All the final 2016 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2017 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

1. Max Scherzer – You know how awesome Scherzer is, so, instead, I’ll talk a bit about pitchers, in general.  Since I rank 100 outfielders and 100 pitchers in the preseason, those two seem the most analogous.  (By the way, analogous is not a scoresheet a gay man keeps of conquests.)  There were three outfielders in the top 20 recap that were ranked after the top 40 in the preseason.  There are six starters that were preseason ranked after the top 40 with one more at 39 overall.  Now, you can take this to mean I’m an idiot, and I guess there’s an argument to be made there, but I’d prefer to point out how I rank around top 20 for all ‘perts across multiple seasons.  I’m really not that terrible at this ranking thing.  So, instead, what I’d like to point out is how many more starters can be had later in drafts who give huge value.  Know why?  Because starters are more unpredictable.  Hitters get runs and RBIs due to lineup placement and their teams.  No one is getting 120 RBIs as an eight hole hitter.  Hitters have 40-homer power or they have 40-steal speed or they don’t.  Only thing that is fickle for hitters is their batting averages.  For pitchers, they can control their Ks.  They can’t control their Wins; their ERA and WHIP are somewhat up to the whim of luck, and starters don’t get saves.  So in a 5×5 league, hitters can give you five categories and control two (HRs/SBs) and you can predict two (runs/RBIs).  With starters, you get a K or pray.  Tell me again how it’s better to draft starters before hitters?  Preseason Rank #4, 2016 Projections: 16-8/2.65/0.98/258, Final Numbers: 20-7/2.96/0.97/284

2. Jon Lester – Okay, PETA’s about to get called in if I keep beating this dead horse, but look at Lester’s projected Ks vs. everything else?  Since you really want to believe I’m an idiot, Steamer’s projections for Lester — and Steamer is the best in the business — were 14-9/3.17/1.12/196.  Hunh.  Wonder why Steamer didn’t project him for more wins?  Oh, I know!  Because no one has any freakin’ clue how many wins a pitcher is going to get.  “Buh-buh-buh-but–”  No stuttering buts!  Preseason Rank #24, 2016 Projections: 15-10/3.51/1.14/199, Final Numbers: 19-5/2.44/1.02/197

3. Rick Porcello – For a moment while Porcello was being hit around in a playoff game, I thought about how that sucked because it might lower him in next season’s rankings, and I want him to be high as possible because I have no intention on drafting him.  Then, I realized how Yahoo and ESPN will still rank him high next year.  Know how I know?  They always rank guys like this high.  It’s this weird phenomenon.  They rank guys high that they think their readers want to see high.  I believe it’s easier for them to rank some players high (mostly big market players) than explain why they’ve ranked him low.  Piss off Red Sox Nation or just rank Porcello high?  They’ll just rank him high.  By the by, I want to open a Japanese restaurant where I serve weird foods and call it, Weird Phenom-nom-nom.  Preseason Rank #87, 2016 Projections: 13-9/4.08/1.32/145, Final Numbers: 22-4/3.45/1.01/189

4. Justin Verlander – Now, with everything I said about Ks and ERA and blah blah, Verlander legitimately surprised me.  I thought his aging curve was taking its usual slope.   He was great, he started to get old, and he was no longer great.  Obvious, right?  Verlander wasn’t obvious.  At 33 years of age, he gained velocity (not normal).  This led to him having the highest K-rate of his career except for one year.  That’s not normal.  His K-rates went from 7 K/9 in 2014, 7.63 in 2015 to 10 K/9.  This is not normal.  Good for him and the people who drafted him.  Being engaged to the hottest Upton agreed with him, but find me someone who it wouldn’t agree with, and don’t end a sentence with with — dah!  Preseason Rank #64, 2016 Projections: 11-10/3.68/1.25/172, Final Numbers: 16-9/3.04/1.00/254

5. Madison Bumgarner – I will say this about pitchers, and this is my last big general note (until my next one).  Pitchers are fun to research.  You can really get a handle on what makes them tick.  Not the same with hitters.  The answer I think is easy.  It’s sorta like with a male gay couple, the pitcher controls the action.  A hitter is only as good as the pitch he’s given.  The pitcher can do anything he wants.  He could throw inside, outside, all fastballs, all cutters, all changes, have control or have no control.  Whatever the case, the action starts with him.  It still doesn’t help him that he doesn’t control the action after the ball is into play, but he has total control up until the batter swings.  Preseason Rank #8, 2016 Projections: 17-9/2.95/1.03/216, Final Numbers:  15-9/2.74/1.02/251

