I have to warn you.  When I wrote this post, I was listening to Geto Boys’ Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me on repeat.  Granted, because the song is long, it probably only played three times.  Since I was about to spit fire, it felt appropriate that I sat alone in my four-cornered room staring at candles.  Okay, enough preambling.  How is Ryan Howard ranked 30th?!  I feel like De Niro watching Spider talk back to Pesci.  What’s the world coming to?!  Has anyone seen the size of Howard’s mollywhoppers or his stadium that has dwarfism like Bushwick Bill?  They also have Youuuuuuk ten spots ahead at 20th overall.  When I went over the ESPN mock draft earlier this month, I covered a lot of this.  I don’t want rehash old potatoes.  Let me just quote something real quick, “Howard’s a career .279 hitter who has averaged 45.8 homers in the last five years.  Has averaged 136 RBIs and 99 runs in those five years.  Youuuuuk has never knocked in 136 RBIs.  The amount Howard has averaged.  Youuuuuuk has only topped 99 runs once in his career.  That is Howard’s average.  Youuuuuk’s career high in homers is 29.  Oh, just a tad short of Howard.  Youuuuuuk’s career average is .294.  So that Youuuuuuk pick way ahead of Howard makes total sense.  /sarcasm  Oh, and Youuuuuuk had a torn muscle in his hand last year.  Yeah, hitters don’t need those hand things.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Prince Fielder’s another one that’s ranked too low (26th) and after Youuuuuuk.  This isn’t meant to bash Youuuuuuuk.  I understand he will have 3rd base eligibility.  I think Youuuuuuk will be healthy.  He’s fine.  He’s also 31 years old.  Why is he suddenly going to post career best numbers?  It’s messed up when your mind is playin’ tricks on you…

Tim Lincecum is ranked 17th overall.  Do they even look at his falling K-rate?  Or his loss of velocity?  Or how much he threw his slider?  Or that 19 start stretch last year when he had a 4.80 ERA and 1.56 WHIP?  Well, actually they talk about all of that.  They then say, “The positives continue to outweigh the negatives, so bank on another elite season coming.”  What positives?  Not to bring out Mr. Al Caps so early in the preseason but WHAT POSITIVES?  His last month?  I want a little more if I’m drafting someone 17th overall.  Maybe they play in a league where his resemblance to k.d. lang counts for something.  I keep looking over my shoulder and peeping around corners… My mind is playin’ tricks on me.

What I saw next will make your ass start giggling.  Carl Crawford is ranked 3rd overall!  Some might say “Take a chill, B.”  But let’s go with what we know.  There were 4 outfielders last year that had 30 homers.  There were 13 outfielders with 30 steals.  What does this tell us besides steroids can be tested for but Red Bull can’t?  It tells us there’s a shizzload of steals in the outfield.  Sure, Crawford hit 19 homers last year.  But that was a career high.  You shouldn’t expect that again.  Crawford gives you most of his value with his legs.  If he has a sore hamstring, it’s not like he can limp to the plate and continue to give you value like he’s Roy Hobbs.  He’ll have to rest his legs.  Then you’ll be like, “Now I’m feeling lonely…My mind is playing tricks on me…”

Another one that has me investigating the joint for traps and checking my telephone for taps is Martin Prado at 80 overall.  On Berry’s personal rankings, he has Prado at 57.  I have him ranked at 272 in my top 300 for 2011 fantasy baseball and I’d be kinda hesitant even if he fell to me there.  But for s’s and g’s, let’s take me out of the equation.  Bill James’ Prado projections are 87/12/65/.305/4.  ZiPS gives Prado 79/12/60/.294/4.  If you wanna bring me into the equation, I give Prado 85/12/60/.300/5.  ZiPS gives someone else, who I’ll leave unnamed for right now, 20 homers and 19 steals.  James gives this unnamed person 21 homers and 19 steals.  I give this person 15 homers and 17 steals.  Sure, the average will be lower.  Potentially, the runs and RBIs but those are products of opportunities.  This other person is Danny Espinosa and every other Tom, Dick and Berry at ESPN has him ranked 286th overall.  I wonder if they let A.J. Mass, aka The Masshole, do these rankings?  Would explain some.  Or maybe they bought a homeless person lunch at Benihana and picked his brain while he was distracted by flying shrimp tails.  God damn, homie… My mind is playin’ tricks on me.

  1. malacoda says:

    The Devil Wears Prado.

  2. Giant JJ says:

    That was a great read.

  3. NewBVick says:

    Didn’t Lincecum’s fastball speed also drop significantly during his great 09 season? The long ball did him in last year, but I’ll say he reverts. I don’t think his beginning a Semicolon track record.

  4. Adam says:

    What do you have against homeless people?

  5. GregJP says:

    You’re wrong about Crawford.

