2020 Draft Kit

I take a lot of antacids.

Rolaids created an award (not for me)–a gold-plated firefighter’s helmet–to honor baseball’s best relief pitcher every year from 1976 to 2012. The history behind this fascinates me. Feels like some seeds of analytics were born in the bowels of Rolaids’ 1970’s corporate office.

Relief pitching events were each given a point value. Three points per save. Two points per win. Two points per loss. The biggest end-of-season number won, period. 

Blown saves (-2) were introduced in 1987.

Tough saves (+4) came along in 2000. Surprises me that I’ve never seen this as an option by fantasy providers, especially in points leagues or daily games. An antacid company was using it 20 years ago ffs. Refers to any time a reliever enters the game with a tying run on base and secures a save. 

Relievers might be my favorite thing about fantasy baseball, for reasons I can’t explain except to say I love games that resist attempts to shrink/minimize/categorize/rubricate them. The more multi-layered the better. And saves bring that to fantasy baseball. (As do stolen bases.) I also love Holds leagues because they throw the math off a nudge further and open another market of elite players who just happen to pitch the not-ninth. 

Ranking RP’s is kind of a paradox. It might be the least accurate yet most useful of any positional ranking, especially for dynasty leagues.

So that’s the caveat. 

These rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, btw. Would look totally different in a holds league.

Relief pitching is a strength for me in fantasy, year over year. I tend to trade from it and trade for it on a regular basis, sometimes within the same week. Still, I’m a little leery to put fingers to keys on this one. The yearly upheaval at this position is like no other, so I’m not surprised there’s very little on the market right now covering relief pitching in dynasty leagues. 

The very thought of the task has my hand reaching for the (insert highest-bidding antacid company here).

Kidding. I love this stuff. My full geek breathes fire when researching the K-BB % leaders across all leagues, digging into their game logs, skipping to their innings, even watching/reading an interview here and there.  

Let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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In the first two parts of this series, we covered the infielders that I’ll be relying on this fantasy season, starting with catchers and corner infielders in part one and looking at middle infielders in part two. While players like Francisco Lindor, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, and Tim Anderson provide a nice, stable foundation to build off of, you need more to field a top-notch offense in competitive formats. Safe, high floor players alone aren’t going to get the job done. It’s important to find some impact hitters that’ll make a real difference. That’s where the outfielders come into play. Not only does the outfield represent the largest player pool in fantasy baseball on the offensive side of things, but it is also the most demanding position in terms of starting lineup requirements (5 OF in both the online championship and draft champions NFBC formats). Outfielders are similar to middle infielders in that you can find anything you need here: power, speed, counting stats, and batting average. I’m looking for production in all of these categories, and since there are quite a few players to cover, let’s get started, shall we?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The prolonged delay to the 2020 MLB campaign is set to extend at least into June, and most likely July.  It’s given lots of players with injury concerns heading into draft season this year some extra time for recovery and even more preventative measures/surgeries that might have knocked their stock down a bit.  When things do pick up again, most every player will be ready to go and will be on a pretty even playing field going into the season injury free.

There are a couple of updates to share on guys who are on longer recovery paths as well as some things to keep in mind when looking forward to this season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I gave you a Wander Franco dart throw! Wheee! I slid a Alec Bohm dart throw in your DMs! Sexy! I alley-oop’d you a MacKenzie Gore dart throw — Horny time! — Monte Harrison — check! Tyler O’Neill? You best believe it! Kyle Lewis? Yum! Nate Pearson? *wearing a Canadian tuxedo* It was my pleasure. So, now the sexiest of the sexy, A.J. Pollock! Okay, he’s the most boring dart throw ever. He’s like the dart throw you make while reenacting a scene from Too Hot To Handle where you’re not touching anything. “Ooh, yeah, baby, how do you like that non-touching? You like that? You want more of nothing? Huh? You bad boy!” That’s me 70-something days into quarantine and slightly losing my mind. The great thing about Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, okay, really the only good thing, besides his ability to steal one base so the country gets a free taco, he’s able to get a lot of players at-bats. Somehow, Roberts has always managed to get part-timers at-bats even when they didn’t have a job. Case in point, Enrique Hernandez had 460 plate appearances last year and Chris Taylor had 414. That’s with Taylor only starting 91 games, and Hernandez starting at seven positions. Dave Roberts is the ultimate Dart Thrower, because he seems to label a bunch of darts with players’ names, then throw them at a lineup card. So what can we expect from A.J. Pollock for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Exactly three weeks from now, the 2020 MLB Draft will be on its second and final day of selections and nearly all of the players in my Top 25 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues should be off the board. Commissioner Rob Manfred will be found reading off the names of draftees in his personal man cave located in the basement, as he slowly digests a large glass jar of cracker jacks for all to see. During the two-day event, he may even sit down on his leather recliner and announce a few picks while glugging down some Basil Hayden’s bourbon in between sets in a mild attempt to understand why he ever took his job in the first place.

As the draft winds to a close, fantasy owners will finally know which farm systems the players they’ve been targeting, or have already bought stock in, will be developing in. If said player is picked by the Miami Marlins, you get excited because you know they’ll be a star in the NL Central within the next four years. If they’re drafted by a New York team, you’ll be filled with mixed emotions, knowing it will be a miracle if that prospect’s arms and legs don’t mysteriously all fall off by year’s end. Let’s face it, even if that actually happened, the Yankees’ training staff still wouldn’t be able to properly diagnose it.

