As pitchers and catchers report we’re beginning to be graced with some reassurances as to who certain teams will use at closer. Those are always nice. Just remember managers don’t feel beholden to what they say in February and situations can change. Not unlike myself and fellow analysts. “I don’t recall recommending Jose Leclerc as a top 10 2019 closer, Senator.” We’re all playing a guessing game. My best advice is to invest lightly and spread your exposure over as many arms as possible.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

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Yesterday, the Indians were to the Yankees as the Yankees were to the Orioles and the Orioles were to the Orioles during split-squad games in Spring Training and Spring Training is to Kevin Bacon. Five degrees! Take that, dentist of the mailman whose wife goes to Kyra Sedgwick manicurist!  This Indians’ scalping of the Yankees was a long, long time coming. What a narrative for Jose Ramirez this year. From April until June 30th, he had 5 HRs and was hitting .214.  In the next six weeks, he has 14 homers and is hitting around .300 (around because I didn’t feel like doing the math, deal with it), including yesterday’s part in the drubbing (2-for-3, 6 RBIs and his 18th and 19th homer).  Jos-Rami is the 1st time I can remember feeling like I nailed his preseason overrated post, while taking the W for saying to buy him in June.  A double W, a double-dub, a dubya with a dubya, a–Okay, you get the point. For 2020, I bet everyone will be ranking Jose Ramirez in the same place where I had him this year, tail-end of the 1st round vs. that top five crap they were all coming with this year. Otherwise? More W’s for Grey! A triple dubya, a worldwide W, a–All right, enough. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Before we move into the roundup, there’s a new fantasy football video at the top of this post. Watch, review and rate. Kidding, you goofs! You just need to watch. 2nd of all, join one of our fantasy football leagues before they’re all filled. Anyway II, the roundup:

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Stan Bush? Give me that beat! You got the Tauchman! You got the power! Yeah! You’ve never walked, you’ve never run! You’re a winner! (Though some may say running and walking aren’t bad for baseball.) You got the moves, you got the streets (not as important in baseball)! Break the rules (well, Barry Bonds had some success with this)! You’re nobody’s fool! Yeah! You’re at your best when the going gets rough! (This is true since the Yanks had some injuries and needed Mike Tauchman to step up.) You’ve been put to the test, but it’s never enough! (That’s less true; we appreciate you here, Tauchman). You got the Tauchman! You got the power! It’s all true! So, Mike Tauchman (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, hitting .299) hit another home run last night, his 10th, that’s in 60 games. And he stole a bag, his 4th! He now has three homers in two games, and four homers in the last week. I grabbed him in multiple leagues, because who doesn’t love dongs! Not this redblooded American! Hoo-rah, I got the Tauch!

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Before we get into the post, fantasy football RCLs have launched.  Get in now!

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Andrew McCutchen is out for the year with a torn ACL.  To borrow a phrase often quoted in the White Sox bullpen box score, that’s A. Bummer.  On the bright side, Cesar Hernandez (1-for-5) isn’t some obscure Roman emperor, you’re thinking of Nero Antivirus and Flavor Flavius!  Last year when Cesar Hernandez had 563 at-bats in leadoff, he was a sneaky top 50 bat.  Before last night, he had only 5 at-bats at leadoff.  Well, all that’s about to change for the better.  Then you have the new Phils’ outfielder, Jay Effin-Up-My-Paddack Bruce (3-for-4, 3 runs, 6 RBIs and his 15th and 16th homers).  Also, Adam Haseley (0-for-4) suddenly has value as the Phils’ center fielder, when two days ago you thought Haseley was the singer of Ghost.  You say you’re no good for me, I like it ANYWAY! What, I have to work the five-lady crowd too.  As I said yesterday, “(Haseley is the) Phils’ 2017 1st round pick. Prospectonator doesn’t love Haseley, giving him 15/7 with little average over the course of a season (by the way, if you click on Haseley’s name, his projections are there for free — like every player). I will say this for Haseley, he looks ready to contribute in the landmark case of sooner vs. later since he played college ball.  In NL-Only leagues, I’m interested since McCutchen looks out for a while, but wait and see in mixed.”  And that’s me quoting me!  The Phils also said (This Phil character has a lot to say!) Scott Kingery (2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 4th homer) will be getting regular starts at 3rd.  When asked about Maikel, they said, “…”  Oh, now you have nothing to say!  But Maikel hit a pinch-hit homer, his 9th.  Still nothing?  “…”  Damn.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Doe, a deer, a female deer that sounds like Chaz Roe.  Ray, a drop of eleven Rays!  Me, a name I call myself while looking in the mirror to check on my hair–Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.  I was just singing a little song I call, “Julie Andrews is One Hot Cougar.”  Yesterday, Robbie Ray did the impossible.  No, not strike out 11 Rays hitters.  I mean, yes, he did that.  But that’s not what I found impossible.  I find it impossible to like him, and yesterday he made me smile a little.  Sure, this ‘impossible task’ is a bit subjective, but get out of your own head, it’s all subjective!  Life’s subjective!  Wow, I just became an angry philosopher.  Call me Socrankies.  Robbie Ray’s line yesterday 5 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 7 baserunners (3 BBs), 11 Ks is almost exactly him to a T.  He is a 4.7 BB/9 guy and that was his BB/9 yesterday in under six innings.  He can’t go deep because of the walks, and his Ks are gorge, but also limit his IP.  I don’t hate him as much as it might seem.  I don’t own him, but I can understand the allure.  I “allurve” Ks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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On a new true crime podcast, Murdered By The Numbers, the host and a former FBI agent discuss the murdering of baseballs.  A serial offender coming into this year was Martin Perez. “The recidivism rates for Perez were due to his 5-ish K/9 and high-3 BB/9,” the host points out.  Then the FBI agent takes us through a personal anecdote about how he captured The Golden State Killer, which ends in a Blue Apron ad.  “The bloody body laid there like a halibut in a summer tomato bouillabaisse, which is just one of their great options!”  Yesterday, Martin Perez showed us once again that no one is too old to be new again.  Except Felix Hernandez, he’s not getting new again.  Perez went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.83, as he changes all preconceived notions.  His velocity is up 2 MPH and his cutter looks filthy, a pitch he is throwing nearly 35% of the time this year, because of the results he’s getting.  A pitch he added just this year.  See how obvious this narrative is?  Pitcher adds filth and gets results.  He’s not quite an under-3 ERA pitcher, but he’s usable for all leagues.  He left his old crew in Texas that was a bad influence and he’s now done murdering baseballs.  From RIP to rehabilitated FIP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Let’s dust off Grey’s tiers for this first closer report of the season. We’re one day in and the sky is already falling all over the closer landscape.