    If he goes 110/15/90/0.310/50 that’s a $40 player and easily top 5. In that park and lineup he might even do better than that.

  6. Scotty Doesn't Know says:

    Three crippled and crazy senior citizens?:

    Ichiro ranked at 35
    Ortiz at 83
    Thome at 135

  7. Matt S. says:

    The best Prado propaganda right now is the video that compares him favorably to Sandoval and Michael Young in the third base charts.

    I perversely enjoy those nerd-summit videos. Who thought a video of 10 guys staring at laptops would be engaging? My favorite part is the pile of sandwich in the background.

  8. Pops says:

    Pedro Alvarez and Mark Reynolds are also ranked extremely low. Reynolds makes an appearance right after Derrek Lee and just before Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez (yikes).

  9. Wilsonian says:

    And lady and gentlemen, that is why we read this site. Intelligent and funny posts on fantasy baseball that thoroughly explain why no other site comes close, and if you ain’t listenin’ to Dr. Grey, you ain’t winnin’ shizz…

  10. 101 MPH says:

    The fantasy baseball staff at ESPN have Placido Polanco ranked at #110 based on a projection of 81 runs, 7 HRs, 59 RBIs, 6 SBs, and a .292 batting average. Just to put that in perspective, following ESPN’s player rankings for a ten team mixed league draft would have you picking Placido Polanco in the 11th round.

    I don’t profess to be a fantasy baseball expert, but it’s hard to reconcile Polanco’s ESPN ranking with his #245 ADP ranking at Mock Draft Central. And with whatever respect is due to the ESPN fantasy staff (see: not much): God help me if I don’t have a better option in the 11th round of a ten team snake draft than Placido Polanco.

    The moral of the story: Following ESPN player rankings is a really good way to lose your fantasy baseball league.

  11. chata says:

    seems espn’s player rankings are as non-competitive as their leagues .

  12. GopherDay says:

    Any chance we get one of these for Yahoo? Granted their rankings aren’t as crazy, but it would be helpful.

  13. Kevin says:

    I really hate to make your head any bigger, but this stuff is hilarious.

    I’ve been seeing more and more references to your site, so you’re doin’ something right. Keep up the great work!

  14. Alvarez4President says:


    Not at all happy with my auction draft results. 14 team league with deep rosters. What do you think? For some reason I feel like this team is built to disappoint:

    C- McCann
    1B- Butler
    2B- Raburn
    3B- Alvarez
    SS- Castro
    CI- Ike Davis
    MI- Ian Desmond
    LF- Snider
    CF- Kemp
    RF- Quentin
    OF- Morrison
    OF- Jennings
    Utility- Morgan/Gutierrez/Ackley/Freeman (only 1, the rest are bench bound)

    SP- King Felix
    SP- Josh Johnson
    SP- Kershaw
    SP- Marcum
    SP- Bumgarner
    RP- Lyon
    RP- Meek
    P- Stauffer
    P- Garcia (J)
    P- Baker
    P- League

    Obviously I punted saves, either that or I couldn’t afford them.

  15. Frank Rizzo says:

    I don’t get how Howard could be considered 3rd round material. There just aren’t guys out there that can do what he does. And the offense he’s on will have guys on base all the time. The only reason I’d ever take Youk ahead of Howard is if I got Miggy or Pujols, maybe Votto in the 1st round and the 3rd basemen flew off the board in the 2nd round. Youk has good value at 3b.

    I’ve seen Crawford taken in the 1st of Yahoo Mocks too. That’s a joke. You can pretty easily piece together what Crawford will add to your offense much later in the draft, adding guys like Gardner, Tabata, Adam Jones, etc. But if you’re taking Crawford ahead of guys like Braun, Votto, Howard, you’re going to lose.

    Grey, are you going to do a similar post on Yahoo’s rankings?…….(I hope).

  16. El Famous Burrito says:

    Quiet, you fools! I was going to trade Youk for Howard and get the idiot to throw in Espinosa to make it fair for me!

  17. Mr.MojoRisin says:

    Not to defend that Mickey Mouse organization, but their rankings don’t appear to be for roto-only. In points leagues, some of their rankings are more in line with non-roto leagues.
    In my points league, Howard finished 2010 as the 60th overall offensive player and his 190K’s are difficult to swallow when you lose a point every time he walks back to the dugout with his bat on his shoulder.
    While Lincecum, in a down year, finished as the 19th highest scoring players overall.
    That being said, it’s moronic that they don’t separate their rankings for each style.

  18. My Mind is Playing Trick on Me is a damn fine song.

    Question: I’ve never played in an ESPN league. Do people tend to follow those ranks the way they follow Yahoo ranks?

    If so, I’m thinking that I should sign up for S’s and G’s. After a long day at work, checking on my ESPN league could be the equivalent of a trip to Hooters. It makes you feel better, but deep down, you know it’s not real.

