I’m somewhere where I don’t know where I am. I began this week in sunshine in Iceland and came back to an ice storm that had me grounded for hours in Toronto (and it’s late April, may I remind you). Facebook (dafuq?) was showing live MLB games. Jose Bautista is a minor leaguer. Everything feels turned on its head. I don’t trust much anymore, but for my FantasyDraft lineup today, I do feel I can trust Chris Sale ($23,400… Yes. I know) as he squares up against the Oakland A’s in O.co Stadium. Sale has pitched there only a couple of times, but he’s fared pretty well, with a 3.21 ERA. There’s a good chance he could hit double-digit strikeouts against the A’s, who are striking out at a 23% clip. So in summary, Sale today should be A’s-O-Ks.
Let’s take a look at other options for FantasyDraft for April 21, the first day of spring. (“No, autumn!” cries everyone in the southern hemisphere.)
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You ever see something and you still don’t believe it? You distrust your own eyes. Well, I just saw a video of this, and I still don’t believe it: Mookie Betts bowls better than he hits. And he hits pretty damn good! He rolled a perfect game yesterday vs. the Yankees (4-for-4, 5 runs, 4 RBIs, and his 2nd homer), but he also rolled a perfect game in the World Series of Bowling last November. On Shabbos, no less! Half of me is expecting someone to point out that it was this other cat, Mookie Betts from Virginia, who is a white guy who looks like Ed Kemper. (By the way, you kinda know Ed Kemper reads Razzball. You just know this.) So, out of habit, does Mookie spray his baseball cleats? Does he ever beat out an infield single and want to sweep out his right heel like he just threw a bowling ball? Between innings, does he play arcade games? How is Mookie Betts a world class bowler and not Matt Albers?! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
If I had to choose a background song for my Michael Conforto feelings right now, it would be Lucinda Williams’ Those Three Days.
You say there’s always gonna be his swing,
So many DL days filled with screams,
Conforto’s news crawl across my screen,
Shows how he hit an oppo taco that sent him home,
Now he’s beneath my skin.
Underneath my dress, stick their tongues (figuratively),
The first game back a dong, and I am so effin’ alone!
Since those five days.
If I could’ve just waited out his DL trip of five days!
Those five days!
Did you not want me in five days?
Did you not want me in five days?
Did you not love me more than Mitch Haniger?
Just for those five days!
I’m literally standing on my table, crying, singing Lucinda Williams. I’m wrecked. I might need a new hobby. So, Michael Conforto — 1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer — came back way quicker than I expected, and I’m feeling major regret that I don’t own him. I still think shoulder injuries are tricky — to rock a rhyme, that’s right on time (callback to title!) — but I wish I had a share of him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
If you read the title and expected this post to be an anit-MadBum rant, you’ll find your initial impression to be inaccurate. I’ve been a huge Bumgarner fan since he came into the Majors. In fact, I picked him to be this season’s National League Cy Young Award winner in the Razzball experts picks. I had to change that prediction to Stephen Strasburg after the injury for obvious reasons. Last year’s accident was one hundred percent avoidable. As much as I love him, I really hope he did not get paid for his missed time. Shame on him for riding a dirt bike. What’s next, sky diving? This year, however, was just another of the many injuries to a pitcher as a result of an unpredictable comebacker. I’m going to go out on a short limb and say that there was very little, if anything, he could have done to avoid the injury. The incident actually looked quite harmless compared to other comebackers I’ve seen over the years. My favorite was back in 2008 when Papa Grande took a line drive right off the dome piece. I can’t seem to find a good quality video, but he went down like he had been shot. The craziest part is that he ended up staying in the game and getting the save. The messed up part is that when he went down, all I could think about was the ten points I wasn’t going to get for the save. I was pissed. When he ended up staying in the game he became an instant hero.
Hen (Hen) Ry (Ry) Row (Row) En (En) Gart (Gart) Ner (Ner). No, Henry Rowengartner is not on this list, but I imagine he would have been if his arm was still broken and his tendons were still too tight. I could picture the 100 mph fastballs working fairly consistently, but the famous floater pitch that hasn’t been seen since Scuffy McGee wouldn’t last long, even in a 12’’ softball league. “Ffffunky butt-loving!’ ‘Did he just say funky butt-loving?” Enough about one of my favorite baseball movies from the ‘90s. We’re going to take a look at the top ten pitchers to lead the league in strikeouts for the 2018 season. Let me know who you like, who I missed, who deserves an honorable mention, etc. Do you want “Big Sexy” Bartolo Colon on the list, because he mesmerizes you with his athletic figure? He would make a great figure skater or rhythmic gymnast, right? I can’t place him on this list, but he deserves to be on some sort of list somewhere. Maybe I’ll make a list of the ten most entertaining MLB players, I’m sure he’ll make that list. All opinions are welcomed, and encouraged so let’s dive right in and see what happens! For the purpose of this post, we will be using Grey’s 2018 Pre-Season Projections and FantasyPros ADP.
