Like the 2nd basemen to target post, this is necessary.  You want to take flyers on late middle infielders.   I like a few top shortstops this year:  Segura, Desmond and Andrus, but if you don’t get them, don’t sweat it and definitely don’t ‘panic reach’ for another shortstop just because you feel like you need one.  This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Lichtenstein) supplement to the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball.  The players listed have a draft rank after 200 on other sites.  Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections.  Anyway, here’s some shortstops to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Jonathan Villar (ESPN 205, Yahoo 211) I thought for sure Villar would be ranked after where I put him (277).  That’s what happens when you rank in January without a safety net.  Could I still see a situation where he’s on one of my teams?  Sure, A) I do auctions a lot of the time.  B) Everyone I’ve ranked after 200 is basically a free-for-all.  If I need a shortstop and not, say, a pitcher, it doesn’t matter if I’ve ranked 25 pitchers prior to Villar.  C)  Here’s Sky’s Jonathan Villar sleeper post.  D) There was a C?!

Jimmy Rollins (ESPN 202) Well, here’s a fresh-faced guy!  The only mention of him in the history of the world that I can find is in the Who’s Who Among American High School Students.  Never heard anything about him other than that.  He’s only here because he’s after 200 in ESPN, just making the cut.  I don’t love Rollins anymore, but, at a certain point, his 10 HRs, 20 SBs, is too valuable to ignore.  Though, I’m not even sure why he’s ranked at 202 at ESPN.  Here’s one guy’s ESPN projected stats:  87/13/63/.285/19 and here’s another:  79/11/48/.258/22.  First guy is Starlin Castro, who ranked they ranked at 71 overall (interrobang), the other is Rollins.

Brad Miller (Yahoo 212, ESPN 299) Not sure where I’ve heard his name before.  Oh, I know, my sleeper post, my rankings where I mention his sleeper post, my 2nd basemen to target post where I mention his sleeper post and here.  Weird how I even forgot all of that to begin with.

Jurickson Profar (MDC 212)  I’m leaning towards not messing with Profar, but am going day-to-day with his health reports.  Stay tuned.  Or not.  Your choice.

Zack Cozart (ESPN 272, Yahoo 282, MDC 323) All I will say is that I’m only going to mention his 30-steal season in Triple-A by saying I’m not going to mention that he had a 30-steal season in Triple-A.  That is it!  I won’t flat-out mention it!

Alcides Escobar (Yahoo 264, ESPN 285, MDC 274) And don’t even get me started that Alcides had a 30+ steal season in the major leagues.  I’m perplexed by Alcides low rankings across the board.  Perplexed, I tell ya!  I’m going to look again at my projected stats and see what I might’ve missed.  Stat-by-stat.  Ready?  Okay, go to the bathroom real fast, then hurry back.  Okay, ready now?  Good.  I projected Alcides for 64 runs.  He had 57 last year and hit .234 with a .264 BABIP.  That’s obscenely low for a fast guy.  Even ESPN projects his 2014 batting average to jump back to .253.  He’ll probably bat ninth or 2nd, depending on how well he hits and Omar Infante.  Even at the ninth spot in the order he had 16 runs last year in 149 at-bats.  If he gets 447 at-bats in the ninth hole and hits .234 again, that’s 48 runs.  100 at-bats in the two-hole should net him 15 runs.  That’s 63 runs, so one run off from where I projected.  My projected runs seem okay.  Next up, I projected him for 6 homers.  He had four last year and a 2.5 HR/FB%.  That’s even low for him so five homers should be totally doable.  Six homers might be a tad optimistic, but we’re talking one homer.  He’s 27 years old and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for one extra homer.  Big whoop as a Jewish grandmother would say.  Next up, I projected him for 60 RBIs.  He had 52 last year and hit a lousy .234, and every projections system thinks he’ll hit at least .250.  With .250, he would have to get 8 extra RBIs, right?  Next, I projected him for .263.  He won’t hit .293 again like in 2012, but he’s a fast guy that doesn’t strike out a lot.  His line drive rate in his year he hit .293 was 23%, last year it was 23%.  His K-rate in his good average year was 15.4%, last year 13.1%, so it actually got better.  He did hit a few more lazy fly balls last year, instead of ground balls, but I’m not projecting him for .290.  He can easily hit .263.  It’s a matter of one extra base hit about every two weeks.  Finally, I have him down for 32 steals.  Less than his career year of 35, but he does have 40-steal speed and he’s on a team that led the majors in steals.  If he gets on a few extra times, he will steal bases.  I like him a lot and don’t think me ranking him 100 spots earlier than other sites is farfetched.  I definitely didn’t just write this blurb to prove I could write 350 words on Alcides Escobar — a new world record, besting the previous record of 27 words which was held by his mom in an email when she was simply telling her sister, Gladys, that Alcides would be home for the holidays.