  19. Bill Lumbergh says:

    @Grey: Awesome Geto Boys references! The best part of the ESPN and Yahoo rankings is playing against the fools that follow them. I always end up “dropping them mother-f’n b’s on ’em”! Keep up the great work!!

  20. Tony says:

    You know whats ironic? We do our RCL’s thru ESPN! lol

    I know they’re the only ones that can be accessed to track for the standings, but its pretty funny. Not trying to justify espn, i think they’re terrible. Hell i think almost all the sites ranks are horrible. You just have to go thru, identify the value picks, and disregard guys you want but they have placed out of where you’d take them….

  21. JoeBot5k says:

    I only listen to those guys’ podcast for the entertainment value and will take whatever fantasy advice they give with a boulder-sized grain of salt. The biggest thing they have going for them is a theme song that will be stuck your head for all of eternity.

    Eric Karabell is pretty good, but Berry needs to go back to writing awful Crocodile Dundee sequels.

  22. You want to be in an ESPN league where your friends only check that site. It helps you win championships!

  23. Jobu's Rum says:

    @JoeBot5k: Ugh, I loathe Ericka Bell. IMO, he’s the worst, immediately followed by Brad Evans. “Hater Bell” had some great columns on Razzball a couple years ago that ripped apart Karabell’s rankings.

  24. Cole says:

    In his draft day manifesto, Berry says he loves him some Prado because he is eligible at 2nd and 3rd. If only he could start him both places at the same time he might nut himself.

  25. Ian says:

    Yup….props to all that is Razzball.

    I read over some of Rotoworld’s positional rankings and discovered that their baseball content is pretty awful too. Matthew Pouliout starts by saying he doesn’t like to put players into tiers. Really? You don’t like to know where depth is and when and where talent breaks are? Then he called Jose Bautista UNDER rated. Can’t believe they charge for the bulk of their crizzap!

  26. royce! says:

    The weird problems with ESPN’s rankings (such as Youk before Howard, Prado so high, and Crawford so high) seem to be based on a bunch of assumptions that we don’t necessarily agree with. First of all, I think they’re thinking that 3B is so shallow that Youk and Prado are worth more than we would otherwise think. Second, they seem to weigh the previous year pretty heavily, but only when convenient (see Prado’s high R, compare to Lincecum’s value). Third, their player ranker seems to value AVG and SB very highly, and many at Razzball do not condone such practices, because the former is fickle and the latter has no face.

    Actually, now that I look further into it, some of what I just wrote may be wrong. I hope I can find something better to do than reverse engineer ESPN’s fbb rankings.

  27. John says:

    @GregJP: No way Crawford steals 50 on the Sox… he’s likely going to hit 3rd in that lineup since Tito loves the left,right,left,right lineup. His R and RBI will go up but his steals will go down. I say he gains a minimal uptick from last year.

    To add to Grey’s point about Youk; he will never play a season without some sort of injury. You’re probably looking at 145 games tops and 135 is more realistic.

  28. Tony says:

    can someone give me the standard points in a points league for the standard cats?

    i got in this league with some of my baseball kids, yes im the coach, they want me to play, lol, and they didn’t include HR’s even? i dont ever play in these but right now there’s, TB, runs, sbs, BB, rbi, K’s are -1, everything else is worth just 1? kinda weird isn’t it?

    can someone give me pitching and hitting norms? i thought HRs usually = 4?

  29. John says:

    @royce!: I don’t know how ESPN does it but I know that Yahoo’s out of the gate O-Rank field is just the average of their 4 “experts”. Once the games start being played the actual Rank value is computed based on the 5 categories. If ESPN is the same way then their idiot experts are behind the ranking and not some statistical function.

  30. mauledbypandas says:

    I punched up ESPN fantasy baseball and it says, “How to draft like TMR”
    only, i don’t want to draft like TMR. I actually want to win my league… Not talk about players who segue into me talking about my personal life.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:

    @malacoda: Hehe

    @Giant JJ: Thanks!

    @GregJP: 50 steals are more easily replaceable than 40 homers.

    @Scotty Doesn’t Know: Ha!

    @Matt S.: I’ll have to look for that.

    @Pops: Yeah, there were dozens of guys.

    @Wilsonian: Thanks!

    @101 MPH: Wow, didn’t even see Polanco that high. That’s scary.

    @chata: Probably

    @GopherDay: Yeah, I haven’t looked at those yet. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow right before I draft with Behrens. Yeah, probably not.

    @Kevin: Thanks!

    @Alvarez4President: Your pitching is too strong and your hitting is weak. You have three number one starters. Draft one number one.

    @Frank Rizzo: Yup and yup.

    @El Famous Burrito: Ha!

    @Mr.MojoRisin: Yeah, they should separate them. Since they don’t, they have to be consider roto too.

