Nostalgia can be a funny thing. In challenging times, especially, it can be nice to revisit things that you think back on fondly. It wraps you in a warm, comfy blanket of good memories and better times. Even now, as I’m writing this, I just put on a random 90s alternative rock/grunge playlist that I found on YouTube. I have some very nostalgic feelings about the music from that era. Alice in Chains? Yes please. Soundgarden? Mmm… so cozy. Better Than Ezra? Sure, why not. Underrated band. Tal Bachman? Ahhhh, that’s… wait, what? Joan Osborne? Brrr… it’s getting drafty in here. Savage Garden? Hey, where the hell did my blanket go? Time to pull a Randy Savage and drop the big elbow on this list. Magoo’s gettin’ angry!

Well, so much for my nostalgic musical trip. That brings us back to baseball. It’s really the ultimate source of nostalgia for me. Whether playing, watching, or getting hooked on the fantasy side of things, it’s been a constant in my life since I was about four years old. A nice, warm blanket that’s always at the ready. So to be sitting here in late April with no baseball in sight feels weird. Really weird. And while nobody really knows when or where or in what form our national pastime will return, I’m hopeful that it will at some point this year. But instead of focusing on what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control, shall we?

Which brings us to the topic at hand. We might not know when and where baseball will be played this season, but we can certainly choose who we want playing on our fantasy teams. With that in mind, I’ll be discussing all of the players who I’ve drafted in my fantasy baseball leagues in 2020. It might sound like a lot, but it’ll just be covering five leagues in total – four NFBC Online Championship leagues, and one NFBC Draft Champions league. For some perspective, the four OC leagues are 12 team mixed with weekly lineup locks, weekly pickups, and the following starting lineup requirements: 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 MI, 1 CI, 5 OF, 1 Util, and 9 P. There is a 1000 innings pitched minimum, but no specific minimum or starting requirements for starting or relief pitchers. The Draft Champions is a 15 team mixed league format with the same starting lineup requirements as the OC format, except it’s a 50 round draft-and-hold with no in-season transactions. What you draft is what you’re stuck with until the end of the season. There is no trading and no injured list in both formats as well.

I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up pulling the trigger on. Since this article is already longer than a typical baby seal comment, I’ll just be covering catchers and corner infielders today, with middle infielders, outfielders, and pitchers soon to follow.

Finally, each player will be placed into one of the following four categories:

The Studs: These guys are the cream of the crop at their positions. Elite talents with proven track records who project for more of the same in the near future.

Risky Business: Don’t worry, I’m not transitioning from a 90s music rant to an 80s movie one… yet. These are the high risk, high reward options. These guys have elite upside, but there’s at least one big red flag in their profile. Could provide high-end production at a bargain rate or leave a gaping hole on your (my) roster.

The Fallback Options: These are the players who you settle for if you miss on your primary targets. Could be boring vets, low ceiling youngsters, or just players who don’t elicit strong feelings one way or another.

The Lottery Tickets: These are the $1 scratch-offs that you play hoping for that $500 million jackpot. Cheap and dripping with upside. These are typically young, unproven players, but it could also be the profile of an injury-prone vet or someone who has struggled at the major league level, but has shown something special at some point in his career.

Without further ado, let’s start off strong, shall we?

Catcher (C)

Strategy: Psyche! Let’s get this one out of the way first. Due to the physically demanding nature of the position, catchers are typically the least durable and least productive of all the position players. The strategy here is simple – invest lightly in players who have double digit power and aren’t likely to be average drains.

Players drafted: Mitch Garver, Wilson Ramos (x2), Yadier Molina (x2), Christian Vazquez (x2), Travis d’Arnaud (x2), Tom Murphy, Matt Wieters, Curt Casali

This is the only position in which I won’t be categorizing the players since all but one can pretty much be thrown into the fallback pile.

Garver was a bit of an impulse buy. The stars aligned perfectly to pull the trigger in one league at #115 overall. I was looking for a power bat at the time, with no clear positional needs in mind, so why not take a chance on a player at the weakest offensive position who hit 31 HR and slugged .630 in just 359 PA last season? While he’s not likely to maintain that insane HR rate, his batted ball profile supports the breakout (top 10 among qualified players in hard hit % and barrel %).

Ramos and Molina fit my pre-draft strategy perfectly. Ramos has averaged .294/16/65 over the last four seasons, while Molina has averaged .268/16/71 over the last three. Yadi is one of the few catchers who tends to run a bit too, as he’s swiped 19 bags over those three years. Ramos was the 2nd earliest catcher that I drafted in any league (#198 and #203 overall, respectively), so the investment at the position ended up being fairly low as planned.

Vazquez, d’Arnaud, and Murphy are all coming off of career years. Vazquez entered last year with a career .246/.296/.335 slash line and 10 HR in 999 PA across four MLB seasons; he smashed 23 HR and slashed .276/.320/.477 in 521 PA last season. d’Arnaud averaged .249/11/39 per season from 2014-17 (he was injured in 2018), so his .251/16/69 line from last year doesn’t seem like a crazy outlier. Murphy slashed .219/271/.439 with 10 HR across four seasons as a part timer in Colorado before busting out with a .273/.324/.535 line and 18 HR in 281 PA in Seattle last season. Go figure. The 31% K% and 18.2% HR/FB scream that regression is around the corner, but a mid-.240s avg with double digit power would still be useful from a #2 catcher.

