I sure wish Grey would do his 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Wait, I am Grey and this is those rankings.  Holy crapballs, this is the greatest day ever!  Now, only 400,000 words more until I finish my top 400 and I’ll be done.  Worst day ever!  Damn, that excitement was fleeting.  Well, not for you because you don’t have to write all the rankings.  You lucky son of a gun!  I wish I were you… *wavy lines*  Hey, why am I balding and wearing sweatpants?  *wavy lines*  Hmm, maybe we’re okay with who we are.  Now before we get into the top 10 for 2016 fantasy baseball (though I imagine every single one of you has skipped this intro paragraph), I’m gonna lay some ground rules.  First, keep your hands and legs inside the trolley.  Second, send me all your money.  Damn, tried to trick you!  Okay, here’s where you follow us on Twitter.  Here’s where you follow us on Facebook.  Here’s our fantasy baseball player rater.  Here’s our fantasy baseball team name generator.  Here is all of our 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Here’s the position eligibility chart for 2016 fantasy baseball.  And here is a picture of my son.  What a punim!  You may not get all of those links in such a handy, easy-to-use format ever again this year, so make proper note.  (Unless you just go to the top menu on this page that says “Rankings” and click it, but semantics, my over-the-internet friend, semantics.)  Now my expositional half insists I breakdown some generalizations about these 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  The 2016 fantasy baseball rankings will be an ever-evolving mass like the blob.  This fantasy baseball top 10 for 2016 list is as of right now and could potentially change with a big injury or Mike Trout quitting baseball because he’s bored with being the best and wants to play competitive Mahjong.  So while it is the 2016 fantasy baseball gospel, take it with a tablet of salt.  Tomorrow we will cover the rest of the top twenty for 2016 fantasy baseball, then we will go around the horn with a top 20 list for every position.  Then for pitchers and outfielders, I’ll turn the dial to 100.  Listed with each player are my 2016 projections.  Did I consult with anyone else who does projections?  It would be ignorant not to, but, in the end, these are my projections.  Players need 10 games at a position to get included in the positional rankings.  Finally, as with each list in the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings, I will be mentioning where I see tiers start and stop.  I look at tiers like this, if Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt are in the same tier, it doesn’t matter if one guy is ranked 2nd and one guy is ranked 3rd, they’re both very close.  It comes down to personal preference.  I would prefer the guy at number two better than the guy at three, but you do you, I’ll do me and let’s hope we don’t go blind.  Anyway, here’s the top 10 for 2016 fantasy baseball:

1. Mike Trout – This is the first tier.  This tier goes from here until Goldschmidt.  I call this tier, “Al Gore warned us.”  The tier name refers to the climate change– “I told you!”  “Leave us alone, Al Gore!”  The climate change in regards to people’s perceptions of Trout, Harper and Goldy.  People are out on Trout, and not just poets and/or Rhymin’ Simons.  There’s the lack of steals, they say.  There’s the K-rate, they say.  There’s the plateau vs. the rise of Harper, they say.  They say a lot, but I don’t see them doing much but yammering.  Trout just hit 41 homers, a career high.  He hit .299 with a low-for-him BABIP.  His line drives were at a career high.  He has the speed to steal 10 bases in his sleep.  He stole six bases in April alone last year.  Trout has four years of stud numbers.  Harper has one.  Goldy is a sexpot, but he just had a career year.  Trout’s had multiple career years, but 2016 could be even better.  Yes, a career yearer!  The careeriest year?  A careerer yearer?  The career year’s career year?  You know what I mean!  2016 Projections:  108/40/101/.303/16

2. Bryce Harper – I wanna put you inside my brain for a second.  Why are you poking your finger into my medulla oblongata?  I was speaking metaphorically!  I think Harper is here to stay.  And, no, I’m not writing this from a Best Western.  I mean, he’s a top ten talent.  Last year, I ranked him in the top 15 and that was coming off a less-than-stellar year, so I foresaw big things.  47 homers big?  Um, no.  .460 OBP?  That seems a bit bigger too.  A .330 average?  Okay, also on the high side.  A 27.3 HR/FB%?  So, there’s some reasons to be concerned.   The point has been made.  Last year, he only stole six bags and that actually seems low.  For our porpoises — hey, dolphins! — Harper may lose some average and power and still be about as valuable as last year with ten extra steals, which doesn’t seem completely out of the realm of possibilities.  Could Harper go on some next level shizz and be a 50-HR, 20-SB guy?  I’d put it at about a 10% chance.  In all of baseball, I’d also give Trout a 10% chance, Goldy has about a 7% chance, and every other player has around a combined .0005% chance.  Okay, Daniel Descalso has about a .000000000000000000000000005% chance, which is bringing down the average a little.  2016 Projections:  104/36/107/.297/12

