss! Bring me the Heart-Shaped Herb, IMMEDIATELY.” You know how the rest of the process unfolds, and soon enough, the former King and myself were in an intense smoke session, digging dangerously deep into these year’s MLB breakout fantasy superstars! My goodmen, you haven’t lived, until you smoked Vibranium dipped blunts with royalty! You simply have not lived! The King and I, not to be confused with that lovely film from the 1950’s, broke down who some of are faves were for this upcoming season, and even got into a couple duds. Vibranium takes your mind to strange places, so we compared these chosen players to other Wakandans, and even a couple outsiders, just because we found it humorous. Below, you will read about what we discussed. Take Heed!

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

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Pitchers and catchers have reported and the Razzball Commenter Leagues are open, it’s beginning to feel a lot like baseball!  I can’t wait to be half as productive at work and start losing countless hours of sleep staying up to watch the end of the [email protected] game, just in case there is a closer injury.  Football was a fine diversion, but I always feel a little empty without baseball.  I’m happy to be back for another season as your RCL tour guide.  I love these things.  Really, they play to my strengths and offer ample opportunity to test strategy and ideas.  Weekly lineups/moves have their place, I just don’t find them as fun.  The daily moves, the League Competitive Index competition, battling hundreds of other managers for the top of the overall standings and of course, the non stop action make this a unique and fun challenge.  It’s kind of like pounding a pot of coffee every hour, on the hour for six straight months.  Even with the changes this season (IP vs. GS and a 500 move limit) I still think it will be the fantasy baseball equivalent of snorting Red Bull.  I’m also a huge nerd for all the numbers and data that gets collected from running so many leagues under the Razzball umbrella.  The move to FanTrax should make data collection much better which means it I will be even easier to share these numbers with you along the way and try to glean some info from all that data.  In order to make the data pool even larger though, we need you, and you, and you too.  You see, what makes RCLs great is all of you.  Man that sounds mushy, but it’s true.  In an ideal world, every Razzball reader would head on over to the RCL sign-ups, pick a league and all would be right with the world.  It’s funny to see how many frequent commenters have never played an RCL.  What’s wrong with you?  I was there once upon a time, so for those of you that aren’t so eager, let’s sit down and chat it out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

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.

NOTE:  THIS IS SEPARATE FROM THE RAZZBALL COMMENTER LEAGUE.  THAT IS A 12-TEAM MIXED FORMAT WITH DAILY ROSTER CHANGES AND YOU CAN PLAY IN FREE, $10, OR $20 LEAGUES. SIGN UP HERE IF YOU ARE INTERESTED.

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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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   
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