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The 50 Best Fantasy Baseball Team Names for 2016

You’re sitting down to do a fantasy baseball draft. Two hours later, you have your team that you’re sure is going to be competitive – could this be the year? But all of the sudden you realize it – you’re missing something. This team just isn’t complete yet. Why is that?

You don’t have a great team name yet, that’s why.

We’ve compiled a definitive list of the best fantasy baseball teams to remedy just that problem. Some are creative, some are amazing, and some are just downright crude. But somewhere among them, your team name is waiting for you.

(Spoiler alert: a lot of Yu Darvish references to follow.)

  1. This One Time in Band Kemp
  2. deGrominatrix
  3. Springfield Isotopes (A personal favorite and title-winner last season)
  4. Cano one Strop me?
  5. Eggs Odorizzi
  6. Man Bear Puig (a classic)
  7. El Paso Chihuahuas (not only a real minor league team, but the personal favorite of SST Writer Jeremy Gopin)
  8. Teheran Us Apart (Dare you not to sing this every time)
  9. Come Sale Away
  10. VORP Speed
  11. Maybe This Year (for all you Cubs fans)
  12. A Streetcar Named Cuddyer
  13. Taijuan Skywalker
  14. Soler Power
  15. RIP Jenrry Mejia (a tribute to the first MLB player ever kicked out for PED’s L)
  16. The Balking Dead
  17. Miggy Azalea
  18. Notorious PAPI
  19. Upton Girl (Billy Joel’s personal favorite)
  20. Gin Andrus
  21. Grand Theft Votto
  22. Latos Intolerant (The White Sox pitching staff has a lot of good ones this year)
  23. Joc Itch
  24. Can’t Cutch This
  25. Byrnes When I Peavy (An old Arizona Diamondbacks throwback and such a classic)
  26. Tampa Bay Carly Rae’s (for any AL East non-Rays fan)
  27. Goldschmidt Happens
  28. Tulo Window, Tulo Wall
  29. Ball Thor
  30. King Kang
  31. Sano to Drugs
  32. Let’s Hear it for Lucroy (Hey, Brewers fans)
  33. Moneyballers (for the statistician in your league)
  34. Tanaka-Knock Joke
  35. Bleacher Creatures
  36. Jeter’s Gift Baskets
  37. The Duda Abides
  38. Han Sulowitzki
  39. Annie Are You Aoki
  40. Candy Crush Davis
  41. Buerhle Legal (But let’s be honest, why are you drafting Buehrle?)
  42. There’s Always Next Year (For non-Cubs fans)
  43. Fielder’s Choice
  44. Twist and Trout
  45. Unbreakable Paulie Goldschmidt (For anxious Kimmy Schmidt fans patiently awaiting the return)
  46. Mo’ne Ball
  47. The Balking Dead
  48. The Bryce is Right
  49. A Foul Odor
  50. For Shizzo My Rizzo

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Inspiration from: 

http://socalledfantasyexperts.com/151-horrible-fantasy-baseball-team-names-youll-want-to-use/

http://athlonsports.com/175-funny-fantasy-baseball-team-names-2015

http://fantasyteamadvice.com/top-100-funny-fantasy-baseball-team-names-2016/

http://www.fantasybaseballnames.com

http://athlonsports.com/fantasy/125-funny-fantasy-baseball-team-names-2016

Arrieta Header

Fantasy Baseball: The All-Underrated Team, 2015

Every season, ESPN releases their projections for fantasy baseball, which are adhered to in most drafts. For example, if you took Lorenzo Cain early in any draft this year, your friends were likely making fun of you. But, certain players (like Cain) have far exceeded their preseason rankings. Here are this season’s most underrated players at each position. 