3. Paul Goldschmidt – In 2013, I wrote a poem for Au Shizz in the rankings and he had his worst year.  Last year, I wrote a poem in the rankings for Giancarlo and he missed half the season with an injury.  This year no freakin’ poems!  Though, I did rhyme briefly in the Trout blurb.  I have worse success after my rhymes than Vanilla Ice near an open window.  Too cold, too cold!  Ever wonder what Vanilla said to Suge right after he brought him back from dangling out of that window?  I imagine a lot of, “No worries, man, I was feeling a bit clammy in these baggy pants and that fresh air did me wonders.”  Any hoo!  Au Shizz is a total beast like Bella in the final Twilight (What?  It was in reruns.).  I do think 21 steals, like last year, is ridiculous to expect again and his .321 average with a .382 BABIP feels high, even if he does nothing but make hard contact.  I think he’s even safer than Harper, but I can’t lie and say I’m not excited about Harper’s age and upside.  Well, I could lie, but you’d see through it, you perceptive person you!  2016 Projections:  101/30/115/.297/14

4. Anthony Rizzo – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Giancarlo.  I call this tier, “I love these guys like a Kardashian loves the green room at the BET Awards.”  I’m straight caca-cuckoo for the guys in this tier.  Why the love?  Let me give you the 411!  *all millennials close browser window at mention of 411*  Okay, let’s just look at last year super quick.  Rizzo went 94/31/101/.278/17.  That alone is first round worthy.  Yes, it is.  No, it’s not.  Yes, it is, no repeatskis!  Now a brief word about that super quick look.  It was a down year!  Rizzo should be much better!  He’s only 26.  His BABIP was only .289, could be near-.315 easily.  His HR/FB% was only 14.6%, could be near 18% easily.  94 runs and 101 RBIs in that stacked lineup with Wrigley assisting dinkers in July and August’s humidity?  Doode’s about to break out like Cameron Diaz’s face.  2016 Projections:  103/36/114/.291/12

5. Manny Machado – I juggled Machado between this tier and the next tier (Last year’s darlings) more times than I want to count (37 times, including once while laughing at someone who was Redbox’ing The Tourist).  I finally decided Machado had age on his side to warrant this ranking.  He just went 35/20 in a year where he was only 22 years old for half the year.  40 homers seems impossible from Machado, but 35/20 at 22 years old says, “Shove your impossible up your arsehole, you non-believer.”  Machado doesn’t hit a ton of balls hard (he’s a pro at medium contact), but he walks, he’s got speed, he’s in a nice park, his HR/FB% feels repeatable and, honestly, I could list everything about him, i.e., there’s little to not like.  He really is The Manny.  2016 Projections:  94/30/109/.298/18

6. Giancarlo Stanton – *knocks on Giancarlo’s door*  “Hey, Giancarlo, I’m just bringing your mail up.  What?  Why do I need to wear pants to do this?”  Okay, so I love him.  My blindspot is about yay big.  When I’m saying yay big there, I’m holding one arm out, then running 3,000 miles and holding my other arm out.  It’s big, okay.  That’s what she never said!  There’s a reason.  One of these years, he’s going to hit 50+ homers and it’s going to be this year or next.  No, that’s not what my Magic Eight Ball says.  It’s the truth, Ruth.  He was headed that way last year, then he had an unfortunate injury.  Yeah, I know, every year he has an unfortunate accident.  Well, here’s a non-related name for you…Ian Kinsler!  That’s right, Kinsler spent his early 20’s looking about as injury-prone as anyone.  Four of his first five years he had fluky injuries sidelining him.  Now he has 600+ ABs in five of his last six years.  And this will be the only time Kinsler is ever compared to Giancarlo!  Seriously, Giancarlo’s fluky injuries sucked the last few years for those that owned him, but don’t let that stop you from loving him.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself every time I see my Giancarlo tramp stamp in the mirror.  2016 Projections:  94/46/115/.272/7