Does anybody else remember the Adventures of the Gummi Bears? It was on the Disney Channel back in the day and it was THE Saturday Morning jam. Medieval, personified bears, that bounce like kangaroos. Where do I sign up, right? In one of the sloppiest and more unconnected openings in Razzball history, starting pitchers are nothing like Gummi Bears. No, they are not my Saturday Morning jam. They’re my Saturday Morning job, digging into numerous deep dives, for hours on end, trying to figure out which players are trending where. The results of these Saturday Morning exercises are below. As a reminder these rankings are for 5×5 roto with value focused on rest of season value for 2018. So, a player like Michael Kopech is ranked for his value over the entirety of the 2018 season. Not just the next month. In previous seasons, this post was a weekly ranking with a pitching profile included. This year we will continue the weekly pitching profile, but once a month we will update the rankings. Because honestly, how much can happen in a week? One or two starts? So there’s changes coming for 2018, but they’re slight, and you’ll still get the same quality profiles, notes, and ranks. You might also get a cupcake or a venereal disease, but no telling which one. The expiration dates will just be a little longer. On the rankings not on the cupcakes or your fresh batch of herpes.
Here’s my Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.
What better topic to get Grey’s blood boiling early in the week than top starting pitchers for fantasy. If you don’t know, not sure how you couldn’t, but Grey hates pitchers in the top three rounds. He’d rather live out his days as Pablo Sandoval’s bosom sweat mediation pad than draft Clayton Kershaw. So we use Grey’s Top 40 Starting Pitchers as our guide, and dive into the strategy of building a pitching staff. We go tier by tier, directing you on who to avoid, who to draft, and where to buy the best boba filled refreshments. #Bobalife. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:
I love keeper leagues. Love ‘em. Can’t get enough of ‘em. Redraft leagues are fine and all but with keeper leagues you become more connected to certain players and have an affinity for them over all others. They become the unofficial “face of your franchise” and are synonymous with your team. Hanley Ramirez will always be one of my favorite players because he was one of my keepers from 2007 (back when he was a 50 base stealing FLORIDA Marlins shortstop) until 2012. I grabbed 26 error third basemen Ryan Braun in 2007 and he was my ride or die until he was 61 games-played outfielder Ryan Braun in 2013. I still haven’t forgiven him for embarrassing the Roswell Aliens like that…
Keeper leagues add a new wrinkle to your draft strategy. You’re keeping Gary Sanchez? Great! You don’t have to decide whether you want to draft James McCann or Tucker Barnhart in the 25th round! Keeping one of the big-4 aces? Wonderful! You can now load up on offense early and wait to take Kyle Hendricks as your second starter.
If I were writing this article pre-season 2017 pitchers would be few and far between on this list. Only Clayton Kershaw would’ve been found in the top 25. Now, in this juiced ball era, starting pitchers find themselves a bit more valuable. Although, with this universal humidor situation it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the faces of our teams. For example, the day after the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they would utilize a humidor in their stadium I saw a tweet that said Paul Goldschmidt fell to the 15th overall pick in one draft. If they kept Paul Goldschmidt himself in a humidor for all of 2018 I’d still draft him before pick 15.
Let’s get into my methodology here. I’m going to be mainly focusing on 2018 because the future is hard to predict. However I’m not going to completely ignore that if you’re reading this article you’re probably not in a 1-year keeper league so there will be some projecting for the next few years as well. That means age will be a factor here. Joey Votto can still smash, but is 34 while his younger brother Freddie Freeman hits just as well and is only turning 29 at the end of this season. Position will also be a factor. Needing 1 second basemen in a shallow pool means that they’re more valuable than the 3-5 outfielders you’ll need. The intersectionality of speed/power and age will also be considered. Dee Gordon is turning 30 in April — how long will his legs hold up? Chone Figgins went to Seattle in his 30’s in 2012 and his career was donezo by 2013. Injury history should also be considered. Giancarlo Stanton was an MVP in 2017, but had over 500 ABs just twice in his previous 7 seasons. As a Yankee fan I’m hoping he stays healthy, but as a fantasy baseball owner I’m cautious. Have any of you actually read any of this or did you just jump straight to the chart to find your players?
Welcome to Razzball’s 2018 team previews. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be previewing all of the teams and talking to writers who represent those teams around the web. We want to provide the best and most in-depth fantasy projections to go along with the asking the most useful questions to those who know their teams best. We want to talk about the players in the first half of your draft and also the deep sleepers that make you log into google and start watching Midwest Single-A ball for hours. Just kidding, don’t do that, hopefully we don’t go that far…
Baker finally hit the dust…y. Dave Martinez now takes over as the National’s manager as they try to bring Washington D.C. a World Series title. This lineup remains an offensive machine and still boasts a top half of the rotation that causes a lot of whiffs. There are still a couple of new faces to talk about and also a highly touted prospect who is sure to see at bats in the majors this season. I talked to Drew Douglas from District on Deck.
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: