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After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2017 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, Miguel Cabrera, no hard feelings from me, because I didn’t own you.  You prolly got some splainin’ to do to your owners though.  If you went right, you might’ve won your league.  Two years ago, I said offense was making a comeback.  This year, I say, you prophetic son of a B, darn tootin’ offense is making a comeback.  How’d you get so handsome and wise, though not wise enough to answer a question posed by yourself?  Lots of guys on this list not only did well, but did better than their preseason projections.  Offense is in full swoon, like Our Commissioner Manfred is swooning with the guy who wrapped the baseballs a little bit tighter.  To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

1. Paul Goldschmidt – Two years in a row now Au Shizz has been ranked first by me for 1st baseman, and two years in a row he’s ended up as the top ranked one.  Conjecture Alert!  People don’t swoon on Au Shizz like some other players because he doesn’t hit 45+ homers.  That’s fine.  I mean, you’re wrong, but it’s fine.  He gives a .300-ish average, 15+ steals and boku runs and RBIs without being a drag on power.  Au Shizz is life, l’claim jumper!  (My Hebrew might be off there.)  Preseason Rank #1, 2017 Projections: 105/28/107/.306/21, Final Numbers:  117/36/120/.297/18

2. Joey Votto – You know how you look at stat leaders from the late 90’s?  Like, “How on earth did they hit that many homers and no one thought anything was wrong?”  2017 stats are similar.  Doesn’t matter if the player has been in the league for ten years or not, all their stats are at or near their career bests.  Votto’s had a solid career (no dur), last year was like a career year in his prime.  He had one year better in his ten-year career, it was in his 27-year-old season.  He’s now 34.  2016 was solid too (29 HRs), but the way he’s going he’ll hit 42 homers next year with a .350 average.  Member he hit .400 in the 2nd half of 2016 too?  I didn’t bother doing the math, but over the last eighteen months, he’s likely hitting around .375 with 50+ homers.  Preseason Rank #6, 2017 Projections: 84/25/91/.308/7, Final Numbers:  106/36/100/.320/5

3. Anthony Rizzo – HR to the Rizzo’s average came down a bit this year, but his BABIP is low (for him), and he struck out a career best 13%.  A solid takeaway here is in his rookie year he had a 30% strikeout rate.  Imagine Judge takes this career path.  I just had the happy shudders in my shorts.  Preseason Rank #2, 2017 Projections: 97/35/109/.297/7, Final Numbers:  99/32/109/.273/10

4. Cody Bellinger – First base is a position I like to lock up early in all my leagues.  This year, I went for Abreu (yay!), Hanley (lowercase yay!), Carlos Santana (not Supernatural, not quite doing duos with Rob Thomas either) and Goldy (Au Shizz!).  However, if you punted 1B this year, you could’ve actually made up for it in-season, more so than I remember in years past.  Bellinger is obviously the best example of that.  If he had the runs and RBIs to go with his HRs and SBs, he’d be the 2nd best 1B.  Oh, and he’s 22 years old.  I want to avoid making this about next year, but I might be looking at Bellinger in the top 10 overall.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  87/39/97/.267/10

5. Jose Abreu – I mentioned this in the preseason, and a few times during the year, but you try to write 2,500 words a day and don’t repeat yourself.  Abreu was in that sweet spot this past preseason where he fell to the 4th and 5th rounds, so if you didn’t draft a 1B in the 1st two rounds, you were squaring Abreu up everywhere.  I know, because it happened to me.  In the preseason, I was worried, because his 2016 was less than spectacular, and, outside of the 1st half of his rookie year, nothing was spectacular with him.  By the end of this season though, I was cheering on El Grande Dolor and handling cease and desists from Frank Thomas.  Preseason Rank #7, 2017 Projections: 73/28/92/.306, Final Numbers:  95/33/102/.304/3

6. Ryan Zimmerman – Another guy in the Bellinger vein, meaning you could’ve punted 1B and grabbed Zimmerman in the rounds when people are groaning in the draft chatroom that there’s no one left.  Zimmerman’s season is so improbable, his last two seasons he had 31 HRs combined, but hit 36 this year.  In 2016, hit .218 and .249 the year before, this year .303.  His career HR/FB% is 14.6, this year it was 26.5% as his fly balls actually went down.  Can I start writing my overrated post for him already?  *doorbell rings, opens door*  “I didn’t draft Daniel Murphy because of you,” as they punch me in the nose.  Preseason Rank #33, 2017 Projections: 54/17/59/.231/3, Final Numbers: 90/36/108/.303/1

