2020 Draft Kit

Welcome to my inaugural post for the top 50 Middle Infielder rankings for the rest of the 2020 fantasy baseball season.  Throughout the year, I will be updating my rankings and calling out those movers and shakers.  For those of you here looking to gather some insights, welcome.  For those of you looking to steal my rankings and use them against me, I am not afraid!

Let’s take a quick look at the landscape up the middle of the diamond.  Middle infield is deep this year, more specifically shortstop is stacked.  This isn’t Jason Bartlett’s shortstop class of 10 years ago.  The top four all have an argument for being first round picks.  After that, there are all-stars abound with blemishes (Can Altuve hit without a buzzer?  How often will Gleyber play against Baltimore?  Will Tatis regress or grow?).  Once we get past the top 20-25, there is a steep cliff that will leave you wishing you had invested earlier.

Now let’s get into a few key guys standing out from the pack in the rankings.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Pitchers and catchers have reported and the Razzball Commenter Leagues are open, it’s beginning to feel a lot like baseball!  I can’t wait to be half as productive at work and start losing countless hours of sleep staying up to watch the end of the [email protected] game, just in case there is a closer injury.  Football was a fine diversion, but I always feel a little empty without baseball. I’m happy to be back for another season as your RCL tour guide. I love these things. Really, they play to my strengths and offer ample opportunity to test strategy and ideas.  Weekly lineups/moves have their place, I just don’t find them as fun. The daily moves, the League Competitive Index competition, battling hundreds of other managers for the top of the overall standings and of course, the non stop action make this a unique and fun challenge.  It’s kind of like pounding a pot of coffee every hour, on the hour for six straight months. It’s the fantasy baseball equivalent of snorting Red Bull. I’m also a huge nerd for all the numbers and data that gets collected from running so many leagues under the Razzball umbrella.  We’re back for another season partnering with FanTrax. FanTrax makes data collection much better which means it will be even easier to share these numbers with you along the way and try to glean some info from all that data. In order to make the data pool even larger though, we need you, and you, and you too.  You see, what makes RCLs great is all of you. Man that sounds mushy, but it’s true. In an ideal world, every Razzball reader would head on over to the RCL sign-ups, pick a league and all would be right with the world. It’s funny to see how many frequent commenters have never played an RCL. What’s wrong with you?  I was there once upon a time, so for those of you that aren’t so eager, let’s sit down and chat it out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The best 2020 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer. Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means. Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?” Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint. Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature. Any hoo!  So the title is a bit of a superlative. What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?” You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you. This is the best 2020 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change. If I took Trea Turner in the 1st round, everything after would change. I’ve previously gone over my 2020 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Fernando Tatis in the first, because, well, people complained previously I always did this post by taking the first pick, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover your hair right instead of left. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Gerrit Cole and deGrom in the first two rounds and I was able to take Trevor Story in the 2nd round (which is likely), but since Tatis and him are in my first 14 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the last 300, I gave myself free rein to fill up my team after pick 200. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky. It should still be my ideal team…or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up).  Anyway, here’s the best 2020 fantasy baseball team:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Joc Pederson can hit lefties. He just doesn’t know it. Neither do the Dodgers. Neither do you! But the Angels? They might have known…

It’s been said that Joc Pederson is a dude who doesn’t upset expectations (it was me, I said that.). A true fantasy bro in a lot of ways. Not too expensive, not too popular. He does something pretty well (30ish homers), but also doesn’t show up for about 40 games a year. Why? Joc Pederson can’t hit lefties. Wait, what? It doesn’t have to make sense, you just have to believe it makes sense, science at its finest MAAAAN. With all the Mookie-drama (good enough to use, not good enough to hashtag), the fallout has been expansive and on-going. While Pederson’s under-the-radar trade to the Angels (along with Ross Stripling) had been officially nixed last week, there is still time for Dodgers to complete their quest on buying everything they can, and then filling the gaps with league-minimum commitments (which would have been Luis Rengifo in this case). While the predicate isn’t contingent on Joc finding a new home, it certainly wouldn’t hurt, and there is enough noise here to think that one day, sometime soon, Pederson could finally become a complete hitter. As soon as this year? Let’s find out…

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Back in September, I sequestered myself into a sound-proof booth to create a top 100 fantasy baseball prospect list free from the mad cries of the echo chamber. Shortly thereafter I went to work breaking down the top prospects for each MLB team. A week after coming up for air following my 30-team deep dive into the minor leagues, I’m excited to share my updated 200!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

After breaking down my beloved Rockies last week, we’re going to keep things rolling here with another NL West team in the Diamondbacks. While the Los Angeles Dodgers are obviously the cream of the crop in this division, Arizona is a fascinating team. Almost as fascinating as their mascot, Baxter the Bobcat. Why the hell is a snake not the mascot? I mean, they’re the Diamondbacks, not the Arizona Bobcats. In any case, this is one of the most interesting teams this season (including their mysterious mascot), so, let’s get into it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

There are so few Renaissance men anymore. Mookie Betts is a Ted Williams lite. While Ted is canonized as the best hitter of all time, the best fighter pilot of all time, and the best fly fisherman of all time, Mookie is an excellent pro bowler in the offseason, including more than one 300 game on the PBT. He’s also a nice guy, an undercover philanthropist, and he’s about to ply his MVP talent in Chavez Ravine. He’s a WAR hero with a high batting average, 30 home run pop, and scores runs in bunches. Other than shift from Fenway Park to Dodgers Stadium, what is there to know? Let’s take a look.

