What’s up, Razzballers? Hope playoff baseball is treating you well, and if you’re in any playoff pools like I am, hope they’re treating you well, as well!
Well. What a wild season of fantasy baseball we had, eh? I’m not a super high-stakes type of fantasy baller – I did two Yahoo public leagues mainly because drafts are so easy to join and get through quickly (I won both!), my home keeper auction league (which moved to roto for this year and I got 2nd after being two-time defending champ *sad emoji*), and then the RazzSlam. I got really lucky in the Slam, not suffering a lot of COVID-ness or injury. Finished second in my league and #46 overall. Not too shabby for my first industry league endeavor! Just want to thank Grey, Donkey and others, but mostly of all, you. You’ve made me feel so welcome. Hey, watch me make like a tree’s sap and get sappy!
Anywayyyyy, I bring up my own leagues because a large part of my success came down to waiver wire wizardry. Well, RazzSlam not so much (waivers are limited there), but my final rosters in the other three leagues looked a lot different from Opening Day. That’s always the case in fantasy sports, of course, but this year especially so in baseball.
I thought a fun exercise would be to go back and honor those who were league winners for a lot of you. What better way to honor real players than with fake All-Star selections?! I’m gonna take a standard lineup of C/1B/2B/3B/SS/OF/OF/OF/UT/UT/SP/SP/RP/RP/P/P/P/P and fill it with the best that the 2020 waiver wire had to offer. In most leagues, most of these guys were drafted late or not at all. Of course in deeper leagues maybe all of them were drafted at some point, but in standard 12-team leagues, almost all of these guys came off the wire.
Without further ado, let’s do it to it!
2020 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire All-Star Team
- If you would have told me I could have gotten 8 SB and 28 R from a catcher who also wouldn’t tank my average, I’d be like “LOL okay bro.” Yet, Isiah Kiner-Falefa provided that kind of value. He was the #8 C in standard Yahoo formats. Austin Nola was ahead of him, but I picked IKF for the contributions in lighter categories. Sadly, he won’t be C-eligible next year.
1B: Dominic Smith
- After Yoenis Cespedes decided to peace out, Dominic Smith stepped in and never looked back. Stellar season for Smith – finished as the #64 overall Yahoo player, 7th best 1B there, and the 6th best 1B on our Player Rater. Not bad for a guy drafted like never.
2B: Dylan Moore
- In full transparency, I had never heard of Dylan Moore before. Then he started smacking the ball really hard and stealing bases and I added him to my teams and I had a good ol’ time. Then he got hurt, came back, and started doing it again. If he can keep his spot atop the soon-to-be-formidable Mariners lineup, I am going to be a big fan, even with regression. The case could be made for Wilmer Flores here, but Moore racked up 8 HR and 12 SB despite playing only 38 games.
- Kinda kicking myself for not believing in Jeimer Candelario while I had time to snatch him. He’s been streaky before, so I just chalked it up to that, and maybe – maybe even likely – in a full season he would have cooled down and been another flash in the pan, but he finished this short year as a near-top 10 3B after a strong second half — finished 11th on Grey’s top 20 3rd basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball.
SS: Jake Cronenworth
- Here’s another one I hadn’t heard of before. Jake Cronenworth did a little of everything, and in the first half of the season he pushed a lot of teams that gambled on him out ahead of the pack. He cooled off down the stretch, but the metrics stayed strong. I believe in Old Crone moving forward. There’s some power that could still develop given his hard-hit and barrel rates, and we know he has speed.
- You can think of me as riding caboose to Grey, the conductor of the Teoscar Hernandez Hype Train. I was skeptical at first, but Teoscar kept on keeping on and what a year it was. The metrics are fantastic. He Ks too much, but he’s the real deal. I’d expect some slight regression given the K rate and HR/FB ratio – but I’m still happy to have as many share as possible. Don’t overlook his sprint speed and 6 SB on the short year, and don’t overlook the Jays’ lineup in general; he has a good supporting cast.
OF: Trent Grisham
- Trent Grisham provided owners with double-digit HR and double-digit steals in 2020. Only FIVE other players did that, and they’re all ones you’d pay highly for: Tatis Jr., Turner, Betts, Jo-Ram, and Story. Grish won’t carry your team’s BA, but he won’t kill it either, and the HR/SB combo meal is just so very delicious.
OF: A.J. Pollock
- Bet you didn’t expect A.J. Pollock to finish the year ranked significantly higher than consensus 1st-round-pick and teammate, Cody Bellinger, yet here we are! Pollock was close to being a Top-50 player. A 60-game season will do that, I suppose. Pollock had 30 runs, 16 HR, and 34 RBI. Not too many could say they had even 30/15/30 in 2020, and I’m pretty ding dang surprised Pollock found himself in that camp. I liked him heading into the year as a beneficiary of the DH, but I wouldn’t have said I liked him that much.
