So here we are somewhere in Snape’s cauldron among our top hundred divining the future of the outfield position in fantasy baseball.

Wild things have happened already. I knew it might get weird when I saw the ghost of Shoeless Joe while I was watching Parasite. 

Sorry, Sev: while we were watching Parasite. 

The other day, I got asked about Luis Matos and wound up mentioning Ronald Acuna Jr

Then dug deeper down into that rabbit hole and ate the mushrooms that made the idea grow. 

That was after people got mad at me for some inadvertent Trout shade. I blame Christian Yelich for being better than him at roto. 

Hmm, what else?

Oh yeah there was that day I saved cousin Dudley from two huge floaty randos at the playground. 

Before we case the basement to see what’s behind the walls, let me say something I haven’t. 

I think you should try to get Hedbert Perez in your dynasty leagues.

I’ve been thinking we should talk about this for a long time, but I get locked into projects and moods, you know? I don’t always make time for us to talk. 

In this post, you’ll likely come away with the idea that I think Luis Matos is a must-own player at his likely cost across our game. That’s true. But I think Hedbert Perez is right there with him. We might still be a few months ahead of the wave on him. Same for Heriberto Hernandez. These are must-haves for me. 

Where I don’t get them, I’m afraid I’m going to regret it. 

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of my life. 

Okay, that’s that, I think. I’ll paste the list here then more words at the bottom.

 

Rank 4/26 Rank 4/22 Player Age Team
1 1 Ronald Acuña Jr. 22 ATL
2 2 Christian Yelich 28 MIL
3 3 Mike Trout 28 LAA
4 4 Cody Bellinger 24 LAD
5 5 Juan Soto 21 WAS
6 6 Mookie Betts 27 LAD
7 7 Yordan Alvarez 22 HOU
8 8 Austin Meadows 24 TB
9 9 Luis Robert 22 CHW
10 10 Bryce Harper 27 PHI
11 11 Victor Robles 22 WAS
12 12 Eloy Jimenez 23 CHW
13 13 Jorge Soler 28 KC
14 14 Aaron Judge 27 NYY
15 15 Jo Adell 21 LAA
16 16 Starling Marte 31 ARI
17 17 JD Martinez 32 BOS
18 18 Joey Gallo 26 TEX
19 19 George Springer 30 HOU
20 20 CJ Abrams 19 SD
21 21 Julio Rodriguez 19 SEA
22 22 Giancarlo Stanton 30 NYY
23 23 Dylan Carlson 21 STL
24 24 Ramon Laureano 25 OAK
25 25 Jasson Dominguez 17 NYY
26 27 Byron Buxton 26 MIN
27 28 Charlie Blackmon 33 COL
28 29 Kyle Schwarber 27 CHC
29 26 Michael Conforto 27 NYM
30 31 Jarred Kelenic 20 SEA
31 30 Oscar Mercado 25 CLE
32 32 Kyle Tucker 23 HOU
33 35 Franmil Reyes 24 CLE
34 41 Nick Castellanos 28 CIN
35 33 Oneil Cruz 21 PIT
36 34 Kristian Robinson 19 ARI
37 36 Bryan Reynolds 25 PIT
38 38 Andrew Benintendi 25 BOS
39 39 Lourdes Gurriel 26 TOR
40 40 Eddie Rosario 28 MIN
41 44 Willie Calhoun 25 TEX
42 42 Marcell Ozuna 29 ATL
43 43 David Dahl 26 COL
44 46 Corbin Carroll 19 ARI
45 47 Trent Grisham 23 SD
46 45 Trey Mancini 28 BAL
47 48 Brennen Davis 20 CHC
48 37 Tommy Pham 32 SD
49 49 Michael Brantley 32 HOU
50 50 Max Kepler 27 MIN
51 51 Nick Senzel 24 CIN
52 52 Alex Verdugo 23 BOS
53 53 Luis Matos 18 SF
54 54 Nick Solak 25 TEX
55 55 Trevor Larnach 23 MIN
56 56 Zac Veen 18 ??
57 62 Heriberto Hernandez 20 TEX
58 58 Teoscar Hernandez 27 TOR
59 60 Avisail Garcia 28 MIL
60 61 Mark Canha 31 OAK
61 63 Sam Hilliard 26 COL
62 57 Garrett Mitchell 21 ??
63 64 Aaron Hicks 30 NYY
64 59 Yasiel Puig 29 ??
65 66 Erick Pena 17 KC
66 69 Nomar Mazara 24 CHW
67 65 Austin Hays 24 BAL
68 67 Andrew McCutchen 33 PHI
69 68 Wil Myers 29 SD
70 71 Riley Greene 19 DET
71 70 Yoshi Tsutsugo 28 TB
72 72 Drew Waters 21 ATL
73 73 Cristian Pache 21 ATL
74 74 Mallex Smith 26 SEA
75 75 Alek Thomas 19 ARI
76 76 Hedbert Perez 17 MIL
77 77 Mitch Haniger 29 SEA
78 79 Gregory Polanco 28 PIT
79 80 Adam Eaton 31 WAS
80 81 Ian Happ 25 CHC
81 78 Randy Arozarena 25 TB
82 82 AJ Pollock 32 LAD
83 83 David Peralta 32 ARI
84 84 Mike Yastrzemski 29 SF
85 85 Kyle Lewis 24 SEA
86 86 Monte Harrison 24 MIA
87 88 Aristides Aquino 26 CIN
88 91 Lorenzo Cain 34 MIL
89 92 Gilberto Jimenez 19 BOS
90 93 Jaylin Davis 25 SF
91 87 Jesse Winker 26 CIN
92 94 Randall Grichuck 28 TOR
93 89 Justin Upton 32 LAA
94 90 Shogo Akiyama 32 CIN
95 95 Franchy Cordero 25 SD
96 96 Jesus Sanchez 22 TB
97 97 Taylor Trammell 22 SD
98 99 JJ Bleday 22 MIA
99 101 Heston Kjerstad 21 ??
100 108 Seth Brown 27 OAK