Wieters and Casali were reserve round picks in my lone DC league. Wieters was merely a handcuff for Yadi, and Casali was a cheap depth piece with some pop. Hopefully they stay parked on the bench where they belong.

Corner Infield (1B/3B)

Strategy: Power. Much power. Target high average sluggers in the early rounds while looking for power upside in the mid-late rounds.

The Studs: Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman (x2), Anthony Rizzo (x2), Jose Abreu (x2), Eugenio Suarez (x2)

Bellinger might be a full-time outfielder in real life, but he’s still eligible at 1B in fantasy, and I plan on using him there. Last season, Belli was 4th in MLB in HR (47), 6th in runs (121), 10th in RBI (115), and 16th in batting average (.305). 11th highest BB% (14.4%) among qualified hitters as well. Great contact skills and plate discipline, prime age, hits in a loaded lineup. What makes him a truly elite fantasy player is that he has double digit steals in each of his first three seasons. Many more monster years to come.

Freeman, Rizzo, and Abreu are three of the most consistent four category producers in baseball. Freeman’s coming off of a career year (113/38/121/.295/6) in which he ended up as the #12 overall player on the 2019 Razzball player rater. He’s averaged a 98/31/95/.303/8 yearly line since 2016, and his propensity to square the ball up (27.5% LD% – 2nd in MLB) and chip in some steals (30 SBs since 2016) puts him at the top of this group. As consolation prizes go, Rizzo and Abreu aren’t too shabby though. Here are their average batting lines since 2014 (6 seasons):

Rizzo: 90 R, 30 HR, 99 RBI, 8 SB, .284 AVG

Abreu: 81 R, 30 HR, 102 RBI, 2 SB, .293 AVG

Rizzo has logged 89+ runs, 94+ RBI, and 5+ SB in five out of those six seasons. He hasn’t hit fewer than 25 HR or had a batting average lower than .273 in that span either. Abreu has 100 or more RBI and a .284 or better batting average in five out of the last six years. Abreu is also one of just four MLB players with at least 220 batted balls that were hit at a velocity greater than 95 mph last season. You know what you’re getting with these guys, and it’s very, very solid.

Suarez is one of three MLB players with at least 80 HR over the last two seasons, and one of twelve players with at least 200 RBI over that same span. A 40/100 player across multiple seasons meets the qualifications for “stud” status in my book. The only major concern with Suarez is a shoulder issue that he suffered earlier this offseason which might’ve caused him to miss some time at the beginning of the year under the normal timeline, but that doesn’t appear to be an issue any longer.

Risky Business: Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson

Machado is a strange bird. Or was, since he’s a Padre now. The only thing that’s consistent about him is his power output. He’s hit between 32 and 37 home runs in each of the last five seasons. Everything else is a bit of a mystery. He followed up a 20 steal season in ’15 with a zero steal one in ’16. It was kind of the same deal last year, as his steals dropped from 14 in ’18 to 5 in ’19. Despite the big power numbers, he’s only cracked the 100 RBI threshold once in his career. Here are his batting averages over the last four seasons: .294, .259, .297, .256. Is he a mid .250s hitter or a mid .290s one? A double digit steal guy or a low single digit one? His plate discipline and batted ball profiles are good, not great. He struggled in his new home park last season with a .219/.297/.406 slash line, but he might not be playing there at all this year. What should we expect from Manny? Hell if I know.

Donaldson is coming off of a monster season in 2019, and he has the profile to back it up. There are a few red flags, however. He’s entering his age 34 season, so his physical skills could show signs of decline at any moment. He missed most of the 2018 season due to injuries, and he hasn’t hit .260 in a season since 2017. Donaldson looks poised for another strong campaign hitting in the middle of a loaded Twins lineup, but it’s far from a slam dunk.

The Fallback Options: Edwin Encarnacion, C.J. Cron (x2), Yuli Gurriel

It’s kind of odd to consider Edwin as a fallback option, but as they say, Father Time is undefeated. That’s not to say that the parrot has taken fewer trips around the bases in recent years. Encarnacion has hit at least 32 homers in eight consecutive seasons. That’s dating all the way back to 2012, when Mike Trout was a rookie and Juan Soto was 13 years old. That’s consistency for you. But EE’s batting average has crept into the .240s and his K% has risen north of 20% over the last two seasons, as he’s adopted even more of an all-or-nothing approach than usual (22.5 degree avg launch angle in 2019 – 2nd highest in MLB). Entering his age 37 season, Encarnacion’s durability issues (avg 123 games played since 2018) and swing-for-the-fences mentality make him a solid CI option, but nothing more.