    @Bill Lumbergh: Ha!

    @Tony: Yeah, but you know why we do that. Plus, I do like their format and being able to change players the day of off of waivers.

    @[email protected]: True

    @Cole: Ha!

    @Ian: Don’t know, never looked at it.

    @royce!: They do overrate average and steals. Tis true.

    @mauledbypandas: Ha

  32. John says:

    @Grey: I think I know why they overrate steals. I’ve come close to cracking the ranking system they use and I’m fairly positive that they determine the value of each stat based upon how frequently it occurs across all of baseball. There are slightly less RBI per R (about 1.05 R per RBI no matter what year you look at the stats), the other categories vary much more per year but in recent years on average there are about 4.5 R per HR, and about 7.5 R per SB. Using that logic they weight SB more heavily than HR.

  33. This article, http://fantasybaseballinsiders.com/2011/02/05/2011-fantasy-projections-no-28-is-san-francisco-giants-tim-lincecum-still-an-elite-pitcher/, agrees with what you said but also points out these things.

    There are, however, reasons to believe The Freak can bounce back in 2011. Despite all of his struggles last season, Lincecum remained among the league leaders in “nastiness”:

    * Contact Rate: 75.1 percent (5th), MLB average: 80.7 percent
    * Swinging Strike Rate: 11.0 percent (6th), MLB average: 8.5 percent

    Also, Lincecum’s change-up was third-best in the majors, at 16.9 runs above average.

    In fact, if you throw out last August (a month which saw Lincecum fall victim to a .387 BABIP and 59.0 left-on-base rate), his season ERA would have been a cool 2.79 – a far cry from his actual total of 3.43.

    What do you think?

  34. Sos says:

    In a 12 team keeper where you lose two rounds every year, would you trade a 19th round ubaldo for a 9th round heyward?

  35. wire says:

    The advertisement for RotoChamp in the right hand corner of this website is the most absurd. I love the animation… It says, “want a prediction for the 2011 season? WE predict you will dominate.” They are right… you will dominate if you tell all your friends or league mates to use their rankings… My favorite is Koji Uehara ranked in the top 100! Grey, you really need to take a peek at that site if you feel ESPN is crazy!

  36. ESPN ranks as if you know nothing and have no strategy, Razzball does the opposite.

    Average and especially steals are overrated, but if you know nothing (i.e. that you can’t get steals mid-season or late in draft) ESPN rankings may give you a decently balanced team?

    With that said the rankings are still very shitty and your team would stink if you followed them, but I think any team that strictly follows a ranking list would stink.

    The bigger problem is that ESPN does a bad job explaining their rankings and supplementing it with readable material throughout the season.

  37. Jangle says:


  38. Grey

    Grey says:

    @John: It could be, but, and meant to mention this in the post, a home run helps you in every category except steals and a steal only helps you in steals.

    @Frank Kim: As I said in my rankings, he could be fine, but if there’s questions why would you put him 17th overall?

    @Sos: Sure

    @wire: I haven’t looked but they paid for that spot so I’m not going to look or talk badly about them.

    @bensbias: That’s true.

    @Jangle: Thanks!

  39. Jamie says:


    I am in a 10 team ESPN league: 7X7 (Total Bases and OPS are the extras), with 3 OF, no CI, no MI, and 2 Util spots. I’m considering using my top 3 picks on all 1st baseman (say for example 1. Votto, 2. Fielder, 3. Howard) and punting steals altogether given that the extra categories are all geared towards power. Am I thinking too radically and leaving myself too weak at either 2b, 3b or OF? Most of my opponents tend to draft towards just the ESPN ranking and I am looking to exploit this. Thanks!

  40. carlos marmLOL says:

    Apropos of nothing, it’s crazy that I first found out about Umami Burger from the comments section of a damn fantasy baseball website. Culinary sleeper picks!

  41. Davepornstar says:

    @Grey: It’s official. You’re the most entertaining fantasy baseball writer out there. The Geto Boys references: brilliant. You left out a few of my favs though: “I often drift when I drive” and “Then I felt just like a feign, it wasn’t even close to Halloween”. I especially enjoy the ESPN bashing; you could write a whole article about some of those prima donnas. Anyways, thanks. You get me.

  42. Wake Up says:

    Damn it feels good to be a gangsta! Grey is back. Thanks for all the laughs. All I could think about while reading this post was riding to the office in my subcompact, stereo blaring, shoulders tilted. Feeling hard as hell! Baseball bats and faxes. Aniston serving me lunch wearing flare. But, alas, I’m reading a fantasy baseball message board online and Berry is sipping drinks from coconuts on the beach rambling on about Prado’s swing…line.

  43. Whiskey Diet says:

    Word is bond. A good vent sesh never gets old.

    Way to Keep the Code, Grey.