7. Nolan Arenado – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Donaldson.  I call this tier, “Last year’s darlings come with no discount.”  That tier name also sounds like a proverb.  Or poverb as Ben Carson would spell it.   This tier is straight up depressing with a beer chaser.  Last year was the year to own these guys.  This year, they scream slight regression, but here’s the thing.  Do you take Arenado and his regression to 36 HRs and .275 or do you you reach for Correa here because you think he’s going to be a top five fantasy player this year?  I think you take the safer bet in Arenado.  Now, enough of that boohoo I’m crying like a little baby and getting a guy in Coors in the prime of his career!  Arenado is still a stud, but he has 40-homer power, not 50 like Giancarlo, and Arenado has absolutely no speed.  I like Arenado a ton, my goofy friend that I pretend to not know in public, but expecting a repeat of last year feels foolish.  2016 Projections:  91/38/110/.299/2

8. Josh Donaldson – “…and the moral of the story is draft a bunch of Blue Jay and Rockies hitters.  Goodnight, little baby Jesus.”  Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.  I was just reading my rankings to a nativity scene in my mom’s basement.  Like you never run things by baby Jesus.  Pfft!  Donaldson likely deserves to be above Giancarlo in the rankings, but his last year screams career year so obscenely that I’m having a hard time hearing anything else.  Or maybe it’s baby Jesus whispering in my ear.  “What’s that baby Jesus?  His HR/FB% is too high?  I know!”  I get that Fred Rogers Centre helps with the big fly, but 41 homers last year was Donaldson ripping through his ceiling, grabbing a flying past Pablo Sandoval, who is staying afloat by passing gas, and both of them zooming thousands of feet into the sky.  2016 Projections:  104/32/97/.269/4

9. Kris Bryant – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here into the top 20 for 2016 fantasy baseball.  I call this tier, “These names could surprise you.  Boo!  That boo was also meant to surprise.”  There’s a delicate balance in the early rounds of drafting skills vs. track record.  Donaldson has track record, Kris Bryant has skills.  Track record has those guys above him, but skills has Bryant here.  If this were the 90s, he’d have the skills to pay the bills.  He’d also have a retirement portfolio that was relying heavily on AOL stock.  Bryant is a 30/15 guy, those are his skills.  30/15 from 3rd base is a top 15 pick.  30/15 from 3rd base does not get The Gas Face.  The problem is his track record — there isn’t much of one in the majors — and his strikeouts.  He had a 30% strikeout percentage.  That’s not good.  Hard to not hit .240 when you’re K’ing that much.  (I just had to pay Jerry Lawler a nickel for using any variation of the word King.)  Here’s the thing — uh-oh, Grey’s bringing out The Thing starring Michael Chiklis! — Anthony Rizzo in his rookie year struck out 30% of the time when he was 23 (Bryant’s age last year).  Rizzo’s now down to 15%.  Giancarlo struck out 30% of the time this past year, but since he hits everything so hard it doesn’t matter.  Bryant was top 15 for all of baseball for Hard Contact.  Bryant had a great rookie year, but I can point to multiple things that should get better — strikeout percentage, HR/FB%, steals, walk rate, homers, runs, RBIs, etc. etc. etc.  This year Bryant will be better than great.  What’s better than great?  Greater, I Googled it.   2016 Projections:  95/31/108/.268/15