Cron is a guy who’s flying a bit under the radar. It’s not hard to see why, though. He’s averaged 60/28/76/.253/1 over the last two seasons, and hasn’t topped 30 homers in a season in his career. Respectable numbers, but nothing that’ll carry your fantasy team to a championship. If you take a look under the hood, however, things start to get more interesting. Among qualified players, he had the 7th highest Barrel% (15.0%) in MLB last season. His average exit velocity (91.0 mph) was in the top 30, and while his .253 BA and .469 SLG were fairly solid, his .277 xBA and .548 xSLG indicate that he should’ve fared far better. With an ADP well outside of the top 200, Cron looks like a solid value.

I certainly didn’t plan on drafting Gurriel this season, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. On the one hand, he turns 36 years old in June and it’s unclear how much he benefitted from the Astros shenanigans over the past few seasons. On the other hand, he was essentially a much cheaper version of Jose Abreu last year, and he fell to pick #175 overall in the league where I drafted him. A .280/25/85 full season pace seems like a reasonable expectation here, which would make him a solid buy at that price point.

The Lottery Tickets: Yandy Diaz (x2), Travis Shaw (x3)

Entering the 2019 season, Diaz appeared to have more promise as a bodybuilder than a professional baseball player. The Indians seemed to tire of his primary goal to hammer the ball to the center of the Earth (56.6% GB% from 2017-18), so they traded him to the Rays prior to last season. The good news is that Diaz raised his average launch angle to 5.7 degrees, which led to a career low 50.8% GB%. It might not sound like much, but that small improvement resulted in 14 HR in 347 PA, while he had just 1 HR in 299 PA prior to 2019. His 91.7 mph average exit velocity on all batted balls was the 19th highest out of 250 qualifiers, and his 97.0 mph FB/LD exit velo was tied for the 11th highest in MLB with Soto and Ohtani. Diaz has a career 10.4% BB% and 17.8% K%, both much better than league average. A 25.3% O-Swing% and a 9.3% SwStr% last season. This is the profile of an elite hitter IF, and it’s a huge IF, he continues to improve his launch angle. This is a very similar profile to that of a pre-Milwaukee Christian Yelich without the speed. Will Diaz ever reach that level? No. No he won’t. But there is quite a bit of upside here.

Shaw was laughably bad last season. Historically awful. Slashing .157/281/.270 in 270 PA? Wut? Madison Bumgarner can do that blindfolded. Shaw averaged a 79/32/94/.258/8 line from 2017-18, so what the heck happened? He blamed his poor 2019 campaign on a swing change, which resulted in significant increases in launch angle (from 16.6 to 24.4 degrees) and strikeout rate (from 18.3% to 33.0%). Reverting back to his 2017-18 swing and going outside of the top 300 on average (which was the case in each of the leagues where I drafted him), Shaw seems like a worthy dart throw entering his age 30 season.

 

Do you agree/disagree with these picks? Which catchers and corner infielders are you counting on once the 2020 season finally begins?

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Great post, Magoo! Interesting on Yandy, I haven’t drafted him anywhere this year after getting a little burned last year…Speaking of burnt last year…Travis Shaw is a future MVP!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Haha — works for me!

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          Travis Shaw works for me!

    • baby seal says:
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      Was just waiting for the MVP comment!! Haha, always a good strategy to beat other to the punch

  2. S. Perez kept falling to me for the Catcher position. Gotta load of shares in Bellinger even drafting him from the 2 spot. Think Donaldson will outperform his projections and Gurriel will be solid. I have a few shares in Votto who is dirt cheap at the price. Machado is way overrated and probably always has been. Great report. Looking forward to the other positions.

    • 183414 says:
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      Machado probably always been overrated. Disagree strongly.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Perez fits the mold here too. He was just going a few rounds earlier than guys like Ramos, who I was perfectly fine with. Perez has even more juice though, assuming he’s healthy again.

      Belli is a stud. Should be a 1st rounder for years to come.

      I like Donaldson, but not quite as much as guys like Rizzo, Abreu, and Suarez. Just a bit more age and health related risk with him. But I agree that he will thrive in Minnesota.

      That’s fair on Machado. I think that last season was essentially his floor though, and he still finished as the #101 overall player on the rater. Got him at #67 overall in one league, which I felt was fair. Still has some upside if he picks up the average and runs just a bit more too.

      Thanks for the kind words! Two more posts will be coming soon.

    • baby seal says:
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      Gurriel should return back to pumpkin status post sign stealing saga

  3. Make way for the lemon parade…Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is…

    My pain is self-chosen…At least I believe it to be
    I could either drown…Or pull off my skin and swim to shore
    Now I can grow a beautiful shell for all to see…

    I come to beat em
    Defeat em and mistreat em, so what if that I’m cheating
    Now everybody wanna sound grimey! (yeah I know)
    I’ma show ya how, come on, all in together now…

    We chase misprinted lies…We face the path of time…

    …every day and every night
    Every hour, every second, minute don’t stop, get it, get it
    Yes, admit it when I’m way up in it
    You can’t hide cause my radar’s going bibip bibip bibip…

    Torn like an old dollar bill…cream gets the money

    Black hole sun
    Won’t you come
    And wash away…the Soler prediction that came 3 1/2 years too early…

    I got loyalty inside my DNA…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Starting with Mad Season? You’re full of tricks, you old dog…

      The Screaming Trees are my 3rd favorite out of the Seattle bands. So good. Some of Lanegan’s solo stuff is solid too.

