After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball, I find myself with a group that actually really hurt or helped your team depending on how you drafted.  If you went wrong with your 1st baseman, it could kill your season.  Hey, Prince Fielder, no hard feelings from me.  We are totally fine.  Please enjoy these cyanide pills I made special for you.  If you went right, you might’ve won your league.  Last year, I said the end-of-the-season rankings of the 1st basemen was the sorriest group I’d ever seen.  That remains true.  Last year was sorrier.  This group isn’t exactly the meow’s cat, but you didn’t lose your league due to these guys.  You lost your league due to guys that didn’t make this list like Chris Davis, Mauer, Hosmer, Cuddyer, Votto, Trumbo, Allen Craig and the afatmentioned, Fielder.  To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

1. Jose Bautista – I ranked Bautista about 25 spots higher than any other site.  My thoughts then and still are that if he stayed healthy, he’d hit 30+ homers and there were about ten other guys the same could be said of.  True then, true now, plank on that, snitches!  Preseason Rank #6 for Outfielders, Unranked for 1st Base, 2014 Projections: 85/35/100/.255/5, Final Numbers: 101/35/103/.286/6

2. Miguel Cabrera – Last preseason, I said, “148 games played for Miggy (in 2013) sticks out at me.  Can I ignore it?  As Fonzie’s horse says, “Nay.”  It could be nothing.  Maybe his move to 1st base will reduce the strain on his body and he’ll stay healthy for 162 games in 2014.  Maybe his lack of exercise will help him age gracefully; that’s what I keep telling my Cougar when she asks if I’m gonna sit on the couch all weekend.  It works for Miggy, baby!  I think 2013 might’ve been the peak for a long terrific career.  Do I think Miggy completely falls off the map?  Not unless the world really is flat, but then there’s some cartographers with some esplainin’ to do.”  And that’s me quoting me!  That was basically what happened.  Miggy didn’t completely dive into the unknown, but he sure wasn’t the Miggy of old, or is the now the old Miggy.  Yet, he was still the 2nd best 1st baseman.  Preseason Rank #1, 2014 Projections: 97/36/112/.319/2, Final Numbers: 101/25/109/.313/1

3. Victor Martinez – I look at his preseason projections and I’m not sure how different they will be next year.  V-Mart’s 2014 was an aberration wrapped in a riddle doused in chili verde wrapped in a tortilla put in one of those carnival games where you try to pick up something with a crane that is smaller than the prize.  My biggest disappointment is some random blogger didn’t infer V-Mart was on steroids.  Either faux journalism has gotten worse or better, depending on your POV.  Preseason Rank #30, 2014 Projections: 70/15/81/.307, Final Numbers: 87/32/103/.335/3

4. Jose Abreu – The Grande Dolor dealt with learning new pitchers all year and Frank Thomas suing him for copyright infringement.  The best is if you Google “Jose Abreu Frank Thomas comparisons,” then you have a serious of articles of Abreu dismissing Thomas and Thomas dismissing Abreu.  It’s a war of dismissals.  Around the All-Star break, Frank Thomas must’ve challenged Abreu to hit for a higher average and less power, because Abreu’s splits are just bizarre.  29 homers and a .292 average in the first half, then 7 homers and a .350 in the 2nd.  Moving forward, you’d hope for some clarity as to what kind of hitter Abreu is, but after his split season numbers, I’d say the only thing that is guaranteed for next year is more people will know about him.  Preseason Rank #13, 2014 Projections: 78/26/88/.268/2, Final Numbers: 80/36/107/.317/3

5. Todd Frazier – The good news is I told you to draft Frazier, as I double-dipped on back-to-back years of Frazier as a sleeper.  The bad news is now when I go back to failed sleepers, I’ll have some justification.  Hello, Gyorko!  My apologies to people who are having Siri read this to them.  Preseason Unranked for 1st Base; Ranked #14 for 3rd Base, 2014 Projections: 70/25/79/.252/6, Final Numbers:  88/29/80/.273/20

6. Albert Pujols – Saw Pujols’s potential in January and nailed it!  Hmm, that sounds wrong.  Well, you know what I mean.  Everyone else was down on Pujols, in the non-sexual way, and I saw a guy that could produce if he played 150 games.  There was a glimmer of hope in the back of my head that he had one more monster season in him, but this season is likely the end of that hope.  Unless he gets in touch with V-Mart’s ‘trainer.’  Preseason Rank #5, 2014 Projections: 90/30/104/.277/4, Final Numbers: 89/28/105/.272/5