 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

So I had a dream the other night after coming home from a local craft brewery that I frequent, which had some excellent options on tap. A vanilla barrel-aged bourbon stout (several good stouts), a dry-hopped Mosaic sour ale, and a citrusy IPA. They were all fantastic, I kid you not (If you arrived here searching for craft beer, welcome). Which, may or may not have enhanced my sleep. I digress. In the dream, I was in an underground hip-hop club downtown. The crowd was in rhythm, and needless to say, the place was hoppin’. It was a Tuesday. And I saw Dave Chapelle there with his boy, Karl Lake, tearing up the dance floor. I look to the stage and I see Chuck D MCing. He then calls up to the stage the Grandmaster Melle Mel, for the duo to perform together (if you are here researching the history of hip-hop, also welcome). It was a lit freestyle to a bass and drum beat. After enjoying the music for a minute, I look over to the bar… and whom do I see, none other than Emilio Estevez, the Mighty Duck man. And he tipped his hat to me like *this*, also in approval saying, “Damn, this is off the chain.” To which I replied, “Okay boomer” proceeding to tell him to get woke like any self-respecting millennial would. Following the set, I go to the restroom for relief and I hear a bomb drop. Someone was doing work in the stall. The mystery laborer then emerged as Franmil Reyes. He washes up, and as he was leaving the restroom I noticed toilet paper stuck to his cleat…

I awoke in a cold sweat! Reality settled in that it was only a dream. What did it all mean? Then it hit me, this was prophetic… Franmil has unfinished business. I shook the wife awake, “He has unfinished business!” She tells me to shut up and goes back to sleep. No matter, I just had a premonition (word of the day). In a moment of complete clarity, I saw everything. I saw how the pieces fit like a giant, glorious jigsaw puzzle. I connected the dots: hops to hip-hop, hip-hop club to breakfast club, Chuck D to Ducks, dropping bombs on the mic to dropping bombs on the john, the robot to the homer bot, and lastly Gordon’s unenlightened words echoed in my head, “off the chain”… he’s about to be unchained at DH on the Indians, no more lost ABs. Everything pointed to him! Everything was about Franmil Reyes. The Franimal is about to be unleashed. My mission became clear, let’s dive in…

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

So there I am — minding my own business after putting the finishing touches on a blurb about Leury Garcia and Razzball’s CEO, COO, CFO, HMO, RKO, HBO, Master Lothario, his royal Greyness himself drops this bomb on the Twittersphere: 

“#1 rookie who is not being drafted high who will end up being picked up in 75% of leagues the 1st week:  Nick Madrigal. White Sox added Yasmani, Edwin, signed Lou Bob and they’re going to give the 2nd base job to Leury Garcia? Cmon. Read writing on wall.”

What do I do? I wasted so much time justifying Leury as the lone sleeper bat on this team. Everyone else in this lineup is being appropriately drafted or is a prospect that everyone knows about. There’s Nomar Mazara I guess — but he’s got a Khris Davis-like consistency to not hit over 20 HRs. Do I embrace the potential roasting I’ll receive from Grey? Do I delete the 450 words I wrote about Garcia and lie to myself about some other player? Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I! I will survive! If things go south for Garcia — Madrigal is obviously sitting there in waiting — but I’m still a believer in the potential of Garcia. 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Los Angeles is such an eco-friendly city that when a recent EPA report cited jet fuel as accounting for 17% of air pollution, the Dodgers went out and traded for Mookie Betts. See, this year’s All-Star Game is in Dodger Stadium, and now eleven of their players don’t have to fly anywhere for the All-Star Game festivities. Always giving, my great City of Angels, that’s not actually the city of the Angels, that’s Anaheim, but they call themselves Los Angeles and it’s nowhere near Los Angeles. Not confusing at all! Let’s just drool for a second at the Dodgers’ lineup:  Betts, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger, Pederson/Pollock, Seager, Will Smith and Gavin Lux. If they trade Austin Barnes to the Astros for a trash can, then their 2020 title hopes will be sealed! Before you laugh, the Astros could use a catcher. So, Betts’s best will be in the starry skies of Los Angeles, and Rihanna might just start liking baseball again. “You’re cute with that silliness.” “Nah, seriously, I want to go bowling.”  That’s Mookie and Rihanna on their first date. Betts is in the prime of his career, and I can’t see any chance a move to Los Angeles slows him down, however–Don’t do it, Grey! Don’t be negative here! Well, Fenway to Dodger Stadium isn’t the best move. Some of those doubles off the wall might go for deep outs to the left fielder. The Dodgers didn’t steal a lot in 2019 either, but that could be from a lack of threats. Justin Turner is running? Muncy? Bellinger did run, because he can. Betts should still be a lock for 15-20 steals, but I’m knocking his power down a tad with the park change. While his projections will change a bit, his ranking is staying the same in my top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball. For what it’s Werth, Rudy’s auction rankings changed dramatically for Betts, knocking him way down, but Betts’s projections are even better than mine, as seen at the hitter projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?