10. Carlos Correa – I told ya there would be some surprises!  Or maybe I didn’t tell you that.  Did I just watch the movie Still Alice?  Oh no, I’ve forgotten!  AHHHH!!!  Correa in the top ten feels ballsy like my hand down my pants, only, sorta, kinda, it doesn’t.  He’s a 20/20 guy without injuries.  You can’t dock him for potential injuries.  Well, you can, but that would be foolhardy.  No relation to Tom Hardy, who is my newest mancrush.  I didn’t love Legend, and I really wanted to, but he was still worth the price of admission.  I’m assuming, at least, since I went to a free screening.  Since you asked, the best movie of the year:  Room.   As for Correa, I love him.  By the by, I wonder if he tells girls that his waist is “Correa’s demarcation line” and to stay south.  Last year in 99 games in the majors, he had 22 homers and 14 steals and a .279 average.  Steamer has him down for 22 homers and 21 steals in 146 games.  Is there any way he hits the same number of homers in 2016 as he did in under 100 games last year?  The short answer is yes.  The long answer is yesssssssssssssssss.  He had 7 Just Enough homers and an average distance on his homers of 398.7 feet.  For guys with at least 18 homers, that’s in the bottom third for distance.  His HR/FB% was high at 24.2% with only a 29.1 FB%.  That is a low fly ball rate, and, as common sense tells us, if you don’t hit fly balls, you can’t hit homers.  Yet…Again, with some stank, YET!  He’s 21 years old and is a lock for 20/20 and .280.  Jesus and Mary Chain, that’s good.  His power is easy 20 homers.  Whether he hits fly balls or not, he should get to 20 homers.  If he hits lots of fly balls, he could hit 35 homers.  His speed is even easier if you’ve seen him play.  30 steals seems doable.  What about his batting average, asked Expositional Voice.  His BABIP last year was .296, that seems low for him.  He had some years in the minors of a .375 BABIP and a .320 average.  I wouldn’t project him for that, but that feels possible.  You were wondering who was going to bump Trout out of the number one slot next year?  Look no further!  Literally, this is the end of this post.  2016 Projections:  103/24/95/.292/26

 
  1. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:
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    Happy, Happy Birthday!

  2. SteveNZ says:
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    Many happy returns, sir.

  3. Brian says:
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    Thank god and grey it’s baseball season!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Brian: Halleberryluiah!

  4. Otto Von Bismark says:
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    Hell yeah these are some dank ranks bruh. Did you see the MLB Network put Lindor and Tulo (respectively) above Correa at short? Madness. I’m interested to see how the rest of the top 20 shakes out. Is Marte there?

  5. Best Movie says:
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    The Big Short

    • Best Movie says:
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      @Best Movie: Also Happy Birthday iiii (cake emoji)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Best Movie: Yeah, that was solid too…and The Revenant

      • Ante GALIC says:
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        @Grey: Fab movie The Revenant. Did you see Joy? Pretty good shizz too.

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I didn’t like Joy… Revenant was good, agreed

      • Vegans says:
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        @Grey: Book was great too. Happy birthday, Grey!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Thanks! Book was good, agreed

  6. Ra'zbahl Al Ghul says:
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    It’s a national holiday – MLGrey Day! *It’s a day of service, not a day off*
    Thank you for your service Grey, HB!

  7. I'mgettingsomeHeadley says:
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    Happy birthday, Grey. Like others have said, your blog is the first thing I read each morning. Thanks for what you do.

  8. Malicious Phenom says:
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    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the #1 fantasy baseball pert on the world wide web!

  9. jack florida says:
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    happy birthday and thanks for all the great info all season long

  10. Dodger Rabbit says:
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    Happy birthday to you and happy rankings day to us!

    We enjoy your work. Here’s hoping you do too.

  11. Robert says:
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    You know, I love Rizzo also I kept ranking him no worse than 5. Everytime I looked up his stats, lineup, intangles, it seemed a fair ranking. I know you don’t ever think a pitcher should go first round but Kershaw is pretty amazing. Pitching is very deep but Kershaw can help out tremendously, huge K numbers, ridiculous era and whip, could carry a pitching staff. He seems less risky to me than Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa to name a couple. I’m also big fan of Mookie Betts curious where you rank him. Great job should be fun reading these upcoming rankings.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Robert: Thanks! Yeah, I’m liking and likely drafting Rizzo a lot of places this year… You don’t need Kershaw

  12. M says:
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    Happy birthday Grey! Thanks for all the good work!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @M: Thanks!

  13. jvanslyke says:
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    Like an idiot I forgot top overall rankings came before position rankings and had psyched myself up for catchers analysis. I was up all night wondering where Swihart would fall, if you thought Vogt would improve and if Mike Lavaillere would make his way into a reference.