7. Adrian Gonzalez – His ranking here is really being fueled by the amount of runners he drove in.  Some pithier people call that RBIs.  So clever, they are, those that speak like Yoda.  He’s a bad season from Dee Gordon away from being LaRoche.  Preseason Rank #11, 2014 Projections: 86/20/94/.285/1, Final Numbers: 83/27/116/.276/1

8. Buster Posey – Went over him in the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball.

9. Anthony Rizzo – Welcome four ladies and gentleman to the 8th wonder of the world.  HR to the Rizzo, for the shizzle my nizzle used to dribble down my chin when Rizzo was hittin’.  Was a bit surprised Rizzo didn’t end the year higher in the rankings, but he’s being killed by being on a poor team as witnessed by his RBIs.  It’s a’ight maybe we’ll get lucky and some people will overrate his lack of ribbies next year.  This ain’t the Garden of Eden; his ribbies will be there.  Preseason Rank #10, 2014 Projections: 82/28/92/.256/8, Final Numbers:  89/32/78/.286/5

10. Edwin Encarnacion – Had a great year, not to disparage him, but with that said (reversal time!), he produced around $20 worth of fantasy value.  Think about how much you paid for him in your auction drafts.  Did anyone get value from him?  Sure, it was better than spending $40+ on Chris Davis, but there was no great value here.  Preseason Rank #7, 2014 Projections: 87/32/97/.269/7, Final Numbers: 75/34/98/.268/2

11. Lucas Duda – A hamster died of a disease of the lower intestines.  That disease is called Wet Tail.  That deceased hamster was placed into a cigar box.  But, before he was placed in the freshly-dug ground, a young child approached in a Duda jersey.  The child opened the cigar box, kissed the hamster on his nose and placed a Duda bubblegum card in the box.  Forever Duda would be known as Wet Tail.  Preseason Rank #43 1/2, 2014 Projections: 47/17/52/.242/1, Final Numbers: 74/30/92/.253/3

12. Chris Carter – Putting on my old Dylan 45, “Hurry K’d Carter was falsely tried, the crime was ‘he strikes out too much’ guess who testified?  Albright and you and we both baldly lied and the newspapers they all went along for the ride!  How can the life of such a man be in the palm of some fool’s hand?  Hey, c’mon.  To see him, obviously the pitch was framed, couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where fantasy baseball is a game!”  Preseason Rank #33, 2014 Projections: 66/30/90/.215/3, Final Numbers: 68/37/88/.227/5

13. Carlos Santana – Went over him in the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball.

14. Freddie Freeman – I don’t want to point out what other writers say on our site as wrong, but someone mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that Freeman may not have won any leagues on his own, but also didn’t lose any.  I’m gonna say he did lose some leagues.  He lost me a league.  Pretty resoundingly too.  The hilarious thing is I remember exactly when I drafted him.  I was in a hotel room with Rudy in Arizona during Spring Training.  There were two picks until my pick and it was between Pujols and Freeman for me.  I had drafted Pujols in another league already and really didn’t want to double up with Pujols.  I preferred to spread myself around a little and draft Freeman.  Though, as I told Rudy, because of my rankings, I feel obligated to draft Pujols because I had him so far above Freeman.  Rudy thought this was nonsense.  He told me I should just draft as I wanted, no one cared.  Well, it became moot, because right before me someone grabbed Pujols and I grabbed Freeman, overjoyed that I owned him somewhere.  That team did worse than any other team of mine ever.  It was an NFBC team with no waivers, and it died on the vine.  More because of Trumbo, Cliff Lee, Anibal, Wieters, Corbin and Arenado’s injuries, but Freeman didn’t help all that much.  Preseason Rank #8, 2014 Projections: 85/25/102/.288/2, Final Numbers: 93/18/78/.288/3

15. Adam LaRoche – Staying true to Saberhagenmetrics, LaRoche once again did well a year after doing nothing.  Stay away from him in 2015!  Hello in 2016!  No thank you, 2017!  Then in 2018 we’ll have a World War with Trinidad where LaRoche will fight his ass off!  Preseason Rank #29, 2014 Projections: 72/22/79/.254/1, Final Numbers: 73/26/92/.259/3

