As many of you know, I’m in the NL-Only Tout Wars league, so every year I take part in an industry NL-Only league with the CBS peeps to try to find my footing before I go off to New York to take on the heavyweights, and Andy Behrens, who appears to have a healthy BMI.  Some might mock, some might mock draft, but this is my draft prep, and am happy to take part in this league.  Until about 25 minutes into the draft, and players go for way too much, and I start getting hungry and I just want the whole thing to be over and ermahgerd!  But, for those first twenty-five minutes of the five-hour draft, I’m laser focused.  For this league, I once again use Rudy’s NL-Only rankings, and his War Room (it’s free with a subscription).  I won’t try to get you to buy it anymore.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make the horse put a cape down so I can walk over the water without getting wet.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds others for prizes –> Razzball Commenter Leagues.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

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NL WestNL Central | NL East | AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!  Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign… Note that those two signings can instantly eliminate some of the position battles detailed herein.

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I lied to you loyal Razzball readers. In part 1 of this 2019 fantasy baseball mock draft hosted by Justin Mason of Friends with Fantasy Benefits, I told you this was going to be a four-part series. Well, unfortunately between rounds 23 and 24, the MLB regular season ended and thus, so did our Fantrax mock draft. The draft room disappeared from the league page and every future pick was being auto-drafted. Rather than waste your time discussing random players being auto-drafted I’m just going to highlight a few notable undrafted players at the bottom of this article. Back to the draft itself: three words can sum up rounds 15 through 23: risk, relievers and rookies. You’ll soon see what I mean. (BTW, the 2nd part of the fantasy baseball mock draft.)

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Yesterday, Gary Sanchez went 2-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 17th homer, hitting .184.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m busy on the backend of the site doing year-end recaps for every position, and, yes, even the catchers, which will be released after the season ends.  With that said, did good ol’ Gary have the worst season ever for a consensus number one at a position?  Was it consensual?  “Why ya gotta put the word sensual in consensual?” every man in 2018.  By the by, was there a grabby hands discount coupon at GropeOn that I missed?  Sanchez’s year makes Cervelli look like a first ballot Hall of Famer.  And, if there’s ever a wing for concussions, I hope Cervelli’s CTE is one day in there.  Sanchez might be the first person to ever achieve exactly half of his preseason projections.  Even his batting average is about half of what was expected.  For 2019, I could see him recovering, but I won’t be the one to draft him to find out.  In other words, I’ll be bringing out major hedges with Sanchez, while drafting Austin Hedges.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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At this point in the season, it’s like a tag line for a bad horror film, no one is safe.  Narrator, “This fall, in a theater near you, Jamie Lee Curtis, the world’s hottest cougar.  A cougar so hot when she enters any room, a DJ plays, “Stray Cat Strut,” but the people in the room replace cat with cougar.”  Unsuspecting person, whistling, “I’m just going to open this random closet over here while this ominous music plays.  No, I’m not going to turn on a light first, that would be silly.”  Unsuspecting person opens the closet door and Jamie Lee Curtis jumps out, “Boo!”  “Boo as in you want to be my boo, because you are so hot for a 70-year-old.  How about me, you and the diner waitress who calls me sugar get a motel room?”  Jamie Lee Curtis shakes her head and walks away as people sing Stray Cougar Strut.  Narrator returns, “No one is safe, and everyone wants to sleep with the 70-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis, because she is so hot.  Has she had work done?”  No one is safe on fantasy teams either.  In the Sells, I’ll get to dropping, but this is about picking up (and not just 70-year-old women).  There’s a good chance I go all-in on Daniel Palka this offseason.  Of course, before going all-in, it’s important to get consent first.  I learned this the hard way with Giancarlo.  This post is just about what he can do over the next week.  That would be best informed by what he’s done over the last week:  4 HRs and hitting .375.  As I tell Jamie Lee Curtis in my daydreams, giddy up, sexy, we’re going for a ride!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Briefly alluded to Stephen Piscotty in yesterday’s roundup and how I’d love to the see the A’s go deep in the playoffs.  Do I think they will?  Can pigs fly?  No, though, Puig can hit deep flies, and lick inanimate objects like he’s a fly regurgitating his food.  The A’s have two starters and they’re named Mike Fiers and Edwin Jackson (5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.18).  So, that’s an uphill battle as they say on the way to the soap box derby starting line.  They do have a well-balanced offense, which is a little crazy when you think about their home park.  Ron Jeremy has less foul territory.  Oakland is a top five offense, and their park, as it always has been, is a bottom five park for offense.  That’s so backwards it’s like, “I’m getting so lucky on Tinder recently!”  Then finding out you’ve actually been opening 23 and Me and you’re banging your cousins.  At the forefront of the A’s attack — A’stack? — is obviously Khris Davis (2-for-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI), but ‘a little dab will do ya’ with Semien (3-for-5, 1 run, 5 RBIs), every Semien encounter begins with a Martini (3-for-6, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer), and Matt “Thank God I’m Not Matt Olson” Chapman (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) has been on one since July, but Stephen Piscotty is having the year everyone expected from him when he was on the Cards.  I know he had some personal issues, but he might be the first player ever to not be better on the Cards vs. anywhere else they’ve gone.  Piscotty went 2-for-3, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and hit his 26th homer with back-to-back huge games, and in the last 20 games, he’s hitting .338 with eight homers and 26 RBIs.  For 2019, what can he do?  Piscotty doesn’t know!  Piscotty doesn’t know!  But I do.  He can do what he’s been doing this season, a solid third outfielder with 2nd outfielder upside.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Happy almost-Fall Equinox, deep-leaguers! We’ve continued to tick the days off the calendar and here we are with just over a week to go in this glorious time of year we like to call the fantasy baseball season. I seem to forget each year how random (and often frustrating) setting a lineup gets each September, with expanded rosters wreaking havoc on playing time situations, pitching rotations, and accurate injury reports, but it will all be in the rear-view mirror soon enough. If nothing else, in the deep-league world, this is a good time of year to keep an eye on the teams at the bottom of the standings, looking for that proverbial diamond in the rough. This week we’ll concentrate on guys who’ve been getting regular playing time for bad teams. I find bad MLB teams are always a great place to look for deep-league fantasy help, and perhaps never more so than these last weeks, when players who would be lucky to be scraping together a few at bats for a contending team often find themselves in an eliminated team’s lineup daily. As is our deep-league norm, it’s unlikely any of these players will make a standard-league fantasy impact any time soon (or perhaps ever), but some may be of interest to those in NL-only, AL-only, or other deep leagues – either for the last days of 2018, or for us to put a pin in for when we head into the 2019 season and beyond.