Catcher: Stephen Vogt (Preseason Rank: 25, Season Rank: 3)

Vogt been slighted by an abysmal overall Athletics team, but his individual production has been nothing short of remarkable. ESPN’s preseason commentary suggests that Vogt would be part of a platoon, but he ended up being one of only seven qualifying catchers over the entire season. His 18 home runs far surpassed ESPN’s projection of 10, as did his 67 RBI’s (48). While his average was about what was projected, his overall consistency and production allowed him to succeed in fantasy this year. A WAR of 3.6, second overall amongst catchers, stands even more to prove his worth.

First Base: Joey Votto (Preseason Rank: 16, Season Rank: 2)Votto

ESPN hit it right on the head in citing Votto’s career low .299 BABIP from 2014. He’s been much luckier this season, surpassing projections in every category (one run short as of right now, but he’s still got a full month). Like Vogt, his team has been nothing to brag about, but Votto’s personal production will likely shoot him back towards the tops of the fantasy rankings for next season after an extended drought. His WAR, 6.7, ranks second amongst qualifying first basemen behind Paul Goldschmidt.

LeMahieuSecond Base: DJ LeMahieu (Preseason Rank: 31, Season Rank: 3)

On the surface, there’s nothing too outstanding about what LeMahieu has done this season. He has succeeded, however, in doing exactly what he needed to do. He’s scored runs (72, 4th among second basemen), stolen bases (21, 3rd), and gotten hits (.318 BA, 2nd). By being around average in all of these categories over the course of a full season, he’s shot up in the rankings, as second basemen this season have been extremely inconsistent. He’s improved on the 62% stolen base success rate that ESPN slighted him for. Despite being not much more than a place-filler, his overall consistency gave him value that may not be replicated in future seasons. That’s yet to be determined.

Third Base: Xander Bogaerts (Preseason Rank: 20, Season Rank: 6; top ranked SS)Bogaerts

Bogaerts’ essential value comes in his qualifications as both a 3B and SS. Batting average, speed, and power slowed down Bogaerts last season, and this season’s success can be owed to severe improvements in two of those three categories. His .319 BA is nearly 60 points higher than ESPN’s projection (and by far the highest among qualifying shortstops), and his 7 stolen bases have also been a nice surprise. He might never hit for power, but like LeMahieu, Xander Bogaerts did exactly what is needed of him over the course of the season. His WAR of 3.8 is second amongst shortstops – noticing a trend?

CrawfordShortstop: Brandon Crawford (Preseason Rank: 30, Season Rank: 4)

And who is Bogaerts second to? Brandon Crawford, who seemingly came out of nowhere. His season was the definition of a breakout, as he posted nearly career highs in every major category. Like second base, the shortstop position lacked a lot of talent this year, so Crawford’s solid production shot him towards the top. In fact, he leads the position in home runs (19), RBI (75), doubles (29), OPS (.802), and WAR (5.7). He’d be a pretty low ranked outfielder, but his assets made him a nice option on a week-to-week basis, and he has undoubtedly been seen as a major catalyst for the Giants’ uphill season. With a playoff push in the cards, the team will turn to Crawford to lead the charge.

Outfield: AJ Pollock (Preseason Rank: 42, Season Rank: 1); honorable mentions to Charlie Blackmon (Preseason Rank: 40, Season Rank: 4) and Lorenzo Cain (Preseason Rank: 58, Season Rank: 5)
Pollock

It’s hard to ignore what Blackmon and Cain have done this season, as both have essentially been the best position player on their respective teams. But so has Pollock, who shot up from the depths of the outfielder rankings to the literal top, surpassing the likes of Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, and even Mike Trout. Granted, these players have more overall appeal, but Pollock has been a fantasy goldmine. He’s tied for second in BAamongst outfielders (.321), and leads all OF’s in runs (93) and hits (162). His power (15 HR’s, .498 slugging percentage) is nothing special, but like the other players on this list, his overall production is extremely beneficial. His 33 stolen bases are also important in category leagues. It seems as if a full season of work was all that Pollock needed to prove his worth.