16. Jonathan Lucroy – Went over him in the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball.

17. Paul Goldschmidt – This end-of-the-season ranking is slightly misleading.  Yes, it sucked Adam Dunn’s Big Donkey balls to lose Au Shizz two months before the end of the year, but, if you owned him in all but insanely deep NL-Only leagues, you were able to fill him in with something.  So, a top 5 1st baseman season for four (stutterer!) months, then, say, Loney for two months and you did okay.  Bee tee dubya, Big Donkey Balls are delicious.  What, no Hawaiians reading?  Preseason Rank #2, 2014 Projections: 92/34/110/.295/11, Final Numbers:  75/19/69/.300/9

18. Justin Morneau – Fantasy baseball fortune cookie for all Rockies hitters.  Just add ‘in Coors.’   You will meet an attractive partner and hit for a good average…in Coors.  You will come into a great fortune and hit for power…in Coors.  You will get deathly sick from that chicken you just ate and be startable in 12-team mixed leagues…in Coors.  Preseason Rank #26, 2014 Projections: 67/22/78/.265, Final Numbers: 62/17/82/.319

19. Brandon Moss – If only Moss would’ve gotten hurt in August rather than Au Shizz *wavy lines*  “Moss was a top 5 first baseman when he went down in August, so I’d draft him high in 2015.  *wavy lines*  Whew, lucky we got to see the last two months of Moss.  That was the lamest dream ever though.  Who the hell dreams about rankings?  Preseason Rank #17, 2014 Projections: 69/28/80/.255/3, Final Numbers: 70/25/81/.234/1

20. Brian McCann – Went over him in the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball.

 
  1. JeF With 1 F says:
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    WET TAIL!! God Bless that young child….So the Mets switch hitting coaches early in the season, the new hitting coach gets the best season of Wet Tails life out of him, the season ends and he is fired…Meet The Mets. (I really could care less, dont think hitting coaches have that big of an effect anyway)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @JeF With 1 F: At least they couldn’t hire anyone related to Madoff to be the batting coach… Cause they’re either in jail or dead…

      • JeF With 1 F says:
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        @Grey: Ha Ha…this off season will give true insight to how bad the Mets money situation is, I feel they are two bats away from being a playoff team…Lets see what they do…Its time to spend

        • JeF With 1 F says:
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          @JeF With 1 F: And please god not Tulo or Cargo

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          If I were a Mets fan I’d be worried they’d get a Marlon Byrd type bat…

          • JeF With 1 F says:
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            @Grey: Wouldnt shock me

        • Ghost says:
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          Sadly I lost Fernandez then Springer & then Goldie in a 10 team 3 keeper league. I had to trade Goldie & Bailey away a day before Bailey went on the dl. I ended up staying in first & winning barely.
          Question, 3 player keeper league (our first year keeping) Abreu, Springer, Gomez, Polanco, Arenado, Betts. Which three will be worth keeping in a draft where u lose your draft round for their adp? I know you have all kinds of blood flow for Arenado!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Abreu, Gomez, Arenado, prolly… Be good to know their ADP first

            • Ghost says:
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              With Gomez crazy swing I was thinking Springer, surely with a healthy ankle they will let him run more & he should have way more power than Gomez. Gomez ADP will be a lot higher than Springers

      • Bye Felicia says:
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        @Grey: I lost 2 leagues I had Freeman in I also had miggy in one . Finished 3rd. I had Longo also

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Gotcha

  2. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!

    So let’s get ‘ye olde elephant in the room question’ out of the way. Who is next year’s Phat Albert or even better Jose Abreu-like guy I can draft in round 15 that will play like a round 3-5 1B?

    Otherwise, life is great!

    Warmest regards,
    Ante

    • JeF With 1 F says:
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      @Ante GALIC: I like Kennys

    • Phil of the Future says:
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      @Ante GALIC: Agree with F. But you know my boy Chris Carter is still gonna be a undervalued in drafts/auctions. Obligatory plug, forgive me.

      • JeF With 1 F says:
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        @Phil of the Future: Ha ….Hurry K’d and Wet Tail..tag teaming bitches

        • Phil of the Future says:
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          @JeF With 1 F: All day, e’ry day

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Ante GALIC: Kennys is a solid choice due to PT, his park and team are terrible though…

  3. MattTruss

    MattTruss223 says:
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    Damn Grey, you absolutely NAILED some of these! You’ve got to be part witch.

