Our 2020 Razzball leagues are in signup mode. Robot in Signup Mode, “I am entering contest to win Razzball t-shirt even though I’ve never seen a robot wear a shirt. Starting….” The Robot begins to peter out, “…New…Fad.” Oh no, the Razzball Robot has died! *screaming to heavens* What hath you forsaken me?! Heavens, “Focus on the ESPN rankings, you moron.” Wow, the heavens do not take well to histrionics. So, this year’s ESPN rankings are a tad goofier than I remember them, but maybe I just got smarter — Smarterened? Smartered? Became the smarts? Meh, I don’t know. What I do know is ESPN has Tim Anderson ranked 143rd overall and that made me cackle like a hyena for so long a group of white-jacketed asylum workers showed up at my house and tried to cart me away. Me singing to the tune of Pharcyde, “Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…” Any hoo! I’m clutchin’ my pearls like a Barbara Bush hologram and about to take out some ‘perts! *slowly, menacingly sharpens index finger for more incisive typing* I’m about to cut up somebody with words! Now let’s open a window and defenestrate ESPN’s 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. To the tune of Major Tom, I call this Major Dumb:

Standings there alone, the fantasy ‘ship is waiting
All rankings systems are go, are you sure?
Control is not convinced
But the computer has the evidence
No need to abort

The ESPN’s ranking sharts

Watching in a trance, the ESPN crew is certain
Nothing left to chance, all is working
Trying to relax, up in the capsule
Joey Votto is ranked 149th,” jokes Major Dumb
The count goes on

Four, three, two, one
They have Josh Bell above everyone
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Calling, calling Dumb

There’s so many straight whothunkits in ESPN’s rankings, I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s focus in on the top 20 1st basemen — aperture out; Instagram blur filter in; Wonder Twins activate in the form of a bust. *sees a Dolly Parton chest begin to form* No, no, no! Not that kind of bust. ESPN has Josh Bell 41st overall, which is hilariously misguided. Sure, the Pirates have hitting behind Bell, um, Jacob Stallings, and Bell just had a 2nd half of:  25/10/32/.233/0 but why inject common sense into this? Last year on our Player Rater, Bell was 42nd overall — those finks are stealing our data! How’sever, Bell had a 28.4% HR/FB in the 1st half last year, and zoomed back to earth in the 2nd half with a HR/FB% close to his career norm. Josh Bell will be drifting, falling…floating, weightless…calling, calling Dumb.

Then, take a gander at Joey Votto. Above Yasmani Grandal. No, the Fantasy Master Lothario isn’t a fan of drafting catchers high, but can you honestly imagine a scenario where Votto out-produces Grandal? Is it possible to twist your medulla oblongata enough to even imagine this? Are you demented enough to conjure this scenario in your brain?! Are you?! I’m not. More power to you if you are. Your melon just might be seedless, though. Want a good crack up? They have Yandy Diaz above Danny Santana. Why? I’m guessing for s’s and g’s. As I figured months ago, my Christian Walker sleeper is still making a ton of sense, since (almost stutterer!) they ranked him after…wait for it…oh, this is good…are you still there?…I promise you’re gonna love this…Walker is below Eric Hosmer! Hosmer, and his 56% ground ball rate, wouldn’t even rank himself above Walker! I need to move on, because I am forming an ulcer.

Second base is yuck, we’re now in orbit
Stabilizers up, ESPN thinks Merrifield runs perfect
Starting to collect requested data
“What will it effect, when is Altuve done?”
Thinks Major Dumb.

