It’s time for everyone’s favorite game that no one knew was their favorite game, Fun With Numbers!  As a contestant of this wildly popular game that you didn’t know existed, I’m going to give you the numbers of two pitchers.  You won’t know either pitcher until I dramatically reveal their names, but you’ll probably guess Taijuan Walker is going to be one.  Okay, the suspense is killing me, so here goes!  The first pitcher had 174 Ks and 56 BBs in 195 IP (8.03 K/9, 2.58 BB/9), compiling a 4.43 ERA.  Then, the 2nd pitcher had 157 Ks and 40 walks in 169 2/3 IP (8.33 K/9, 2.12 BB/9) with a 4.56 ERA.  The 2nd pitcher is Taijuan Walker (how’d you guess?!).  The first pitcher is… Here it comes…Shoot, I left the name in my car.  One second.  Okay, I’m back!  The 2nd pitcher is…Max Scherzer in 2011!  In 2011, Scherzer was 27 years old and looked headed to the “Great Stuff, Unsure If He Can Put It Together” bin with some other hard throwers.  Then, obviously, everything clicked and he was completely dominant for the next four years.  In 2015, Taijuan was only 22 years old for most of the season, and now he’s 23.  So, is Taijuan also a hard thrower that can’t put it together or is he on the verge of greatness?  I think you know what camp I fall into.  One more Fun With Numbers, because the nonexistent audience insists!  In 2013, this pitcher threw 147 1/3 IP with 136 Ks and 33 walks (8.31 K/9, 2.02 BB/9).  That pitcher was Corey Kluber at the age of 27 before he went on to win the Cy Young the next year.  It’s not hard to recognize what these pitchers have in common.  It’s what I seek most of all, besides One-Eyed Willie’s treasure.  If a guy strikes out a lot of hitters while walking few, they need to get really unlucky to not be usable.  Taijuan’s walk rate in 2014:  4.26.  His walk rate in 2015:  2.12.  I.e., Walker’s no longer a walker.  Taijuan Walker averaged a 94.3 MPH fastball, tied for the 13th best in baseball, right behind Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco.  Walker, velocitease or “Here comes the velocity-rapture?”  Again, you know where I stand (sit).  Taijuanna know more?  I bet you do.  Anyway, what can we expect from Taijuan Walker for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Let’s get the negative out of the way first, the one thing Scherzer and Kluber had in common in the above examples.  They were older than Walker and were ready for that next step.  Very few pitchers take the next step at such a young age like Walker.  His teammate, F-Her, comes to mind.  Or does he?!  Actually, F-Her does come to mind, so shut your mouth, reversal question.  “That hurts…Or does it?!”  F-Her had a solid 22-year-old season, then broke out in his 23-year-old season, but didn’t really peak until his age 27 season.  (Peak’s relative here, F-Her was bloody good for about five seasons from 22 thru 27.  I’m just talking about his K-rate and walk rate peaking.)  The age 27 season being the peak is a myth like your favorite sweatpants being a good luck charm for getting the ladies, but Taijuan is really young still.  It wouldn’t shock me to see him put together a 3.75 ERA season in 2016 while being great some months and poor other months.  However, if Walker can approach his 1.7 BB/9 in the 2nd half of last year over a full season, he only needs to register around a 7.5 K/9 to be ownable in all leagues (assuming neutral luck, yadda cubed).  Seriously, listen to these names:  Liriano, Wacha, Wei-Yin, Carlos Martinez, Yordano and James Shields.  Know what they all had in common?  A worse WHIP than Taijuan last year (1.20).  That’s a 22 year old kid against those names (Okay, C-Mart and Wacha aren’t exactly old, but still).  Taijuan will be a top 20 starter for many years, it’s just a matter whether 2016 is the start of that run.  For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 12-10/3.41/1.17/185 in 194 innings.

 
  1. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey San!!!

    Holy crap! Yet another sleeper article that’s got me completely sold!!!

    Nothing special happening after the bombing of the UNHCR Guesthouse in Kabul.

    Really looking forward to Monday like all the rest of our gentle readers!

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Ante GALIC: Less that’s happening in guesthouse in Kabul, prolly the better

  2. Ryan says:
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    The Marines need those 194 inning out of him.
    Need your advice. 16 teams 6 keeper dynasty. My current keepers are Aberu, Soler, Grichuk, Sonny, Bogaerts and Moustakas. I have 2 offers for Bogearts. Should I take either one??
    Arrieta, Conforto,pick upgrade
    Dozier, Rodon, pick upgrade

    Thank alot.

