Welcome to the 2018 season of Razzball Fantasy Baseball OPS! I’m back as your host for the third straight season of OPS fun and right off the bat I’m challenging my intelligence. Same as it ever was, maybe that’s why I fit in so well here. Before I address the title, here’s a quick intro for those of you uninitiated. We talk On Base Percentage PLUS Slugging percentage and that gives us the magical OPS. Chicks dig the long ball and all that, but OPS isn’t just about hitting homers, because if it was, Rougned Odor would have been an OPS All Star last year withh 30 homer but a putrid .649 OPS.

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It seems fitting for me to debut with a sneak peek of the 10 best base stealers in the majors for 2018, because let’s be honest, I like to go fast (I promise I won’t reference Talladega Nights again).  In my opinion, speed is one of the most exciting elements in baseball.  It would be easy to look at statistics from 2017 and list the 10 athletes that led the league in steals, but we’re going to take a deeper look at the speedsters I like for the upcoming 2018 season, and we’ll be doing this for all of the major scoring categories throughout the preseason.  And sure, you’ll see plenty of the usual suspects, but who knows, maybe I’ll throw in a few surprises as well. Included next to each player are Razzball’s own 2018 fantasy baseball ranking and FantasyPros most recent Average Draft Position (ADP).

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One word about this top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words.  I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2018 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 2018 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2018 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Gucci handbags for 2018– 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.  428 more, to be very exact.  Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 530.  Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500, then a top 25,000, then a top 600,000, until we end up with a top kajillion in April.  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 2018 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.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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Hey, guys and five girls, we’re (I’re) back!  Today’s 2018 fantasy baseball rankings tackle your favorite (I’m guessing!), the top 40 outfielders for 2018 fantasy baseball.  Last year, Stephen Hawking was hitting his keyboard robotically telling us, “It’s a black hole for outfielders, we need to spontaneously combust some new ones.”  Then, between outfielder rants, Stephen would jot down a letter to Eddie Redmayne about a sequel to The Theory of Everything.  Well, no sequel on the horizon, but don’t underestimate Hawking’s ability to spontaneously combust some new outfielders, because this position is deep AF.  As always, my projections are noted for each player and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Also, all of Rudy’s hitter projections are under that easy-to-click link.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 outfielders for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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With the top 40 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball, we’ve finished all the hitter recaps.  We meaning me, but I’ll include you.  No, that’s not a cue to try to hold my hand.  Why are you now patting my butt?  Don’t muss my hair!  The pitching recap will begin next.  You can hardly wait.  No, you!  To recap, the end of the season rankings are based on our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  I felt the easiest way to keep it objective would to go this route.  This way when I say someone finished 30th and I ranked them 23rd in the preseason, it carries more weight like a non-vegan Bill Clinton.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Let’s see, all rise for the Judge.  Can I get a witness for Judge?  Judge, jury and executioner of fastballs.  This is one Judge who should never see the bench.  There’s a ten from the East German for Judge!  Well, you can be the Judge of that, not really tho.  You can Judge a book by how hard he knocks the cover off the ball.  And, of course, five minutes to Judge Mollywhopper.  All right, all right, enough.  Yesterday, Aaron Judge went 2-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs with his 47th and 48th homer, as he hits .281.  I don’t want to have to bring out the caps, but he’s a ROOKIE.  *inserts meme of white guy blinking*  He has the rookie record for walks, within one of the rookie record for home runs and the first player with 200 Ks and a .262+ average in baseball history.  I looked through the last 120 years of baseball for a comparable year, and I found Mike Schmidt’s best year and a not-yet-white Sammy Sosa.  So, a Phillie hero and vitiligo.  In the 2nd half, Judge ‘only’ has 18 homers, and increased his K-rate to 32.9% from 29.8, only hitting .213.  In 2018, there’s going to be huge risk and reward when drafting Judge.  I’d be shocked if he falls further than the top 15 overall, so you’re gonna have to gamble that he won’t hit 40 HRs with a .240, and be essentially Khris Davis.  Either way, it’s gonna be tough to Judge.  Ugh.