Our 2018 Razzball Commenters Leagues are in full signup mode.  I even heard there were a few people from Anonymous that signed up!  They said, “To the world, I’m Anonymous, just another white man who sits in parking lots with binoculars watching women.”  Man, that Anonymous guy is depressing!  As we always do about this time, I eviscerate the haters and complicators!  I eviscerate the not-knowers and the over-knowers!  I eviscerate the ESPN goers and the garden hoers!  I overuse a word like eviscerate that I just learned!  I am the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it) and I’ve come for your children!  See, because blog writing doesn’t pay so well, I’ve taken a second job as a bus driver, so I’m literally here for your kids.  Like a baller!  A shot caller!  An “I’m outside of Hot Topic at the maller!”  My eviscerating (I’m conjugating my new word!) today comes at the expense of ESPN and their 2018 fantasy baseball rankings.  To the tune of Baby Blue (Feat. Chance the Rapper) by Action Bronson:

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It’s finally February, football is in the rear view mirror, spring training is on the horizon, and it’s time to start breaking out the player ranks and loading up the mock drafts (or waiting for Yahoo to let us). While we wait for any MLB team to sign a free agent I have been struggling on which players I plan on keeping this season in my keeper leagues. I’m not talking about Dynasty leagues, where you keep every player, but the leagues where you only can keep two, three, or at most five players every season. These types of keeper leagues seem to be a mainstay for dedicated players and leagues as of late. I have noticed it’s rarely the same players you’re keeping every season, especially if you have so few to keep…

Keeper leagues can be tough because every draft is going to be so unique. Whether each team is keeping two players or five your draft is going to look very different when missing multiple draft day studs forcing you to go into the draft with a completely different strategy. Do you want to keep a great player but forfeit a top pick or somebody not as proven but for a much lower pick? Do you go with the respected fantasy players you can count on like Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw or with the young guns with the high ceiling and questionable floor like Cody Bellinger and Luis Severino

What factored into my list was how much you can trust each player, what round they were taken the previous season, how good of a fantasy contributor have they been throughout their career, their team, age, etc. Even though every league has different keeper numbers and keeper rules I have ranked out 10 tiers of my top 40 keepers. This list is mainly skewed for leagues with just a handful of keepers. Most of the rankings consist of top players going in the first couple rounds or players that majorly outperformed their ADP last season. I did leave off some guys who I would take in the earlier rounds like Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, and Justin Verlander because the juice just might not be worth the squeeze. Getting Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger in the last few rounds this year is almost laughable and hard to pass up even with your 2nd or 3rd overall pick. Below is my Top 40 separated into tiers of how important I see these players going into keeper leagues.

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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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It’s only January (at least at the time I started writing this) and I’ve already participated in two mock drafts for the 2018 fantasy baseball season. To say I’m excited for the next few months would be an understatement. To say my sun dial was pointing at high noon might be a bit much, but when have I shied away from saying something unnecessary? Halloween and draft season are my favorite times of the year. Now while I prefer an auction to a draft, I still take great pleasure in selecting a team according to snake draft rules. Especially when it doesn’t officially count.

Over the last three years only one batter has averaged more fantasy points per season than Nolan Arenado. That player is Paul Goldschmidt, who has averaged 599.5 points. Arenado’s average is 592. These averages will vary depending on your league’s scoring system, but for the most part, the ordering of players should remain mostly the same. When it was my turn to make my first pick at the four spot, Mike Trout, Jose Altuve and Mr. Goldschmidt were already gone. This left me with what I feel was the obvious choice of Arenado. Quite honestly I’m almost inclined to say that given his age, he’s the better pick over Goldschmidt. Did I really just say that?

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2018 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!”  In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April, and then they disappear.  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 shift due to 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 2018 fantasy baseball:

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Alex Reyes is the guy that’s going to be the difference maker on my points league teams this season. Well, except in any league where any of my opponents read this post. If I’m thinking outside of my “points league box”, he has the potential to make a difference in all fantasy formats this season. I see him as a mid-season sleeper that’s going to take up a roster spot for at least one or two before you have a chance to see if holding him will pay any dividends. This is a risk I am willing to take, and is one I’m recommending to the rest of you.

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I’m excited to announce that I’ve already participated in my first 2018 fantasy baseball mock draft. And here’s the crazy part, it’s still 2017. Mind blown! Last week Scott White from CBS invited me to join his first mock of the season. While one might have thought I would have passed on the offer considering the 2017 World Series had completed only three weeks earlier, I jumped at the opportunity. And when I say “jumped” I mean I shrugged and said to myself, “What the heck.”

The format for the mock league was head-to-head points using standard CBS scoring. Those of you that have read my posts during the last three years will know that I am a points league kinda guy. My content is focused on this format. What better way to get an early start on some new material than to join eleven other top notch analysts in a way too early mock draft.

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A lot of thoughts that make their way around the fantasy baseball industry contain some selection bias. I’m guilty of it all the time. I watch a pitcher dominate in a singular start and begin to sweat, thinking about how my exposure looks across leagues – Luiz Gohara’s September 29th start against the Phillies comes to mind (7 IP, 9 K, 7 baserunners). But this kind of bias implies some misallocated favorability. In Gohara’s case, I didn’t watch his debut start against the Rangers (4 IP, 6 ER, 8 baserunners), or his mediocre final start of 2017 against the Marlins (6 IP, 4 ER, 8 baserunners).

Applying this logic to the World Series produces similar results. Two of seven games were some of the best I’ve seen in awhile; we’ve been spoiled these last few years. Game 7, however, drew the most eyes, but was lackluster at best. I kept waiting for the Dodgers to crawl back and give us 2016’s Game 7 2.0, but my desires were unfullfilled.

Every time a baseball game is played – particularly at such a high level – we can learn something. Taking it in context with what has already happened and how it can affect – negatively or positively – the future is vital. Below let’s blend some World Series looks with in-season recollection and look at two players that stood out to me: Alex Bregman and Joc Pederson.

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All the final 2017 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2018 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Depending on how you want to think about it, this week’s podcast is either the 2017 season finale, or the 2018 season premiere. I guess it’s a glass half full/empty kind of thing. Grey Albright, Ralph Lifshitz, and I run a three man 2018 mock draft, going 27 players deep. We debate if Clayton Kershaw should still be the first pitcher taken, is Trea Turner a top three pick, and if 23rd overall is too high for Josh Donaldson. We discuss everyone from Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, Giancarlo Stanton, and Bryce Harper, to Jose Ramirez, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Gary Sanchez, and everyone in between. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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