But in all seriousness, draft day will be a glorious day, as we so desperately need something, anything, Baseball. As you consume the 2020 MLB Draft next month, intently take in new information brought about by national coverage, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Know which players you like and are targeting regardless of class, and don’t put stock in a player out of raw emotion or recency bias. Just look at all the first round picks from the last five-to-ten years that still aren’t Major League contributors: you don’t want the “have-now” prospects, you want the right prospects – and if that means buying on a player in the 2021 or 2022 classes as opposed to this one – so be it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mike Ferrin (Mike_Ferrin), play by play announcer for the Diamondbacks, as well as host of MLB Network Radio “Power Alley” on Sirius XM, joins the show to talk D-backs baseball. We discuss if Ketel Marte can carry over his 2019 season into 2020 and beyond. How lethal can this infield be offensively and defensively? We dive into Christian Walkers plate discipline, Eduardo Escobar’s breakout year, and Nick Ahmed’s elite defense. Starling Marte will bring elite speed atop the D-backs lineup. Can Zac Gallen make the leap to elite MLB ace? Will Luke Weaver come back to his pre-injury form? We discuss this and more. Towards the end of the show we discuss their potential top 10 farm system and who can make a big league impact.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Takes a long inhale…Ah, is that baseball I’m smelling? It is, isn’t it? It is, it is! Honestly, I think it’s starting to smell like baseball. Sadly, MLB has a long list of regulations they’re going to institute in order to play games this year. Will it still be baseball even without the spitting and tobacco and clubhouse showering and towel-ass-slaps and celebrations involving hugging and touching and extended wet willies where players giggle then slap away their teammates’ hand and–Wait, did MLB ban baseball-related activities or reenacting the pool scenes from Y Tu Mama Tambien? So hard to say! “Hey, Skip, I was wondering if I could snap my towel on my teammate’s butt.”  “Not this year, kid.”  “Hmm…Can I watch the Oscar-winning film Moonlight?” “I will have to check the rules and regulations on that one.” Any hoo! Baseball sounds like it’s getting close, as I’ve been saying for the last six weeks. I’m not in the business of predictions but the world can only shut down completely for so long before the powers that be start exerting their, uh, power that, uh, be. Last year in 121 games and 376 ABs across two levels (Triple-A and MLB), Kevin Cron hit 44 homers. *smiles wide* Don’t mind if I do! On our Prospectonator, Cron is projected for 33 homers. Yelled like Fat Bastard, “Get in my lineup!” He has legitimately no chance of playing without the universal DH, but that seems a foregone conclusion now, so giddy + up = giddy up. It’s simple math, tee bee aitch. So, what can we expect from Kevin Cron for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Sunday, I imagined a hypothetical post-rona bar scene being akin to the deep pitching pool in dynasty baseball.

Today I’ll let you know whose drinks I’m buying if I’ve got the budget (and the roster space). 

I’m going to focus first and most on the 150-200 range because that’s the origin of this article–a comment and question by Harley Earl regarding which arms among the group I’m buying. To which my brain responded: Farts! I should’ve been doing that for every position!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you don’t sing Alec Bohm to Spoon’s You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb, you are a better person than me. If you sing Alec Bohm’s name to The Gap Band’s You Dropped A Bomb On Me, you are a much worse person than me. If you sing Alec Bohm to B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad), then we’re roughly the same person. Okay, now that we got those comparisons out of the way, let’s talk turkey. Much like the turkey that Phillies fans will throw at Alec Bohm if he fails to live up to his prospect hype. I’m not going to recount here the 1200 words that Prospector Hobbs wrote about Alec Bohm in this Blind Resume Challenge. It’s worth reading, if for no other reason than to see how well Hobbs wrote while wearing a blindfold. By the by, what kind of luck are we having that we add another prospect writer, because demand was at its peak in early 2020, and now we’re living through a pandemic and demand is at its nadir? If not for any luck, we’d have no luck. Wait, I said that wrong. A second prospect writer adds some perspective, and I think that helps, especially here, since I don’t think Prospect Itch and Prospector Hobbs necessarily love Bohm equally. If I may infer from digital words posted on Razzball, Hobbs seems to like Bohm better than Itch. Perhaps the major drawback for Itch and why he ranked him fairly low on his top 75 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball was Bohm’s lack of glove, and, with no DH in the National League, it hinders him. Did someone say NL DH? Well, now we are talking! (Also, JKJ went over some thoughts about Alec Bohm in his Universal DH: NL East edition. Am I the last one in the world to talk about him? I dropped a Bohm on me, baby…) So, what can we expect from Alec Bohm for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Is this the first time a woman had been on this show? Grey is this true? What’s going on here… Anyway, Ellen Adair! You know her, you love her, she’s on all your favorite shows (Homeland, Billions, and The Sinner), and she’s as big a baseball fan as you’ll meet. We talk movies, her work, and her new and very fun Podcast “Take Me In To The Ballgame“. Where Ellen and her husband discuss the best baseball movies of all-time. Now, you know what this means. We talked Rocky movies for 20 minutes. Why does this have to do with baseball… nothing. But it’s Grey, he never stays on topic. It’s his superpower.

Check it out, it’s the latest non-baseball related baseball podcast from your favorite idiots.

Please, blog, may I have some more?