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Erasmo Ramirez was masterful Friday night in what was one of his best starts of the season going eight strong innings against the we-don’t-lose Windians, allowing just three hits, one earned run and striking out a season high 10 batters. Erasmowing down hitters? ErasMo Innings, Mo Strikeouts? ErasMost definitely more comfortable in Seattle than in Tampa? Ugh, I know. Headlines are hard you guys, I ran out of steam about three weeks ago and I’m sorry but that’s the best I’m going to do. However you headline it, after being wang-jangled around the Rays pitching staff, from starting rotation to bullpen and back again, Ramirez has settled nicely into the starting pitching job he deserves since being acquired by his old team, the Seattle Mariners, in July. He holds a respectable 3.79 ERA in 10 starts with the M’s since, but it’s the 52/13 K/BB ratio that really raises my eyebrow, Dwayne Johnson. If we remove a hiccup he encountered with a rough start in Houston, Erasmo has three quality starts in September with a 22/4 K/BB ratio. Yes, more please! He gets to finish his season strong with a favorable start next week in Oakland, and outside of the obligatory Matt Olson home run, I could see him pitching a successful outing there. At about 10% owned, Ramirez is a streaming option readily available in most fantasy leagues if you’re looking for an easy win to push you over the edge. And if you’ve been out of contention for weeks and are still reading this, first, Ramirez could be a decent late-late round sleeper to consider for 2018, and second, thanks for sticking with us and not jumping ship to fantasy football coverage (which you can check out here). You guys are the true Razzball MVPs. Except of course for the writing staff, obviously, they the real MVPs, especially me.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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You know how they say think about baseball to make sex last longer?  Okay, so I was thinking, to make the baseball season last longer do we think about baseball?  Maybe we think about sex.  This is a riddle for the Sphinx!  I saw Chris Sale struck out his 300th batter of the season, and I got a pit in my stomach.  I mean, I know the season’s quickly approaching its French end title, “Fin,” but it still bums me out like a mid-20’s Evan Gattis.  Yesterday, Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 13 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.75.  He became the first Red Sox player to record 300 Ks in a season since Pedro Martinez in 1999.  And Pedro had his good luck charm, little person, Nelson de la Rosa!  Well, I guess Sale does have Pedroia.  You look at Sale’s peripherals and you kinda wanna drool — 12.9 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 2.62 xFIP, and averaging 94 MPH on his fastball.  His K-rate is the third best for a starter since 1900.  Okay, so maybe Kluber doesn’t win the Cy Young.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Watching Luis Castillo is officially an ASMR trigger.  *insert onomatopoeia of satisfied exhale, picks up invisible fork and knife, mimes cutting up satisfied exhale, eats exhale*  Do you see how Castillo’s got me?  I’m eating satisfied exhales.  Can I write the 2018 fantasy baseball sleeper post right now for Luis Castillo?  TFW you see Castillo:  Insert Oprah’s o face around Gayle King.  CASTILLO MAKING ME CRAZY!  And not eating sugar for six days isn’t helping.  This Whole30 Diet got me like:  insert crazy-googly eyes.  I got Biggie Smalls eyes right now.  *smacks face*  Be coherent, Grey!  Sorry, about that.  Yesterday, Luis Castillo went 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.12.  His surface perfs:  9.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.40 xFIP, averages 98 MPH, and now I’m lightheaded again.  Okay, need to save something for his 2018 sleeper post.  As for this year, this was his last start, unless you count Strat-o-Matic starts I’m making with him all winter.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Doh!  A deer, a female deer and also what the Dodgers say.  Ray, a drop of golden filth.  Me, a name I call myself who owns J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray.  Fa, a long long way to run if a Bostonian is saying far.  SO another name for strikeouts.  LA is where the game took place.  Ti I dribble down my face, when J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray play.  Yesterday, Ray went 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 14 Ks, ERA down to 2.80.  Robbie Ray is an ace.  No matter how you slice that pecan pie, he’s an ace.  No matter how you put that pancake batter on the skittle.  No matter how you put whipped cream in my mouth.  My God, I’m so hungry.  Cougs has got me doing this Whole30 diet and I’m legit about to eat my hand.  At Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 starters for this week, Ray’s ranked 6th.  Can’t argue that, and last night he dunked all over the LA K’ers.  Then, J.D. Martinez got my goosepimples all a-titter.  He went 4-for-5, 6 RBIs with his 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th homer.  Someone has to Just Dong, so who better than Just Dong?  Who?!  Sorry, I’m writing this wearing an owl costume.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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