Monday comes around, and what do you want to read about on your favorite fantasy sports blog? Of course! It’s a pitcher who finished in the 140s on the Razzball Player Rater last year. This player won a solid 2 games in 9 starts while sporting a 5.17 ERA and is projected for a 2021 season FIP around 4.30 by every major system. Whew! Is it just me that’s getting sweaty in here, or is it the side-effect of my genetically-modified coffee? Who’s ready to get hyped about the second starter on the Seattle Mariners, Yusei Kikuchi? You are!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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This week we start getting into hitter profiles for the 2021 fantasy baseball season and what better way to start out than two guys battling it out for draft position at the end of the first round.  Not only that, but Trevor “walking pun” Story and Christian Yelich’s boyish looks are just too tempting to pass up for any writer.  The downfall being that there are way too many jokes to write and so little word count to do so.  Like honestly, we could go into a Story about the how good the Marlins could have been if they cared about winning when they had Yelich.  But alas, wasting time when I could have just stuck the pun in the title and moved on.

Alright, let us get to why you are reading, each week I will be grabbing two hitters that are close to each other in ADP and breaking down their 2020 (and likely 2019) with what I would expect in 2021.  Then we will make like a good old western, take everybody out back and have a true standoff until a winner prevails.  Let us jump into this and see where it takes us!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Howdy-do, folks. I surely do ‘preciate you stopping by for the latest in the world of offseason baseball.

The Blue Jays made three exciting signings, only to have it turn into two exciting signings (unless a Tyler Chatwood signing excites you, then you can still call it three) because the Astros swooped in. For a few hours there, the Jays lineup looked pretty damn formidable. I still really dig it, for what it’s worth.

Other things happened, too. Here’s what stood out to me:

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The year was 1996. The “Macarena” craze had just swept the nation, Independence Day was dominating the box office, Bill Clinton was about to win re-election, and 10 year-old Torres was already sporting a full-grown mustache (those damn Puerto Rican genes.) Even with the mustache, life was pretty good for me back then. It was made even better when the Yanks won the World Series that year, clinched on this catch by none other than the great Charlie Hayes.

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Over the past 10 months, have you happened to hear Casey Stern mutter the iconic phrase, “prospects are cool, parades are cooler,” and thought, shit, prospects are waaaaaay cooler than parades now! Don’t get me wrong, I loved a good, old-fashioned homecoming float as a kid as much as anybody. But the Coronavirus pandemic has done quite a number on the attractiveness of modern parades. In today’s world, I think “prospects are cool, but watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade alone while shoveling a full tin of baked corn into your mouth that you made for yourself is cooler,” is a bit more fitting, wouldn’t you say? Well, here at Razzball with The Itch and myself, prospects are always cool. They’re cool even when they’re not, say, in July when everyone else is getting psyched for the start of the 2020 MLB season and 2020 fantasy football drafts, and I’m busy writing a Way-Too-Early College Top 25 for the 2021 MLB Draft segment, inadvertently detailing how one-dimensional my life is. Or, if you read that particular post, how frequently I crap myself on airplanes.

In my Way-Too-Early College Top 25, I took an early shot at laying out the top 25 prospects for the 2021 MLB Draft in a year that had very little spring action and a summer filled with cancelled developmental leagues. Now, as college players returned to campus over the past several months, effectively receiving some varying level of fall training, practice and game action, we have a lot more data and scouting to lean on. But, before I begin rehashing my top college prospects list and start to build it into my annual (it’s year two, can I say that?) complete college top 100, let’s discuss some early risers that I may have either previously overlooked or under-ranked. Since I’m such a Carmen Sandiego fanatic, I’ll also go rogue and add some other notes of things I’m hearing, or seeing, that I don’t really agree with, or that I simply think are worth mentioning. That, my dear friends, begins at the very top of the 2021 Draft (guess who?), then follows with the likes of Ethan Wilson and Jaden Hill.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The Cubs are cleaning house even though they are a big market team. The Reds are seemingly red-tagging the store after going all-in for half a season. The Brewers have made zero moves to improve their lineup around Yelich. The Cardinals, too, have also done absolutely nothing. And now the Pirates have jumped on board with the neighborhood garage sale to boot, after offloading Josh Bell. In a year when the entire NL Central feels like sellers or doing nothing, of course, the Pirates go into full teardown mode again… after, well… never emerging from the last full teardown or the one before that. Does anyone want to win this thing?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

January Grey is back and in full effect, he’s taken the Flo-bie to the lettuce, shaved his Tom Hanks Castaway beard down to a meticulously manicured mustache and he’s chockful of rankings for the good people of the Fantasy Baseball Republic. Who’s number one? Tildaddy, Fun The Jewels, Mike Trout? Who is it? You already know the answer, but let Grey explain why. Rankings season is upon us and we’re kicking it off right with the most anticipated Top 20 list in the industry.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The New York Yankees signed two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year contract worth $11 million dollars this weekend. Immediately the fantasy sports sphere on Twitter — which is really more of a rounded mound of a shape — well, analysts went Klu-razy with the news. A big-time player on a big-time team! Hooray! Stonks up and let care fly to the wind! I’m looking through rankings from various sites on Kluber, and people are absolutely Ku-losing it (let’s see if I can get one more pun in before the jump!). Even Razzball’s 2021 Steamer Projections have Kluber as SP22 at this point in the pre-season. With some big time sites considering Kluber in the 30s for SP — in other words, your 3rd starter in a 12-team league — it’s absolutely worthwhile to see if the stats are Klean or Kluttered. Ha! Four of ’em!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Back in my playing days, coaches would always talk about playing to win.  If you are trying not to lose, then you have already lost the game as fear has let itself in.  They were right and maybe if I had listened, I would be dominating the little league circuit rather than writing this article.  Alas, here we are and playing not to lose is finally coming in handy!

There are three categories that can ensure a team does not win a championship at the draft table.  These categories are not sexy enough or simply forgotten in the draft before it gets too late.  For that reason, I take a specific yet simple strategy on these categories…Do Not Draft Player X!  Within the first 10 rounds of a draft, I will intentionally avoid certain players to ensure the floor of my team is where it needs to be going into the later rounds of the draft where I must fill out my roster.  I do not care how far a guy falls, he damages the overall picture I am trying to paint with my roster.  Here is the breakdown of those categories:

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Howdy, folks.

No real blockbuster-type stuff this week after last week’s doozy of a trade, I’m afraid, but we have had a few big signings and plenty of trade/free agent rumors fluttering about in the breeze.

Really, it’s just a slow offseason so far, all things considered. Going by ESPN’s list, six of their top 10 FAs are still on the market. Only 12 of the top 50 have been signed. Spring Training is supposed to ramp back up in less than two months from now, but a vast majority of players are still standing on the sidelines with one thumb in the air, hoping someone stops by and opens their passenger door.

Anyhoodles, let’s get caught up on the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?