UT: Ryan Mountcastle
- The Orioles were bad, but they provided some fantasy gems this year. One of which was rookie standout Ryan Mountcastle. Once he finally got called up, he just raked and raked. Mounty slashed .333/.386/.492 with 5 HR. He pretty much carried my BA in one league down the stretch, chipping in some power here and there. He hit 25 HR in 2019 and his 5 HR this season pace out to 23 HR in a full season. Don’t sleep too hard on him in 2021.
UT: Wil Myers
- Oh look, another Padre. Wil Myers was simply outstanding. A bona fide fantasy badass in 2020. The change in mechanics and the stacked lineup around him paid off big time. Myers finished as Yahoo’s #36 overall, and 27th here on the Player Rater – he hit for average, showed big power, and even sprinkled in a couple SB. It’s kinda mind-blowing to think what San Diego has already and how young they all are.
SP: Corbin Burnes
- Corbin Burnes messed around, added a cutter, and had himself a Cy Young-esque season. It’s a bummer he got hurt and couldn’t strut his stuff in the real postseason, but he was still able to help out in fantasy postseasons for the most part.
SP: Zach Plesac
- Didn’t have Zach Plesac on my fantasy radar at all back in the offseason — should’ve listened to Grey who told us to draft him in his top 80 starters. All my attention was on the breakout potential for teammate Aaron Civale. Plesac evolved into a good strikeout pitcher with almost faultless command, at least in the small sample he was able to give us in 2020. He messed around and got himself put in the doghouse for a while but came back strong as ever. I didn’t quite realize he only walked six batters in 55.1 IP. That’s a 0.98 BB/9. Hot damn.
RP: Devin Williams
- Move over Josh Hader, the real sheriff now in the Brew Crew pen is Devin Williams. The Crew got really lucky to make the postseason, let’s be real, but it just plain sucks they were without both Burnes and Williams. It was a season for the ages for Williams, even if it was a teeny tiny one. His changeup is the single best pitch in baseball as far as I’m concerned. He throws it all the time and almost literally no one can hit it, but they just keep on swinging at it anyway. And just keep on whiffing. It’s bananas. His Statcast page is so red you’d think your screen is bleeding.
RP: Trevor Rosenthal
- I don’t think I’m alone when I say I practically wrote off Trevor Rosenthal as a major league reliever, or at least as a fantasy relevant one. More like Trevor Risenagainthal, amirite? Completely resurrected his career this year, so much so the Royals used him as trade bait and sent him over to San Diego. He still showed some command issues at times, but his K-rate soared up to over 41%. T-Rose was one of 10 to record double-digit saves this season, and he had more Ks (38) than each of the other nine.
- Like the O’s, the Mariners were bad IRL but not for fantasy. There are a lot of juicy bats to keep on your radar for 2021 and beyond, but an arm that blossomed into fantasy-ace-like quality this year was Marco Gonzales. I mean, I just can’t believe the year he had quite honestly. Finished as #34 overall in Yahoo and was the #10 overall SP, sandwiched directly between Plesac (#9) and Burnes (#11). Not super flashy, but he gave you seven wins and over 60 Ks. Only two pitchers in baseball even had 8 W (Bieber and Darvish)!
P: Pablo Lopez
- Pablo Lopez wasn’t lights out, but he had more Ks than IP, a serviceable ERA, okay enough WHIP, and had 6 W. It was just a solid all-around year for a guy drafted outside the Top-400 practically. I almost gave this to Cristian Javier instead, but the extra dub was enough for me.
- Props if you had this guy in your draft board anywhere. Like, super props. Framber Valdez came outta nowhere to win five games, rack up 76 K, and provide a solid ERA and WHIP. Bang for your buck, pound for pound, he’s one of the best values of 2020, easy.
- Last but not least, streamer-turned-hold A’s starter Chris Bassitt. He won five games, struck out 55, had a 1.16 WHIP, and blessed you with a sparkling 2.29 ERA. All that was good enough to make him a Top 100 overall guy on the Player Rater. Grey also is bugging me to tell you that he told everyone to draft Bassitt, Lopez, Plesac and Framber, and that he told you this back in January. Great, but I didn’t, which is why they were some of my top waiver wire adds.
So whattaya yinz think? Good list? What changes would you make? Thanks for reading and take care out there.
Find me on Twitter (@jkj0787) or on Reddit (u/UsidoreElAzul).