 

Thoughts from the reddit thread:

Jacob_Bob asks:

Luis over Eloy. How confident are you on that holding up?

Good question. Eloy can’t steal bases, so LuBob doesn’t have to hit a ton to best him in the long run.

I dealt Eloy for LuBob last summer in a 20 team dynasty. Got back a 2nd round FYPD pick kicker in the deal but was ready to do it straight up then (June 2019).

 

Benny Jetss asks:

Assuming Yordan Alvarez plays enough games to keep his OF eligibility (or gain it, if you play on ESPN), where does he rank on this list?
Got this question a few times, which made me wonder how I could include him without putting him in the standard list bc a lot of people play at Yahoo and ESPN.

I’d put him just after Mookie but would be wondering how long that will hold if Yordan is his 2019 self for the foreseeable future . . . how long Mookie will run and where he’ll land in FA.

*As you can see this is part of the past now, but the possibility of universal DH has me thinking about other non-outfielders who might pick up some eligibility. It goes without saying that Kevin Crons gain value on a DH-everywhere planet, but he and others like him (Edwin Rios, to pull another name from Dan Richards’ exit velocity sleeper piece “Best Cups of Coffee”) might gain some surprise eligibility in these lower-bar leagues.

 

hum_babe asks:

This is by far the highest I’ve seen Heriberto Hernandez ranked. Any reasoning behind that? The numbers are crazy but not many people seem to be putting stock into him.

He’s just the perfect fantasy prospect in a lot of senses. Or would be if he had speed. But if he could run he could probably defend or at least fake it in a corner outfield spot.
As is, he’s just a hitter, which helps keep his profile low like Yordan.
But that’s mostly fine for our game. Sure it’s not ideal if he’s DH only at the age of 21, but if he’s 21 and mashing major league pitching, we’ll probably make it work.
I’m not comping the two, skills or physicality wise, but I just love Heriberto’s swing, and all the numbers back it up. I mean the metrics back the hips-trunk-hands synchronicity and barrel hand-eye he shows in the box.
I don’t fully buy low minors estimated fly ball distances, but his put him right near the top of the minors most years. He’s got a lot to prove against better spin and velocity, but the jumping on point is now while the cost is a roster spot or a meek offer.