    Happy birthday to you and Ted Dibiase. Hope you guys have something fun planned for tonight!

    • jvanslyke says:
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      @jvanslyke:

      Kanye dropped No More Parties in LA for your birthday!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        @jvanslyke: Ooh… No More Parties, huh? Will have to check it out, any good?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Grey: Madlib on the beat and Kendrick. Actual real hip-hop from Kanye, not that 808, auto-tune, fruit-loops garbage.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Agreed, but it could be tighter

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Grey: I thought the beat was dope and the rhymes were fine. If his new album is along this wavelength I’m going to be into it. I liked the first three albums.

              The Ghostface sample was dope, and my first thoughts after hearing this song is that Kendrick and Madlib should do an album together. It would be a classic.

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Oh, I’m a big Kanye fan… I just want more ‘Otis’ and less 7-minute Heartbreak 808s

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Grey: Yeah it was the 60+ bar Kanye verse at the end.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        @jvanslyke: He needs to get back to doing 4 minute songs, his shizz is overstuffed

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @jvanslyke: Thanks! Ted, Costner and I are gonna hit the town

      • jvanslyke says:
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        @Grey:

        Have fun! Watch out for Costner. He’ll get all hammered and try pushing a spontaneous trip to a random baseball stadium.

        New Kanye – gets monontnous but I think it’s more enjoyable than any of his Yeezus verses. 2/2 on calling out his cousin for stealing his laptop

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          You called it, Costner wants to go to where Ebbets Field once was, it’s now a hipster donut shop…I like Kendrick a lot, like a lot a lot, but this song is way too long… Could’ve been a tight 3:30

  14. Copperhead Road says:
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    Hey! It’s YOUR birthday and you gave US a present. What a guy! Thanks for the rankings and enjoy your day.

  15. First Lady of the Nation says:
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    Birthday buddy, I’m so very semi sexually ready for these rankings. Late Jan never looked so good.

  16. The discarded head of Ted Williams says:
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    Omgomgomgomg

    Omgomg

    Omg

  17. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    HALLELUJAH! Happy Bday man!

  18. Boomer19 says:
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    Happy Birthday Grey! And thanks!

  19. Sam says:
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    Grey,

    Keeper auction with excalating tags… which side:
    Rizzo ($41 this year) v. Hosmer ($13) + some combo of: Severino ($6), Piscotty ($6), Price ($27)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Sam: Rizzo

  20. Old School Brother says:
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    Wow Grey, what a low blow shot to Mrs Diaz!

    Good stuff, looking forward to the rest of the rankings. Also, you’re not the only one who reads to his nativity scene. Hambone gets sobriety advice from baby jesus and stock tips from those ballin’ 3 kings of orient

  21. Gray's Sports Almanac says:
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    Good morning Grey! While I am not playing fantasy baseball this year (Baby due in May; getting a business going; getting some serious continuing education this year), i’m still excited to read the rankings and follow RB all season long! This daiquiri’s for you!

  22. Felix dies natalis

  23. whampwhamp says:
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    Grey, if you could pick 3 to keep ( has to be 2 pitchers and 1 hitter or 2 hitters and 1 pitcher) who would you take? I’ve been assuming Sale, Keuchel & Arenado but wanted the GOATS opinion:

    Chris Sale 13th
    Dallas Keuchel 12th
    Corey Kluber 9th
    Nolan Arenado 6th
    Carlos Correra 3rd/4th

  24. Booya says:
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    I’m in a 12 team 5×5 roto league. It’ds a draft and hold league with no moves, trades, or lineup setting. We draft 20 guys (9 pitchers & 11 bats) and they’re all locked into the starting lineup. I have pick 12 & 13. How would you adjust your draft strategy other than trying to avoid injury prone guys?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Booya: Minimize risk all over… Not just injury guys but guys that have a limited track record…

  25. IV says:
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    Correa seems to be going earlier than where you have him ( I think about 6th) in some of the “expert” mock drafts I have seen this off season. I kept thinking that seemed too early for me, but after your ranking here, I definitely need to reconsider him as an option in the 1st round. Looks like if we really want Correa, as of now, 10th may not cut it.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @IV: Don’t think I can make a case for him higher

  26. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    I really want to pick at the back end of the first round this year.