From this post, life emerges. *toadstool morphs into frog, frog morphs into person, person types up this post* See! Darwinism at its most basic, and ‘basic’ like your girl who just wants a pumpkin spice latte and to play Candy Crush. It’s how basic is defined, yo. For these pitcher pairings, I’m going to be using our (my) 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. Notably, the top 20 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball, top 40 starters for 2020top 60 starters for 2020, the top 80 starters for 2020 and top 100 starters. You can also just get Rudy’s downloadable War Room by signing up for the Razzball Subscriptions. Okay, formalities out of the way.  *rolls up sleeves, makes farting noise with hand under armpit, rolls down sleeve* Let’s get busy! Now, what is a pitcher pairing? It’s your plan for putting together a fantasy staff. A course of action, of course — of acoursion, naturally. If you have A pitcher, which B, C, D, E and F pitcher goes with him?  Which is different than ‘F this pitcher,’ that’s what you say by end of April about at least one of your starters. You should have six starters. The sixth starter is Pablo Lopez or take whoever you want. I suggest an upside pick. Mitch Keller comes to mind. Or Dustin May. Kevin Gausman also comes to mind. Chris Bassitt anyone? I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5 and some variation of 9 pitcher leagues like the Razzball Commenter Leagues, which begin signups on Monday. Put on your pants and look presentable! (NOTE: What you are about to read is massively confusing.  If it were found scribbled in a notebook, the FBI would be watching me. If Ed Kemper stood up and read this at the next prison Meet N’ Greet, no one would blink an eye.)  Anyway, here’s pitcher pairings for pitching staffs for 2020 fantasy baseball drafts:

If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “Let’s be very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear.

These tiers are from Cole to Bieber. If you draft someone from these tiers, you’ll probably lose your league or get lucky with your hitters.  If you do draft one, I wouldn’t take another pitcher until the tiers, “Upgraded out of the bathroom into economy” and “Hugh Jackman’s marriage.” Take one pitcher from one of those two tiers, then grab another starter from one of those two tiers or, “Sideways bosom.” Then grab another starter from, “Sideways Bosom,” “Nirvinyl,” or “Fourcast starring Rainn Wilson and Dew Barrymore'” or “Dollar Store condoms.”  Then one starter from Condoms or “Getting a microwave tan.”  Finally, draft one more starter from a microwave tan.  So, you’d have a rotation something like Jack Flaherty, Lance Lynn, Brandon Woodruff, Frankie Montas, Ryan Yarbrough and Pablo Lopez. Or you could have Gerrit Cole, Lance Lynn, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Andrew Heaney, Yonny Chirinos, Chris Bassitt.  Either of those staffs will probably net you 13’s in every pitching category in a 12 team league.

If your first pitcher is from the tiers: “Fill my holes with dry rice to reduce moistness?

This tier goes from Lucas Giolito to Chris Paddack. I’d pair any of them with anyone in their same tier or the tier, “Eat your ideal lover’s weight in cookie dough,” “Upgraded out of the bathroom into economy” and “Hugh Jackman’s marriage,” but it’s not mandatory you grab two in the first two tiers. In other words, if I drafted Lucas Giolito, I could see taking Luis Castillo or Patrick Corbin or anyone from any of those tiers, but I wouldn’t reach either.  If you do take two guys from those first two tiers, then move to”Upgraded out of the bathroom into economy” and “Hugh Jackman’s marriage,” and take one guy. You will also be fine taking Giolito and moving right to Economy or the Jackmans’ marriage.  If you skip a 2nd starter in Cookie Dough and Moistness, then draft two guys in the Economy and/or the Jackmans’ marriage.  So, you could have either something like Giolito, Castillo and Woodruff or Giolito, Lance Lynn and Wheeler. Either way, you then move along to Sideways bosom, Nirvinyl and a Fourcast and grab a guy, then onto another Fourcast, condom or a microwave tan. Finally, one guy from the microwave tan. So, you’ll have something like Giolito, Luis Castillo, Jake Odorizzi, Max Fried, Yarbrough, and Pablo Lopez. Don’t mind if I do! Or you could have something like Giolito, Odorizzi, Lynn, Fried, Yarbrough, and Keller. That’s straight gorge. As in engorged.