In my top 20 2nd basemen, I have Keston Hiura above Merrifield, as any rational fantasy baseball ‘pert would. It should not surprise you that ESPN does not. Know why? Same reason as last year and year before and year before that, in perpetuity. They rank for what they think you want to see. Here’s how ESPN thinks:  Players that are known commodities they rank high. They rank to avoid the least amount of waves. Case in point, I told you to draft Acuña 4th overall last year, they told you 18th overall. This year, they have Acuña ranked 2nd overall. As more people found out about Acuña, they moved him up. Last year, they ranked Adalberto Mondesi 106th overall (me: 20); Flaherty 83rd (55); Muncy 165th overall (71); Shane Bieber at 203rd (115) and they were high on Jo-Ram, Altuve, Severino, Syndergaard, Votto, Posey–If someone is a known commodity, they inflate their value. This year, they’re higher on Acuña, Muncy, Flaherty, Mondesi, Bieber and lower on the others (though, still too high on some of them). What changed?  The general public’s feelings shifted on these players. They regurgitate to you what you want to see if you’re the type to start your research the morning of your draft.

Back at ground control there is a problem
Look at starters, not responding
“Hello Major Dumb, are you receiving?
Turn the thrusters on to draft an ace, we’re standing by.”
There’s no reply
Four, three, two, one
Luke Weaver below everyone
Drifting, falling
Floating, weightless
Calling, calling Dumb.

In their top 300, they have Luke Weaver ranked 300th. I will now list a few starters they have above him:  Marco Gonzales, Wade Miley, Jeff Samardzija, Domingo German (who has to serve an 80-game suspension — you can’t even make this shizz up), Reynaldo Lopez–Whoa, whoa, WHOA! They have Reynaldo Lopez ranked above a ton of guys since they have him ranked in the top 240 overall, and they have an arrow pointing up by his name. I wonder if gravity works backwards in Bristol. Let’s take me out of the equation, they have Reynaldo Lopez ranked above Julio Urias. On Rudy’s auction rankings, he has Urias as the 64th pitcher off the board and Reynaldo as the 83rd, an overall difference of about 70 spots, and I think that’s optimistic on Reynaldo! Moving on while I still have a few gaskets which haven’t yet blown. ESPN has Lucas Giolito 22nd overall starter, and below Shohei Ohtani. Even if you are an Ohstani, that’s almost as ludicrous as Ludacris’s acting career. Actually, oh and this is really rich, they have Severino and Ohtani above Giolito. Two guys who combined for 12 IP last year and Giolito, who was the 13th best starter last year. *weighing on hands* 12 innings total…13th best starter…Yup, about even. *steams wrinkles out of shirt from steam coming out of my ears*

On a less-Major Dumb tip, here’s a chart of the biggest values from ESPN to me (Thank you!) and the players that ESPN overrates (No thank you!). A small note, since I did this chart a few days ago, ESPN has already adjusted their rankings, so some of these might be a little off, but it goes to show you the influence I’m having on them.  They so shook, y’all!

THANK YOU

Player Grey’s Ranking ESPN’s Ranking Overall Difference
Trevor Story 5 15 10
Fernando Tatis Jr. 10 43 33
Jose Ramirez
11 22 11
Pete Alonso
15 30 15
Adalberto Mondesi 20 76 56
Matt Olson 21 63 42
Keston Hiura
43 83 40
Lucas Giolito
46 101 55
Chris Paddack 53 82 29
Jorge Soler 54 94 40
Max Muncy 57 100 43
Yu Darvish 59 122 63
Ramon Laureano
62 99 37
Tim Anderson 66 143 77
Sonny Gray
68 159 91
Jose Berrios 81 135 54
Oscar Mercado
86 152 66
Luis Robert
87 113 26
Brandon Woodruff 102 153 51
Dinelson Lamet 103 198 95
Hyun-Jin Ryu
107 144 37
Zac Gallen
110 175 65
Jake Odorizzi
113 286 173
Hunter Dozier 130 222 92
Scott Kingery 136 189 63
Danny Santana 140 205 65
Marcus Stroman 151 unranked
J.D. Davis
152 259 107
Jo Adell 197 unranked
Joe Musgrove 205 unranked

