Hello, again. Thanks for stopping by. I’m noticing talk ramping up around the fantasy baseball world on how to approach pitching with the short season coming up. It’s looking more and more like we’re going to get the shortest end of the stick the owners want us to get, if we get anything at all. I’m honestly not overly optimistic we get baseball in 2020, but I’m going to operate under the assumption we will get 48-ish games at least. So, if that’s the case, that sure ain’t a lotta starts per starting pitcher. I mean it’s like 10 tops, assuming the typical five-man rotation. So, what, 70-80 IP maximum? In a perfect world it’d be 90 with 10 complete games, so let’s shave a few off for safe measure.

It seems a bit counter-intuitive to suggest fading the top guys, at first glance. “But, like, JKJ, if there aren’t as many starts, don’t you want the best of the best to increase your chances of those being good starts?” you may ask. While I see the logic and merit in that mindset, I think you could get similar returns from non-top-tier guys in a drastically shortened season. It’s really their longevity and big innings that put them ahead of the pack.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at hitters who are being priced cheaper in 2020 than their 2019 stats would dictate. This week, it’s time to assess Starters using the same approach.

Recency bias suggests that 2019 performance weighs most heavily in our minds when making 2020 decisions. That certainly plays out in many scenarios, but there are other players who’s 2020 price is discounted compared to what just happened. I’m guessing that’s mostly due to the prevalence of projection systems in player valuation. A good projection system should absolutely be the baseline for your 2020 valuations. But as we know, these systems are slow to pick up on skill changes. Three year weighted averages & regression to the mean helps the systems get the most players right; but it also means they systematically devalue 2019 stats. The goal of this post is to look at what just happened (2019 performance) and find places where the market (ADP) isn’t pricing in those stats.

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The long-awaited finale to my COVID-19 Draft Bargains series culminates with a dive into starting pitchers who were looking at some innings restrictions for 2020. Since we aren’t likely to get a full season at this point, that’s kind of become a moot point for the most part. Here is a list of potential studs who could give similar returns to the household names who are being drafted much, much higher.

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I’ve recapped all my 2020 fantasy baseball teams because I’m a baller, fantasy and otherwise. Come for me and you will get Mutombo’d, finger-wag and all. Just like The Corona Mutombo’d its finger-wag to Opening Day. You don’t have to go home, Opening Day, but you can’t come here right now because there’s a guy who hasn’t washed his hands. Scrub your dirty sausage fingers, you sicko! Is what I scream out my mail slot every time someone walks past my house. Shame about Opening Day, but it will happen. Jokes aside, MLB is showing all the signs of wanting to get this thing off the ground. They’re talking about paying players a full year of service time. Does that sound like a league that doesn’t want to play? I’m still going on the assumption they’ll get 100 games in, but knowing how much rich people want to stay rich and knowing they’re currently paying people to not play makes me think they will be playing. A lot of games. They might just ram 140 games in something insane, like, a 135-day schedule. Think of the Royals, you really think they’re paying players to not play? They don’t even pay players to play! On a side but related note, it’s funny to hear people now say they’re not playing baseball this year. That is prolly a below 5% chance, but it’s like when people see a player like Jason Kubel have a huge 1st game of the season and think he’s now Mike Trout. You’re overestimating the present situation vs. gauging actual reality. Any hoo! One small note for perspective, I drafted ten leagues (so far, still holding on our RCL league) with three NL-Only leagues and one AL-Only league, and, no, I didn’t also draft Pete Alonso in the AL-Only. Anyway, here’s my top 2020 fantasy baseball player shares:

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Hello again. I’m back to remind you that baseball is still indefinitely delayed. While you’re likely still sequestered like myself (remember when I said I’d bet my next check? Bingo bango, no school for a week at least, plus Spring Break), why not take the time to read up on fantasy baseball stuff? Get some more names on your radar you may have neglected because of injury.

Last week, I talked about a bunch of Yankees and mostly some household ace names like Max Scherzer, Mike Clevinger, Justin Verlander, etc. Those guys were some big names whose stock slipped some in the ADP department thanks to their various ailments. I promised some more, so I won’t dilly dally any longer. This week’s crop isn’t necessarily superstars (though I guess that’s arguable), but they’re definitely some names you want to keep in mind.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While the COVID-19 outbreak may be wreaking havoc in the real-life world of sports, fantasy baseball is at least unscathed, for the most part. In fact, the delay for Opening Day announcement lends value to some of the injured superstars whose ADPs have slipped because of their injuries. If you strike while the iron’s hot, you just may be able to grab yourself a bargain stud now that there’s extra recovery time before the season begins.