If your first pitcher is from the tiers:  “Eat your ideal lover’s weight in cookie dough.

This tier goes from Yu Darvish to Aaron Nola. This is likely the way I’m going in 12-team leagues and shallower. This would be ideal (and just as convoluted. Anyone that actually reads AND understands this post deserves a gold star and a head exam. “You, sir, are fit for the looney bin.”) My first pitcher will be from Cookie Dough, then two starters upgrading out of the bathroom or Hugh Jackman’s marriage, then one starter from Sideways bosom, Nirvinyl, a Fourcast and one starter from a Fourcast, condoms and microwave tan. Finally, a microwave tan. So, you could have something like Darvish, Jose Berrios, Wheeler, Montas, Yarbrough and Zach Eflin. You just won your league and games haven’t even started. You’re welcome. Could this post become more confusing? Short answer: no. Long answer: nooooooooooo.  But let’s try…

Overall Thoughts

You can’t go wrong with a lot of different sets of pitchers. Shoot (not you, deranged white man), you probably could do fine with drafting only 3 starters and 3 great relievers and streaming. (Razzball Subscriptions are now open with the Streamonator.) If you stick to the pitchers I like, then you’ll do well matching them up any way you see fit.  For unstints, I could see a lot of people saying Woodruff is being drafted close to Darvish, so do I reach for him? Sure. If you draft only pitchers that I like, then I have no quarrel with you. Wanna reach for Woodruff in the area when the cookie doughs are coming off the board? That’s cool with me. Just know you’re adding risk to your rotation.

TROUBLE AREAS

WHIP Issues – For every pitcher who is projected over a 1.23 WHIP, take one below. The quicker you do this, the better off you’ll be. For unstints, if you take Eduardo Rodriguez, who I have projected for 1.24, you need to pair him with someone I have projected below a 1.23. Don’t pair Ed-Rod with Odorizzi. Pair him with someone like Ryu. Remember, the further you get into the rankings, the harder it becomes to find lower WHIPs.  Side note: WHIP can be helped by closers and MRs… Or hurt by them.

What about the tier “160 IP and one, two, three bazingas!,” or any starter listed in the top 100 starters who are in tiers not listed above. They are 7th starters or IL, minors or bullpen-bound. I wouldn’t count on any of them for anything. I like me some Matt Manning or a bunch of those guys, but are you really starting any of them every time out in April and risking a huge blow up or them just not being in the rotation, which would lead to a crushing April that leaves you in your fantasy baseball basement and a chance to start trading for keepers in May? You take a flyer on someone like Alex Wood, hope he works out and if he doesn’t, you decide whether to drop him in redraft leagues. He’s not your 6th starter.

K ISSUES – For drafters who follow my lead, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. You’re shooting for around 150/starter.

Overall Pitching Issues – Just about everyone, including yours truly, drops at least one of their starters by May 1st. Obviously, you want the best team coming out the draft, but it’s a marathon not a sprint. Starters always come out of nowhere on waivers to become productive. Always.  Even in deep leagues.

BONUS FEATURE

Because we both know everything above this point was the gibberish of a mad mind, here’s an easy to use shortcut. Just click the pitcher you draft, then you’ll get a short list of the next pitcher you’re supposed to draft. Frank Voila, snitches!  Now, have at it:

 

 

 
  1. Jason Carroll says:
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    Thanks for the pairing tool Grey! For my keeper league I have Flaherty in the 7th round and Giolito in the 12th round. Would you grab your 3rd from cookie dough or go straight to 2 from bathroom/Jackman? Thanks!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      How many teams in the league, Jason?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      No problem! See DT’s question — but prolly Bathroom/Jackman

      • Jason Carroll says:
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        12 team

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          So you have two aces in a 12 teamer? Jackman or Sideways bosom, prolly latter

  2. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    Great tool Boss. Thanks for all the work

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks, AL!

