With these top 100 starters for 2018 fantasy baseball, I’ve finished our (my) 2018 fantasy baseball rankings for positions.  Still coming will be a top 100 overall and top 500 to see how all the positions mesh together like your mesh Redskins jersey that meshes with your burgundy sweatpants.  Trust me, when you see how long this post is, you’ll be glad I kept this intro short.  As always, my projections are included, and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  If you want an explanation of tiers, go back to the top 10 overall and start this shizz all over again.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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When you start drafting fantasy baseball teams on New Years Day, as I did this year, it feels like you’re in a vacuum. There aren’t a bunch of rankings out, ADP doesn’t exist yet, and there are usually several players (more so than ever this year, as it turned out) who are sitting around in real-life free agent limbo. It can be invigorating feeling like it’s just you and your draft cheat sheet against the world, but it’s also a little scary sometimes, especially wondering if you’re grabbing players several rounds earlier than you need to.  I always like to put together my own rankings in January, and keep that list to refer to as the pre-season progresses. Sure, my opinions will change, perhaps significantly in many cases, but I like to revisit my initial thoughts, seeing what my lists looked like before countless outside influences crept into my decision-making process. In a deep league, it’s particularly tricky to figure out which of these outside influences to buy into, since things like spring training battles for fifth starter gigs, meaningless in a standard league, take on actual importance in AL/NL-only or other deep formats.  Trying to separate helpful information from irrelevant pre-season chatter can be difficult, and I find it impossible to be completely immune from the impact of reports on who’s in the best shape of his life, who swears he’s going to run more this season, or remembering how cute Nick Williams looks in his uniform.

Back to the present —  with January in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for me to come up with version 2.0 of my 2018 fantasy baseball prep, even though we’re still a couple weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting.  I have a couple real, money-league drafts under my belt and we all finally have a few outside sources to consult to see what other drafters and experts have been thinking (including Grey’s 2018 rankings, which are coming at you fast, fun, and furious).   I’m going to concentrate on NL players for this list since I just finished an NL-only draft, but stay tuned for an AL version in the not-so-distant future. Based on my January drafts, early expert analysis, the limited amount of news we’ve actually been getting from major league baseball teams, a close look at early NFBC ADP, and plain old gut instinct, here are some players who I already think I’m more or less likely to draft than I would have been a month or two ago:

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The Giants went out and traded for the 32-year-old Evan Longoria, who has rapidly been declining for years.  Please, keep that in mind while I run down their lineup.  Hitting leadoff…Steven Duggar?  Is that the Christian with 52 kids who is cheating on his wife with his butler or some shizz?  Maybe, it’s definitely not Christian Arroyo, he was traded.  Hitting 2nd…Joe Panik?  We’re only two guys in, but Panik, indeed.  Then will come their newly-minted three-hole hitter, Longoria, followed by the 14-homer, don’t-touch-his-pretty-boy-face, Buster Posey.  Please never let me see another one of those commercials with Posey in it.  Please.  Next up!  A guy whose hits are described as “belting one” because his last name is Belt, and for no other reason.  It is completely and unequivocally not because he hits the ball hard.  Followed by…Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  Is it my 72-year-old aunt trying to throw a baseball?  No, it’s The Gangly Manbird, Hunter Pence.  Next up, some combination of Brandon Crawford, Jarrett Parker and let’s hope Madison Bumgarner knocks in a runner otherwise they’re going to lose 95 games.  As my intern, let’s call him, Lalph Rifshitz would say, that’s primo, bud.  As for Longoria, he should feel at home with the Giants since he is used to being in places that collect old people.  On the bright side, Longoria plays a lot, staying on the field.  On the dim side, you kinda wish he’d take more days off.  For 2018, I’ll give Longoria the projections of 86/22/94/.271/2 in 608 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday….yesterday….yesterday….
All my fantasy baseball championship titles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though one is here to stay *sung in a very fast voice* oh, crap, nope, because I didn’t draft Daniel Murphy because he didn’t believe in the lifestyle of a gay,
Oh, why didn’t I believe in Murphy like he didn’t believe in a…gay…gay…gay.
Suddenly!  David Price’s arm is not half of what it used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, it’s Giancarlo’s groin that I made of plaster of Paris to admire and it just exploded in paste on me…Suddenly!
Why the season had to go, I don’t know, it wouldn’t say… because it can’t talk, it’s a baseball season that ended yesterday…yesterday…yesterday!
Fantasy Baseball was such an easy game to play,
Now I need a mother’s basement to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday…day…day.