    • Ante GALIC says:
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      @Ryan: Hey, man! Da man answered yesterday…Take Arrieta / Conforto side.

      Cheers,
      Ante

    • Malicious Phenom says:
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      @Ryan: who will you drop, from your keeper list, if you traded one of your keepers for two more players?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Ryan: The proud, the few… Arrieta side

  3. Sam says:
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    So based on your position on Taijuan, would you give up Corey Seager and Severino to get him and Bogaerts? (keeper draft)

    • Malicious Phenom says:
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      @Sam: No, Keep Seager and Sev..

      • Sam says:
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        @Malicious Phenom: I’m starting to lean to Seager > Bogaerts.. but am having a tough time deciding if Severino (or for that matter Taijuan if I acquire dhim) is even a keepr for me… already have: Yu ($14), Syndergaard ($6), Salazar ($8), McCullers ($7) and Matz ($6) [whatever was more recent, auction or FAAB winning bid +10% +$5 year over year]… is Severino even worth keeping with 5 guys already in there.. could just target a couple $1 options at auction and spend the $$ on hitting

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Sam: I think matz and severino are a lot closer and is a coin flip. Where is JB when we need him. Would like to hear his take.

          • Sam says:
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            @J-FOH: I mean, I could keep both.. roll into the auction w 6 SPs, and just not grab another (unless Glasnow is sitting there for a couple bucks).

            For the purposes of context, I have Hosmer (13), Franco (6), Correa (6), Seager (6), Machado (23) and Sano (6) plus those pitchers (save for Severino) etched in. Need a catcher, 2B and 5 OF and have 4 P slots.

            Severino, Domingo Santana, Conforto and Javy Baez (all at 6) are giving me fits trying to decide if they are keeper worthy at a $6 tag.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Sam: Nope

  4. Grumpy says:
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    I always enjoy your writing. With Walker I think you missed his real issue – his OPS with the bases empty was .594 (wow) and with runners on it was .936 (yikes). His BB and K rates won’t matter if he doesn’t learn how to pitch out of the stretch.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Grumpy: Thanks! Hopefully that comes with maturity

    • Chris says:
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      @Grumpy: Except he only pitches out of the stretch. Walker doesn’t use a windup.

      • Mordacious Levator says:
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        @Chris: rosie did that last year and it helped. stretch all the time is best way, surprised they don’t just teach this more often in younger years.

  5. Copperhead Road says:
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    Should we make anything of the order of your sleeper posts. Are the first ones more likely to happen than later ones? You’ve been on Walker, in a nonsexual way, for some time. If he’s a bust this year will you, ahem, walk away from him.

  6. Booya says:
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    15 team 5×5 dynasty
    Calhoun for shields and Archie Bradley? My pitching is really weak

      • Booya says:
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        @Grey: not close?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Meh, can be close

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: I think it’s not close. Arms are dime a dozen in dynasty and the return for calhoun should be much higher than that. I’m agreeing with you btw

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, I just meant it could be close if Shields turns his career around in his 30s and Bradley actually does something… As it stands, it’s Calhoun

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: I doubt shields goes backwards in time. Probably close to what he did last year which isn’t bad but also isn’t something you want around long term. I don’t like bradley. I think he got over hyped and az sucks in developing arms.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Yeah, not arguing any of that

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: I prefer when we don’t fight in front of the children

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Good call!

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      Now get back in that kitchen and make me my lasagna…..I’ll be out mowing the lawn so I can get back to yelling at the neighborhood kids to stay off it

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Nah, I made it once this winter, that’s it… It’s too much for Cougs and I

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      Thats why you tell me in advance and have me and babys mama over for dinner and then you send us home with some too.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, last time I gave our neighbor about 4 pounds of it

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      do I look like I could eat 4 pounds of lasagna (don’t answer that)

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      As an appetizer?

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Ha, I just now heard that LA’s getting a football team

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      dont worry, Dan Marino has nothing to do with it

    • Malicious Phenom says:
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      @Booya: If Archie is healthy and pitches like the top prospect he is and Shields turns back the clock some..lol it cud be close…I am not a big fan of Calhoun, cause who knows how much he will play with the Sociopath..

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Malicious Phenom: kole had 686 AB’s last year and over 500 in 127 games the year before. The sociology rule does not apply to him. Bradley may have been advertised as a top prospect because of his k rate in the low minors but has always had issues with his walk rate. Shields gives up the long ball too often and is in the decline stage of his career. That’s the wrong ifs and buts argument that just sounds nuts.

        • Malicious Phenom says:
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          @J-FOH: I obviously had not done my homework on these 3 guys..

