There were many big movers and shakers in the Top 100 this week perhaps none bigger this year (and maybe the past few years) than Josh Bell. Bell has slapped a hit in all but 9 of his 42 games so far this season. In 15 May games alone he’s hitting .383 with 12 runs, 6 HRs, and 18 RBI. (Writer update: since I started writing this, Bell has crushed another 2 HRs and 4 RBI tonight!) Bell keeps this up and he could be in top 20-25 territory.

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Yea, yea, yea. I accidentally left two Stephen Piscotty’s in my Top 100 two weeks in a row. What had happened was: The first week was just a good ol’ fashioned screw-up. On my rankings spreadsheet my process for moving a player is to copy their row, delete their row and insert their row in their new ranking location. Grey and Jay were gracious enough to fix it after week 5 by replacing Piscotty on the website — but ya boy didn’t delete him in his own rankings spreadsheet. To make a long story short (“TOO LATE!”) there will be four Stephen Piscotties scattered through this Top 100. You pick which one fits best for your world view.

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I’ve never been that high on Corey Seager. Back in February I only had him ranked 52nd on this list. Back then I said, “A 25-HR bat with a .300 average? That’s not bad — but boy if he could even just manage 10 stolen bases I’d like him more.” Seager owners are probably begging for a 20 HR bat with a .250 average at this point. Long term? I think he’ll be more Corey Seager 2016 than Kyle Seager 2018. I still worry about that power cap and complete lack of speed though.

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There hasn’t been a  #1 ranked hitter in my rankings besides Mike Trout since he went down with an injury at the beginning of August 2018. His replacement, Mookie Betts was in the thick of his AL MVP/World Series campaign and the difference between them wasn’t that vast anyway.

This year, the 2018 NL MVP who everyone was sure was going to regress has done just the opposite and started off even hotter than anyone anticipated. Christian Yelich has tied Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez with 14 HRs to begin the season. To top both of those jabronis, Yelich has also stolen 6 bases. Just to whet the appetites of Yelich owners — A-Rod went on to win the AL MVP that season while Pujols was the runner-up in his season. Yes, I know that Cody Bellinger is beating Yelich in some statistical categories already this season, but forgive me if I believe more in Yelich’s .350 AVG right now over Bellinger’s .420.

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Have you not heard yet? The hottest goss (I promise no Avengers spoilers) is that the Los Angeles Angels will call up top prospect slash future OC-heartthrob Griffin Canning to start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. What a Friday for the rooks! We got Vlad, Kieboom, and Rengifo all in one night, and now Griffin Canning. It’s almost like a symbolic passing of the torch with all these young guys arriving this week. New replacing old, etc. And no, that was not an Endgame spoiler. Leave me alone, nerds! I haven’t even seen it yet you bought all the tickets! Normally, I’d save the prospect posts for Mike or Grey, but I don’t want you dear readers and even dearer web crawling robots missing out on another sexy call up this weekend. So let’s talk about Griffin Canning. Sounds like a very dangerous game or the new coolest extreme sport they might play at Hogwarts. Griffin’s got a 0.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 17/2 K/BB ratio through his first three starts at AAA Salt Lake Bees (bzzz), which to be fair, looks a whole lot better than anything the Angels starters have been doing over the past four weeks. Canning features four solid pitches including his mid-90s fastball and a real nasty curve. His past struggles have all been related to his command but he’s thrown 66% of his pitches for strikes so far this year and the 3.3 BB% indicates he may have figured things out. Griffin doesn’t necessarily profile as an top end ace, but he could be a solid back of the rotation starter and help your fantasy team immediately. Rookie pitchers may be my kryptonite (not a spoiler), but what are you waiting for? The prospect sweepstakes has begun and Griffin Canning is worth a flier in all leagues. The Angels think he’s got the stuff to help them win right now and methinks he could do the same for you.

Here’s what else I saw Friday in fantasy baseball:

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I’m starting a new feature for this column — Jose Ramirez Watch! The mood is tense! No one is losing more value than Ramirez right now. In a lot of leagues he was a top-10 pick and right now he isn’t even justifying a top-100 pick. It’s still early for him — but his owners have to be disappointed.

Last Week: 14 | This Week: 25

Last 7 days: 5/22, 6 runs, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 227 AVG

Another disappointing week for J-Ram, however, it is better than the previous week when he went 2 for 25. Baby steps? Here’s what I said to a commenter in last week’s top 100 column:

“JRam wasn’t hitting over .250 until April 24th last year.He’s got a higher hard contact rate so far this season (yay!) but also a higher soft contact rate (boo!) His BABIP is only .167 after last year’s 252. I’d obviously hold and wait until May 1. I think he’ll be fine — not 2018 foooiinnneee — but 2019 fine.”

Let’s see where his average sits later this week…

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It’s the most glorious weekend of the year — Wrestlemania weekend! You know what that means: wrestling themed blurbs!

On the Double Turn…

Two players in my pre-season top-5 are trending in opposite directions, but I don’t start freaking out too much until tax day. A lot of experts were calling for Jose Ramirez and Christian Yelich to regress from their MVP-caliber seasons last year. Well Yelich came out swinging an angry stick hitting a homerun in four straight games to start the season leaving him ranked third on the Razzball Player Rater so far. He’s reached base successfully in every game so far and is on his way to competing for the MVP again in 2019. Jose Ramirez? Not so much. For some players we like to point out how they’re “continuing their hot hitting from the end of 2018.” Ramirez is doing the opposite. He ended 2018 with a 40 game slump hitting .166 with a .597 OPS. He also only hit .231/.646 in the minors. His BABIP is currently sitting at .150, he only has 3 strikeouts to 2 walks and he’s hitting a higher percentage of fly balls from 2018 (small sample size) so maybe he’s just getting a bit unlucky in the early going. However, it’s enough to make me flip these two in the rankings.

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I’m not going to overreact to 20 at-bats. I will not do it. That being said, if you’re in a league with me — every one of my players is a bum and is on the block. Starting next week we’ll start to see some moving and shaking, but this list is mostly a refresher from the pre-season. There are really only six “fallers” this week and they’re all injury related. I’ll be writing more about them in my injury column which drops on Wednesday, but here’s who slipping, tumbling, sinking, fumbling:

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Redraft leagues are the standard of the fantasy sports industry. Each year you get a fresh start at remembering you shouldn’t draft A.J. Pollock. Ever. You can draft whoever you want at your draft position or spend as much as your budget on whoever you want. But for me there is nothing more fun than a good long-term keeper league. Smart owners get to flex on their leaguemates by keeping players they selected deep in their drafts or picked up on a hunch. Keeper leagues are a great intermediate option between full-on redraft leagues and the craziness of a dynasty league. 

Below you’ll find my keeper rankings for 2019. I’ve included each player’s age, position eligibility for the start of the 2019 season and any concerns I have about each player. Here’s what you’ll also see: I’m not high on starting pitchers. Too likely to suffer an injury and miss a large chunk of time. I’m not high on guys with less than two seasons of experience. I’ve seen sophomore slumps and prospect busts far too often. There are exceptions like Ronald Acuna who seem like a sure thing — but when it comes to Vlad Guerrero Jr. I prefer the wait and see approach. Plus, we really don’t know when he’ll even debut. Players over the age of 31 worry me — especially players whose value is speed dependent. I don’t want to keep a player whose decline is starting to begin. Injury prone players: duh. I’m not going to keep someone who can’t take the field.

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