 

alwaysmyfault wonders:

How can they justify Yelich ahead of Trout?

Same age, and Trout has a consistent track record of outperforming Yelich.

Fair points.

For starters, I looked to the immediate past.

Trout wasn’t real close to Yelich in 5×5 roto value last season.

They were closer the year before, but Yelich had 228 R+RBI and Trout had 180. That’s an enormous gap.

Yelich also beat him in batting average .326 to .312.

Last year’s BA split was .329 to .291—another monstrous advantage to Yelich’s teams.

Trout caught and passed him in R+RBI 214 to 197

but stole just 11 bags to Yelich’s 30.

Across two full seasons with similar PA totals, Yelich has been the better roto player, and it’s not super close. I mention in the intro it felt weird to rank Trout 3rd, but ours is game of numbers not names, and unless you’re in an OBP league and perhaps even if you are, Yelich has earned the edge. Certainly helps that his park is elite for lefty bats, but that ain’t changing anytime soon. Also might hurt Trout a little that Joe Maddon’s in town. He’s not big into the stolen base, and it seems Trout has soured some on running anyway. Plus Yelich was 30 for 32 in stolen base attempts and has been incredibly efficient there for three straight seasons.

Dude knows when to take his bases.

 

redditnym123456789:

no room for Puig? I respect the list, but I think there’s too much foaming at the mouth over guys who haven’t played a single game in the bigs… even some “can’t miss” guys like Jo Adell have red flags (which is partly why Jo couldn’t make the jump from Triple-A last year). Maybe my perspective is skewed since I play in a custom points league and Puig has been nothing but solid, but I would trade some purely speculative, high-upside, single-A guy like Corbin Carroll for Puig’s immediate value in a second.

(edited to clarify my original “no room for Puig?” troll-esque comment)

^^This human is a net positive on the internet: a unique, endanged species. Full credit to anyone who identifies some troll-feel in their words and tries to edit it out. I didn’t even think the original content was troll-ish. It’s a fair question. But man, just made feel good to read.

Anyway, perhaps I should clarify somewhere in the lede that it’s a 5×5 roto list.

I lean toward the math that suggests 1 stolen base = 3 home runs in approximate roto value in the current paradigm.

Which is just not how points leagues operate.

In dynasty it’s scary for me to see a guy get ignored completely in free agency. Suggests he could be nearing his last life on the job market, mostly bc so few teams prioritize winning in the near term vs. building long-term, controllable assets.

redditnym123456789:

ahh, yeah I get that… I’ve seen Puig’s disappearance into free agency as a market inefficiency, because Puig is indisputably decent-to-good from a GM’s perspective… either he’s asking too much or GMs are offering too little. once there’s actually a playoff race, something’ll give. probably sooner too.

anyway. back to your list. good stuff. Roto is a foreign language to me, but your top 50 definitely passes the sniff test

Yankees777:

I’m dynasty I’m taking the young top prospects over Puig everytime

redditnym123456789:

like yeah, I’d trade him for Adell/Robert/Julio/Kelenic… but some of these marginal Top 100 prospects???

Not sure which prospects you’re referencing, but if you have Puig and can get Corbin Carroll for him, I think you’ll be happy you did.

Not loving my tone here. Should’ve edited. But I mean it insofar as Puig is heading one direction and Carroll the other. Plus you can get something along with Carroll in most leagues, I think, and then pick up a FA outfielder who’s not all that net-net different than Puig. Maybe not today, but when the games start, roster spots have incredible value for speculation and streaming buys. (Cough cough Aquino cough). In traditional dynasty, MLB free agents are available at most positions most of the time, and new players are coming into opportunities most of the time. MLB spots get tight when you’re contending, so something like Puig for Carroll and a pick can be a great play. Especially if you’re paying close enough attention to stream hot hitters (with the help of the Stream-O-Nator, perhaps?).

 

Our final thoughts come courtesy of readrainbow:

Lots of faith in Soler

He was just so elite last time we saw him. Might even have a case to be higher.
.299/.411/.665 in the second half.

Got better as pitchers adjusted to him and circled him as the out they needed in that lineup.

Got better as they tried to get him to chase in various ways high low in and out.

If this version of Soler has a weakness, pitchers are struggling to exploit it.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe out there. Next 50 outfielders coming in hot!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and reddit.

Oh and PS: I’m going to try and add some recommendations from time to time.

The End of the F***ing World on Netflix

Spy on Hulu (the one with Darren Boyd)

ZeroZeroZero on Prime

Spy is hilarious and fast.

ZZZ is just 70-grade stuff across the board.

The End of the F***ing World is an impressive blend of momentum, exigency, character, deflection and fun. Not in real time of course. The end of the world is bad. But the show. The show is excellent.

 
  1. JPHanson says:
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    Love the honesty and self-reflection, which are always welcome in the fantasy world. In a points league, which OF would you for Heriberto? Brandon Marsh, Hunter Bishop, or Jared Oliva?

    • JPHanson says:
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      *drop* for Heriberto

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Thanks JPHanson!

        I’m cool with dropping any of them for Heriberto, but I’d probably try to shop em some first. They’ve all got some trade value in most, I’d think. I’d Just take whatever I can get, to some extent, preferably future picks to extend the roster.

        Leaning Marsh if I’ve gotta make the call quicker than that.

  2. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    wow itch great stuff here,ill be studying it deeper later

  3. ny swallows says:
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    Heriberto(s)? You sure it’s not just another …bertos taco shop in SoCal ?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Harry Berto’s Special Sauce

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Okay, but didn’t you love Parasite?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Yeah I think it’s safe to say I loved Parasite.

      Can’t think of anything quite like it.

      Pretty sure I’m gonna watch it again.

      When rich dude holds his nose grabbing the keys . . . just incredible stuff.

  5. Harley Earl says:
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    Love your stuff Itch. Always informative and entertaining. I wouldn’t dare trade Julio Rodriguez for Puig. It’s clear the word is out across the league on him: “He’s a cancer. Stay away.”

    It’s almost as if Puig has become the pariah to MLB that Colin Kaepernick is to the NFL.

    Ok, maybe not quite that far. But you get the sentiment: A bad attitude is not conducive for employment.

    Any thoughts on Ozark? Everyone tells me to watch it. But I’m holding out for a couple more seasons so I can stream it all at once. What full series would you recommend I watch in the meantime?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Harley!

      I agree on the Puig read–a combination of factors, I’m sure, but one has to be some GMs and managers would probably just rather go another route if they see one that’s a little similar. Especially when the $ gets involved.

      I do have some Ozark thoughts. The quick point I need to make is that season 3 is transcendent. Truly high-wire, 80-grade entertainment at times and a solid 70 pretty much throughout.

      When I dropped in to resume and watch season 3, I discovered I hadn’t finished season 2. Just a couple episodes left. It’s not common for me to bounce 12+ hours into a story, but I think it was just a little bleak for my day-to-day life at the time.

      Not so when season 3 hit.

      Season 1 was good, quick and different enough to keep you engaged. Ruth is a revelation, and I suspect Julia Garner (who plays Ruth) is a big reason Netflix pulled Waco out of the hopper. Smart synergy on their part. Andrea Risebroough, too, who’s on fire in ZeroZeroZero, is in Waco, come to think of it.

      Anyway, season 2 kinda lost me a little on first watch, or so the evidence would suggest, but I don’t remember it as bad. Just a lot of dark contrasted against the tone of spending most days with a baby girl. And the end of that season was propulsive and lead well into season three, which, as I say, makes the whole thing worth admission.

      Just awesome acting. Tight writing and editing. Every shot matters to the story they’re telling. Loved it.

      • Harley Earl says:
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        Yeah, I’m going to have to see what this is all about.

        I got into Breaking Bad during season 3. It was so good, I stopped it. And went and got the first two seasons on DVD just to catch up, then resumed where I had left off. I’m going to start Ozark probably next. Might go with Better Call Saul first though. It’s a tough call.

        Appreciate the input! Will definitely watch soon!

  6. JakeDaSnake says:
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    Any of these guys you’d drop for Heriberto or Hedbert?

    Mario Feliciano
    Korey Lee
    Ronnier Quintero

    Bryce Ball
    Kevin Cron

    Ji Hwan Bae

    Alexander Mojica

    Ryan Vilade

    Eduarqui Fernandez
    Monte Harrison
    Niko Hulsizer
    Barron Lora
    Luis Matos
    Ismael Mena
    Yohendrick Pinango
    Canaan Smith

    I’d like to keep Hulsizer, see anything you like there?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’d drop Eduarqui and Korey Lee.

      Maybe they get scooped. Maybe they fall through faab and land on the track-em list.

  7. Jacob Hartman says:
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    Hi The Itch, Jacob_Bob here.

    Similar to the Eloy/Luis Q. What’s the word on S. Marte over JDM? There is only a year difference between them, and JD is the vastly superior hitter. I actually don’t really rate Marte that much. As soon as his wheels come off he will become a poor man’s 2-hit Whit, but with 1 hit. A 1-hit Marte.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, Jacob_Bob!

      Funny you should mention him because I keep eyeing him against the players below, specifically JD and Gallo.

      Arizona should fight the effects of aging on the bat . . . might even be looking at a career year in 2021 . . . but he’s not getting faster, I’d think.

      Although, are they testing for PED’s at the moment? . . . asking for a friend . .

      I’ll keep thinking it over. As is he’s a five-category asset. Lo Cain was still a third rounder at 33, but he brought buyers a loss at the price. Safe speed tends to hold value, and Cain’s not the player Marte is.

      Would be a good poll. JD or Marte in dynasty. Same for Gallo or Marte. Maybe just a three-way poll?

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        If I’m contending, I think I want Marte. Unless I have enough speed, in which case I want JD.

        If I’m not in contention yet, I think I want Gallo in case he takes off this year.

        • Jacob Hartman says:
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          I feel that JD represents such a nice floor—be it a 4 cat floor, but high level in those cats (maybe not runs). I also feel like JD is someone who can be a cornerstone of a contending team for the next 3-5 years.

          Yes, Starling gets you 5 cats, but I don’t appreciate Marte enough, maybe, as I think his floor is that of a mid rounder. You gave me something good to consider, nonetheless, as I will take an extra interest in his performances in AZ for the season and behind—AND maybe you are right in regards to looking at things about being competitive this season or down the road.

          Being honest, I would prefer to have someone like Bryce that is a high level 4 cat guy with speed. Gallo could be that too with maybe 8-11 steals.

          Glad you brought up Joey G. Love the guy. I own him nowhere, but not for a lack of trying. He’s someone I would kill for in a dynasty or keeper.

          Sorry about those meatballs dissing your Yelich stance, btw. That place epitomizes groupthink, and you are damned if you don’t. I prolly delete my app every other month, haha. But for real, I thought you gave a truly compelling argument(and this is coming from a Trout guy), but the weird mentality there 9 times out of 10 defeats sound reasoning.

          • The Itch

            The Itch says:
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            That totally tracks—the regular deleting of that app. Seems a bit like Twitter in that there’s just not much room for nuance . . . and a lot of room for groupthink as you said.

            Thanks for the kind words about the Yelich case!

            I don’t own a Joey G share either. Why has he forsaken us!!??

  8. Dougie says:
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    Check out I’m Not OK With This, if you liked End of The F**ing Word.
    The episodes are super short and still deliver a lot of info. Moves fast, no fluff, it’s refreshing.