  3. Nittanychris says:
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    Great stuff, Grey! In an AL Only 5×5 Roto league that uses QS instead of Wins, please rank the following SPs who may frequently be 5 inning guys for various reasons:
    K Maeda
    R Stripling
    G Canning
    J Luzardo
    H Ryu
    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Agree with DT on where to look

  4. RicoSuave says:
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    Excellent work Grey!

    THANK YOU!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      No problem

  5. Funny Name says:
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    In a h2h league would you trade deGrom for Castillo and Yu? It’s. Keeper league, keep your best 8 forever. Yu would be the first pick of the draft, so it’s more of a depth vs better player in a h2h. If it was Roto I think I’d hold but h2h is a crapshoot with SP sometimes.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      It’s fair but think I’d hold degrom

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agree with DT

  6. Dave D says:
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    Looks good. Great tool! So far all three of my teams check out fine. I’m glad you’re also in on Yamamoto and Eflin.

    But where is Bartolo Colon on your list!!!???

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Colon’s good for bowels

  7. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Thanks for this Grey! Random question, on Bieber…are you worried much about his hard contact (allowed some of the most hard contact last year, esp on fastball l) or nah?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      I’m not very concerned. He’s a smart pitcher with pinpoint command.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      No problem!

      Agree with DT, though I’m not drafting him at his price

  8. Jeremy says:
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    Thanks for this. My question: If you happen to be in a shallower league, lets say 10 teams, would you wait even longer to draft pitching or is it smart to start at the same tier you are suggesting for 12 team leagues?

    • James D Stockburger says:
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      same here…but I am in some 6 team and 8 team!!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      In shallower roto leagues you’ll need better ratio stats to contend so I’d actually lean towards moving a little sooner on an arm. Just my philosophy.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      You can wait longer in shallower leagues as long as it’s a daily league…There will be an abundance of SPs on waivers

  9. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Related question to above…

    Bieber ($16) and Franmil ($13)

    or

    Scherzer ($34) and Villar ($8)

    Keep forever, I’ve got Acuna Yelich Story (so Villar’s extra speed isn’t essential and if anything, I will trade him mid season once I bank extra SB cushion).

    • Malicious Phenoms says:
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      Hey Duda,

      These two for me, in a keep 4 ever

      Bieber ($16) and Franmil ($13)

    • Cram It says:
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      First two in a keep forever seems a no-brainer. I’d venture that Grey’s #5 ranking of Bieber tells you how worried he is about the hard contact rate.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Agree with Cram and MP

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        Thanks guys! Much appreciated.

        This owner originally offered me Biebs + Rendon ($22) for my Scherzer and Eloy ($7), which I’m still thinking hard about . . . trying to find alternatives in the meantime.

        My hangup with the Rendon version is that I don’t want to miss out on what I think will be a huge Eloy year (plus, besides Eloy, my other keepers are elite bats but pretty pricey in the aggregate, so a $25 rendon in 2021 is great much less attractive to me than a $10 Eloy).

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agree with Cram

  10. DonnieB says:
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    Hi GREY…love your Top 500. You are the best and most prolific expert in fantasy sports. And the most entertaining. I have a couple keeper questions fora 12 team auction roto where you can keep 8.

    Will Smith at $10 for two years OR
    Yasmani Grandal at $3 for one year

    Trevor Bauer at $16 for one year OR
    Mike Soroka at $10 for two years OR
    Zac Gallen at$10 for two years

    George Springer at $33 for two years OR
    Eduardo Escobar at $2 for two years

    Thanks. Lots of titles in recent years thanks to you.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Grandal and Soroka for me.