  7. Silva says:
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    I’ve always enjoyed your writing, and look here for fantasy advice above all others. Commenting for the first time.

    Love Walker this year; however, it will be interesting to see if he can cut down on his 1.33 HR/9. His control obviously improved, but his command wasn’t all that better. He threw more strikes an d limited his walks, but he didn’t exactly command his strikes very well. Hence the high HR/9 and hard hit% of 30.2%. I’d rather see his walk rate a little bit closer to 3 in order to stretch the zone with his good stuff. If he can limit those home runs and cut down on hard contact, I think your projections are well within reach. Just a couple things I’ll be looking at early in the year.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! I hear ya, should (hopefully) come with maturity

  8. Sasquatch slugger says:
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    Well…I’ll buy streamonator and hittertron after all.
    So…the shark bit me good in RCL leagues last year. I’m thinking… In two rcls stick with the shark and /or others starting in the 6th round. In the next two rcls grab maybe Kluber Fernandez Archer in the 4th. Sprinkle all 4 teams with many of your sleepers (ahead of everyone else)… Oh and of course a couple of waiver picks and maybe one trade. Is mixing my strategy going to really help or should I just go to school and be a better streamer? Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Could work trying to draft SPs high, lots of strategies can work… It’s easier to not draft high SPs

      • Sasquatch slugger says:
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        @Grey: yeah sounds good … Can draft all SP later and just mix em up on different teams (some teams get Walker).

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yup

  9. J-FOH says:
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    Almost done with season one of fargo. Watched the Vegas episode with the elevator scene last night. Damn!!! Hopefully will start season two this weekend or next week. Been working so much I get sleepy at night and can only watch one episode if that.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I still remember that episode… So good… The dentist bit in the beginning killed me…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: hehe. So good. I love when he says “I’m a raskal” Billy bob crushed it

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, best I’ve seen him

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: I liked bad santa but that part was built for him. I’m bummed because I don’t want it to end. I know season two is a different story but I want more. Just give me more.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              2nd season is great too, promise… It’s just different

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: They are running the commercials for season two in the marathon I recorded. Im super excited for it. Its got my boy Jeffery Donovan (Burn Notice) in it too which is a plus plus for me

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Donovan is so great in it

                • mauledbypandas says:
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                  @J-FOH: Season two is so completely different that you kind of hate it at first then you grow to like it.. by the end you can’t even remember season one because you have hearts in your eyes for season two. So good

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @mauledbypandas: PANDAS! one of my favorite f**ktards

                • Hal Incandenza says:
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                  @J-FOH: What did you guys think of Burn Notice? Something I should consider?

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Hal Incandenza: I love that show. seen every episode multiple times…it was my guilty pleasure show

  10. J-FOH says:
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    Just for funzies. Where do you think taijuan goes in drafts? Would he be your 3rd starter you take or 4th?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      He’s my 3rd SP, yes…I think he goes later

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: he went in the 11th in that writers mock I’m in. So you know some writers out there will be telling people to pull the trigger sooner than later. What rounds do you see him going?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          How many teams? I’d guess around 110 overall

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: 12 team, he went right after richards and yu but right before Tanaka and severino

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Doesn’t sound that off…

        • I'mgettingsomeHeadley says:
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          @J-FOH: J-FOH, do you plan on posting the results of the writers league? I find them helpful and interesting, with the different strategies owners use.

  11. Ra'zbahl Al Ghul says:
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    Razzberts, starting a new NL-only dynasty league on fantrax, 5×5 standard, have 8 very competitive owners, need another couple committed owners to flesh out league. Slow draft starts in a week or so. Email me at [email protected] if interested. Sorry you won’t be able to draft T.I. Juan.

  12. Tehol Beddict says:
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    GREY THE ELDER!! I BOW DOWN TO YOUR WISDOM!!! in Taijuan we trust

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Tehol!

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: wait, are you saying you love Taijuan? f**k that, he’ll be a bust now and go down in flames.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        As long as Tehol doesn’t post any topless photos of Taijuan, he should be okay…

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Grey: or comment on his bulge

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Ha, true

            • J-FOH says:
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              @Grey: Tehols analysis ” it looks like he gained a full inch on his junk when he’s workimg from the stretch. That should really catch the hitters off balance as they will want to bow to the massiveness of his sword”

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                A stud is measured many different ways

                • J-FOH says:
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                  @Grey: Ive only been measured three different ways

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    I just came across a tiny stripped screw in my vape that I can’t get out, any tips?