6. Clayton Kershaw – It saddens me that I will never own Kershaw at the height of his powers.  I just don’t want to draft a high starter.  This doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate Kershaw.  Would you agree with me Tanner Roark had a great year?  Okay, don’t agree, but he did, he’s even in this top 20.  Kershaw faced 544 batters; Roark faced 855.  In sixty-one less innings, Kershaw had the same number of Ks as Roark.  That’s goofy good.  In 149 IP, Kershaw had 11 walks.  I believe Liriano had that many in one, two-game stretch.  Kershaw led the league in shutouts.  That’s Kershaw who missed two months!  In.  Dot dot dot.  Sane.  Preseason Rank #1, 2016 Projections: 18-6/2.28/0.90/277, Final Numbers: 12-4/1.69/0.72/172

7. Corey Kluber – Said in robot voice, “I am Klubot.  I have come here to disable your hitters and try to avoid Hitter-Tron’s sexual advances.  I am Klubot.”  I’m not going to call out people; it’s not my style unless they work for ESPN, Yahoo or Razzball.  If we can’t make fun of ourselves, who are we?  ESPN and Yahoo, namely.  Any hoo!  There were a lot of people convinced Kluber would not bounce back from his 2015 down year; I had more faith.  Preseason Rank #15, 2016 Projections: 14-10/3.18/1.08/235, Final Numbers: 18-9/3.14/1.06/227

8. Kyle Hendricks – If you click on the player’s name, you see their preseason projections, and, with that in mind, I went to see Steamer’s preseason projections on Hendricks (10-8/3.60/1.22/114) to see if there was anything I missed in the preseason, and my big takeaway was, Hendricks got more lucky this year than right after he played at Woodstock.  Preseason Rank #49, 2016 Projections: 13-8/3.57/1.13/151, Final Numbers: 16-8/2.13/0.98/170

9. Chris Sale – This guy surprises me every year.  I keep thinking he’s going to have a top three overall year, and he keeps finding ways to disappoint, if just slightly.  Maybe it’ll be next year, unless he has a relapse and thinks he works at SuperCuts again.  Preseason Rank #3, 2016 Projections: 17-6/2.49/0.99/245, Final Numbers: 17-10/3.34/1.04/233

10. Jose Fernandez – The other day I was watching an old Larry Sanders episode with Garry and his guest, Phil Hartman.  Made me Google Phil to see how long ago he died.  I remembered the way he died was something tragic; it was.  Absolutely ghastly.  But his death was just a passing occurrence, pun noted.  What you really think about with Garry and Phil is how much they made you laugh while they were alive.  The manner in which they died and how long ago is forgotten.  At some point, I hope to Google Jose Fernandez to recall how long ago he died, and then forget it all over again and remember how he lived.  Preseason Rank #10, 2016 Projections: 13-5/2.44/1.01/210, Final Numbers: 16-8/2.86/1.12/253

11. Johnny Cueto – I’d like to just show Cueto’s stats to Samardzija and say, “How could you not?  It’s the NL West.  C’mon, I held up my end of the bargain, I learned to spell your name.”  *sees I preseason ranked Samardzija 38th overall and he ended the year at 39th*  Oh.  Well.  Still!  You were supposed to exceed expectations!  Preseason Rank #21, 2016 Projections: 14-9/3.31/1.09/186, Final Numbers: 18-5/2.79/1.09/198

12. Jake Arrieta – I’ve gone over Arrieta’s fall from a top three pitcher to being ‘simply’ a top 15 pitcher, I don’t want to repeat myself, but I will repeat that I called that shizz about four months before everyone else.  Eat some hay, nayayers.  Preseason Rank #2, 2016 Projections: 17-8/2.38/0.96/224, Final Numbers: 18-8/3.10/1.08/190

13. Noah Syndergaard – I was thinking during Syndergaard’s one playoff game this year, “How does anyone ever get a hit off this guy?”  Which was followed by an hour of running through my head questions of how many elbow spurs he will have by next April.  Preseason Rank #11, 2016 Projections: 15-6/2.88/1.07/208, Final Numbers:   14-9/2.60/1.15/218

