It’s been a crazy first half-week of baseball, and I’m already struggling a bit trying to keep up with tracking the waiver wire in all of my leagues.  As often happens even after months of offseason research, the first few box scores of the season have featured a handful of surprise names in terms of who’s contributing fantasy stats.  Instead of looking at a few of the young up-and-comers who’ve already made contributions that we may not have been expecting based on our winter planning, I’ve decided that this post should instead be dedicated to some names we were already plenty familiar with but may have passed right over.  It’s been hard for our heads not to be turned — and perhaps rightfully so — by the Jonathan Indias and the Akil Baddoos of the baseball world (both of whom we’ve already chatted about over the past couple of weeks).  But here at Rolling In the Deep, we’ll take one for the Razzball team this week, and concentrate on the Island of Misfit Toys rather than exciting shiny new objects.  To earn a blurb below, each player needed three qualifications:  to be age 30 or older, to have been basically left for dead (or in this case between #570 and #700)  in terms of ADP this year, and to have had at least one impressive/helpful game fantasy-wise to start the 2021 season.  Not gonna lie, those qualifications proved a bit more challenging than I thought they’d be, bringing us to the names below.

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We can all agree that Myles Straw is everyone’s deep stolen base sleeper for this year. Is someone still considered a sleeper if everyone labels him as such? Either way, he could be hitting atop the new-look Astros lineup running for his life even with old-school Dusty Baker as their manager. But here’s the Hotels.com Captain Obvious™ statement of the day: there’s only 1 Myles Straw in every league — either ya get him earlier than you want, or the commissioner’s annoying little brother drafts him right ahead of you. So I’m going to highlight 8 players who are being drafted after Straw’s current ADP (339 on Fantrax as of March 23rd) who could sneakily steal double-digit bases for your team. These deep league stolen base threats not only ‘Ain’t Got No Face,’ they might not even ‘Ain’t Got No Head’ they’re so anonymous. 