    Interesting to look back on this too, mostly for how we valued guys. Can you help me figure a couple things out though. For instance, with E5. You pretty much nailed his projections and had him at $29 preseason. You said he returned about $20 worth of value. So are 12 less runs, 5 less SBs, paired with 2 more HRs and 1 more RBI equal to $9 less in value? Or is that price more just reflecting his relative safety? You’re paying a premium because he has a higher expectancy to hit those projections, correct?

    Same goes for Carter, you were basically just off by 7 HRs and yet, he’s a +21 from preseason rankings vs end of season ranking. 7 HRs isn’t good for that kind of jump, so the preseason ranking must have been because he just as easy could’ve hit .190 and hit 17 HRs and been riding the pine, right? You’re not going to pay a 12th rank first basemen price for Carter, because of the risk involved.

    Same thing happened with LaRoche, nailed the projections, ranked him 29th and he finished 15th.

    The numbers game is fun, it’s not just nailing the projections but assigning a risk value to each guy and adjusting accordingly. For every Carter, there’s a Gyorko I suppose, the trick is limiting how much those guys hurt you if they miss.

    I honestly had no idea Frazier swiped 20 bags, what got into the Reds this year? Him and Bruce both turn into Ian Desmond? That’s crazy. Not sure how I ended up with no Frazier shares this year, too much Rizzo/Arenado/Pujols I guess.

    Never would’ve guessed Carter finished with a higher ranking then Freeman either. With so few big power guys these days I guess those 20 extra HRs outweigh the 60 points in batting average. Times they are changin’!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @MattTruss223: With Edwin, you were paying for safety… Carter did better and other guys did worse so he ended where he is… Remember this end of the season ranking is off the Player Rater… I wouldn’t rank Carter that high if I were ranking for next year… He’s a .190 guy if things break slightly off…. Yeah, insane on Frazier…

      • Coolwhip

        Todd25 says:
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        @Grey: At the beginning of the year Price said he wanted to open up the running game more than Baker did. That’s probably the easiest reason for that.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Put his stamp on things, huh? He should’ve also went the other way with pitchers…. Throwing starters for only 25 pitches per start…

          • Coolwhip

            Todd25 says:
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            @Grey: haha true that.
            yeah numbers reflect it too, did a quick look up.

            Reds stolen bases:
            2014: 122
            2013: 67
            obviously theres a full season of billy in there but also the loss of choo, and bruce stealing more than double with a much crappier year.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, Hamilton is a huge part of that but there was some noticeable more steals elsewhere

      • MattTruss

        MattTruss223 says:
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        @Grey: right, but you nailed Carter’s projections and he finished 21 spots higher then where you ranked him is all I’m saying. I guess it’s hard to know that that stat line would rank as the 12th best 1B, but the 21 spot differential is quite a bit. Obviously he takes a ranking hit because of his risk, just trying to figure out if he was ranked too low. Steamer had him at 64/26/71/2/.226 for $5 and the 24th ranked 1B. Your projections were a little better for him, but perhaps because of the risk, he was ranked #33? It makes sense, just trying to figure out for my own sake how much to believe in the projected stat line and how much to factor in the risk I guess.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh, I hear ya… Yeah, that’s because I thought there would be a ton of 1st baseman that gave something that they didn’t…

          • MattTruss

            MattTruss223 says:
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            @Grey: Gotchya, makes perfect sense.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: Belt got hurt and was not the same player, Napoli hurt his little piggie and spent too much time getting nip pics of his mom off the net and Fat Adams decided to stay too long in the buffet line and do his best Loney with power impersonation for most of the year. It’ a crazy little game

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, fat guys disappointed last year…

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: Oh you mean Billy? Lot’s of disappointments make others rise up. Will be interested how these guys get drafted in leagues with experienced/quality players.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Yeah, totally

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: pho sure

                    • Coolwhip

                      Todd25 says:
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                      @J-FOH: Billy, “Pho, where? I want some!”

  4. Kenny, brother of Kenny says:
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    What do we think about Kennys Vargas next year in deep 5×5 OBP league?

  5. golfnut says:
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    I can’t say enough great things about Grey……I won my league 2 out of 3 years…..last year I finished 2nd because of no hitting the last week. I missed out on Pujols in the draft and landed Abreu thanks to the rankings……..

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @golfnut: Very nice, congrats!