      The last one depends on your leagues inflation, but probably Springer if you think that’s a discount.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Appreciate it!

      Grandal…Hmm, tough for 2nd one, I’m leaning Gallen, but not sure you can go wrong

      Agree with DT, prolly Springer

  11. Raider says:
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    Playing in a 6×6 10 team shallow keeper with OPS as additional category. Entertaining 2 offers for Mike Trout

    1: Trout and Nola for Bieber and Sexy Dr. Pepper
    2: Trout and Verlander for Mookie and Gerrit Cole

    Thoughts from the community?

    • Malicious Phenoms says:
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      1. Trout side
      2. Trout side

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Both fair deals.

      I’d actually take the Soto side in #1, Trout in #2.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        FWIW, I like Soto side in the top as well. Soto is more similar to Trout’s expected line than not (Trout still wins of course), but Biebs is a big win over Nola.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Soto

      Trout

  12. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Pitching pairings, very cool. Very helpful, with so much uncertainty surrounding pitching.
    Red bull baseballs, they have wings!, flyin out of park near you!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Haha, we think at least…No one knows what the baseballs will be

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Member, they changed in the postseason

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        I think Manfraud is just messin with us fantasy baseballers.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha, Manfraud is good, I hadn’t heard that before

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
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            Lol, thanks. I say Manfraud on Twitter all the time. Feel free to use it, spread the word!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Haha, I just might!

  13. Thundergunn says:
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    Love this post!

    In a 14 team standard scoring 4 player keeper yahoo H2H league

    I have been offered Yordan Alvarez and matt olson for FTJ

    Or mondesi and olson for story

    Thinking seriously about both. Thoughts?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      I’d pass on both but they’re pretty fair.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks!

      Agree with DT

    • AL KOHOLIC says:
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      depending who u are not keeping the mondesi olson one looks great in a 14 teamer

  14. DontStealMySignsBro says:
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    Keeper league 25 man rosters and you have to carry 7 starters.

    The starters that I am keeping are Clevinger, Paddack, Greinke, Berrios, Montas.

    Any ideas on who I should target for the last two slots?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Who’s available?

      • DontStealMySignsBro says:
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        Keepers haven’t been declared yet, but it is not hard to figure who is going to keep who (regardless if it is position players or pitchers). To discuss this in general terms, assume the top 54 starters are off of the board

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      You have two aces, two #2s, and a #4 — How many teams? Because in most that’s fine to just fill up backend — Say Stripling types

      • DontStealMySignsBro says:
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        12 team league

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          So, yeah, Stripling types

          • DontStealMySignsBro says:
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            Thanks Grey & DonkeyT.

  15. Ante Galic says:
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    Grey!!

    Fantastic post as always. Was looking forward to this post and not that I’ve seen it am very happy.

    a. Sorry, missed the show yesterday. Got up at 03h46 to travel for a test at 09h00 (had to take a cab to get to the place where I take the bus to get to the city where the test was, the bus left at 06h00 arriving in the test town 08h25). Took the test, hopefully I scored well enough for the next stage. I arrived home at 14h30, took the dog out for a long walk, ate and then went to sleep for 90 minutes but I swear it felt like 900 years. Saw the top 500 was posted and creamed my pants. Thanks, I’ll send you the cleaning bill.

    b. Now the perennial question that begs asking as always. You dig Olson, I get it. And when he does well, that’ll be great for the rosters of all those who drafted him in the first 3 rounds. As of right now in mock drafts in CBS and yahoo roto 5X5, you can have Olson just before Chapman in the 10th or maybe a little earlier. So, the questions.

    1. My yahoo mock draft scores are bad because your rankings don’t jive with yahoo’s rankings. Ditto for CBS. This should not disturb us right?