NO THANK YOU

Player Grey’s Ranking ESPN’s Ranking Overall Difference
Gerrit Cole 17 7 10
Alex Bregman 16 9 7
Jose Altuve 30 21 9
Aaron Judge
37 23 14
Charlie Blackmon 71 24 47
Chris Sale
74 35 39
Giancarlo Stanton 72 36 36
Kris Bryant
83 39 44
Josh Bell
98 41 57
Joey Gallo
84 45 39
Paul Goldschmidt
76 50 26
Nicholas Castellanos 91 59 32
Tommy Pham
85 61 24
Andrew Benintendi 115 66 49
Carlos Correa
147 67 80
Whit Merrifield 94 72 22
Shohei Ohtani 125 92 33
Will Smith (RP) 225 98 127
Lorenzo Cain
267 106 161
Jean Segura 215 129 86
Justin Upton 272 139 133
Joey Votto 386 149 237
 
  1. galica says:
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    Grey!!!

    Great report. Looking forward to other gaffes out there.

    a. Grey, it’s official. In many mock drafts that I’ve been in where there are 11 other humans…Votto has gone undrafted. It’s official…the end of the Vottoman empire. Sad but true.

    b. These trends are a little bit worrying in that all the pitching will be gone by the 4th or 5th rounds. Elaborate one more time for those of us who are weak of heart why good hitters should be favored over good pitchers in roto? I’ll start with the fact that a hitter’s worst day is the golden sombrero whereas a pitcher’s worst nightmare is no outs, 4 runs, 2 walks and 2 hits (well it could be worse David Weathers fans). Right?

    c. MLB quote of the day for May 2, 1987

    ‘Do you want to know the truth, or see me hit a few dingers?’

    Mark ‘Big Mac’ David McGwire

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks, Ante!

      A. Yeah, it’s been done, everywhere except in ESPN

      B. Pitcher’s worst nightmare is much worse than that, my good man — then he won’t pitch again until the following week

      C. HAHA

      • Jon10do says:
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        B- yep, gets way worse. I had the unfortunate luck of streaming Chase Anderson for his career worst start against the Nationals. Final line: 2.1 IP, 10 W+H, 10 ER.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ha, yup, it can get brutal

    • bigbear says:
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      A. Yep.

      B. Dr. Andrew’s just called and is willing to hold. He’s a patient man but he says he has an appointment for the worst nightmare scheduled in Op Room #4 at 2 pm.

      C. Haha, that quote is rich! Well played Ante!

      • galica says:
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        BigBear!!

        Many thanks.

        Cheers,
        Ante

    • LeMaster of my Domain says:
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      Ante, you are that wine (maybe cheese? lol) that took awhile to appreciate, but with time has become a well-aged fount of goodness. Your MLB quotes soar above previous offerings…well done!

  2. Snacks Zillion says:
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    Ha, love it!! Thanks for the knowledge, the disparity charts are great for my upcoming drafts. I did sign up for the RCL commenters league with L Holt, DT whooped up on me in football so hopefully I do better in baseball.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      Go get her Snacks!

    • The Great Knoche says:
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      Laura’s twice the fantasy player DT is. Good luck.

      • Snacks Zillion says:
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        Ha, I need it!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Maybe 3 times

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Laura’s better than Donkey, you’re done, Snacks

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Joking aside, Laura and I are in a league where she beats me every year — for 20 years!

      • Donkey Teeth

        Donkey Teeth says:
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        But she wouldn’t stand a chance against me in an Eating Trash Out of Grey’s Garbage Can Competition!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Donkey dropping irrefutable truth

          • Snacks Zillion says:
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            Ha!! Thats great, I will do my best

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              You better!

  3. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    “ESPN has already adjusted…” You’re an influencer!
    Always a favorite post.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Or under the influence

      Thanks!

      • Klara Bell says:
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        I got my eye on you, Grey.