  6. The Vaporizers says:
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    Thanks again for another great season!

    Now onto a quick question. Its not about a first baseman and I’m too impatient to wait a week to get to outfielders… Where abouts do you see George Springer being ranked next season?? Over/Under #30 overall

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @The Vaporizers: No problem… Springer at #30 overall? No way… Over

  7. Stunt Dusty says:
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    First of all, consider this a blanket thank you for being so awesome, Grey. Indemnity.

    Second of all, I’m in a keeper league. Do you see anything in Jon Singleton next year? Is he a homeless person’s Ryan Howard?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Stunt Dusty: Ha, no problem… Nah, I could see Singleton bouncing back and having a similar year to Carter this year…

  8. joe says:
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    Do you think Freddie Freeman is becoming too much of a joey votto type.. too many line drives, not enough home runs?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @joe: He was this past year… He was never a huge homer threat though… A 22 homer guy has a standard over/under of 4

  9. Big W says:
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    Morning Grey!

    I’ve got Jose Bautista in a keeper… Do you know if he’ll have his 1b eligibility for next season on yahoo?

    Thanks in advance!

    • PK says:
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      @Big W: Bautista had 11 games started at 1B, so he will be eligible for both 1B and OF in 2015 Yahoo! leagues.

      • Big W says:
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        @PK: Nice, thank you… You think Frazier will also hold his 1B Eligibility for next year in yahoo?

        • PK says:
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          @Big W: 37 games started at 1B, so he’ll be both 1B/3B for 2015.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Big W: What PK said

  10. Hawk says:
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    In 2012, 2013, Encarnacion played 150+ games. In 2014 he played 128. That cost him about 70 AB.

    If he had the same number of AB, he pro-rates to 39 AB, 115 RBI which put him right in line with his 2013, 2012 totals.

    Short answer: You can’t predict injuries.

    The question for predicting Encarnacion next year isn’t “Is he not as good as he was in 2013?” it is “Will he be as healthy as he was in 2013?”. If you think the answer is yes, draft accordingly.

    • Hawk says:
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      @Hawk:

      Obviously, that should say “..pro-rates to 39 HR” not “…39 AB”

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Hawk: I hear ya

  11. Clint says:
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    I’m kinda surprised by the Joey Bats ranking. Isn’t he about due for some Pujols-like fall off due to his age and injury history as it is?

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss223 says:
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      @Clint: These are where the guys ranked THIS year, not next year’s ranking, FYI

    • Big W says:
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      @Clint: Jose is not nearly as old as Pujols to my knowledge… I think it’s safe to say you can expect another similar season from him… AND, he was fairly healthy all year long.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big W: but him staying fairly healthy bext year isn’t a safe bet. Still a 2nd rounder

      • JeF With 1 F says:
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        @Big W: Pujols 34….Bautista 33

  12. J-FOH says:
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    The RBI’s don’t surprise me for Gonzalez, i think him leading the league is more surprising than his totals. I assumed he would get near this total in the pre-season. The thing that blew me away was the HR numbers. He hadn’t hit 27 since 2011.

    Duda will always be “The Duda” to me. I will not fall victim for Jef’s mass marketing campaign

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Gonzalez is definitely going to be overrated next year… High RBI totals do that…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: 8-116 doesn’t seem that high. It’s only high because others failed or got hurt. Wth the table setters in LA and reemergence of Kemp he still sits around 105 for me. Again, the 27 home runs is what people will see next year and assume he’s a 25 home run hitter. Which he’s not. Or maybe getting back to a place with a decent taco in a corn tortilla is the difference maker. Boston is a long way away.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I think he’s more of a 24 homer, 105 RBI guy and 24 homers easily becomes 21 homers which is kinda meh…

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: at Dodger Stadium and year 33? I’m projecting 20 for him but I only project in 5’s. So there’s that. He also started like a bat out of hell which helped his overall numbers.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, 20 is about right, which becomes a nightmare if he misses under…

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: I’m still holding to the better tacos in his life line of thinking.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  I had great tacos last night… Rudy’s showing us a good time in Austin…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: what, you’re in Austin? rub his head and thank him for tolerating my emails this year. when you get back I’ll take you to some of the best tacos in LA…that aren’t Korean

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Sweet! Yeah, we’re at ACL…

                  • Militant Vegans says:
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                    @Grey: Ed’s Cucaracha

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: I’m more jealous of you than that one time you got to hang out with SteveNZ…Oh wait i was there, scratch that, I’m more jealous of you than that one time you were at a party with charo.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, I’m jealous of Grey hanging with Charo every day…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: what, cougs or rudy, put down grey’s phone.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Haha