Starting Pitcher: Jake Arrieta (Preseason Rank: 26, Season Rank: 3)

Add “no-hitter” to the list of remarkable things Arrieta has done this season. Cubs fans knew just how good he was after seeing him all of last season, but he truly has exploded this year and is now in the conversation for NL Cy Young, which he’d undoubtedly win if it weren’t for Zack Greinke and his ludicrous ERA. Who knows why ESPN predicted his ERA to move up almost a full point from last season, and their commentary is nearly all positive. Arrieta is one of just five starters with a WHIP under 1, one of three with an ERA under 2.20, and leads the majors with 17 hard-earned wins. His 190 K’s prove how all-around perfect his game is. Hopefully this isn’t the peak of Arrieta’s career, because if he keeps improving, he’ll be the filthiest pitcher in the game in the near future.

FamiliaRelief Pitcher: Jeurys Familia (Preseason Rank: 43, Season Rank: 2)

Thanks to Jenrry Meija’s suspension, Familia was able to prove his worth. And prove it he did. Familia was the fourth-highest ranked Mets reliever coming into the season; now, he’s second overall. All parts of his game are there – strikeouts (69 in just under 66 innings), ERA (1.78), and converting saves (36 in 41 chances). Familia made headlines early on, when he was able to take an early and commanding lead of the saves leaderboard despite still being considered a backup. He certainly isn’t a backup now, and if the Mets are wise, they’ll stick with him in future seasons. His production, however, is an issue, as there are concerns about him being overworked.

Midseason Report: Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

Chris Colabello has been a unsung asset for a middling Blue Jays team.
Chris Colabello has been an unsung asset for a middling Blue Jays team.

Many fantasy lineups this far into the season need a bit of rejuvenating. Almost every team has experienced players who have either gone on the DL or have just been a downright disappointment. Still, there are also many players flying under the radar right now who are worth your consideration for picking up. These are my top picks at each position for current fantasy sleepers who may be able to steer your team in a better direction. 

Catcher: Nick Hundley (Colorado)

The catcher position this year is almost unbearably shallow, as only 10-15 backstops have been able to put out daily numbers that can allow a fantasy owner to stay in the mix at this position. Big names from previous seasons (think Yadier Molina, Devin Mesoraco, Travis d’Arnaud, and Wilin Rosario) are not producing with consistent numbers. Regardless, Hundley is a player that has been consistently good up to this point and is not widely owned, as he’s available in 63.2% of leagues. He’s currently batting .301/.336/.476 with a respectable 14 XBH in 143 at-bats.

First Base: Chris Colabello (Toronto)

Right now, Colabello is batting .352/.397/.528, all three of which are his lowest over the entire season. Yes, you heard that correctly. Since being called up from Buffalo, Colabello has been on an absolute tear, managing to record a hit in 23 of his first 28 games. He’s benefitting from an insanely high .458 average on balls in play (BABIP), which is sure to decrease over the course of the season. But he’s solidified himself as a staple in Toronto’s lineup, and is currently only owned by less than half of all leagues.

Second Base: Delino DeShields, Jr. (Texas)

Second base overall is pretty deep this year. I chose to focus on DeShields because he’s a relatively unknown player who currently ranks 12th overall amongst all second basemen. He brings to the position a really solid speed option, as he’s already scored 24 times and has recorded 12 stolen bases, despite only being solidified in the starting lineup come the middle of May. He’s also only owned in 44.3% of all leagues. Honorable mentions go to Joe Panik of the Giants and Logan Forsythe of the Rays, who are also flying under the radar right now.

Third Base: Trevor Plouffe (Minnesota)

Plouffe has shown flashes of potential in the past, like in 2012 when he hit 24 homeruns in just 119 games for the Twins. This is clearly his breakout year, however, as he’s on pace for career highs in homeruns, RBI’s, runs, walks, batting average, and OBP. The flashes of power are there, and he’s finally batting consistently enough to remain productive over a whole season. Also, his WAR already sits at 2.34, which is in the top 25 in the entire MLB. Buy in, and buy quickly, because his name is getting out there fast.