    Sorry I didn’t get to ya with this question before you put this out. Belli still qualifies for OF, doesn’t he?

    • Dougie says:
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      Wow. Never mind. I don’t know how I missed him.
      Still Check the show out though.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Thanks! I’ll check that out!

        I remember when it came out I meant to see it but never did.

        No time like the present!

  9. dill says:
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    Love the work Itch. Been following your rankings for my dynasty league and I scoop Matos and Heriberto.
    I have seen nothing on Hedbert, nobody has him on its top 30 and I cannot find a report on him. Nothing. What kind of player is he and what makes you think he is going to be special ? I have the choice between Hedbert, Ethan Hankins and Thanaj Thomas and leaning towards Thomas.
    Thanks !

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, dill!

      I was looking for Hedbert video, but it must’ve been Twitter or insta or something bc I can’t find it.

      And yeah not many words out there about him, but he’s a tooled up, physically mature son of a big leaguer. Never know how he’ll react as he sees advanced velo and spin, but the topside is elite. I’d trade either of those arms for him.

  10. For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:
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    hitter tron on the hitters. stream-nator is the pitching only bot.

    • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:
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      stream-o-nator

  11. Cyler says:
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    I’m super excited to see where Kristian Robinson lands. I had both him and Julio at one point but I was offered Wander Franco and Mike Trout for Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez…hint I accepted that trade offer. I am digging on a 30 homer 15 steal guy from Kristian if everything goes according to plan.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      K-Rob is one of my faves.

      Went back and forth a bit on whether I’d trade him for the guys in his range here. Moved Castellanos above him last week but would be stuck on that trade for a while.

      This slightly trimmed down version of Robinson we saw at the Bahamian HR derby could be quite the base thief to go along with his plus plus power.

  12. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    NL only with OBP over AVG, net steals over steals, total bases added, QS over wins, holds added. slow draft coming to an end shortly, 2 more RP to grab.
    C: suzuki
    1B: freeman
    2B: lux
    SS: a.rosario
    3B: mcneil (2B/OF)
    MI: wong (2B)
    CI: votto (1B)
    OF (4): harper, pham, mcclutchin’, brocktune
    util (1) grisham (OF)
    BN: camargo (SS/3B/OF)
    NA (1) bohm
    SP (will stream the 8th slot after draft when bohm gets slotted): stressbird, urias, musgrove, gausman, cueto, pab lop, lindblom
    RP (4): raise the church, watson

    options: here i got decent saves amount (was planning to go treinen/lorenzen but they just went, lorenzen esp seemed smart to backup church, but made sure i didn’t have to gamble i got like w.miley instead of lindblom):
    – crick (might be kela’s backup or rico rod or upside of al burdi),
    – helsley/brebbia (gotta think helsley has the upside here, and a.miller had some sort of nerve thing he didn’t even know what to make of, doubt that just goes away from time off alone),
    – gott/t.rogers (my own SF backup plan)
    – stammen (for some reason the rater thinks he’ll have a lot of holds, but he’s behind both of pom/pagan)
    – j.guerra/rondon (ginkel is gone, but these 2 both listed ahead of him anyway, and new signings)
    – stanek/y.garcia (everybody round here presumes this is stanek uber alles)
    – wick (seems to be just str up 2nd in line at CUBS, albeit rater doesn’t love him),
    – morgan/t.hunter/j.alvarez (rater really doesn’t like these guys, nobody else does either, but somebody is 2nd in line on a good team here, and why is rater still showing sera anthony as if he’s actually playing still anyway)

    i know grey has got tons of SF guy shares, but those are i think in saves only leagues. here the handcuffing ain’t bad idea, but i almost certainly don’t want 3/4 of my bullpen to be from one crappy team. 10 teamer here.

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      you might be too new to know WTF a “brocktune” is. it’s g.polanco. maybe 4ish years ago somebody awesome around here had the idea to make us up a nickname for us super nerds that were spazzing out on g.polanco. the idea came from this awesome SNL skit from it’s heyday:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olZrycBSiyk

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