*sniffles*  Here, take a tissue.  You have to excuse me, I don’t have any clean ones.  What will we do for the next few months without an update on a Mets’ pitcher elbow?  Will Rougned Odor reveal he was accidentally batting while crossing his eyes and that’s why he barely hit .200?  What will we do without a James Paxton injury update?  WHAT?  WILL?  WE?  DO?  Prepare for next season, of course.  But, first, let’s bask in the last day of the season.  Today is the day when you realize you’ve spent 27,000 man hours this summer beating eleven other strangers to win a virtual trophy, and it feels great!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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When Hunter Renfroe was demoted two months ago, he had to ask himself, “Did I just lose my job to Jabari?”  Since he was holding down his soon-to-be-extinct home button on his iPhone, Siri responded, “You’re the jabroni.”  This sent Hunter Renfroe into a shame spiral not seen since Lorenzo Lamas spun his laser pointer at cellulite.  Then Renfroe stepped on more mental rakes that smacked him in his face.  He followed The Iron Sheik on Twitter, who promptly called him a Jabroni.  He wandered into a Brony convention, and a bearded man dressed as My Little Pony introduced himself as Jay Brony.  It was awful!  Renfroe, or as Scooby would call him, ‘Renfroe,’ has a batting average that is the dog’s breakfast, which means it’s Scooby snacks.  Zoinks!  That’s not why you’re owning him; it’s for power, that he has in spades (though clubs would make more sense).  If you need power in the final ten days, grab Renfroe, you jabroni!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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If you’re at all familiar with management theory, then you’re probably aware generally of the “Peter Principle”. The concept is simple, managers rise to the level of their incompetence. Here’s where you think about your current manager, and snicker. Are you done? Okay, so it’s concept that many of us can relate to, some of us first hand. But what does this have to do with the subject of today’s profile Marlins starter Dillon Peters? Ahhh, his name is Peters? It works right? But perhaps there’s more there. Or maybe I’m overthinking. Yeah, totally overthinking it. Then again, is it possible that Peters has risen to his own level of potential incompetence here in the Bigs? His numbers over the last two years in the minors have been phenomenal, rarely letting up multiple earned runs in a game. In fact over the last two years, across 37 starts between high A and AA, Peters has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .224 BAA,  7.5 K/9, and 1.74 Bb/9. While allowing just 5 balls to leave the park in 191.2 innings. So to say he’s on a great run the last few years is an understatement. Will that continue here in the majors or is he due for a heavy regression? Through Peters first few starts he’s been solid but lucky. I actually intended to profile his start last Tuesday at Philadelphia, but pivoted to Sunday’s turn for the rescheduled home game vs the Brew Crew. I figured in case things went awry in Milwaukee recency bias would win out. Here’s what I saw.

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To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…

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There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes.  Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.

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Yesterday, Domingo Santana had a double slam (23, 24) and legs (12).  Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but it feels like Domingo is just so much better on Sunday, right?  Carl Jung and Sting would say I’m onto something with this synchronicity.  As someone who doesn’t own Domingo anywhere, but wishes he did own him, I can understand when Jung and Sting speak of the duality of a man.  I get the sense Domingo Santana will be underrated in 2018 too.  Of course, I think this is crazy for a 25-year-old guy capable of a 30/15 season in a great home park.  As Sting specifically sang, there’s a little black man named Sunday.  He’s not the same old thing on Saturday.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?