Shortstop: Zack Cozart (Cincinnati)

The shortstop position this year is even more ridiculously shallow than catcher, as there seem to be few options of players not named Tulowitzki, Ramirez, or Castro. He’s not as inspiring as my other sleeper picks, but he can hit for relative power (16 XBH in 168 at bats), has some flashes of speed (3 SB and 23 runs), and could have some better work coming with a current BABIP of only .279. There seem to be very few consistently healthy names at shortstop this season, so scrap where you can.

Outfield: Ender Inciarte (Arizona)

In his sophomore season, Inciarte is starting to solidify his reputation as a top of the order player who hits for speed and average. Despite currently being ranked 17th in overall points for outfielders, Inciarte is only owned in 57.7% of all leagues. He’s on pace for over 100 runs and over 20 stolen bases, numbers that are becoming less and less frequent. He’s also hit safely in 8 of his last 10 games and has relatively low strikeout numbers. If you’re looking for power, try Chris Coghlan of the Cubs or Alex Guerrero of the Dodgers.

Starting Pitcher: Carlos Martinez (St. Louis)

The fourth starter in a rotation that has been near perfect up to this point, Martinez has somehow quietly gone over 20 innings without allowing a run. In his ten starts this year, the Cardinals are 8-2. He’s a relatively complete player – high strikeouts (9.5 SO/9), low ERA (3.13), and plays for a team that can win. Still, Martinez has not had a start where he has walked less than 2 batters, and averages just under 6 innings per start. Despite these reservations, he’s a very solid starter all around, and has impressed many in his first season as a full-fledged starter.

Relief Pitcher: Shawn Tolleson (Texas)

Tolleson was only recently relegated to the closer position, but it seems to have correlated with the Rangers going on a hot streak. He’s riding an extremely high strikeout rate (11.6 SO/9), and has proved his worth in the Texas bullpen. Additionally, Tolleson has not allowed a run in his last 11 appearances and only offered four walks in 23.1 innings pitched this season. But, he only ranks 30th at the closer position, so he’s bound to go unnoticed. Pick him up if you need saves and strikeouts.

Sources:

http://www.espn.go.com

http://www.baseball-reference.com

Fantasy Baseball 2015 Preview

Major League Baseball welcomes another season on April 5




In just three short days, Major League Baseball’s 146th season will kick off, and so to will begin another season of Fantasy Baseball. For those who prefer baseball to football, basketball, or any other Major League equivalent, Fantasy Baseball is a great way to participate in the world of fantasy sports. The following are my projections for the 2015 fantasy season. 
Using a combination of projections from ESPN, Fantasy Pros, RotoChamp, and FanGraphs, I averaged each statistic that is counted in most standard fantasy leagues and used that as my projection for each player. By multiplying the value of each statistic by the typical amount of fantasy points it earns, I got a sum value that I call “Projected Fantasy Value”. Values for individual statistics are as follows:

For batters: hit = 1 point, run = 1 point, RBI = 1 point, double = 2 points, triple = 3 points, HR = 4 points, stolen base =1 point, caught stealing = -.5 points, strikeout = -.5 points, walk = 1 point.
For pitchers: inning pitched = 1.5 points, hits = -.5 points, walks = -.5 points, strikeout = 1 point, earned run = -1 point, wins = 7 points, losses = -3 points.
For both, projected WAR drawn from FanGraphs was multiplied by 5 and added to the Projected Fantasy Value for each player. WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, is the amount of wins that player is projected to produce for a team over a replacement level player. Additionally, position eligibility is based on last year, in conjunction with the statistics.


Catchers


Observations
  • There’s a big drop off after Posey and Lucroy, so don’t shell out an early pick for one of the next few guys. The difference between a Perez and a Gomes or Molina over the course of the season is negligible.
  • A lot of guys in the “Next 10” group are really solid, young talent. D’Arnaud had a great 2014, and Montero and Jaso should put up big numbers. Don’t be afraid to take a risk on someone outside of the top 10.