      No one remembers that early Soler prediction. Shhh…

      • This was the warm blanket of music I was wrapping around the botanicals while barking at the sunrise a few nights ago…could very much relate

        Also Miggy @ 375 adp was a nice price that I would guess you would approve of…but I never guess…do you?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          It’s so warm until Tal Bachman and Joan Osbourne yank the blanket off. Can’t trust those youtube playlists.

          Miggy’s a perfectly fine lottery ticket there. Age and injuries have really sapped his production in recent years, but maybe he has a zombino year left in him. Looked good in the limited spring action. The lengthy offseason and (likely) shortened season should suit him well. Might not have to play half of his games in Detroit this year either, which would be another plus.

          • Wake Up says:
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            Haha

            Same train on Miggy

            I was there with you on Soler…of course, had none last year…

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              Soler power! (just a bit too early – no shares for me either)

  4. 183414 says:
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    No Olson. No Christian Walker. Have many shares of both. Also Brian Anderson , though he moved up to around 218, great value with 1b/o.f. coverage.
    Not sure why Devers , Rendon not listed, no less Nolan, or even Bregman.
    Re:catchers. I think there is a big drop off after Top 5 catchers. Realmuto, Sanchez, Grandal, Contreras, and Garver. Listed them in order of their adp, not necessarily my preference. Think Alfaro is also good value.
    Congrats on your column, and good luck.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      These are just the players that I happened to draft this year, not all of the players that I think will do well.

      Olson is a solid three cat guy, but he’s not the kind of CI that I target in the top 60 overall or so. Prefer a bit more average with the Rizzo and Abreu types. Should hit for plenty of power though.

      I’m not terribly high on Bregman, and I prioritized other positions in the first couple of rounds which is why I ended up with no Devers, Rendon, or Arenado shares. Will cover in the next couple of posts.

      Yeah, i think there is a drop off after those catchers that you listed, but outside of my one share of Garver, I felt that the opportunity cost was too high to pull the trigger on those guys. There is definitely an argument to be made that a top catcher provides a significant advantage, especially if you’re able to make up the lost production elsewhere later on in the draft.

      Thanks, and good luck to you too!

      • Wake Up says:
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        I agree about Devers > Freeman all CIs being equal.

        Garver was not on any top 5 lists preseason last year just as there will be C’s that end up top 5 that are not on any preseason lists this year…

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          Yeah, that’s fair. They’re very close for me. The tiebreaker is that Devers has had one great season while Freeman has the extended track record. Losing Betts could impact Devers’ counting stats as well, and Bogaerts could see some regression coming off of a career year. Think they’ll both be very good either way.

          Yeah, that’s kind of how I view catchers too. There are always new faces jumping into the top 10. Less PAs to impact batting average, very little speed. Just don’t think it’s worth it to jump on catchers early most of the time.

          • Wake Up says:
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            Ended up with a lot of Donaldson too…short season also good for him…

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              Agreed

  5. florida jack says:
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    thanks Magoo, always enjoy your insight

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Thanks, florida jack! Appreciate the kind words.

  6. rick brown says:
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    Hey Magoo,
    Gotta love the Grunge(Temple of the Dog )and a baby seal all before the good stuff! Like Vazquez,Alfaro. Even took a dart throw on Jansen in Toronto. Depending on where he hits could have sneaky value.
    Took a few shares of AZ guys at CI-Walker and Escobar. Hopin’ for a repeat of last year.
    Looking forward to the rest of the article.
    Thanks,RICK

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Temple of the Dog was great too. Can’t go wrong with a Chris/Eddie combo.

      I definitely like Vazquez. There’s already regression baked into his price, which makes him appealing. Alfaro and Jansen have always had solid profiles. If Alfaro can improve his contact rate a bit and Jansen his quality of contact, there’s some nice profit potential.

      I think regression is somewhat baked into Escobar’s price too, and Walker is kind of a statcast darling. Definite upside there.

      Should have a couple more posts coming in the near future. Thanks!

  7. Powdered Toast Man says:
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    Liked the post Magoo. I’m very bearish on Cron this year. Solid value outside the mainstream. Kinda like some Mudhoney from the 90’s, or that second Stone Roses album.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Thanks, Powdered Toast Man! In the interest of full disclosure, I prefer peanut butter on my toast, unless we’re talking about french toast. You can lay the powdered sugar in there then.

      Haven’t heard anyone mention the Stone Roses in a long time. Good call.

    • baby seal says:
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      Why are you very bearish on Cron?

  8. Powdered Toast Man says:
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    Curious where Yasmani Grandal was? Is he that big of an average drain?

    Also put in a vote for Material Issue. Highly underrated band with an interesting story.