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      @Grey: see below

  13. JoeG414 says:
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    Please pick the best two (6×6 roto). Possible 3rd and 4th round picks-
    Upton , A.Jones, Rendon , K.Seager, X.Bogarets ,Cano and C.Seager.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Upton, coin flip… Cano

  14. Luke Skywalker says:
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    Keepers League 5×5 +OBP and QS
    Michael Brantley for Jason Kipnis? Is it fair?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Sure, I’d take Brantley

      • Luke Skywalker says:
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        @Grey: But I’m the one trading Brantley away. I have Cutch Springer and K Davis. Should I pull the trigger and get Kipnis? No 2b at the moment.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          So it’s not good

  15. JoeG414 says:
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    Which 3B – K.Seager , Rendon or Carpenter ? 6×6 roto.

    • JoeG414 says:
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      @JoeG414:
      Or is Cory Seager a better chance and move X over to 3b ?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Rankings come out next week

  16. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    I find roto to be tedious and uneventful. I won’t play head to head in 2016 after what happened in 2015.

    How do I get back into fantasy baseball?

    Any weirdo leagues out there? One time I played in a HR and Ks only league but most of the league didn’t take it very seriously because we all were in traditional leagues as well that year.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      If you don’t like H2h, I don’t see why you’d play a ‘weirdo’ league

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Wallpaper Paterson: i’m wanting to play an ottoneu and a razzball (inverse stats are best) league this year. stats guy round here (forgot his name somehow) last year no longer had contact info for the last time these leagues existed around here (i think about to be 3 or 4 years ago now). His avatar is a picture of a Husky.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: vinwins used to run these, but last year i tried to get a contacts list from last time they were played he didn’t have one. didn’t get enough people.

        • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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          @goodfold2: Okay, thanks. It’s possible I may have played fantasy baseball for the last time. I may give Strat-O-Matic a shot.

  17. ScreechOwl says:
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    Well, there goes your chance to write an Alexei Ramirez sleeper post.

    Welcome to Petco, Alexei! (That sounds sarcastic, but I’m happy to have him in San Diego.)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Why are you happy about him? Serious question.

    • Let us now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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      @ScreechOwl: he got a lot worse in a good stadium, now he’s in a bottom 5 one.

  18. Wild Thing says:
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    GREAT article. My question is:

    Would you prefer Taijuan Walker at $21 for 3 years or any one of the following…

    Vincent Velasquez $1 in 2016
    Marcus Stroman $1 in 2016
    Kevin Gausman $1 in 2016
    Rasiel Iglesias $1 in 2016

    These guys also could be kept at $1 for one more year or signed for $5 per every year signed after. So 3 years would cost $16 annually, 4 years would be $21, etc.

    Thanks!

    Or

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Think you gotta go 2 years for Stroman, feels the safest

      • Wild Thing says:
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        @Grey:

        Thanks! Would you trade any of those guys for Walker?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I’d trade Velasquez, but I honestly like them all

  19. Locos says:
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    Grey, first time checking in for the upcoming baseball season so happy new year and looking forward to the great posts and rankings.
    10 team keeper league we keep 7 players either 4 offensive and 3 pitchers of vice Versa what 7 do I keep

    Team is below
    Hr sb r rbi Obp. K/9 whip era Sv qs

    R Martin
    E hosmer
    Leimeihu
    Arenado
    Lindor
    Brantley
    J mart
    Cargo
    Fielder

    Pence
    Buxton
    Hanley
    Duda
    Grinchuk

    Kershaw
    Strausburg
    Darvish
    Salazar
    Bauer

    J Nelson
    latos
    Quintana

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Locos: Arenado, JD, Cargo and Lindor if this a long term keeper. If its a short term I might want Fielder over Lindor. Kershaw, Stras, Salazar and Yu

      • los says:
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        @J-FOH: Thanks… JD Mart makes me nervous cause can he do it again? Cargo the injuries, feel like maybe I could trade him for the right draft pick. Prince I def want back and feel i may be able to draft him.

  20. Yo says:
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    Who would you keep? Roto 5×5, can keep for two years after this. Pick 3

    Schwarber – rd 29
    Randal grichak- rd 29
    Noah syndeergard – rd 23
    Steven matz – rd 29
    Luis severino – rd 29
    Yu darvish – rd 20
    Trevor plouffe – rd 29
    Josh reddick – rd 29

    Thanks

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Yo: Schwarber but I’m curious to know your other keepers

      • Yo says:
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        @J-FOH: haha no one. I need to pick 3 out of those guys. I sold a lot to win in 2014, struggled this past year and this is what I’m working with. Phil Hughes and yelich didn’t work out for me last year.

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Yo: hahaha I missed the three part. I’d also keep Noah and grichuk

Comments are closed.