Please see our player page for Aaron Nola to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Do you like roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe? Do you find John Kruk both devilishly handsome and well spoken? Can you recite from memory Michael Jack Schmidt’s retirement speech, including the exact moment he breaks down in tears? Do you know what jawn means? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re a Phillies fan. This jawn is for yous. 

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Redraft leagues are the standard of the fantasy sports industry. Each year you get a fresh start at remembering you shouldn’t draft A.J. Pollock. Ever. You can draft whoever you want at your draft position or spend as much as your budget on whoever you want. But for me there is nothing more fun than a good long-term keeper league. Smart owners get to flex on their leaguemates by keeping players they selected deep in their drafts or picked up on a hunch. Keeper leagues are a great intermediate option between full-on redraft leagues and the craziness of a dynasty league. 

Below you’ll find my keeper rankings for 2019. I’ve included each player’s age, position eligibility for the start of the 2019 season and any concerns I have about each player. Here’s what you’ll also see: I’m not high on starting pitchers. Too likely to suffer an injury and miss a large chunk of time. I’m not high on guys with less than two seasons of experience. I’ve seen sophomore slumps and prospect busts far too often. There are exceptions like Ronald Acuna who seem like a sure thing — but when it comes to Vlad Guerrero Jr. I prefer the wait and see approach. Plus, we really don’t know when he’ll even debut. Players over the age of 31 worry me — especially players whose value is speed dependent. I don’t want to keep a player whose decline is starting to begin. Injury prone players: duh. I’m not going to keep someone who can’t take the field.

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I was never particularly motivated to use VLOOKUP (or any other function in Excel) for “professional” working purposes. I learned it a few years ago strictly to become better at fantasy baseball. By taking all of the public information that is available at your disposal, and combining fantasy valuations and projections from various industry resources (using mostly VLOOKUPs – seriously, it’s the only thing that I know how to do), you can formulate composite projections which paint an accurate picture of the fantasy landscape, and eliminate limit your individual bias when you inevitably use those projections and re-rank players by position. One resource that I find particularly helpful, and which you might not already incorporate into your own process, are the player propositions and betting over/under totals provided by sportsbooks. The betting market sets extremely reasonable expectations with regards to player floors and league leaders in statistical categories and can provide guidance as to where your projections stand relative to public perception both on an individual player basis, and against the league as a whole.  The fact that a player is listed in a category, in and of itself, can be extremely telling as to their raw skills and expectations for the upcoming season.

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A howdy, a hey and a hi-yo Silver to all the hot-rod rowdy Razzball readers in deep anticipation of this; The third installment of my series on the oft spat upon Quality Start (Part 1 and Part 2).  I’m so glad to be back at the grindstone so soon; Things around here are getting better every day. Recuperation from a neck surgery is progressing daily, and little John is sleeping a little longer every night. In fact, I’ve sat down to start this article three different times already; Each time ending up down a different rabbit hole of QS stats which set me on a productive, yet different path than intended.  So for the delight of the crowd (and the detriment of the nerve endings in my fingers) the H2H part of our QS exploration will become a series within a series.  Just as a note going forward; Always keep in mind that point league formats can vary greatly. I will be using the format from my own CBS Home League which is only slightly varied from the standard: +0.5 per out, +1.0 per K, -0.5 per runner, -1.0 per run, +7.0 per W, +5.0 per QS, -5.0 per L. We wanted to make sure that in the event of taking a Quality Start + Loss, (which we call ”eating the cock-meat sandwich”) that the QS negates the Loss. All leagues are different so make sure to adjust for your own format as we progress.

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Do you remember the last time you swung and missed?

Maybe it happened at your beer league softball game? Or maybe it was during last week’s company-wide meeting when you thought you’d tell that funny story about the peanut butter thing but screwed up the beginning, and nobody laughed—not even Amber from accounting who giggles at everything—so you sat down all hot faced, feeling stupid all day?

Or maybe you’re thinking of that day you finally asked out Amber from Accounting, and that time she did laugh?