    • Wake Up says:
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      Nice call with Mudhoney. Made me think of Green River, Mother Love Bone, Sleater-Kinney…

    • Wake Up says:
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      My guess is that he was too expensive. Probably looking at Sano, Donaldson, Chapman around there…

    • Wake Up says:
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      Unless of course your league counts pitch framing/defense/Beowulf references…

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        If I hadn’t already reached my league quota, the 10×10 format featuring Beowulf references would’ve been next up…

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Grandal wasn’t a specific target of mine this year, so I looked up where he went in a few of my drafts. 81, 88, 95. Think he might’ve slipped outside of the top 100 in one of my other ones. I don’t have a problem with where he’s going, and his average doesn’t bother me either. The pros outweigh the cons with him. That just happens to be the area of the draft where I grabbed Suarez, Donaldson, and (spoiler alert) Tim Anderson, a few guys who I like a bit more.

      • baby seal says:
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        Yep, Grandal over-drafted this year. His price was higher early in draft szn due to expectations he would DH a decent amount… then they signed E5. Price never really corrected… pass.

        I also owned him last year, and while the HRs are great, too much Moose, Muncy, Grandal, and your AVG starts to become a serious issue… even if you have Yelich (true story!)

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          Agreed on Grandal. Based on who was available in that 80-110 range in most of my drafts, he wasn’t a serious consideration for me. Might’ve jumped on him just after that, like that 115 area where I grabbed Garver.

          It’s tough to roster more than a couple of donkeys, as starters anyway. Need a Yelich/Freeman type to offset each one, or at the very least a McNeil/Brantley type. Avg can go down the tubes in a hurry otherwise.

          • baby seal says:
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            Yep, totally. On that same squad last year, had injuries hit me. Was able to pick up Franimal and Sano.

            1st in HRs. Like 5th? in AVG… IDK, was sad. I always pride myself in having a top-3 AVG. Wasn’t happy about it.

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              Are you one of those kids who was pissed if he got a single B on his report card? I was driven by the desire to achieve just enough to get a free pan pizza via the book-it program at Pizza Hut back in the day, haha.

              • baby seal says:
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                Hahaha, no, I wasn’t like that. I always felt like too much of the grade was subjective. I was a good student, but not like top of my class.

                The grading at my prep school was notoriously difficult. We didn’t use the traditional A, B, C system… story for another day… but let’s just say: Getting the equivalent of an A or A+ was very uncommon. That was called a “Distinction.” And if you did get that type of grade, then they’d put you in a really hard class the next year. B+ and A- was what you wanted. B was OK — but less than would start to become an issue.

                I was always very competitive w/ sports, played Chess competitively when I was younger, lots of video games in my teens, used to enter some math competitions or physics competitions in prep school, just because I wanted to win. LOL… sad.

                That’ll happen when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, a daily curfew, no TV, restricted Internet websites and hours… and you wonder why so many prep school kids do so many drugs? haha

                • Big Magoo

                  Big Magoo says:
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                  Jeebus… that sounds like a very specialized grading system. Need to slide into a tight pocket to advance comfortably. Pretty rough.

                  I’ve always gotten by pretty easily. Good grades and a bit of a jock in my younger days. Lack of ambition is my biggest downfall, I suppose. Never saw the point in overexerting yourself unless you’re passionate about something.

                  Video games still work for me. Try the Witcher 3, Bloodborne, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, or some others if you haven’t already. Great experiences.

                  I wonder how isolated those prep school kids feel right about now, huh?

                  • baby seal says:
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                    Hahaha. I can only imagine!

                    Don’t really know those games besides God of War, which I played like 100 years ago!

                    I’ve been playing a bunch of The Show recently, picked up Rocket League, Dragon Ball Z is… awesome (lol), Assasin’s Creed Odyssey was probably my favorite game last year. Mostly just Ps4 these days, and really only playing more due to the current situation.

                    I did binge on Warcraft 3 in December, since the new release was coming out, but I got so hooked that even though I pre-ordered the new release… have yet to play it haha.

                    My moto for quite a while when it comes to ambition is to either give 100% or 0%. Makes people know where I stand on something pretty quickly. I find that suits my personality well. I like to get really deep into things, that’s how you learn a lot, and the information sticks with you forever. I’m not a half-ass kinda guy, and I resent people who do that. I’d rather someone just tell me they don’t give a shit, then pretend they do. Usually leads to worse outcomes and find it kind of dishonest.

  9. SwaggerJackers says:
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    I always enjoy your content Magoo. Keep it coming!

    Any concerns about Yandy’s playing time with Tampa? I like the potential but in weekly leagues and don’t feel good about most players on the Rays.

    • SwaggerJackers says:
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      *I don’t

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Swagger! Always good to see you man.

      I’m not too worried about Diaz. The Rays have a bunch of moving parts, but not too many of them can play 3B. In terms of their bench bats, Perez is the backup catcher, Margot is OF only, and Jose Martinez is 1B/OF/DH. Wendle and Robertson are both coming off of rough years, and one’s likely to start in the minors (if there is a minors this year). Tsutsugo has been rumored to maybe see some time there, but he’s also slated to move around a lot (1B/LF/3B/DH). Think that Diaz plays the majority of the time.

  10. Homer's got the Runs says:
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    Danny Janssen is the catcher I believe has the ability to really rise in the rankings. He stands out as a safer bet to help out in average with his minor league stats and the ability to hit 15-20 homers. My goal with catcher is to have players that really dont hurt you in average category as most catchers do.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Jansen strikes me as a guy who’s pretty similar to Vazquez in some ways. Good contact skills and pop. You saw what happened when things finally clicked for Vazquez last year, and I think that Jansen has that kind of season in him. Good call.