Josh Rutledge (Yahoo 293) See all I wrote about Rutledge this year?  Multiply that by five and that’s how much I wrote about Rutledge last year.  The shine’s off, but I still like him real late as a flyer to see if he can beat out DJ LeMahieu for a starting job.

Dee Gordon (ESPN unranked, Yahoo unranked, MDC unranked) Just wrote about Gordon in the 2nd basemen to target post.  If he’s starting, he’s running and you’re yelling Dee’s nuts!

Jordy Mercer (MDC 378, ESPN unranked, Yahoo unranked)  What do we know about Jordy?  He has the worst name in the history of names.  He sounds like the last kid picked on the playground, which is about right for where he’s being drafted.  In Double-A, he hit 13 homers in 72 games.  In Triple-A, he hit 6 homers in 60 games.  Last year in the majors, he hit 8 homers in 103 games.  Mercer, Mercer me, he’s got some pop.  I’ve seen projected lineups where he’s batting 2nd between Marte and McCutchen.  I’d eat the meat of that sandwich!

Oh, and because I just stumbled on this, I thought I’d share again the commercial Nick, our podcast host, made last year.  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what they’re doing when the screen goes to black and comes on back 12 minutes later.  I’m not even sure if I should be writing ‘comes on back’ in that sentence.  If you haven’t had the willies in a while, enjoy!

 
  1. Miles says:
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    I really like Brad Miller as a bench guy as he has a lot of potential for power and speed with 2B and SS eligibility. SS and 2B guys miss a lot of time and he can fill a void very well.

    • James says:
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      @Miles:

      depends on the league and the FA depth. A league where a guy like neil walker is unowned, there is less of a need to have a backup 2b on roster (and the ss pool is deeper than 2nd, so i assume a passable fill in there too).

      Generally i avoid having bench bats, in dynasty leagues i reserve them for young guys with elite upside (in dynasty my bench is taveres, yelich, addison russell, and chase headley. headly being similar as a guy with elite upside, but needs a rebound not a break out)

    • Tim Evans says:
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      @Miles: @Miles: grey ,
      Hey man read ur articles all the time big fan. Need help , I’ll summarize the league . Points only keeper league , 13 teams keep 4 batts and 2 pitchers , so first question . Who would u keep out of agon , machodo, Ortiz , Gordon , cespedes can only keep 4 my pitchers are sale n Jose Fernandez . Question two this is most important . I have #1 pick out of these 6 who would u take number 1 . Joe mauer dom brown Jose Reyes Allen Craig billy butler or cespedes ?

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Not Ortiz… Craig…

        • Tim Evans says:
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          @Grey: thanks

  2. Chunk says:
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    THERE WAS A C!

    Mind=Blown

    Even If I havent commented a lot I still read everything (EVERYTHING) and donate from time to time.

    Te Amo Vos

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Chunk: Te Amo Vos Deux

  3. Miles says:
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    I’m trying to fill a new AL-only dynasty/keeper league. 10 team, 5×5 roto, draft in late March, like I said AL-only. 9 hitters, 9 pitchers. Grey’s readers are awesome and while we’re all in a league, let’s join another one. AL only is a unique challenge you probably aren’t doing already.
    shoot me an email miles18__ (that’s two _ _) at yahoo and I’ll send you an invite.