Nobody likes to swing and miss, is all I’m saying. And nobody likes that awkward what-what of trying to save a story from a bad opening line. Here’s some baseball-related proof:

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One word about this top 100 for 2019 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words.  I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings.  If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2019 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2019 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Gucci handbags for 2019– Ah, I almost got you.  This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other.  Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from.  471 more, to be very exact.  Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 571.  Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500 that will go to 8,602, then a top 25,000 that will go to 28,765, then a top 600,000 that will go to 892,121, until we end up with a top kajillion in April that will go to a kajillion and one.  Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel.  Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2019 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.”  Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters.  Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter!  Also, the online Fantasy Baseball War Room is, uh, online.  It might be a little wonky still, but working out kinks.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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Imagine you’ve just arrived in Arizona to enjoy some Spring Training action. In exchange for sitting through two dozen enthralling exhibition baseball games in less than a week, you’ve agreed to first take your sweetheart on a day long horseback riding excursion. You’re about to pay full freight for this pricey little adventure when a shady looking cowboy pulls you aside whispering tales of an unadvertised, half price donkey option.

It’s a pivotal crossroads: Do you forfeit a few servings of nachos at the ballgames and pony up for the trustworthy horse, which you’re confident will deliver you to the promised land? Or do you gamble on the cagey donkey, which may nibble on your girl’s foot halfway through the trek before taking a nap in the middle of the desert?

Aaron “The Horse” Nola ADP 23
German “The Donkey” Marquez ADP 80

The Horse Case: In 2018, Aaron Nola made the leap from “up and coming miniature horse” to “purebred stallion”. This pony made strides across the board. Most every metric we care about saw marked improvement for A-A-Ron last season: ERA, FIP, xFIP, WHIP, SwStr%, F-Strike%, Barrel%, even all three of his FICO credit scores saw a major improvement! So the question for me isn’t so much, “Is he legit?”, as it is, “Is he worth the top 25 overall price tag?”.

With a 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 224 Ks in 212.1 IP, Nola was so good last year that we have to dig pretty deep to find reasons for concern. One number that does jump out is his 87.6% 2nd half strand rate which was the 8th highest in the majors. Great pitchers do tend to buckle down once runners are on base, but I still think this number comes down a bit next year. Another minor concern is the innings jump…

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2019 fantasy baseball rankings.  That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies.  It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown.  I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted.  Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth.  Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around.  Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  Simple Math has an attitude problem.  Simple Math says, “Try counting on your fingers without me!”  In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April.  With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest.  There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck.  Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to change, depending on which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs.  Finally, the best starters can give you four categories.  The best hitters can give you five categories.  As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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Every once in a while Grey and Rudy will head down to the local Jewish bakery and buy bagels for everyone at Razzball Headquarters. Special occasions, birthdays, Earth Day, or just to let us all know we’re loved. (Note from Grey: it’s not a bakery, it’s a dumpster, and it’s not ‘buy,’ per se.) Of course there’s always that one bagel, whole wheat or multigrain (Note from Grey: those aren’t multigrains) or something equally boring, which sits untouched until all the other bagels are demolished.

I do have to admit, once you toast that circle of whole wheat dullness and lather it with excessive amounts of cream cheese (NfG: it’s not cream cheese either), it’s still pretty damn tasty. While it’s not an onion or sesame or, the Holy Grail, asiago cheese bagel, it’s still a bagel which someone will end up devouring.

For me, head to head points leagues are the whole wheat bagels of fantasy baseball. While it’s not a roto league or even a head to head categories league, it’s still a form of fantasy baseball, which can satisfy my incurable fantasy baseball addiction until the next dose arrives. So when Scott White of CBS Fantasy Sports became desperate enough to invite someone with the name “Donkey Teeth” into his industry points league mock draft, I pounced on that drug-filled wheat bagel like the starving fiend I am.  (NfG: I could’ve sworn I removed all syringes from the bagels prior to bringing them back)

Here’s the points scoring system and roster positions used for this particular mock draft:

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I lied to you loyal Razzball readers. In part 1 of this 2019 fantasy baseball mock draft hosted by Justin Mason of Friends with Fantasy Benefits, I told you this was going to be a four-part series. Well, unfortunately between rounds 23 and 24, the MLB regular season ended and thus, so did our Fantrax mock draft. The draft room disappeared from the league page and every future pick was being auto-drafted. Rather than waste your time discussing random players being auto-drafted I’m just going to highlight a few notable undrafted players at the bottom of this article. Back to the draft itself: three words can sum up rounds 15 through 23: risk, relievers and rookies. You’ll soon see what I mean. (BTW, the 2nd part of the fantasy baseball mock draft.)

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