  11. Definitely on board with CI’s, need that consistency. Hate punting the C spots and try to get an edge without paying too high a price. Took Garver in an earlier league and older guys like W. Ramos and S. Perez should benefit from a shortened season. W. Smith and T. Murphy are interesting too.
    Good stuff Mr. Magoo!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Yeah, for sure. Definitely looking for consistency from the CIs. Give me Abreu, Rizzo, and Suarez all day long. Same with catchers. Just give me some power without tanking my average. Plenty of opportunities to chase youth and upside, as you’ll see in the MI/OF writeup. Thanks, Smitty!

  12. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Big Magoo, love the baby seal reference. And baby seal is no where to be found in your comment section. I thought he’d be all over it.

    Interesting write-up. You may have just impacted my way of constructing a team. I’m fairly new to the baseball fantasy world. Will reassess my drafting techniques. I never thought to consider high average/power guys specific to corner players.

    I’m sure you’ll answer this question in future posts, but I’m looking for a rough version right now if possible: if you look for high average/power guys from corners, can you provide what your emphasis is with the other positions? Ex, do you look for steal guys from 2b guys, etc?

    Thanks BM. I appreciate this post.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Baby Seal is gonna get a big head

      • Jolt In Flow says:
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        Ha! Seems like a decent enough guy. Although he might hate going through life with a big head and little seal body.

        Grey, side-question. I just noticed all the other sports your site covers. I’m a giant college hoops fan, and college football to a lesser degree.

        Do you have any writers who cover college bball and or football?

        • baby seal says:
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          it’s interesting how much you seem to care about what I do… not sure what to make of that… thanks, I guess?

          • baby seal says:
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            also, hope this doesn’t read as standoffish. since it does seem that way now that I read it again. I like that joke to made, haha. It’s an honest question!

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
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            You are a razzball star! You have become a legend around these parts!

            • baby seal says:
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              hahaha, that’s what Grey seems to think, so I’ll take it!! Thanks guys!

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        Seals seem to have pretty small heads, but I suppose the younger ones can have disproportionately large ones

      • baby seal says:
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        lol, why? because I got a brief mention in a post??

        glad you guys are accepting of this immature marine animal!

        • Jolt In Flow says:
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          Hahaha, awesome!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Baby Seal is always lurking…

      I’ve written about draft strategy in the past when I was a regular contributor here, but I’ve always been a believer in stocking up in high average hitters early on. The five category studs and four cat sluggers don’t last too long, and they provide a nice cushion to be able to draft a couple of .240ish donkeys later on.

      Catcher is a bit different, as I’m just looking for players who won’t hurt me there. Just want some cheap pop and guys who can at least hit in the .250-.260 range to not negate the positive batting average foundation I’ve built up to that point. Nothing worse than a C2 who hits .220 and anchors down your team.

      I’ll be covering MIs and OFs next, but that’s where you want to get your speed. I’m not a huge fan of the speed only guys either, but you can go that route depending on how you construct your roster. I usually try to shoot for balance, emphasizing power over speed, but not ignoring speed. It’s easier to fill holes that way if someone goes down. If you’re depending on Mallex Smith to give you 40 steals and he pulls a hamstring, that puts you in a tough spot. Can’t just find those types of players sitting on the waiver wire. If you lose a more balanced player, you can decide whether to sacrifice a bit of power or speed when looking for a replacement depending on where you are in those respective categories in the standings.

      Hope that makes sense.

      • baby seal says:
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        Well, here I am, as requested!

        Grey pointed me over here. I honestly wasn’t clicking around the site the last couple days like I usually do. Was just creeping on the comment’s in Grey’s post from yesterday… wanted to ask him some questions. I’m mostly just here to chat w/ him.

        Not sure what to make of people paying so much attention to what I am doing or writing!

        I honestly don’t mind it, or care too much what people think… nor do I pay too much attention to others. Have always been the type to let people do whatever they want. Not my problem.

        Thought the joke was fair and in good fun. I liked it!

        This is weird!

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          I just threw the little zinger in there cause I figured you’d take it for what it was. Gotta razz you sometime!

          • baby seal says:
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            Love it, thank you!!

            baby seals are easy targets, just ask the fine folks in Canada! I thought Canadians were supposed to be nice people?

      • Jolt In Flow says:
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        This helps immensely.

        Thanks Big Magoo.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          No problem, JIF!

  13. baby seal says:
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    I like the post for the most part! Definitely have me beat on length! Haha. But since I know you are craving a thousand words from the seal — a thousand words is what I’ll try to deliver!

    Think this will be a good series. Good format and topic. I had something similar circling in my head the past week or so, since I drafted my 2 OCs. Really looking forward to it!

    I’ve seen you post your teams before, or talk about players, and think you’re easily one of the better players on the site. We briefly chatted on how we have a lot of player overlap on our teams… Bellinger, Bieber, Mercado… think there were others but that’s all I recall right now. Either we’re both good, or we’re both bad. I guess we’ll see.