  44. DominicanRepublican says:

    Great work! This is really helpful. Two questions though concerning your “What it Takes for the 10-, 14-, and 16-team leagues” (https://razzball.com/10-14-16-mixed-league-and-nl-only-al-only-team-averages/), Grey:

    First: Using the formula and example you used in the intro, it seems that in order to get 10 points in a category you need 1255 runs scored which is 15 runs (or half of that 30-run unit) more than you should need. The same thing happens in the opposite direction (985 runs for 1 point instead of 1000). Is there any way the formula would work if your goal is to get 1st place in any specific category (as silly as that might be)?

    Second: Why do you think fantasy websites (Yahoo, ESPN, etc.) never release these types of numbers? It’s so frustrating.


  45. Grey

    Grey says:

    @DominicanRepublican: I don’t know why sites don’t release these numbers. Don’t want people knowing their business? As for your first question, the average is 5.5 and the high is ten points. So you’re only going up 4.5 points from average to get the high.

  46. Nuke LaLoosh says:


    the WWL keeps it pretty clear that its rankings are meant for their “standard” league setup – 10-team mixed, roto scoring, 1 catcher.

  47. Rabbit says:

    Grey: In response to John’s point about the way ESPN weighs SBs more heavily than HRs, you say “It could be, but, and meant to mention this in the post, a home run helps you in every category except steals and a steal only helps you in steals.” Yes, but the amount the HR helps you in the other cats is reflected in the projections for those cats, so you are double counting HRs if you give HRs more weight because of that. That is, 110 Runs scored by Crawford is worth the same as 110 Runs scored by A Gonzalez; it doesn’t matter that AGon scored 40 of his Runs on his own bombs while Crawford only scored 15 of his Runs that way. Obviously a guy who hits more HRs will likely be projected for more RBIs than a SB guy, but again, that difference should be fully reflected in the RBI vs. RBI projections, and should not be considered in the HRs vs. SB debate.

    All this leads me to an issue that I can’t figure out. Last year was similar to this year, in that it was far easier to find 30+ SB guys than to find 30+ HR guys, and it seems that high SB guys are easily get-able later in the draft, or on the waiver wire. (And previous years were heading in this direction.) For that reason, shouldn’t the numbers that it takes to win in the SB cat be higher than the numbers it takes to win HRs? That is, if high SB totals are easy to get and high HR totals hard, wouldn’t we expect to see the total number of SBs gotten in a league rise while the number of HRs plummet? But using the RCL numbers as a guide, Grey posts as target numbers for those cats (to win the league) as 177 for SBs, and 255 for HRs, which is about the same as it was for my keeper league. These numbers seem to indicate that it is easier to get HRs than it is to get SBs–about 44% easier, in fact (255 divided by 177). If SBs were so easy to get, then you would expect the oppositie proportion between SBs and HRs, or at least the SBs should be equal to HRs. The “market” for SBs should react by inflating the SB cat numbers in response to greater supply–an owner near the bottom of the category would grab an SB guy as an easy way to move up in that cat, other owners would grab other SB guys in reaction, the numbers would rise, and what it would take to win in SBs would go up correspondingly. But apparently that phenomenom has not happened. Why not?

    One possible answer is that the high SB guys who are available later in the draft or on the waiver wire hurt you too much in other cats like avg, Runs and RBIs (we already know they don’t help in HRs), so people leave them out there rather than pick them up. But then the key is not simply to find a high SB guy, it’s to find a high SB guy who won’t hurt you so much in those other categories. And maybe it’s because guys like that are still pretty rare that some people rank guys like that (e.g. Crawford) pretty high. Anyway, this isn’t to try to justify the ESPN rankings (an impossible task) but to raise this inconguity between the apparent flood of high SB guys on the market in recent years and the still-low numbers needed to compete in the SB cat.

  48. Rabbit says:

    By the way, sorry for the long post. This issue has just been bothering me recently.

  49. OaktownSteve

    OaktownSteve says:

    @Rabbit: Lots of players will have 0-10 steals in a season. Almost no non-Andrus player is going to post 0 HR. PECOTA for example, forecasts 7338 SB and 10,844 HRs from about 1000 players this season. SBs are also interesting is that they tend to cluster with players that add little or no value in other categories. Your Juanjai Dabournes.

  50. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Rabbit: I think you answered your own question. Steals only guys can hurt you. You grab Juan Rivera when he’s hot and you get a few homers, RBIs, Runs and some average. Then you drop him. A guy like Cliff Pennington gets hot and steals 3 bags, so you grab him and if he doesn’t steal, he does nothing.

  51. The Dude says:

    You guys give ESPN too much credit. Assuming that there is actually a reason for their perversity is futile.