  4. Miles says:
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    would you bump Ryu up a little since he’s getting an extra start in Australia in a big stadium? QS league? his second start will be before a lot of guys get their first

    • The Thumb says:
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      @Miles: it’ll all even out in the end. Don’t draft a guy on the premise of getting one extra start. In Y! Leagues he’s ranked right around Teheran and Wacha; I’d rather have those guys anyway.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Miles: Agree with Thumb

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Miles: if you have a guy as near equals, like Grey does with Kuroda or Archer, then yeah, why not.

  5. Piranhaman says:
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    Hahaha. I just saw this video. Veryyyyyyyyyyy fun :D

    Oh, Grey (& baseball lovers,) There’s a chance to do 3-way deal.

    I get Danny Salazar, he gets Matt Adams, another man gets Nelson Cruz.

    Each managers are in need of those players.

    I wonder that deal seems balanced? Who could be winner and loser?

    • Chunk says:
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      @Miles: I like you [email protected]Piranhaman: I think fatty wins, but it seems fair if everyone needs their correspnding coponents. Danny might end up winning. hard to see nelson getting the better end of the dildo

      • Beastman says:
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        @Chunk: Agree…unless it’s a triple-sided dildo. Then no one wins.

      • Piranhaman says:
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        @Grey: thank you, Chunk, Beastman and Grey ????

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

  6. kangaroo hops says:
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    With Cano at 2B, is there any chance that Miller’s 2B eligibility survives this year? I’ve got him in a dynasty, and need to look to the future if he is only SS eligible. Any word out of Seattle on who the backup for Cano is? As I recall, Cano doesn’t miss many. I suppose it is Franklin if he stays.

    • Piranhaman says:
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      Cano is also aging. So Mariners would put him at DH more than expected. And Miller can play 2B when Cano gets rest. If you are in yahoo league, 2B eligibility would come sooner.

      • Alky Sobrera says:
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        @Piranhaman:
        Are there any indications the mariners plan to do this, because I’ve heard no such thing, and it seems silly to speculate that the new $240mil man will be DHing all that often. Wouldn’t even consider it while drafting miller tbh.

        • Alky Sobrera says:
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          @Alky Sobrera:
          Meant projecting* miller tbh.

          • Piranhaman says:
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            @Alky Sobrera: just my opinion. Miller can add 2B eligibility again for only playing 5 games there. (In Yahoo).
            Cano is durable and expensive, right.
            But it’s also possible that team see him cautiously because of his price tag.
            Only 5 games. It’s not hard to suppose :)

            • Alky Sobrera says:
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              @Piranhaman:
              Just seemed like too much of a gamble for me, I’m scared, lol. That said, I forgot it’s 5 games on yahoo. Agree that it’s much easier to hit.

    • Piranhaman says:
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      @kangaroo hops: as team said, if Franklin loses starting job, he will be sent to AAA. Yeah, he’d likely be traded. So i stil like Miller in your league format.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @kangaroo hops: A lot depends on Cano’s health and if Franklin is there

  7. trick dad says:
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    My wife’s work computer has a razzball decal too!

  8. Hey Grey, I’m thinking Villar and/or Profar ain’t all that crazy either. Good take . By the way, what do you think of my chances? I think I look pretty good in royal blue? Only problem is I still can’t hit these MLB southpaws all that well. Should I draft myself in 5×5 Roto 12 team? Or am I just in love with myself?

    • BTD says:
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      @Mike Moustakas: Only 2 position players on Houston I’ll be ‘happy’ with in the draft: Altuve and Springer. If I drafted Villar, I’m afraid of what’ll be cooking breakfast the next morning when I take the beer goggles off… It may work in a pinch, but not a long-term relationship. Beyond SB, I don’t see the draw.

      Profar, sure.

      But if I’m drafting any of these guys, I’m probably stashing Baez too.

  9. magicterp says:
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    Great stuff as always!! Thank you for your humor and fbb knowledge. Hoping you can give me your 2 cents on keepers…

    10 team NL-Only Keeper league, Head to head categories 5×5, $260 auction budget (typically high keeper inflation). I can keep 5 guys. Thanks!