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Daulton Varsho was called up by the Diamondbacks. His numbers in the minors are gorge, as in they will engorge you. 18/21/.301 in Double-A, and he’s a catcher. Oh…*climbs to top of world’s tallest stack of pancakes*…kay. Yo, Varsho, you the greatest living catcher ever? Varsho! Here’s what Prospect Itch said, “Prospects don’t get much rarer than Daulton Varsho. My estimated time for his arrival says late 2020, but that might be dependent upon Arizona deciding to stop developing him as a catcher. He struck out just 13.9 percent of the time while walking in 9.3 percent of his plate appearances. That along with his .301/.378/.520 slash line and 159 wRC+ in a decent pitching environment suggests he might be ready for the leap to MLB pitching right now. Can Grey take a leap?” Not cool, man. I haven’t been this excited for a catcher since I married my Cougar. My guess is he plays DH, since the DBacks ditched Kevin Cron, and already have Total Request Live and Rock the Vogt to catch. Playing time could be an issue, which is why I didn’t grab Varsho in every league, but I did try him in one very shallow league, knowing I can just drop him if he doesn’t work out. Yo, do you even lift, bro? Also, he’ll be in this afternoon’s Buy, which you could already be reading if you subscribe to our Patreon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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For some of you too young to remember (ya know, all of you 4-year-olds reading a fantasy baseball blog), Jose Reyes sat out after a 1st inning single in order to win a batting title in 2011. A weasel move if there ever was one. It’s like sleeping with Kate Hudson, Kate Upton and Kate Beckinsale then declaring you’re off the market for life because you’ve got the Triple Kate Crown. Not even trying for Kate Bush, Kate Gosselin or a Kate Spade handbag. You sold yourself short, just like Jose Reyes. Well, yesterday was, well, have I said ‘well’ yet, well, um, well, Mike Minor (8 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 12 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.59) got 200 Ks on the season. He did. There’s no denying it, but here’s the path he took: He gave up five runs, didn’t look great, was at 117 pitches and came out for the 8th inning because he needed one more K for 200. Much to his chagrin, he threw a 1-2-3 8th inning on three pitches. So, would he come out for the 9th? You betcha, home slice! Skullduggery was afoot! He got another out, then a two-strike count to Chris Owings, when Owings popped up to Ronald Guzman in foul territory. Guzman, knowing Minor needed another K for 200, dropped the pop-up and his dugout cheered. Baseball:  team sport.  Then, on the next pitch, he struck out Chris Owings and got his 200th K on an 86 MPH winded-as-all-get-out fastball that was called a change with an eye roll on the 126th pitch. So, does this make Minor as bad as Reyes? Much worse? Or better because he was at least trying to do more? No one will ever be as bad as Jose Reyes! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Domingo Santana (1-for-5 with a grand slam) is already in beast mode.  That beast is a dingo, emphasis on ding, as in dinger, and you can’t spell Domingo without dong, but this dingo eats dongs not babies, and I’ve got smoke coming out my ears….We have real baseball!  Then, tomorrow we won’t have real baseball again for a week.  MLB is so crackers it’s staying at the Ritz by the water, Cheez-it, Mary and Joseph!  “Happy Opening Day two days later,” said the Time Zone to the Baseball Fan.  I can’t wait to see how Mike Fiers (3 IP, 5 ER) and Marco Gonzales (6 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 4 Ks) react to pitching in a game, then taking a 56-hour plane flight home to pitch again in a week.  Their combined 89 MPH fastballs are gonna have some jet lag.  Hopefully, their elbows won’t.  The Stream-o-Nator wasn’t thrilled with either pitcher, and neither was great.  Yes, the Stream-o-Nator is back!  The only real takeaway I have from these games is the A’s are at least thinking similarly to me, and that Ramon Laureano (0-for-5, 3 Ks) is the best man for the A’s leadoff job.  I’ll toast to that!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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We’ve done it!  We’ve reached the end of the fantasy baseball hitter rankings.  Give yourself a big round of applause.  I’d clap for you, but I have carpal tunnel from actually ranking all the hitters and writing all their blurbs and calculating all of their projections and– What exactly did you do?  Oh, yeah, you read them.  No wonder why your hands can still clap.  Okay, let’s get to it because this post is like 5,000 words long and I wrote it with my toes.  C’mon, pinkie toe, push down the shift key!  Here’s Steamer’s 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers.  All projections listed are mine and I mention where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 outfielders for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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Hello, I am Hunter Renfroe.  I have homered in four straight games.  I am also your father that is why I play for the Padres.  Please, call me daddy.  Not sure why I’m talking like a robot.  Elon Musk has bought my body and repurposed my soul.  By the by, you know what’s fun to do, next time you’re in a quiet place where people will be able to hear your phone, have Siri say, “You’re the reason the robots take over the world in the future.”  And have Siri keep saying it while you look at the person next to you, then finally say to your phone, “Me or this guy?”  Any hoo!  Hunter Renfroe (2-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 12th homer) sent the Padres into the Space Force!  He has power (still makes no sense he’s hitting third, don’t care what he’s done), and I’d grab him if you need that.  Him and Franmil Reyes (3-for-5, 2 runs and his 9th homer, and third homer in four games) have put on a show these last few days.  Not sure why they’d hit the Brewers hard, they just traded for Jonathan Schoop.  He’s a good pitcher, right?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The only way to compare things is to look in the past and see how we match up to the year previous.  For pace reasons, for setting your mind at ease, and to basically not bore you to death, I am only going back one year because I have gone over the decline of the ever loved “stolen base” as a cumulative stat.  So in 2017 through the first 81 games of the season,  (roughly… because every team plays different amounts of games) there were a combine 1,405 steals by all MLB teams. In 2018, we currently sit at 1,310.  Now remember games for AL teams are off a bit, but still, we are sitting at 95 stolen bases fewer than the year previous.  That is an eye catching number, even when you break it into a smaller number like percentages it still sucks for the SAGNOF love.  Just to delve into it further, there were three players with 30-plus steals and three above 20 steals at the All Star break last year.  (With the leader, Billy Hamilton garnering 38.)  This year, there are only six players above 20, and none above current theft leader Michael Taylor with 23.  The downward trend, the going away from using the steal as an asset in fantasy is a dying trend that we are lucky to be apart of from a draft usability standpoint.  I am more of a “see what I know baseball guy” rather than a number cruncher, but nobody uses the steal effectively to set the pace of a game anymore.  Now for fantasy it sucks that we are mimicking real life, as a grab the best players to accumulate stats to fill our rosters mentality is the M.O., but I would be interested to see how your league standings are reflecting this downward trend in steals and how much the league leader in the category has, and if you think it is worth chasing as a catch up stat for the second half of the year.  So give me some feedback, and here’s some charts of catchers to steal on and pitchers to exploit.  Cheers!

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Last week there was an unfortunate hiatus from the Top 100 Hitters column as I was deep in the woods of Central New Jersey for my annual camping trip. Does Central Jersey exist? I was there — so I guess so.

I took a lot of time going player by player on these rankings so there are a lot of shake-ups in the rankings. I took a real close look at everyone’s numbers and tried my best to compare players 1 to 1 to see who I preferred. It can get rough comparing two players side by side. Do you prefer Player A with 60 runs, 5 HRs, 30 RBI, 20 SBs and a .285 average? Or Player B with 45 runs, 20 HRs, 50 RBI, 0 SB and a .245 AVG? In the end, unfortunately for this column — beauty is in the eye of the beholder — and I don’t mean the amazing MS-DOS dungeon crawler from 1991. Beauty is also in your roster construction — Player A might be really useful to you if you’ve got a bunch of slow-footed boobies out there.

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