First Basemen

Observations
  • Cabrera, Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Abreu, and Encarnacion are five of the top 15 hitters. Again, if you can’t get one of them, the difference in the next bunch is negligible, so wait it out and try your luck at another position.
  • This group of first basemen is older – Pujols, Fielder, Martinez, Votto, Ortiz, and LaRoche are all in the decline of their careers. Watch out for injuries with them, and don’t be afraid to go with a younger, more unproven talent such as Trumbo.


Second Basemen


Observations
  • Cano is clearly the top player here, and there’s a huge gap between him and #9 Kolten Wong. Therefore, second base is a great place to utilize a player who qualifies at multiple positions, such as Ben Zobrist of the Athletics or Mookie Betts of the Red Sox.
  • Don’t let Altuve’s low RBI and HR numbers scare you – he hit for the league high average last year and is in the peak of his career.


Third Basemen


Observations
  • Injuries are important to watch out for in this category. Beltre, Zimmerman, Wright, and Aramis Ramirez are all pretty old, and Longoria, Sandoval, and Machado all have nursed injuries recently. Draft a good backup or utility player if you pick any one of these guys.
  • This position is pretty deep, and even guys on the lower end of the Next 10 could start in your lineup. Don’t be afraid to wait this position out if you can’t get Donaldson, Beltre, or the multi-position Santana in the first few rounds.


Shortstop


Observations
  • The shortstop position doesn’t have any top 25 players – Tulowitzki is good, but no where close to the level of a Miguel Cabrera or Robinson Cano. Wait until at least the third round to take a shortstop, but don’t be afraid to let this one linger – later names such as Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius could turn out huge seasons.
  • A lot of shortstops don’t hit for power, evidence with names such as Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, and Jean Segura. If you choose to draft a non-power hitter, make sure to grab another player at another position who does hit for power.


Outfielders
Observations
  • Trout is undoubtedly the number one pick in any draft. If you have the first pick, take him. He is the only major league player right now who could potentially produce a 40 HR, 100 R, 100 RBI, 25 SB, and above-.300 batting average in a season. Also, his WAR is two higher than any other major league player.
  • Many of the top 25 are unproven, such as Dickerson, Heyward, Calhoun, Betts, and Springer. Feel free to gamble on them, as they are all pretty safe bets, but it’s a good idea to have another solid outfielder who has already proven themselves, such as Gomez, Marte, or Nelson Cruz.
  • Good young names to watch out for include Yelich out of Miami, Soler out of Chicago, and Betts out of Boston. All three have a ton of upside, and 2015 could be their breakout season.


Starting Pitchers

Observations
  • Kershaw, who has won the Cy Young Award in three of the last four years and last season also became the first pitcher in a very long time to take home an NL MVP award, is again undoubtedly the best pitcher. He should be a top 7 pick in any league format that includes pitchers.
  • When picking pitchers, make sure to balance proven picks with trendy ones. Proven names, such as Kershaw, Scherzer, Sale, Price, and Lester, must be balanced with trendier steals such as Kluber, Cueto, Arrieta, and Tanaka.
  • Pitchers are less consistent from season to season than hitters. But many of these names stood out with huge 2014 campaigns. Bumgarner posted one of the best all time postseasons for a pitcher, and Kluber, Zimmerman, Arrieta, Gray, and Keuchel all had breakout seasons.


Relief Pitchers
Observations
  • Relief pitchers are inconsistent, and a lot depends on how the team is doing. Chapman, Kimbrel, and Holland are all safe picks, but the difference in the next ten or so names is negligible. Draft the closers from secure, strong teams such as the Washington Nationals or Detroit Tigers, and avoid tanking teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies or Texas Rangers.




Sources:

  • http://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=c&stats=bat&type=steamer&team=0&lg=all&players=0&sort=26,d
  • http://www.fantasypros.com/mlb/projections/c.php
  • http://rotochamp.com/baseball/PlayerRankings.aspx?Position=C
  • http://games.espn.go.com/flb/tools/projections?&display=alt&slotCategoryId=0