14. J.A. Happ – I know someone out there is thinking, “Is there any way to tell who is going to be next year’s Happ and Porcello?”  Maybe, and I’ll try, but it feels highly doubtful.  Remember, shizz Happens.  Preseason Rank #88, 2016 Projections: 10-8/4.08/1.35/156, Final Numbers:  20-4/3.18/1.17/163

15. Tanner Roark – In fairness to me, because if I’m not fair to me, no one will be, I had Roark in a tier of starters that I wanted everyone to draft.  Also, in that tier:  Daniel Norris, Velasquez, Aaron Sanchez, Rich Hill *covers mouth to mumble*  Erasmo, Nicasio, Eovaldi and Jimmy Nelson.  Preseason Rank #80, 2016 Projections: 10-7/3.61/1.27/124, Final Numbers: 16-10/2.83/1.17/172

16. David Price – Surprises me to see Price here.  I mean that in every sense.  In the preseason, I figured he would’ve ended up higher and, after owning him, I’m surprised he ended up here at the end of the season.  When you pitch 230 innings on a division winner, it goes a long way towards being ranked high at the end of the season (wins and Ks).  Preseason Rank #7, 2016 Projections: 17-7/3.03/1.10/225, Final Numbers:  17-9/3.99/1.20/228

17. Masahiro Tanaka – I actually wasn’t that far off on Tanaka’s projections when you consider I only thought he’d throw 160 IP and he threw 200.  Of course, that’s kinda exactly why I was off on him; I never thought he’d throw a full season due to his torn elbow tendon.  I kinda hate that I’ve made a personal vow to not draft Tanaka due to his torn tendon, because now I think if I forgive his tendons, for they do not know what they do, he will immediately injure himself.  Preseason Rank #39, 2016 Projections: 11-6/3.37/1.04/148, Final Numbers: 14-4/3.07/1.08/165

18. Kenta Maeda – I’m beginning to think all Japanese pitchers should be given the benefit of the doubt and projected to be a top 20 to 30 starter.  Though, that feels a little raycess and/or lazy.  Plus, I’m not good at math because I’m not Japanese.  Preseason Rank #67, 2016 Projections: 9-7/3.79/1.19/115, Final Numbers: 16-11/3.48/1.14/179

19. Stephen Strasburg – If I said to you, “Name me the top 20 starters from last year,” I bet you wouldn’t name Strasburg.  He only threw 147 2/3 IP!  Pretty obvious where a lot of his value came from and it had little to do with him, unless you’re talking to Murray Chass.  That’s right, wins.  Preseason Rank #12, 2016 Projections: 14-9/2.89/1.08/231, Final Numbers: 15-4/3.60/1.10/183

20. Carlos Martinez – Ranking on C-Mart wasn’t too far off, but it doesn’t tell the full story since I was pretty adamant — Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do? — against drafting Martinez.  Oh, well, you win some, you Carlos some.  Preseason Rank #30, 2016 Projections: 12-6/3.43/1.27/148, Final Numbers: 16-9/3.04/1.22/174

 
  1. HarperBetterThanTrout says:
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    So hard to read about Jose Fernandez… So hard to believe

    Thanks for all your work and the whole crew.

    • RIPJF says:
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      @HarperBetterThanTrout: Agreed. Was reading along until I came to his part, then got sad and just scrolled to the comments. Glad this was the first thing I saw. What a great pitcher.

      • @RIPJF: JoFer was one of those guys when you flipped through the channels and seen him pitching you just tune in and enjoy… He was electric and should of been the poster child of how Manfried could make baseball exciting.
        I never forget the homerun he admired and pissed off McCann. He was 21yrs old Mr. McCann geesh you grumpy tool. hopefully those two made amends

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Agreed, he was special

  2. Matt says:
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    I owned Jo-fer everywhere this year in fantasy. He was my stud, ace up my sleeve, my #1. While everyone took Kershaw, Scherzer, Bumgarner, I didn’t sweat. I knew my secret weapon would come through. RIP Jo-Fer. You were a fantasy god.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Matt: Agreed

  3. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Cubs 10 Dodgers 2. Series tied at 2. Adrian Gonzalez was safe. Did you stay for the whole game?

    Off-season recap GA is funny and so fun to read! Weird Phenom-nom-nom, that’s funny!