  • We have our first dumpster fire of the season in Arizona. Pudding-brained Toery Lovullo will use the guy with experience in Greg Holland, albeit awful recent experience.
  • Bruce Bochy did the right thing and confirmed Will Smith will be the closer. A manager making a sensible decision, be still my heart.
  • Taylor Rodgers earned the opening day save in Minnesota. The matchups dictated a LHP so don’t go overboard changing that hierarchy. We need to be aware Rocco Baldeli will mix and match, however.
  • An old fashioned 6-out save was on the menu for Josh Hader. He needed Lorenzo Cain to bring a homer back over the wall, but the stuff was nasty as ever with plenty of whiffs.
  • Pedro Strop hammy wasn’t a big deal and he’s ready to go. Bump him up a tier with another leap pending his hold on the role of.
  • The Reds and Royals bullpens got off on the wrong foot. Both spots need to be monitored to see if roles are changing.
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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Auction drafting reminds me of playing poker. Having a plan of attack, choosing the right hand to play, and then subsequently winning the hand while finding out that you could’ve made a lot more money if you had played it correctly. If you’re patient enough, play the rights hands and stick to the calculations, it’ll work out to your benefit more often than not, but are you that patient?

Can you let a player go under value because he’s not part of your plan? Can you avoid getting sucked into the auction and over paying for your guy? Can you avoid killing your budget faster than a college kid on spring break?

Hindsight is 20/20 and that is rarely more apparent than over the course of an auction. I don’t believe I’ve ever left an auction without regret. However, even if you don’t stick to your plan, there are ways to maneuver the auction to make your team build complete.

My plan coming into the auction was similar to my draft strategy for most of my leagues. I wanted to concentrate my bat spending on top of the order, high average, speed guys. Accomplished this with my combination of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Trea Turner. I balanced that speed with power in Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Andujar, Justin Upton, and Max Muncy.

For my pitching, I took a more aggressive stance than normal and only wanted one ace and two established closers. I got Max Scherzer and then grabbed Edwin Diaz, Sean Doolittle, and Pedro Strop late.

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Welcome back to baseball Cubs fan, or just fantasy readers who want to know about the Cubs. 2018 was a disappointment for many Cubs fans and fantasy owners of Cubs players alike, unless you happened to own Javier Baez. At least there is always the bleachers with a sausage and an Old Style.

While my outlook for 2019 may still be rosy (I expect the Cubbies to win the NL Central), there is an impending contract cliff that the North siders are going to have to maneuver, and the roster could look completely different in 2021 and 2022. Some of these guys the Cubs will try to re-sign, and other deals will be nice to get off the books, but the Cubs must make that decision on Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and several other less impactful guys.

I’m a bit hesitant on the Cubs for the future, but you’re here to figure out what to do this season. While 2018 may be viewed as a down season, the Cubs still finished 9th in runs scored and the pitching finished with the 3rd best ERA in the league. PECOTA is projecting doom and gloom with a last place finish in the division, but that seems like an overreaction to a team that is getting a healthy Kris Bryant and hopefully, a healthy Yu Darvish back this season. I may even take the over on the THOME projection of 88.5 wins with a 2nd place finish in the division, but maybe I’m just optimistic, after all, it is spring training time

(To hear more about the THOME projection system, check out my podcast, Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports on Razzball when we interview the creator, Steve Paulo).

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The best 2019 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer.  Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means.  Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?”  Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint.  Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature.  Any hoo!   So the title is a bit of a superlative.  What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?”  You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you.  This is the best 2019 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2019 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2019 fantasy baseball.  Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is.  If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change.  If I took Javier Baez in the 1st round, everything after would change.  I’ve previously gone over my 2019 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Trea Turner first, because, well, people complain I always did this post by taking Mike Trout first, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover right instead of left.  Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks.  It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Scherzer and deGrom in the first two rounds and I was able to take Bryce Harper in the 2nd round (which is very likely), but since Treat Urner and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both.  Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken.  People tend to look at team need over value.  So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks.  Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free reign to fill up my team.  Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward.  Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky.  It should still be my ideal team… Or not.  Let’s see, shall we?  Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up).  Anyway, here’s the best 2019 fantasy baseball team:

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