    Might’ve been useful if you included where you drafted these guys. That’s a big deal!

    E.g. Rizzo: He falls in a lot of drafts for a good value. But I don’t love him if you reached. I’ll just hit on some quick thoughts of the players below now… very good for the most part, FYI.

    I wouldn’t touch Gurriel w/ a ten foot pole. How do you say cheater en Espanol?

    Agree on Molina, have him in a few DCs.

    No thanks on Vazquez. I like the other catchers going around him a lot better. Looks like I have some Carson Kelly and you do not… Alfaro too.

    d’Arnaud may not get as many ABs as you’re hoping for with Flowers’ (big) D right behind him.

    I have a million Bellinger shares, have Suarez on both OC squads (insane value) since he never got corrected from the shoulder injury, have Abreu in a few spots too. Love, love, love.

    Pretty fair on Machado and Donaldson. I like Donaldson a lot better, though. No shares of Machado… and I thought I’d be all over him initially in draft szn. Just other guys like Moncada who are way more interesting now. (No Moncada shares? Booooo.) Or give me Laureano’s profile instead there. I’ve always liked Manny, but he’ll first need to prove to me he’s a stud outside of Camden and the AL Beast before I buy in again.

    The thing is, you *do* know what you’re getting from him: .260 w/ 30 HRs and very little speed — some BA upside — and a lot of no FKs given. BUT, while I do usually fade guys on a new big deal (Rendon, Cole) — buying back in on a guy after a down first year of a mega deal is usually a +EV play. So you have that going for you. Worst case, he won’t kill you like these bums last year: Aguilar (barf), Dahl, Beni…

    E5: Exactly why a straight list like this can be tough to read too much into. I do get that the post is meant to be a jumping off point to talk about the guys, which I respect. When did you take him? Was Walker or Voit still available? Because he can be a good pick in one situation, or a terrible pick in a not too dissimilar one. He’ll see the bench early and often if he’s not hitting dingers.

    Diaz: Not a bad dart! Agree on the Yelich minus speed upside comp. Type of guy I target in an auction to fill out the squad, but not so much in an OC draft — just other guys I prefer there. Can’t argue w/ an ADP of 270, though.

    Shaw: Assuming this is a last pick kind of guy. I mean, sure, go for it. MVP szn on the way! Personally, I don’t think he should be drafted in 12s. I have Evan White on both OC squads — would much rather throw a dart on him at the end. Or if you need 3B, Seager is going right there too.

    Nice post! Hopefully this is what you wanted from me. Only got to about ~680 words in today’s comment, though. Will try harder next time.

    Haha, cheers!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      Don’t feel pressured for length (that’s what she said). Just thought you might be up for an open discussion on various players based on the comments I’ve seen from you and our previous interactions.

      I thought about including where I drafted each player in each specific league, but I decided to only include it when relevant (like with Garver, Gurriel, and Ramos) as a time saver. It’s pretty time consuming as is cross referencing the various stats and metrics that I highlight for different players. I do agree that it might prove useful though, so I’ll try to add that in the next couple of posts.

      Re: Rizzo – I took him in the 77-79 range in both of the leagues where I pulled the trigger. Abreu was the other pick in that range in one league, so they kind of blend together in my head. I think that both players are good values anywhere outside of the top 60 or so.

      Catchers are catchers. Some of these guys will undoubtedly disappoint, but at least they’re cheap and coming off of good seasons. At the first sign of trouble with guys like d’Arnaud and Murphy, I won’t hesitate to make a change.

      Moncada is interesting, but his profile is too volatile for me based on his price.

      I took EE in my first draft back in February (same with Machado). I believe I pulled the trigger in the 17th round of that OC, which would be around pick #200 from a middle slot, or just inside. You know what you’re getting from him. A reliable power source with a .240ish average. Not sure if Walker was still there, and I was much higher on Voit last season. It’s pretty crowded in NY with guys like Urshela, Andujar, Stanton, Tauchman, Ford, etc. in that CI/DH mix. Hicks should be back soon too. Judge could see some time at DH as well.

      Shaw is interesting dart throw to me. He was a top 100 player prior to last season, and he’s still just 30 years old. Hitting in the middle of a pretty good baby Jays lineup. Could bounce back.

      Only 680 words? Try harder next time!

      • baby seal says:
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        Haha, totally!! I literally just had not checked out the site – very happy Grey linked me over here.

        No pressure at all! Was also working until like 9:30pm last night, and then I had a 1pm FT Best Ball today that I was prepping for this morning. Wanted to run some thoughts by Grey. Just typing out my ideas alone always proves to really help me out. Not sure about anyone else!

        I’m always looking for a good convo like this… no sweat off my back, really. Love it!

        OK, enough conditional bullshit and ass kissing. Back to biz!

        Agree on Rizz. That’s good! Think I got at a similar spot in a DC. Wasn’t the plan, but too good to pass up there. And that’s basically the end of the 1B tier, can include Bell in there if one desires, and then it’s wait until Voit / Walker for me.

        I have so much Bellinger that I don’t really think about 1B that much usually. Kinda weird but awesome!