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Why do I keep hearing in my head Deniece Williams?   “Let’s hear it for the boy!  Let’s give that ball a hand!”  Am I the only one hearing that?  Recently, Jameson Taillon mentioned that he always smells the ball before playing catch.  What is with guys smelling balls?  Don’t pretend I’m the only one!  Is that a carryover from our gorilla days?  I’m like John Scopes with a monocle!  Speaking of evolution, I was recently thinking about how we’ve managed to stand upright, but thousands of years and we’re not using our feet as hands yet?  Like you wouldn’t take three hands and hop on one leg all day, please.  Any hoo!  Jameson Taillon threw a gem yesterday — 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 3.24.  I’m going to like him in 2019, as I’ve liked him for the last few years, but I can’t say I’m as excited about his 8 .4 K/0, 2.2 BB/9 and 3.56 xFIP as I wish I were.  His fastball velocity of 95 MPH should be producing a tad more.  I think there’s a 10 K/9 in there somewhere, but since he’s basically repeated his previous year’s stats, it’s hard to expect that much more in 2019.  Still, have to give the ball a hand!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Didja you know The Captain from Captain & Tennille’s real name is Daryl Dragon?  Why would this guy have a nickname?  Your name’s awesome, you don’t get a nickname.  Daryl Dragon has bedtime slippers that are cooler than you.  Daryl Dragon washes his hands, then breathes a not-very-intense fire on his hands to dry them.  Daryl Dragon can’t get a speeding ticket.  “Okay, Mr. Dragon, I’ll let you go this time with a warning because your name is Daryl Dragon.” Raul Mondesi?  Now that name sucks as bad as Thanksgiving dinners with the Mondesis (Mondesii?).  “Please pass the potatoes and change your name back to Junior.”  “NO!” and chucks mashed potatoes at his father’s head.  “You throw like your mom!”  “I hate you”  And so on.  I don’t hate Adalberto Mondesi though.  Yesterday, he went 3-for-5, 2 RBIs and had a slam (9) and legs (25).  He has nine homers and 25 steals in only 219 ABs.  Mr. Prorater says, “In a full season, he’d have 20 homers and 55 steals.  And if I ate an orange a day for a year, I’d have enough Vitamin C for a Mars colony.”  You could consider this your first 2019 sleeper, assuming I don’t get too crazy with myself and rank Mondesi in the top 25 next year.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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In the biz, we call this post, In Appreciation. It’s like In Memoriam, but Jennifer Hudson isn’t singing a song and no one died.  What did you just ask?  Is your childhodd guinea pig alive again because I just said, ‘No one died?’  Doode, I’m saying no one died in general.  No, that doesn’t mean General Tsao is alive again!  Shut up!  Yesterday, Javier Baez went 3-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 31st homer, hitting .295.  That day?  For this year?  As the pimp told his lady of the night, ho-hum.  But, five ladies and gentlemen, Javier Baez is your NL MVP if only Cubs fans vote!  By the by, Baez has more 100 RBI seasons in his career than Bryce Harper.  I will now drop a 140 WUT.  How about we make every post the rest of the year about how much Bryce sucks?  Worst 35-homer hitter in the history of baseball ever?  Okay, that’s prolly Adam Dunn, but Bryce is real close for useless.  When the Nats need a big hit, he Ks or walks.  When the game is out of reach and no one is on?  Harper’s you’re man.  Okay, this is becoming about Harper instead of Baez.  On the year, Baez has 31 HRs, 21 SBs, .295 and 90/100 on the runs/RBIs.  On our Player Rater, he is teetering between 5th and 6th overall.  For 2019, I’m having a hard time envisioning me ranking him any lower than 10th overall, and likely much closer to top five.  Now, about that sucker Harper…  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?