7. Eric Hosmer – Eek, this post is already going long — why can’t I be succint?!  Maybe it’s all your freakin’ asides.  Shut up, Random Italicized Voice! — Hosmer is Joey Votto Jr.  I call him, Kangaroo Embryo.  Preseason Rank #11, 2017 Projections: 82/24/94/.288/7, Final Numbers:  98/25/94/.318/6

8. Travis Shaw – You can put Shaw in the basket of plorables with Bellinger.  Plorables is a word, right?  To mean the opposite of deplorables?  No?  Hmm.  Super old topic alert!  I haven’t heard this discussed at all about the deplorables comment, but leave it to Hillary to use a word that autocorrect doesn’t even recognize because it is such an arcane, snooty word.  It’s like, “I’m completely relatable, let me use a word that no one has ever heard used in conversation before.  Yay me.”  As for Shaw, he surprised me so much I legitimately liked Tyler Thornburg better than him last year at this time.  Preseason Rank #29, 2017 Projections: 51/18/64/.247/3, Final Numbers:  84/31/101/.273/10

9. Edwin Encarnacion – Part of me wants to say this is the last we’re going to see of Edwin in the top ten for 1B, but the other part of me thinks he can hit 35+ homers in his sleep, then the final part of me wants to know if he’s really asleep or if he’s in the Flatliners remake.  Preseason Rank #5, 2017 Projections: 88/36/105/.260/2, Final Numbers:  96/38/107/.258/2

10. Daniel Murphy – Frequent commenter, Simply Fred, knows better than me (I?) how many overrated posts I had in a row before this year, but I think I was something like 24 for 25 over the last few years, but I Mr. Bungled this year with a few guys.  Murphy was one of the bigger ones.  I didn’t completely miss the mark (here comes the justification!), he did only rank tenth for 1B and I had him 12th.  He hit 8 more HRs than I projected, and that’s like a good week from Judge, but, in fairness, I thought he’d be useless.  He was not.  Mea culpa, as they say in Latin America.  Preseason Rank #12, 2017 Projections: 82/15/85/.296/5, Final Numbers:  94/23/93/.322/2

11. Justin Smoak – Another guy in the basket of plorables!  Speaking of plorables, I’m surprised Yonder Alonso didn’t make this top 20, but he really pooched the 2nd half.  Any hoo!  Back to Smoak, he pooched the 2nd half a little.  He Yorkie’d it?  I think I’m lost in my own analogy.  23 HRs, .294 in the 1st half, and 15 HRs, .241 in the 2nd half, which prolly made you want to stop, drop and roll away from Smoak.  Preseason Rank #37, 2017 Projections: 42/19/44/.220, Final Numbers:  85/38/90/.270

12. Freddie Freeman – You know how you can get a guy to come closer to your preseason projections?  Have them miss six weeks.  Obviously, when you combine Freeman with a guy you picked up off waivers while he was injured, you had way more than the 12th best first baseman.  Preseason Rank #4, 2017 Projections: 93/31/97/.295/6, Final Numbers:  84/28/71/.307/8

13. Jay Bruce – Add 25% to all preseason home run numbers and you will find every projection is exactly right (if your math isn’t great).  Bruce once again showed his pattern of doing dookie dong in the 2nd half (13 HRs, .238).  Preseason Rank #53 for OF, 2017 Projections: 70/27/84/.247/5, Final Numbers:  82/36/101/.254/1

14. Mark Reynolds – Another plorable, who burned me badly in a few leagues, because I didn’t own him.  I wanted him in every NL-Only league, because I knew Reynolds was dirt cheap to own, was in Coors, could be sneaky value in deep leagues, and the Rockies never promote/play rookies.  More on this during the offseason when we discuss Ryan McMahon.  Preseason Rank #42, 2017 Projections: 32/16/47/.247/4, Final Numbers: 82/30/97.267/2

15. Wil Myers – Talk about a guy that goes all over the map for value from year to year.  He also might be getting a bit of a Jay Bruce reputation with his splits.  In Myers’ defense, 30/20 is nothing to sneeze at unless you’re allergic to fantasy value.  Sure, the average was crizzap, but whatevs.  Preseason Rank #9, 2017 Projections: 81/25/91/.264/15, Final Numbers: 80/30/74/.243/20