    Definite:
    Paul Goldschmidt: $19
    Giancarlo Stanton: $25

    Probably:
    Anthony Rizzo: $15 (would play at corner infield)
    Michael Wacha: $7

    Maybe:
    Andrew Cashner: $7
    Kris Medlen: $13
    Sergio Romo: $14

  10. chris L says:
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    Keeper league 12 team 5×5: Round 5, which keeper would you choose in a competitive league?
    Rios
    Mauer

    • chris L says:
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      @chris L: I got cut off there sorry:
      Ryan Zimmerman
      Allen Craig
      Manny Machado
      Matt Carpenter
      Ben Zobrist
      Matt Kemp
      Ian Kinsler
      Carlos Santana
      Pedro Alvarez
      Jose Abreu
      Justin Verlander
      Jordan Zimmerman
      Gio Gonzalez
      Anibal Sanchez…
      Please Pick 1 for a keeper league…Thank you again for your time

  11. DBo says:
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    Great stuff Grey. I gambled and traded a 1st round pick (7 player keeper league) for Jean Segura. Side bar advice…I’ve been offered Carlos Gonzalez and Mike Minor for Yu Darvish and Jay Bruce (keeper league). I’m scared about Cargo’s injury history and wondering if Minor has established himself as a true 2nd tier SP for years to come. I feel the gap between Bruce and Cargo (because of injury concerns) is much smaller than the gap between Darvish and Minor. Your thoughts are appreciated!

    • kevinmac says:
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      @DBo: I got mind control over Dbo

    • Garreth says:
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      @DBo: I wouldn’t be doing that deal. Not in a million years.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Garreth: multiple Garreth’s now?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @DBo: Nice trade for Segura… I’d hold off on CarGo

      • DBo says:
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        @Grey: Thanks!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

  12. Philsfan76 says:
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    Hey Grey. I asked this question of the Guru, and would appreciate your take as well.

    Points league. 4 keepers. 1 keeper must have been drafted 9th round or after. my other keepers are:
    Harper
    Dread Pirate

    I plucked Bogaerts off waivers and could flat out keep him. I drafted Pence and EverCab after rd 9. My thinking is to keep:
    Harper
    Dread Pirate
    Pence (9th rd)
    Bogaerts

    would you forego Bogaerts for EverCab?

    Thanks and look forward to another year of Razz

    • Philsfan76 says:
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      Another slight conundrum arises with my arms on second look. I drafted corbin post 9th and have The Adverb, lynn, s. grey, and g. gole. Stick with offense, yes?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Philsfan76: I’d go the 4 hitters you have with Bogaerts…

  13. shawn of the livid says:
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    Hi Grey, thanks for the post, I’m shooting for miller at SS this year but could pretty much care less about the position.

    What I do care about is my first pick, I’m 5th in a 10team H2H and I think I would have liked to have any other pick, including last. I say this because I’m not sure who to go for given the choices I’m likely to have at that point. Im thinking Cargo, Harper, or Jones at this point, possibly Cano. Draft is on Sunday and I’m driving myself f-ing crazy trying to decide who to grab.

    By your rankings I would go with Jones or Cano. But Cargo (if healthly) will thrash the rest of my options, and I think Harper has a ton of talent that has yet to really be released ( a la Trout).

    So as of right now I’m leaning Cargo, and kind of looking for someone to talk some sense into me because he will end up on the DL 4 times this year. But a healthy Cargo could pull in MVP. Am I just asking for a headache with that way of thinking?

    Please throw some of that Vulcan logic at me to ease my troubled mind!

    Also, any Razzballers out there please chime in with your opinions. Reach for Harper at that point? Stay safe with a Cano/Jones pick? Pray that Cargo stays healthy? UGH!

    Thanks in advance Grey/guys (and four girls).

    • Alky Sobrera says:
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      @shawn of the livid:
      Though I’ve done only 12 teamers, I agree that the 3-6 range pick seems like more hassle than it’s worth. As for your choices, it depends. Are you a risk taker, or particularly risk averse? Jones is by far the safest pick, though with the least “upside.” I prefer to start off my teams with a strong base, so he’s the kind of guy I’d go with. If you don’t mind some risk, I’d go cargo. I wouldn’t attempt to grab harper there at all, just not close to having reached those heights yet.