    The thing to be learned here is to cross check your Fantasy Baseball Host site of choice (ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS) first with ADP to see if people are actually following that filth, then with your own rankings (or Grey’s) and pick out the anomalies. If you can wait until the 3rd round to grab Howard why not grab Zimmerman in the 2nd?

  52. Benny says:

    Grey – the worst was Masshole’s Bust blurb about Cole Hamels. “When his curveball gets over, he’s unhittable, but those magical days are few and far between, and the reason he has been a .500 pitcher over the past two seasons.” The guy had a 3.06 ERA and over 200k’s last year! Has nothing to do with a curveball… he just didnt get run support. And we all know how much Wins never fluctuate from year to year. What a dolt.

  53. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Benny: He’s scary dumb.

  54. Jay says:

    @Grey: Do you ever use Baseball Monster? Your reminder that a HR helps 4 categories while SB helps just 1 has me questioning whether their player rater works right. (I need a customizable one since my league uses OPS instead of BA — HRs are even more important!)

    Wondering if it means I should emphasize the HR even more in my auction — even though I’ve already slotted SAGNOFs like Ichiro and Pierre at under $5.

  55. Jamie says:

    Thanks for the response. Would you agree/disagree that with league settings like mine, I am on the right track going with Votto, Fielder, Howard as my top 3 picks, using up both my Util spots? I can find steals later in the draft with a SS and OF. Is it worth the risk of not getting a top 2B and 3B?

  56. Dootdedoo says:

    We can keep six at drafted dollar values for 2 more years in a 12 team mixed auction league, 6×6 (OPS, holds), $260 cap:

    First year of using keepers, so unsure of the inflation that may take place with top players? Thoughts on this – focus on solely value, or keep reasonable priced studs in anticipation of inflation for top talent?

    Likely keeping:
    Marmol $6
    Dunn $12
    Delmon Y $6

    Which 3 from the following would you keep?
    Utley $32
    Hughes $2
    Longoria $40
    Butler $11
    Braun $43
    Pujols $50
    Crawford $34

    Thinking: Marmol 6, Dunn 12, Crawford 34, Utley 32, Delmon 6, Longo 40

  57. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Jay: I don’t use the site.

    @Jamie: I wouldn’t draft three 1st basemen like that.

    @Dootdedoo: Those six make sense.

  58. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:

    @Rabbit: Numbers show SB up 6% from 2008 to 2010,\; HR down -6%.

  59. SwaggerJackers says:

    @Grey: I respect that you don’t want to trash your advertisers (RotoChamp) but I just checked out their rankings and Bautista is above Longoria!!!

  60. Wilsonian says:

    My 16 Team H2H draft is done, and here’s my lineup:

    C. Mike Napoli
    1B. Adam Dunn
    2B. Aaron Hill
    3B. David Wright
    SS. Elvis Andrus
    OF. Josh Hamilton
    OF. Jayson Heyward
    OF. Jose Tabata
    Util. Ryan Raburn
    Util. Chris Johnson

    SP. Jon Lester
    SP. Shaun Marcum
    SP. Gio Gonzalez
    RP. Craig Kimbrell
    RP. Joel Hanrahan
    P. Brandon League
    P. Rafael Soriano

    BN. Sean Rodriguez
    BN. Brett Cecil
    BN. Johnny Cueto
    BN. Edwin Jackson
    BN. Homer Bailey

    Our categories:

    H, R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, W, L, SV, K, ERA, WHIP, Ks/9

    Overall I’m pretty happy with it, it’s a little “upsidey” but could work out. I know it’s a little short on average, possibly steals (banking a lot on Andrus and Tabata for the wheels)…but could you give me your overall input? Thanks man, daiquiris are on their way.

  61. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Wilsonian: Your team looks awful! Kidding. I think it looks very solid. You’re probably going to need to work on at least one of your UTIL spots all year, short on speed and average but it looks solid overall.

  62. Wake Up says:

    @SwaggerJackers: And Mauer is top 10 and Prado is higher than Pence…welcome to my cave please enjoy the bats and their…would you like some more tea Alice?

  63. bostonaccent says:

    @Rabbit: Also keep in mind that steals are concentrated almost entirely in the outfield, with a few MIs chipping in. Any speed you get from CIs, catchers, and god forbid DHs is an unexpected bonus.

  64. EDUB says:

    Crawford’s earnings since 2003: $36,$39,$40,$45,$40,$20 (injury), $41, $43. He’s money in the bank. Buying him means you dont have to chase the hot Cliff Pennington and hope he keeps running.

    I never understood the whole “value tied to legs thing.” It’s like saying Pujols’ value is tied to his bat. If a guy goes on the DL you are screwed either way.

  65. Wilsonian says:

    @Grey: haha, thanks man. It shouldn’t look too bad to you…I basically used your advice and your rankings for it!