    Well said on Phil & Jose. Two extraordinary humans. RIP.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Thanks! Nah, I didn’t stay until the end… Do you know what traffic’s like here?! A-Gon looked safe on the replays I saw… Not sure how you botch a replay review, that’s a new one

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Grey:
        A-Gon’s hand touched the plate before he was tagged. Replay is worthless if they can’t get it right.

        I have been to Dodgers games, traffic is a nightmare! Traffic is always a nightmare in LA!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Imagine then with a sell out crowd, traffic was insane… We parked further away than the parking gates where you go in…

  4. Packers says:
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    We are starting a new dynasty league. Jose was my number one starting pitcher target. RIP Jose.

  5. Packers says:
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    One of my leagues is a keep 5 from my current roster. This is 12 teams, and this will always be the format, keep 5 and then redraft based on the standings. I lost on the last day when M. Moore threw a great game…
    My choices are the following.
    1. Betts
    2. Manny M.
    3. T. Turner
    4. Story
    5. S. Marte
    6. C. Davis
    7. Noah
    8. Bergman
    9. Abreu

    Do you think I have them ranked properly? I hate not having a power hitting 1st baseman but if I throw my 2 guys back maybe I get one. Just seeking other people’s opinion.

    • in says:
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      @Packers:
      I’d take Betts, Machado, Syndergaard, Marte and then it’s a tossup after that. Probably Turner.

    • Malicious Phenoms says:
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      @Packers:
      I’d go with:
      1. Betts
      2. Manny
      3. T. Turner
      4. S. Marte
      5. Abreu

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Packers: Betts, Machado, Turner, Story, Marte

  6. Desmond says:
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    Weird Phenom-nom-nom should open a branch in Cambodia; then you could have Weird Phenom-nom-nom (Phnom Penh).

  7. Gonzo_The_Great says:
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    Grey- as always, your commentary is at once insightful and hilarious. Thanks for the incredibly helpful analysis.

    One thing I’ve found interesting across all of these articles is how few of the “top 20” guys I’d actually want to have owned all season. Like I’d never want to have owned Tanaka because I’d be afraid all season that his elbow was going to tear in half before our very eyes. Or, I’d never want to have owned Verlander because I’d have anxiety all year about needing to trade him before the wheels fall off.

    If I was a smarter man, I’d say there’s some kind of lesson there. But, I’m not, so I’ll just go back to fantasizing about my Verlander, Tanaka, Porcello rotation.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Gonzo_The_Great: Thanks! Agreed, there’s a lot of iffy moments in the top 20, and especially top 40’s… I don’t blame you on Tanaka and Verlander, I have my problems with them too

  8. Scott says:
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    I’m opening up a new Vietnamese-Cajun diet restaurant.

    It’ll be called Lo-Cal

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Grey: Pho-Jun?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Bahn Mi-ississippi

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Grey: Bun Thit Nu-Orleans

            And yes I know this dish. It’s baby’s mama’s fav

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Larbeignets?

  9. booya says:
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    Nice article.

    Would you guys rather have Garrett Richards or Kemp in 15 team 5×5 dynasty?

    I’m leaning Kemp but I’m a little weak in pitching.

    Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! Kemp, pretty close though

  10. Big Odio says:
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    I like all the articles about how rizzo is back and all the things that worked yesterday. If you watched he got fat pitches to hit. Will be interesting to see how he does in game 6 and 7 vs lefties. Today’s game is a crap shoot with maeda. He teases the zone so will have to see how it’s called.

    I git a bunch of crap by dodger fans because I’m not gun ho about Dave Roberts. I feel they have had success despite some of his bad moves. I went into yesterday’s game thinking it was going to be a committee game where urias goes three striplong goes 2 or 3 then wood goes 2 or 3. Baez is a flat fastball pitcher. No movement and the cubs are a fastball hitting team. I also wonder why brock stewart was left off the roster. Hr owned the cubs last time and considering the park factor would of made sense to use at home. Oh well, it’s been a great series and that’s what you want. I’m most excited that this year there won’t be a wildcard team in the world series. No rewards for second place!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agreed, agreed… Urias should’ve been out after 3, but I think Roberts was forfeiting yesterday, hoping to win today and grabbing Kershaw’s Game 6

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Grey: Maybe, I just dont see why they have Stripling and Wood on the roster, who both BTW, pitched well out of the pen and not use them. Baez at best is a hard throwing 1 batter faced arm that you use when you know the hitter struggles with those types of pitchers

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Roberts loves Baez, Baez has seen so much damn time… He might be near 100 IP if the Dodgers get to the World Series

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Grey: that hurts my eyes. Oh and give cougs the old “way to go” for ruining yesterday. I blame her….and Obama

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Plus she got drunk (off two beers) and I had to deal with her drunken cheering and Dodgers fans threatening to kill her

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Grey: wait, so you two could have a drinking contest that would end after two beers? You guys are so meant for each other.