16. Buster Posey – Went over him in the top 20 catchers recap.

17. Carlos Santana – Wouldn’t say he’s a plorable (really taking this analogy to its nth degree), also wouldn’t say Santana killed your team.  That might be the problem, he was super meh for half the season.  Unfortch, the half where he was meh was the 1st half, and that is always the worst half for that to happen.  You struggle with whether to drop him or keep him, which leads to making bad moves compounding more bad moves.  It’s just an awful cycle, like the bearded hipster in my building who parks his unicycle in the lobby.  Preseason Rank #10, 2017 Projections: 95/31/79/.266/5, Final Numbers: 90/23/79/.259/5

18. Joey Gallo – Yes, this is about this year, but imagine Gallo can get his strikeout rate under 27%?  I’m getting some more of those good shudders.  Like on a beach house.  *intern whispers in my ear*  I don’t care if it’s spelled differently.  I spell diferently!  As someone who owned Gallo can attest, he was a struggle to own.  He had 41 homers and only 94 hits!  I mean, how long until he just starts swinging a kayak paddle for a bat?  Preseason Rank #4 for DH, 2017 Projections: 34/23/43/.208/3, Final Numbers:  85/41/80/.209/7

19. Marwin Gonzalez – Guarantee you someone’s reaction to seeing Marwin listed here is, “Hmm, guess I shouldn’t have streamed him off my team and just held him.”  You sound pretty nonchalant with your mistake, maybe that’s why you’re making them!  Sorry, hypothetical person reading, that was mean.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  67/23/90/.303/8

20. Logan Morrison – You know what’s going to age really well?  Logan Morrison ripping Gary Sanchez’s inclusion in the Home Run Derby over himself.  Yeah, in 5 years, it’s gonna be like, “I wonder if Gary Sanchez has a legit Hall of Fame case.”  “Member Logan Morrison thought he was better than him?”  “Logan who now?”  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  75/38/85/.246/2

   
  1. Matt says:
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    Did the maths. Since last year’s all-star break, Votto is hitting 348/457/607 with 51 HR. Plus 181 walks to 115 Ks.

    • chris says:
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      @Matt: dude’s a machine. i wish he were moved to a contender so he could have a chance for a ring.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wow, that’s insane

  2. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Looks like I just lost my job.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Oh no, I’m sorry, Vin, we’ll get you hired somewhere!

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        @Grey: Ha! I just meant checking your math. I gave up actual work a long time ago.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh, there’s always a job available to check my math!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, nice!

  3. Hawk says:
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    I’ve been trying to trade Encarnacion in my keeper league for 4 years. No one is even remotely interested. Every year I feel like I’m stuck with him and every year he hits 35 homers and drives in 100 runs.

    Who’s worse? Me for wanting him gone or them for not taking him?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Prolly you

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        You know what they say, if you have to ask

    • Cale says:
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      @Hawk: I have the exact same feeling with Nelson Cruz

  4. SDub88 says:
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    Honorable mention to RHYSUS

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Indeed!

  5. RICE says:
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    Another huge THANK YOU to Grey and the rest of the Razzball team for yet another fantasy baseball championship.

    Amazing how great you guys are with advise while delivering non-stop entertainment at the same time.

    My last 5 years with Razzball:

    1st
    6th
    1st
    3rd
    3rd

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Nice! No problem

  6. Man or Machine? says:
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    Is it crazy to cut Encarnacion next year and accept Rhysus as my Lord and fantasy savior? What if that move save me 24 bucks? (10 team dynasty)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I like it!

  7. FrankGrimes says:
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    Simone was the hottest one.
    Why they vote her off?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      She was smoking, right?

      • FrankGrimes says:
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        @Grey:
        SMOKING!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          She seemed easier to lead than Problem Child As An Adult too, bad call by the hustlers

          • FrankGrimes says:
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            @Grey:
            haha
            Agreed
            I hate when they edit like something else is going to happen but usually doesn’t.
            Oh wait that’s like 90% of the show cuz We FF thru all the challenges haha

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, like the first week when the old lady voted out the other old lady and they were making it seem like she was going to play her idol…

              • FrankGrimes says:
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                @Grey:
                EXACTLY

  8. jon says:
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    I am keeping both Votto and Abreu….

    I have a UTIL spot for the one i dont play at first…..any reason to deal( sell high)on any of the two

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah sell high on Votto if you can

      • jon says:
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        @Grey:

        Any sexy names out there you think i can swap him for?