    I figured as much about the speed and average. I don’t worry too much about average, especially in H2H with OBPS – with it basically getting reset every week, it should iron itself out a little. On the speed front, that’s why I took Sean Rod instead of other available bats, thinking if he gets his PT, he should get a few steals thrown in there. I also decided to chase the UTIL/hot bat instead of securing someone like Garrett Jones with my last pick. It was between him and Homer and I decided I wanted the spare arm and was fine with chasing the bat. But thanks for the overall solid vote of confidence. This is the first team I’m happy with coming out of this draft.

    Thanks again for all the help…daiquiris have been signed, sealed and delivered.

  66. @The Dude:
    I’m not giving ESPN credit, I’m saying their list is bad, really bad. The thing is that all lists are pretty bad alone, without insight into their strategy or explanation for their rankings, and that’s the biggest problem with ESPN.

    My guess is that they’ve decided to model a lot of their “draft kit” for the lowest common denominator, which is fine in theory but they don’t explain that. If you referenced Razzballs top 300 list without reading the blurbs you’d end up with a crappy unbalanced team.

    I would never say ESPN is better than Razzball, not in a million years, but if you arent putting thought into how you build your team, like a beginner fantasy player might do, you could do worse than drafting polanco or prado earlier than they should be.

  67. Grey

    Grey says:

    @EDUB: Value tied to legs means a guy doesn’t go on the DL but still plays but can’t run.

    @Wilsonian: No problem.

  68. Rob says:

    glad to see the martin prado outlier discovery made it into your post, I couldn’t believe that either. i also loved brad evan’s take yesterday on ian desmond over elvis andrus, ESPN should offer him a job asap – he would seriously fit right in.

  69. AL KOHOLIC says:

    grey we keep 6 in a 10 team 3 of league with $300 payroll,7 x 7

  70. Derek in Utah says:

    Grey: in my first ever H2H league. 16 mgr Dynasty. Had the 13th pick. What do you think?


    And that’s where I stand in this offline draft thus far.

  71. Derek in Utah says:

    (Ya, I was surprised that Miggy fell to me. People are putting too much into this DUI thing.)

  72. DominicanRepublican says:

    Not to harp, Grey, but the formula {(Points Goal – 5.5)*[(Hi – Low)/8]+Average} should return 1240 if your Points Goal is 10 in the example from the previous article, shouldn’t it? If you want to increase the points in the example, 5.5 should return the average (1120), 10 should return 1240 (the High) and 1 should return the 1000 (the Low). This is only the case if you divide by 9 instead of 8 like you used in the formula, but the growth rate isn’t 30 runs per points as was suggested in the example. Maybe I’m missing something?

    Thanks again!

  73. Rhymenoceros says:

    What a wonderful, profanity-laced rant!

  74. DominicanRepublican says:

    …unless maybe you chose to divide the range by 8 instead of 9 to reflect increased competition at the top end of the chart and more sparse scores at the bottom (where no one will be aiming with this formula anyways)?

  75. Giant JJ says:

    I didn’t see Jose Lopez in your top 300, nor ranked at 2nd or 3rd. I was thinking he’s the safe pick to win that battle. He sucked last year but so did the entire lineup in Seattle. Lopez will likely get the first crack at 2nd and may just hit well enough in that park to hold off a young Jr. Am I barking up the wrong tree? (20 team)

  76. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Rob: Ha

    @AL KOHOLIC: I’d leave off Johnson from those 7.

    @Derek in Utah: Looks good so far, work on your outfield and pitching next.

    @Derek in Utah: Yup

    @DominicanRepublican: I don’t usually do this, but let’s go to that article because you’re talking about a formula I don’t have in front of me on this post.

    @Rhymenoceros: Thanks!

  77. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Giant JJ: I go over him in the next couple of days. He’s okay real late.

  78. AL KOHOLIC says:

    thanx-i also have konerko $5 and tempting but not in a 10 teamer marmol at 16 im sure you agree to leave out

  79. Giant JJ says:

    You are the KING. The problem is, Lopez has an ADP of 213. That’s not all that late. He’s no steal.

  80. Grey

    Grey says:

    @DominicanRepublican: That’s a good catch, DR. It was subtract by 1 not 2. It doesn’t actually change much, the highs and lows and averages were all right, the formula was the only thing off. Thanks though for catching it!

  81. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Giant JJ: Yeah, not much of a steal.

    @AL KOHOLIC: Yeah, like other choices better.

  82. Trini says:

    A friend of a friend’s cousin, that works at the gas station down the street from the ESPN offices where AJ Mass buys his Kools, said that ESPN is using a chicken that was formally owned by Bill James. The chicken does all the rankings using some highly secret and scientific method involving flash cards, chicken feed and an underwear model.