        • Hater Bell

          Grey says:
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          I look forward to seeing you in Florida for the LABR draft

  4. Spazoid Floyd says:
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    Ohtani question- in a 20 team daily Cbs league he is a batter on DH days and a pitcher on rotation days. So where would you put him in the rankings in that format? I see him as a $20 pitcher combined with a $15 hitter. Since that would make him a $35 player I’d think his draft spot would be in the early 2nd round of a 20 team league. What do you think? Thank you!

    • Spazoid Floyd says:
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      I just read your blurb on ohtani and I agree, there’s no way he’s a $20 pitcher this year. Maybe a $10 pitcher at most. So my revised estimate of where he should be drafted In my league is pick 47. Good?

      • Donkey Teeth

        Donkey Teeth says:
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        I definitely think there’s a chance he’s a $20 pitcher this year. Why can’t he throw 120-130 elite innings? Isn’t that worth $20?

        Pick 47 seems fine in a daily league.

        I’m on the other side of the fence from Grey here…

        • Spazoid Floyd says:
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          Round 2 pick 36 too soon? I feel like it’s not. 24/10/.290 plus 100 innings

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Round 2 sounds early — but yes, 24/10/.290 and 100 IP isn’t terrible if you can get all those at-bats and IP, which I bet you can’t

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ohtani is going to throw 130 IP this year? Oh, Donkey — You’ve lied to Spazoid

          • Spazoid Floyd says:
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            Ha!! He’s not going to pitch until late May they’ve said. It sounds like you are saying you don’t recommend pick 36 but you think it’s at least debatable. I’ve taken enough of your time thanks a bunch.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, I heard on May, and that’s what they’re saying now…Could get to May and there’s a setback, or just pushed until June/July

          • Donkey Teeth

            Donkey Teeth says:
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            I’d never lie to Spazoid!

            I missed that mid-May pitching news yesterday. Boooooo.

            At least he’ll DH full-time…

            • B_Don

              B_Don says:
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              Going to be bouncing back and forth from the minors doing rehab starts, so, not sure it will actually be full time.

              • ML says:
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                And THIS is the point those in flexible daily move leagues are missing!

                If he pitches in the minors every 7th day, you demote him, acquire a hot hitter. Promote him, drop a cold hitter. Throw a few good batter / bad pitcher for bad batter / good pitcher trades..

                Repeat to title.

  5. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Oof odorizzi!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha

    • Robb says:
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      These posts are great every year. Are you doing one for Yahoo this year?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Yeah next week

  6. Dave D says:
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    Tatis at 43 and Mondesi at 76 is ludicrous. ESPN’s priority is focus on social justice, not accurate sports rankings, and convincing white males we are racist oppressors rather than the great grandchildren of immigrants who fled oppression in Europe for opportunity in the US.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Votto one bothers me immensely… They made that mistake last year, and they didn’t learn

      • Dave D says:
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        Maybe you will eventually reach the stage I am in with ESPN: I pay them no mind and they receive none of my money. I might wipe my a$$ with them and nothing more. They are unworthy.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh, I’ve been there, but part of our audience still uses them, so obvious part needs to be said

          • Dave D says:
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            Yeah, that’s kind of like people watching network news to get “information” and form opinions. It seems like everything is an infomercial now. Maybe ESPN is trying to fool the general public with their rankings to lead them astray. Come to think of it, that’s kinda the norm now on most venues.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Most people play at ESPN, so they’re bound to see their rankings…NFBC is not the standard for most casual players

    • Justin says:
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      Dave D I gift you an axe to grind

      • Dave D says:
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        Haha, Justin!!!

  7. Will says:
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    Bud Black names Wade Davis the closer in Colorado over Oberg. As if you needed another indicator that the Rockies have exactly zero clue what they are doing. Where did ESPN rank Wade Davis??? LOL

    • Dave D says:
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      Seriously? Wow.

      • Will says:
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        Yep:

        Wade Davis – Named closer

        February 11, 2020

        Davis will be the Rockies’ closer to start the year, Nick Groke of The Athletic reports.

        • The Great Knoche says:
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          Start the year is the key here. As in after 1st blow up it’ll be next man up.

