2019 Draft Kit

What does Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson have in common? If you’re thinking “guilty”, well I don’t know about that. I know what I think, but I’ll keep my thoughts to myself. Don’t want to ruffle any feathers. The answer I was looking for was that they both got off and there was a glove involved. Get it? Don’t like it? Well you can beat it. That’s right, just beat it. Even Mike Tyson said he wouldn’t let his eight year old son hang out with Jackson. Reggie maybe, but definitely not Michael. R Kelly outta get himself a right fielder’s glove!

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Greetings, friends and fellow humans that enjoy fantasy baseball!

Those of us who spend approximately 52 of 52 weeks of the calendar year thinking about this glorious time we like to call fantasy baseball drafting season have, at this point in March, read countless “sleeper” articles by now recommending players we should be able to pick up late in a draft.  But these articles quickly become laughable for those of us who go the extra fantasy mile and play in AL-only, NL-only, and other crazy deep leagues.  Yep, life sure would be sweet if I could grab Jonathan Schoop or Eduardo Rodriguez at the end of my AL-only draft to fill out my infield and my rotation, but that’s just not how it works.  It would also be nice if I could scoop up Jesse Winker or Nick Senzel for a few bucks at the end of my NL-only auction, but in at least one of my leagues, guys like Senzel have been parked on another fantasy owner’s minor league team for three or four years.  And this brings me to our little corner of the Razzball-verse:  the place where we talk about players who we might actually be able to draft or buy on the cheap in world of deep-league fantasy baseball.

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NL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!

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The fantasy baseball season has officially kicked off and we have real, live draft data to sift through.  Numbers nerds, assemble! We have spreadsheets, charts and ADP, oh my! It was a busy first week here at Razzball Commenter Leagues HQ but I’ve gone through each league that has drafted and added their drafts to a master spreadsheet in order to calculate RCL ADP.  We’ve had eighteen leagues draft already, so there’s plenty of numbers to look at. We’ve had some close calls, but all leagues have filled so far and we’d love to keep it that way. We don’t want to axe any leagues, so if you notice your league is not full the day before the draft, hit us up on Twitter: @Razzball or @MattTruss and let us know.  You can also leave a comment in Grey’s most recent post and/or invite a friend to join. I know, sacrilege to tell your fantasy baseball friends you read Razzball, but sharing is caring. Speaking of sharing, jump below and I’ll share with you a fancy RCL ADP spreadsheet for your perusing pleasure.

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When I was writing up the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings in December/January — or simply Janember — I couldn’t imagine what February and March had in store — ya know, Farch. Players come out of nowhere in Spring Training to cause us to stop and take notice.  Of course, I just told you to ignore Spring Training stats.  This is true; Spring Training stats are a lot like my pants; they are propped up by a small sample size.  However, or howmever if you’re trying to sound smart, it is important to stay on top of guys who are fighting, and winning, everyday jobs.  Of course, with my Oracle third eye, I saw all of this back in Janember, but my third eye got into a spat with my first and second eye at the optometrist’s office.  My first and second eye were taking the eye test and my third eye was like, “ECFYE–Yo, this shizz is way too easy,” and then my 2nd and 3rd eyes were like, “You’re like the Felicity Huffman of eyes and your cheating is going to have us incorrectly placed with better lenses than we should have.”  It got ugly, and they refused to work together to type up this post for a few weeks.  Finally, they all came to their senses — the sense of sight, specifically — hashed it out at a Friendly’s over a Fribble and we’re all good.  Never the hoo!  With Farch turning into a full-fledged March, it’s time for me to let you in on some thoughts and changes to the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings and what they could mean for your drafts:

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NL West | NL Central | NL East | AL West | AL Central | AL East

We move to the AL East, an interesting division for dark horses. For a division with so many wins, there’s a large amount of uncertainty for who’s in the ninth. Required disclaimer: these aren’t players to draft outside of nuts-deep leagues. These are spec plays at best and probably just a name to remember should one of the top guys go down.

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Auction drafting reminds me of playing poker. Having a plan of attack, choosing the right hand to play, and then subsequently winning the hand while finding out that you could’ve made a lot more money if you had played it correctly. If you’re patient enough, play the rights hands and stick to the calculations, it’ll work out to your benefit more often than not, but are you that patient?

Can you let a player go under value because he’s not part of your plan? Can you avoid getting sucked into the auction and over paying for your guy? Can you avoid killing your budget faster than a college kid on spring break?

Hindsight is 20/20 and that is rarely more apparent than over the course of an auction. I don’t believe I’ve ever left an auction without regret. However, even if you don’t stick to your plan, there are ways to maneuver the auction to make your team build complete.

My plan coming into the auction was similar to my draft strategy for most of my leagues. I wanted to concentrate my bat spending on top of the order, high average, speed guys. Accomplished this with my combination of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Trea Turner. I balanced that speed with power in Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Andujar, Justin Upton, and Max Muncy.

For my pitching, I took a more aggressive stance than normal and only wanted one ace and two established closers. I got Max Scherzer and then grabbed Edwin Diaz, Sean Doolittle, and Pedro Strop late.

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Baseball, like a flower, blooms in the spring.  They also share equally effusive PR people.  Just the other day I read about how a petunia’s branches gained 15 pounds and was in the best shape of its life.  Sure, it’s always good to look at spring training numbers to give you an idea what you can expect from guys during the season — can I draft Adalberto Mondesi yet?!  Players in spring training are facing the top pitchers who are all displaying their best stuff.  No one needs time to get warmed up.  No one’s trying new pitches or getting a feel for the ball.  They are at the height of their game in the beginning of March.  Our former commissioner, Bud, once doffed his toupee and tried to have the World Series played in March.  Since these spring training numbers mean so much, I decided to look at some players stats so far:

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THOME: Not just a big sexy retired baseball player now employed by MLB Network. Steve Paulo, and/or Neil deGrasse Tyson, joins the sausage fest to discuss his brainchild, Thomeprojections.com. Steve deGrasse Tyson explains what an IMPACT player is and breaks down how they can be utilized for fantasy baseball success. And he shares one young offensive catcher his projection system loves for this season and nobody is talking about. Paulo also attempts to dumb down the inner workings of his projection system so even Donkey Teeth can understand it.
If you’re interested in sports investing, team win totals, simulation baseball, or just listening to a really smart guy talk about really smart guy things, this is the fantasy sausage pod for you.

Speaking of projections, be sure to check out Rudy’s tool, I mean tools, here.
Want to take me on in the RCLs? Join now, free to play!
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Going from a powerhouse system like the Braves to this Marlins farm is going to feel a little disappointing. But give Miami credit for making a couple of moves this offseason to quickly add some Top 100 talent. Not only did they sign Victor Victor Mesa out of Cuba, but also made the swap for Sixto Sanchez (and Alfaro to boot). I genuinely like following real teams during a rebuild. Unlike us dynasty owners, they have to worry about other stuff like putting butts in the seats and all that. I mean, I can only speak for myself. Maybe some of you charge admission for people to watch your live scoring feed while drinking an $8.00 Bud Light.

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