  83. DonCoburleone says:

    So Grey since I made the mistake of mentioning this site to one of my friends last year just about everyone in my league now knows about and reads you.. What are the chances that you can start a new site, call it Razzballs or something, where you post your real material and this site just becomes the fakeout site where you just give out bad information? This column is a perfect example. You could just tell everyone here something to the effect of: “Taking Tulo in the 1st round followed up by Jose Reyes in the 2nd just makes too much sense. You can never have enough Shortstops.”

  84. Marquard says:

    @Grey: Oh man. That three-word sentence was the most LOL-worthy thing out of this entire LOL-worthy thread. Nice work.

  85. BPro says:

    What do you guys think of CBS Projections? They seem to have a better understanding then the fellas over at ESPN.

  86. I Am the Liquor says:

    Grey- Got a keeper question for ya.

    5×5 standard league- 7 keepers(not necessary able to keep 7 ‘best’ players). My 6- MCab, CC, JUpton, Cargo, Alexei, McCann. Need some help with my final spot.

    Possibilities- Bautista, KJohnson, Huff, Morrow, Gio Gonz, J Chacin, A Torres, Snider, Desmond, N Walker, D Young, Prado, A Pagan.

    My gut tells me to go with Kelly Johnson, but Bautista is tempting. Also think maybe worth taking a shot with one of those 3 sleeper arms. The top 10(by your rankings) at each 2b and 3b will most likely be kept. I won the league last year, and have one of the top keeper cores, so I can take some risk.

    What would Grey do? Thanks in advance.

  87. benny says:

    Grey – in a dynasty league, would you trade Colby Lewis for Lilly and Wieters?

  88. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BPro: Not a fan of CBS but I don’t talk about them because I don’t think that many people read them.

    @I Am the Liquor: Bautista

    @benny: Sure

  89. Dootdedoo says:


    Thanks Grey.
    Follow up- would you trade Marmol $6 to receive H.Pence at $12? (6×6 w holds, so saves somewhat devalued…)
    Would then be keeping:
    Crawford $34
    Utley $32
    Delmon $6
    Longo $40
    Dunn $12
    Pence $12 (or marmol $6)

  90. Bob says:

    Hey Grey,

    I am in the 2nd year of a 10 team Roto Keeper League with 3 keepers per team (cannot keep players from the 1st 2 rounds of last years draft). I am having trouble choosing 3 of the following 4 based on the round I can keep them:
    Cano (keep in the 3rd round)
    Wainright (in the 5th round)
    Choo (in the 9th)
    Posey (in the 18th, I am keeping him for sure based on value)

    Also, I was offered the following trade: His 1st round pick (3rd overall) for my 8th round (73rd overall) and keeper rights for Cano.

    Thanks for your help

  91. wilsoniam says:

    …in a weekly league, can you rank these doodes for a 3rd OF spot?
    pagan, manny, torii
    (i know they are ranked in here, but didnt know if that changed b/c of weekly format)


  92. Cole says:

    What keeps Thorton out of your top 20 closers? Is it the pressure from Sale and/or Ozzie’s crazy ass? His peripherals seem to scream top 10 closer to me.

  93. Wade8813 says:

    ESPN makes some dumb predictions. They also have some good content if you’re willing to look for it. Pretty much all sites’ ranking systems have some bad predictions. And just for the record, there was an article on Fangraphs recently stating that ESPN (somehow) had the best predictions for pitchers last year compared to all other projection systems they looked at.

    They probably value Youk as a 3Bman. And they’re nervous about Howard (justifiably so, IMO). Too nervous, but it’s not horrendous. I could see an argument for just about everyone they have over him.

    Prado’s definitely a bad ranking. But to be fair he does fill at either of two shallow positions, and might pick up a 3rd position that isn’t too deep if OF has 5 slots. And he has the additional advantage over Espinosa that he’s actually done something in the majors.

    Someone else in the comments here discussed Lincecum more in depth (his Babip for that one month, etc). I can understand being unsure about him – I am too. But he’s been so dominant that I wouldn’t say someone is mistaken if they rank him as an ace. Fangraphs’ various projections see him around a 3.00 ERA, and of course he’s going to have a ton of K’s.

  94. Wake Up says:

    C Carrasco and J Lackey are showing 14 K’s in the projections…just a headsup…

  95. Esteban says:

    Do not play ROTO baseball or anything else ROTO on ESPN.Roto baseball will suffer the same fate as my roto Hockey and roto Basketball teams.I am in the final week of both and in both I am losing championships due to quirky roster restrictions.One hockey league has the 2nd place team able to START 17 players,I can start 2.Basketball the same,except in one league I was winning I am now 3rd and can start NO ONE!These anomalies are ridiculous and seem to be in place to only downgrade your stats in ESPN’s UBER CHALLENGE competition.If not,it is just a worthless format that punishes you for being 1st at the end of the year…Do not play ESPN roto games,you will be robbed for doing well.

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