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Baseball, like a flower, blooms in the spring. They also share equally effusive PR people. Just the other day I read about how a petunia’s branches gained 15 pounds and was in the best shape of its life. Sure, it’s always good to look at spring training numbers to give you an idea what you can expect from guys during the season — can I draft Adalberto Mondesi yet?! Players in spring training are facing the top pitchers who are all displaying their best stuff. No one needs time to get warmed up. No one’s trying new pitches or getting a feel for the ball. They are at the height of their game in the beginning of March. Our former commissioner, Bud, once doffed his toupee and tried to have the World Series played in March. Since these spring training numbers mean so much, I decided to look at some players stats so far:

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Welcome to the glamorous “anniversary edition” of the downloadable Razzball Excel War Room. Has it really been ten years already? Google tells me a tenth anniversary is traditionally marked with tin or aluminum, but I’m going digital instead…hope you like spreadsheets!

Credit goes to the originator Lou Poulas and a host of other update authors over the decade. Time flies, as this marks my fifth year updating and tweaking the file (!), I’m proud of the features and colorful interface that I’ve implemented to make the tool more usable to navigate in a fast paced, high-pressure draft. Thanks also to Knucks who jumped in starting in 2018 for tedious data compilation for the dashboard tiers and has done so through 2020.

This file supplements the copious 2020 fantasy baseball draft tools and online fantasy baseball war room available on Razzball. I used to claim it was the “ultimate drafting tool” to track goals and keep track of how other teams are doing, but that was before Rudy made his own draft-dominating war room spreadsheet available for subscribers. Rudy’s version is geared towards roto leagues, so you may still find this Excel war room more closely suited to your league’s format – for example, points leagues with custom scoring are easily accommodated here.

If you plan to skip most of the info below, take this one tip with you: check out the 2020 changes, then bookmark and keep checking this page throughout the pre-season. A few bugs usually pop up, and I try to address these as they come up. The most up-to-date version will always be posted at the bottom of this post, before the comments.

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Fantasy baseball players typically settle into three different camps on how they ‘run’ their snake drafts:

Traditionalists – Use a piece of paper typically with tiered rankings
Spreadsheeters – Use a spreadsheet that can range from a simple one tab cut ‘n paste job to one with tons of formulas, tabs, and conditional formatting. Player projections and/or rankings may be cut/pasted from a site, aggregated from various sources or the product of meticulous research.
Toolers – Use a piece of software (usually subscription-based) to manage the draft. Projections can range from one bundled with the software to importing one’s own.

I have always been a Spreadsheeter. A couple years back I had a couple of epiphanies related to draft strategy (detailed in my 2020 LABR Mixed Draft Recap – search for DARWINISM) and completely overhauled my ‘draft room’. After some early success, I started sharing it with the Razzball writers for their industry leagues. Last year, I added it to our season-long subscription package. The response has been better than I expected given how different it is from the standard draft room.

While I have not trialed all draft software or had the opportunity to test drive others’ spreadsheets, I have seen enough that I have a good idea on some of the more common approaches/standards. I think there are several flaws in these standards and will show how and why my Draft Room is better. If you are a Traditionalist, my guess is this post will not sway you but at least it will give you ammunition when mocking the guy with the laptop next you on draft day.

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Last week, while I was wilting away in my cube, I had the pleasure of staring off into space for a few minutes. What was in my ears while I did it? The soothing sounds of Donkey Teeth and B_Don. They were discussing all the different league offerings the NFBC can provide with Darik Buchar of SportsHub on Razzball’s Goin’ Deep Podcast. I enjoyed the informative nature of the podcast, but it brought to a head something; a belief has been simmering inside of me for quite some time. My belief is that the NFBC, and the strategies used by those who play in those leagues, has become the principal source for many fantasy baseball content consumers, but the strategies applied in these leagues are misused by content consumers as they aren’t applicable to single league set ups.

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

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