        Yep, catchers are like closers, I said to Grey recently. You just have to plan out where you’ll take them, close your eyes, press ‘Draft,’ and then pretend like it never happened!

        I actually didn’t get any Moncada in the OCs – mostly just DCs. I went Saurez all the way there. Then would get your Turners, Doziers, Edmans, Brian Andersons later. I like JD Davis later too. I find 3B to be very deep. I never force it in Roto.

        That’s why I got JDM at the end of the second in both drafts instead of those 3B that go there.

        I hear you on Voit, as a Yanks fan and owner last year too. TBH, not sure I like him as much as I say I do, because I have zero shares… do have a few of Cron, Walker, and one EE.

        Yep, Shaw is what it is, can’t really hate that price. More so wanted to throw out some dudes there I would prefer at corner.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          Busy seal!

          Yeah, catchers and closers are extremely volatile. Always a ton of turnover in the top 10-15. Outside of the top end guys, it’s basically a crapshoot.

          I probably should’ve thrown Dozier into this post, but he’ll be in the next one.

          JDM always seems to be undervalued. He’ll be making an appearance shortly as well.

          I still like Voit, but think he’ll be on a short leash. The Yankees just have so many options.

          I hear you on Shaw. Just look at what he did in 2017-18 though. And most importantly, there’s a convincing reason as to why 2019 was such a disaster, and he’s taken steps to correct it. Might not amount to anything, but I’m buying a scratch-off to find out.

          • baby seal says:
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            Makes sense! Assume he’s working on lowering that skyrocketing LA?

            It’s so funny how drafts work out when you look back. Remember wanting Shaw, someone else took him a few picks in front of me, so I went w/ Moose, who I also liked… OK!

            Or the opposite: Was going to take a closer, then Hader, Igesias, and Knebel all went in front of me, so I went w/ LeClerc… ugh.

            Or I had Clevinger and Taillon as nearly equal values. In my home league, was all set to take Clevinger, then changed course last second to Taillon… ouchie. That one pisses me off so much. I LOVED Clev Dog. Let the Pitcher List crew get in my ear too much. Don’t think they are actually that great at fantasy baseball. Clev was a key piece to my 2018 championship! What was I thinking??

            Then had Paddack as my 4th to last pick, so that basically made up for it.

            Good to look back and remember how much of this can be a crap shoot. Remember Peraza was a top-100 drafted player last year??

            My skills are much improved this year. Really just want the szn to start so I can see how much all the hard work has (or hasn’t) paid off!

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              Yup. There are always huge hits and misses every year. I liked Shaw last year as well, but didn’t end up with him anywhere. Maybe that’s why I’m fairly bullish on a bounceback this year? I assume that his owners from last season aren’t quite as optimistic…

              You might be seeing something on a couple of RPs that you mentioned in the future, haha.

              I had Clevinger and Taillon ranked right next to each other as well. Probably the most important thing that I’ve learned over the years is to trust your rankings. Make your rankings/projections before you start to take a peek at everyone else’s, and stick to them. It’s cool to tweak them a bit as you go along, but too many cooks in the kitchen, you know?

              • baby seal says:
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                Yep, I’ve fixed that this year. Thanks, man!

                I don’t mind adjusting them around actually. But sticking to them and narrowing my sources has been very solid this year.

                Also have gotten in touch privately w/ a bunch of very successful NFBC players. That was probably the biggest incremental step in my growth.

  14. krazyivan says:
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    Great write up. My CI so far is:
    Moncada (x3), Bellinger, Freeman, Olson, Ramirez, Bregmen, Moustakas.

    Edman and Danny Santana are the type of mid round guys I’m after.

    Late I’m in Diaz like you-also taking a flyer on Tsutsugo, Pederson, Eaven White and Starlin Castro.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      That’s a nice group. I’m pretty bullish on most of those guys. Edman and Santana have some serious profit potential, I believe. In fact, you’ll be seeing more on Santana very soon. Stay tuned!

    • baby seal says:
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      SOLID GROUP!!! (minus Santana, barf)

      Huge man crush on Edman over here. Literally can’t get enough.

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        I’ll have plenty to say about Santana in the near future, don’t worry…

  15. krazyivan says:
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    Santana is Didi Gregarious plus 20 stolen bases. That’s worth it to me.

    • baby seal says:
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      Understand the sentiment… just not a risk I’m willing to take there.

      He hadn’t been a SB guy since his rookie year. Sprint speed doesn’t indicate he should be a 20 steal guy. Think he snuck up on teams in more ways than one last year. BABIP was a career high .350.

      One of if not the worst CF defender in the league. Rangers should not be starting him out there if they want to seriously contend. Should be at one of the corners.

      He was below replacement level WAR the prior 4 years. That’s why his PAs were always so low.

      The main thing he has going for him is a very nice improvement in hitting the ball harder. I’d just rather get my steals from a more reliable source. I’m expecting teams to take him more seriously next year. And the plate discipline is poor all around.

      Expect the BA to regress significantly too… his contact profile does not support the BA increase. Just too much I don’t like w/ him. Good luck!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      You don’t seem crazy at all…

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