        No real needs and hate acquiring pitchers.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Need to get top 2 round value — Turner? Lindor?

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Jo-Ram?

  9. OddBall Herrera says:
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    Wil Myers is the weirdest type of streaky I’ve seen, because he’s capable of stealing bases, hitting for power, hitting for average, and walking, but he never does them all at once and at any given time one or several of those skills is on a month+ leave of absence.

    His end of season numbers are nice, but there is no linearity whatsoever in how he accumulates them. Good news is he always seems to be doing *something* to add value, but he also always feels a little disappointing because you’re constantly frustrated by knowing he could be a star if he could put it all together at once.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha! Totally…. He goes through walks of each category, but never doing them all at once

  10. OddBall Herrera says:
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    Also, am I crazy to be a little leery of keeping Hoskins with this crowd at 1B? We all know he’s not as good as that ridiculous streak, and at this position look at what a Mark Reynolds type can get you for almost no investment. He seems like a huge overdraft risk next year.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Keeping at what price…. Because I do like Hoskins… Wasn’t as good as his streak, isn’t as bad as his struggles in Sept.

      • Oddball Herrera says:
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        @Grey:

        Cost is mostly the guys I’d not keep instead – I’ve got Yelich & Acuna on the bubble for example.

        Yelich seems like the obvious choice, but then you’ve got Hoskins going in round two in some fangraphs mock drafts, which seems insane.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          2nd round for Hoskins is insane… I don’t love Yelich tho

  11. Armchair QB says:
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    How high do you put Votto in OBP for 2018? Top 10 seems obvious. Is he top 5?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Top 7 prolly

  12. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    We are counting by year now. 6 years in a row…spot on. One off year…I write it off to the west coast eclipse.

    NEVER draft one of Grey’s overrated!!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, thanks, Simply Fred!

  13. M says:
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    Grey, what do you think of Matt Olson for 2018? About a .255 25 HR 80ish runs/rbi, .330 obp?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Sounds a little low on HRs, but about right elsewhere

  14. J-FOH says:
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    I started your in the line of duty. Interesting how the brits jump quickly without a lot of chatty chat dialogue. It’s got my boy Lennie James. Love that guy

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      It’s SO good! I’ve watched the entire series twice already…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: I’m on episode one. Do you know of Lennie James

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I watched him once before in a show on A&E, something like Black Sun Rising or something, it was not good, but he is great in Line of Duty

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: I always saw him in those Brit flicks. Most notable 24 hour party people. He’s really good in the walking dead

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Ah, never watched Walking Dead or the Culkin flick

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: that’s not the culkin flick. It’s the flick about factory records and Manchester music scene. It centers around joy division, new order, happy mondays and the rise of the DJ culture. It’s pretty good. Steve Coogan plays the main character

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Oh, I was thinking of the one where Culkin plays the club promoter…I forget the name of it, obviously haven’t seen either… I saw the doc about the club promoter he plays, which was good, Glory Daze

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: the culkin movie was party monster?

                    Here is the trailer for the movie I’m talking about. I think you can watch it on you tube.

                    https://youtu.be/HFiyEegpKUM

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Oh, nice! Yeah, Party Monster was about a real guy and Glory Daze doc was solid about that same guy…

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      I remember hearing it was real story. Will check out doc. Where can I find it?

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Netflix

  15. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey

    I made a trade . Tell me what you think. I give up Lance Lynn and prospect Dustin Fowler and I get Charlie Blackmon

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Sounds solid

  16. Peter Pyper says:
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    What do you think about Bellinger for Kluber and Encarnacion in an OBP keeper league???

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hold

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      As in I want Bellinger

  17. J-FOH says:
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    You watch the Dodger game last night. That was so strange

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I watched the first 5 IP, then I watched a documentary on PBS that was amazing (I’m so old)… It’s called Small Enough to Jail, by the Hoop Dreams director

  18. CMUTimmah says:
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    True story – In mid May I considered dropping Abreu or EE because they were THAT bad in a points league format.

    By June I was very happy I didn’t.

    By July I was sure I would have to drop Donalson.

    By September I rode him to a championship.

    There’s a fine line between cutting a guy that you know is going to break out of a slump, and identifying if the guy that has become the slump. (see Carlos Gonzo)

    That being said, this was the year of offense, but I think it was also the year of the 1B moreso. Cabrera is one of the very few that missed his projections badly, while most overshot them by leaps and bounds.

    SS is going to be an interesting article, as this was a huge year for the position…

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