                I bet you were thinking when the Dodger fans wanted to kill her you wish you would of got that third ticket for me.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  She weighs 97 lbs, how many beers do you think she can drink?

                  • Big Odio says:
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                    @Grey: I want to see how many beers she can carry!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I’d say under 6

                  • Big Odio says:
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                    @Grey: and btw, I totally want to get a picture of my 9 year old daughter towering over cougs.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      How tall is her daughter?

                    • Big Odio says:
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                      5’3″

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Oh, she’d tower over Cougs

                    • Big Odio says:
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                      she could probably pick her up and carry her around

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I have this thing where whenever we see a full-size adult that’s she’s actually taller than I take a pic of her and them… Very rare pics

  11. Count de Monetball says:
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    Grey!
    I wasn’t looking forward to the J-Fer blurb at all. As a parent, the tragic accidental death of young people is so hard to contemplate and understand. Nonetheless, I think you handled writing about J-Fer this year with grace and appropriate humor. Thank you for that. Good point about remembering his life and not how it ended…
    Signed,
    Count de Minutes til January Grey

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks, it’s a difficult rope to walk… I like your signature name

  12. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!

    Great write-up!

    a. Just got back from a gruesome SNAFU-filled road trip – a total trip of ONLY 100 miles took almost 10 hours. Well we stopped in between with our visitors, but I digress!

    b. Going for a hot shower and something to eat.

    c. Love ya!

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      A. Stop it! 10 hours to go 100 miles? Seriously? You could walk faster. B. Hopefully not at the same time C. Same!

      • Ante GALIC says:
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        @Grey: Grey!

        a. At precisely the same time, that way I can make my dry pack of noodles nice and wet with the hot water at the same time.

        b. Btw, we should take stock of all the Gray’s and Gray’s and Grey’s who played this season and see how they did versus their preseason rankings, right?

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          A. HA B. Totally! haha

          • Ante GALIC says:
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            @Grey: Grey

            Actually it’s a rather short list.

            Jon and Sonny!

            Jon did better than expected.

            Sonny well was probably injured before and trying to pitch through it?

            Cheers,
            Ante

            PS Baseball reference says there was a Reddy Grey who played in one season – 1903 to 1903! Maybe a distant relative?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              It’s a Rudy and my common ancestor!

              • Ante GALIC says:
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                @Grey: Grey!

                Good luck to Los Doyers! Am off to bed.

                Take very good care of yourself.

                Cheers,
                Ante

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  You too!

  13. HolyGhostClaw says:
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    Yo Yo Grey!!!

    Few things! Thanks to you guy and everyone else drips rogue drops of sweat into your keyboards as you look for the right words to say. It’s not an easy thing to live up to, day in and day out. In all of that Grey matter, I found the splices of meaningful bits of information I could leverage to get my team on top.

    Yeah, you boyz gooh: Barely won first in a 14 team league, and completely demoralized a 12 team league. All because of you guys. Your daily, weekly, and ROS stuff was like an unfair insight into a future that no one even considered.

    Thanks guys! Love you. And looking forward to next year! Delino Desheilds, first pick overall right? Love you guys!

  14. HolyGhostClaw says:
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    Yo Yo Grey!!!

    Few things! Thanks to you guy and everyone else drips rogue drops of sweat into your keyboards as you look for the right words to say. It’s not an easy thing to live up to, day in and day out. In all of that Grey matter, I found the splices of meaningful bits of information I could leverage to get my team on top.

    Yeah, you boyz gooh: Barely won first in a 14 team league, and completely demoralized a 12 team league. All because of you guys. Your daily, weekly, and ROS stuff was like an unfair insight into a future that no one even considered.

    Thanks guys! Love you. And looking forward to next year! Delino Desheilds, first pick overall right? Love you guys!

Comments are closed.