    2. When drafting Olson, should I draft him in the 3rd, 4th or 5th rounds or should I take a guy like Springer or Hader who is a commodity for sure but won’t be there in the 5th round because of their name brand whereas Olson will be? Do you get me? It goes for other players too who you’ve ranked way ahead of the field. Do you wait a couple of rounds and grab what won’t be there in those same 2 rounds because of name recognition and 3-year average or do you follow the Bible according to Grey?

    c. Am watching the following tv series and love them all.

    1. Hanna 2019
    2. The Act 2019
    3. Black Monday 2019
    4. Jett 2019
    5. The Hot Zone 2019
    6. Dublin Murders 2019
    7. City on a Hill 2019
    8. Catch-22 2019

    I got the tip from watching I am the Night with Chris Pine as Executive Producer and lead actor. Pretty good.

    d. MLB quote of the day for July 10 2006

    ‘I’m always looking to improve and every year I want to do better than the year before.’

    The immortal David Allen Wright

    e. Have a Greyt weekend.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks!

      A. Rooting for you to do well!

      B.
      1. Not at all
      2. You can prolly wait to 4th or 5th and grab Springer bc of reasons you said

      C. Never even heard of these except 8, which I watched

      D. Ha!

      E. You too!

      • Ante Galic says:
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        Grey!!!

        a. Thanks, man. Am already winning with your vote of confidence.

        b. Thanks, message received.

        c. Yeah, me neither. Some are on Hulu, some on Showtime, some on AmazonPrime etc. None of these are available on netflix.

        d. Yes, the Captain. I’m sure frequent commenter ‘MetsLol’ is happy now.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          A. Yes!

          B. No problem

          C. I need more streaming services! (I don’t.)

          D. Haha

    • 183414 says:
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      Loved Jett and City on a Hill.

      Loved Bad Boys !

  16. Troy says:
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    14 team league. I’m keeping Beiber at $14 and Corbin at $9. Where should I jump back in on drafting arms?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      You have two aces, you can go in at Sideways bosom

  17. Chris Williams says:
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    12 team league,

    Keep 4 out of 5:
    Verlander/Lynn/Ray/Maeda/Stroman/Alcantra

    • Malicious Phenoms says:
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      Throw back Sandy.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Agree with MP

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agree with others

  18. Nick says:
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    Hi Grey and all. Looking for keeper help. Yahoo 10 team league 5×5 H2H $260. Can keep 5 of the following.

    Trevor Story $18
    Nolan Arenado $33
    Anthony Rendon $26
    Freddie Freeman $33
    Adalberto Mondesi $10
    Xander Bogaerts $23
    Mike Clevinger $13
    Luis Castillo $13
    Vlad Guerrero Jr $10
    Sonny Gray $6
    Luis Robert $5
    Brandon Woodruff $6

    Off the top thinking I have to Keep Story, Mondesi, and Clevinger. Wondering how to fill out the other 2. Thanks for your insight!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      So many good ones…

      Arenado, Freeman

      • Nick says:
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        Thanks Grey, I love Arenado and Freeman too but they are close to their draft dollar amounts. If you had to pick 2 others for more $ value who would you go with? Thanks as always. Love the input!!!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Really? They seem like $40+ players — okay, Vlad, Castillo

          • Nick says:
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            Yeah, our league only tends to spend $40 plus on the first 5 or so picks. The middle gets a little bloated. Thanks for your recommendations. Truly appreciate you and love the site.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              No problem

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              And thanks for kind words!

  19. haleybop3320 says:
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    No question just a comment…You guys mentioned a show called The Kingdom { MMA}. WOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!! Amazing show.. Glad I saw that on your post…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, nice! Have you watched The Last Kingdom? No relation, but also good

      • haleybop3320 says:
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        I made the mistake of watching Vikings before Last Kingdom….LK is a little slow for me compared to Vikings

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I ended up watching Vikings this year, I liked it more than I thought I would…I think I have download the last season off Apple tho, so don’t say anything

          • frankgrimes says:
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            They all die. Dinosaurs or something.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Don’t ruin stuff!

              • frankgrimes says:
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                Did you get to the time machine part yet?