          • Dave D says:
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            Maybe. I’d still only draft him in a DC and still would only plug him in sparingly on road trips if I did.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yup, he will be a mess

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      I just drafted Wade Davis yesterday in a 20-team dynasty supplemental draft. Pray for me.

      • Dave D says:
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        Ok, will do.

        Are you still planning on playing NFBC Solo Shot?

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:
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          Yes, I’m in and drafting on that last possible day. You?

          • Dave D says:
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            I’m likely doing it too. Just waiting to see how much prize money I have to work with in my war chest as their NFC hockey wraps up. I think I should easily haven enough for Solo Shot plus a $500 satellite or OC league.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              You won some hockey leagues?

              • Dave D says:
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                I’m actually leading, dare I say dominating, the NHC Online Championship. First overall currently by 44 points (1,614 total) over next guy.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Wow, big payday for it?

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  I looked it up…Wow, a lot fewer peoople for hockey, huh? Not bad prize winnings tho for out of 35

                  • Dave D says:
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                    Yeah, its first year so it’ll grow. 5k if I win it all. Hockey is the fantasy sport most like baseball and its a little easier IMO.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Not a bad haul!

                  • Dave D says:
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                    Cross your fingers for me, Grey!!!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Looks like you don’t need my help!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, I updated my top 500 — Bud Black should be fired for that alone, and I have about 40 other grievances

      • Dave D says:
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        Maybe. That contract is probably the only reason for this. I bet the owner is calling shots on this. If he’s decent then they will do everything they can to deal him in July.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yes, if the Rockies had any sense or if Davis is good, both seem like longshots

  8. LennyDykstraIsJustMisunderstood says:
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    I’m in a CBS leageu as well and i compare their ranking to razzball it helps to get an idea of what those who use scott whites rankings will draft. I have to say their rankings are never even close to razz.

    • Turd Wendell says:
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      Dude, that was tremendous. I know ESPN is hot trash but this is borderline sabotage. The Giolito ranking is just disgrace. Guy was a horse last year. Appreciate you Grey, otherwise look at the “help” we get

      • Turd Wendell says:
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        Sorry that was supposed to go in the general comments, Lenny.

        • LennyDykstraIsJustMisunderstood says:
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          No prob

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, I hear ya, Lenny… I’m in a league with Scott White this Friday

      • LennyDykstraIsJustMisunderstood says:
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        He has moved around to you way of thinking a little last year weighing hitters a littler more than he used to

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Maybe

  9. Earl says:
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    I have a slow email 12 team roto draft starting today.

    I have picks 11 and 14 to start.

    Suppose I can hope either Story or Lindor fall to me at 11 but maybe that is wishful thinking.

    Might have to select from Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Jose Ramirez, Arenado, Rendon, Freeman for the 2 picks. Really hoping that Story or Lindor fall to get some speed out of it as I typically do not like Turner just for speed. If I get one of those guys for speed then would like to take a thumper at 14 say Arenado, Rendon or Freeman.

    I am intrigued with Soto as well but also concerned about how he will do in Nats lineup with Rendon gone and now he will be looked upon to be ‘the guy’ for Nats.

    Any thoughts my fellow Razzers!
    Thanks

    • The Great Knoche says:
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      Turner/Soto sounds good. Turner/ Torenado sounds super juicy.

      Turner has more than just speed.

      • Earl says:
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        would u take Turner over Story or Lindor?

        Just think one is giving up alot in the homer and RBI dept with Turner. TO me, he is a 3 category player in 5×5 roto. Wonder if the speed really makes up for that?

        Thanks

        • The Great Knoche says:
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          I’d want Story then Lindor.

          Turner is only light on RBIs.

      • Earl says:
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        Thought u might say that!

        No concerns really with Turner or Soto; especially maybe Soto?

        Thanks

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Nope

          • Earl says:
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            Got Arenado and Turner to start with.

            Think that is good overall combo to build from.