      • Alky Sobrera says:
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        @Alky Sobrera:
        That said, Jones very often falls to picks 14-17. People seem to forego “boring” for upside. No way cargo slips that far, and lowest I’ve seen harper go is 15, though he’s often gone around 10. Not unimaginable that you could grab jones in the 2nd after getting cargo in the 1st, but that depends of whether you mind starting out OF-OF. 5 cat guys are 5 cat guys though, not a bad 1-2.

        • Shawn of the livid says:
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          @Alky Sobrera: Going Cargo and hoping to grab Jones on the way back is risky, and unlikely, but that would be great if I could pull that off. You make some solid points. I hate the middle pick for first pick, but it can be good for the rest of the draft. If I couldn’t get Jones on the way back, I might land Fielder.

          You’re right on Harper too, I just feel like he’s going to have a big year and would like to be a part of it. Probably too much risk on that one though. Thanks for the advice.

    • Greyismyhero says:
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      @shawn of the livid: Greys gonna say refer to his rankings (I think) which he has Jones at 5 ahead of Harper/Cano etc….And that’s the way I would go. I’m not sure what site your drafting at but Jones is 11 at Yahoo, I’ve got him all the way at 12…Take Jones.

      • Shawn of the livid says:
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        @Greyismyhero: It’s a Yahoo league. To me, Jones and Cano are interchangeable. But in a league where there are 3 OF spots and 2 Uti’s good outfielders go quickly and Jedd could be a late grab with good production at 2nd. Thanks for the advice, I’ll probably flip flop on Cano/Jones right up to the last ten seconds!

        • Greyismyhero says:
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          @Shawn of the livid: Yeah, OF go pretty quick (good ones anyways)….I’ve been able to do that and snag Gyroko in rounds 8-10 (make sure you make it a priority to grab him that early though (it seems lately he been going earlier and earlier) and if I miss out on Jerk, I get Miller for 2B. Good luck!

          • Greyismyhero says:
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            @Greyismyhero: just remembered its a 10 teamer so you should be able to wait out on Gyroko a few rounds later, I’ve only done 12 teamers so far.

      • Alky Sobrera says:
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        @Greyismyhero:

        I’m on yahoo as well, and from 3 pro league drafts thus far, jones has gone 18th, 15th, and 12th, with the 12th pick being mine, all in 12 team leagues. Obviously not representative of what’s going on at large, but it’s definitely a possibility to get him in the 2nd. Factor in that this is a 10 teamer, and shawn picks 5th, that means jones has to last until 16th pick. Not a great chance of it happening, but it can happen. Grabbing cargo in the 2nd though is pretty much out of the question.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @shawn of the livid: CarGo won’t stay healthy, Harper’s never done what Cano or Jones have done and they’ve done it multiple times…

      • Shawn of the livid says:
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        @Grey: Thanks for the advice Grey. You are right, cargo should be avoided and Harper is still a question mark, albeit a tantalizing one.

        Owned Cano for 3 years now and have done very well with him so maybe I should go with him again. It’s also great not having to worry about 2nd base all year. I just planned on Jedd for 2nd and I’m not sure on Cano in Safeco where a Bronx HR is a fly out.

        So I’m on Jones/Cano now. Got me back on track Grey, you are my fantasy rock. Thanks again.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I drafted Cano last year in the first and won that league… Safeco isn’t as bad as it once was and neither are the Mariners…

          • Shawn of the livid says:
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            @Grey: I took Cano first last year too and won that league. Good point on the Mariners, they are much better than last years yanks and Cano still put up some great numbers. I think I may be a proud Canowner again!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yup and yup

          • SteveNZ says:
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            @Grey: Which league was that, Grey?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Last night’s draft… Were you in it?

              • SteveNZ says:
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                @Grey: Me? Nah, I’m not a writer, though I can write. I’m in the FCL that drafts tomorrow. Shaping up to be a bloodbath. Oaktown has been in a cabin in the woods like the Unabomber getting ready for it.