What’s up, everybody? We’re working our way through the shortened season while trying to avoid the COVID potholes. The Marlins will be returning to action today albeit with 19 new players as 18 players tested positive and Isan Diaz opted right on out of that clubhouse. One silver lining is the Marlins are calling up Monte Harrison to the big league club. The power/speed prospect played just 58 games in 2019 after having wrist surgery following an injury diving for a ball in the outfield. Harrison still managed 9 homers and 20 stolen bases in AAA before the injury. That’s after putting up a 19HR/28SB performance in AA the year prior. The only knock on Harrison is his plate discipline as the Marlins prospect posted strikeout rates of 36.9% and 29.9% the last two years. Although he did manage to make gains in his walk rate, raising it to 10.2% last year. With Harrison getting the call and starting his service time, the Marlins have no reason to not give him at-bats. Monte Harrison is rostered in just 1.7% of ESPN leagues and 8% of CBS Sports leagues, so if your team needs a shot in the arm, grab him now as he could help out in both homers and stolen bases. Let’s take a look at some other players that may give you a head start on your competition.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Learn more about our 2020 Fantasy Baseball Subscriptions!

The best daily/weekly Player projections (hitters, starters, and relievers) for each of the next 7-10 days + next calendar week starting Friday. Kick-ass DFS lineup optimizer and projections for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo!.

I don’t have enough spam, give me the Razzball email newsletter!

Weekly Razzball news delivered straight to your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Everyone else having as much fun as I am now that baseball is officially rolling? Soto, Kershaw, Verlander, Moustakas, Meadows, Yordan, Marlins fans all shake their heads. Secret time – I started writing this Opening Night and the list just kept growing. We’re in the second part of the extended Week 1 and hopefully, you’re already cruising in your matchups. If not, here are some lower-owned options to give your team a little jump start.

Brady Singer, SP: 8.1% ESPN; 17% CBS – Just in case you missed it over the weekend, Brady Singer struck out 7 Indians through 5 innings, while allowing 2 runs. The second run was allowed on a wild pitch and he allowed just 5 baserunners. Singer moved rapidly through the Royals’ system, throwing exactly zero pitches in AAA before making his major league debut. In his debut, Singer coupled a two-seamer with a lot of movement with a slider to keep hitters off-balance. At one point, he threw the slider ten times in a row, so he shows a lot of confidence in the pitch. Singer is slated to face Detroit on Thursday, making him an easy start this week and a potential add target for the long run.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Baseball is finally here as the regular season starts on Friday! In this weekly article, I’ll attempt to bring to light lower-owned players that are adds to help you stay ahead of the competition and win your league. This is a sprint, not a marathon, so now is not the time to get attached to those slow starters. Normally, they’d have time to turn it around, but with a 60 game season, a couple of struggling bats or arms could drag your team to the bottom of the standings. With that in mind, here are some Week 1 options to get you started on the right path.

Shogo Akiyama, OF, CIN – 24% owned on ESPN and CBS – Akiyama is penciled into the leadoff spot for the Reds and they get six games against the hapless Tigers rotation to start the season. The other four games come against the Cubs, where they’ll face Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills in two of those games. Akiyama has been scouted with “above average plate skills”, while most projection systems have him hovering around a 9% walk rate. With Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Castellanos, and Mike Moustakas batting behind Akiyama, he should score plenty of runs out of the gate. If Akiyama is still available in your leagues, now is the time to add him.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Last week we took a look at some later-round hitting targets that can help catch you up in your batting categories. The gift I bring you this week is a look at some pitchers to target who appear ahead of their peers. Oh, the poo that I had to sludge through to do this research. I tried finding team notes for how they’re expecting to handle their pitchers in the early weeks of the season. I have to give a shout out to Jeff Zimmerman for his “Mining the News” articles over on Fangraphs. They were extremely helpful and a must-read. After sludging through the team outlooks about where teams expect their starters to be by opening day, I took a look at Derek Carty’s The Bat to try and find some values. The reason I used The Bat is that the projection system takes into account the team schedule, which, in a shortened season means a lot. The pitchers on this list have a pretty decent ADP range, but grabbing pitchers that aren’t going to throw limited pitches in their first couple of starts should give you a head start against the competition.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Once upon a time in March, while ramping up to the previous start to the regular season, I put out this article on late-round hitters to target for specific categories. While some of it still applies to our shortened season, *cough* Adam Eaton *cough*, there are some players who have emerged as contenders. Next week, I’ll attempt to wade through the sh!t-show that is pitching categories. As more and more news emerges that indicates most starters will be throwing about 60 pitches per start to start the year, things will certainly be hairy. Let’s get to the hitters!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Awwwwwww yeah!! Baseball is on like Donkey Kong! Real talk, I was really pessimistic once we got through May with no plan in place. But here we are, with baseball on the horizon. It’s a summer miracle. Back in the day, before all this nonsense started up, I was focused on winning your head-to-head categories leagues. I promise we’ll get back there, but first I want to discuss logical options of how to alter your head-to-head categories leagues to adjust to the shortened season. With the altered schedule, it looks like we’re going to have 10 weeks of regular season baseball. In most of my head-to-head leagues, the playoffs last between 4-6 weeks, which means we’d have 4-6 weeks for the regular season. That’s not enough weeks to face all of your opponents and certainly not enough time to establish fair records for playoff seeding. So, just like when I tried to fit into my 10-year old suit, alterations need to be made – major alterations. Let’s take a look at a couple of options to keep your head-to-head categories leagues both fun and competitive.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

By now, we were supposed to be talking about what was happening on the field. We were supposed to be over-reacting to this year’s Matt Davidson (3 HRs on Opening Day 2018), but alas, nothing is right in the world. In an effort to push on, we’ll continue to do draft research until the game we love returns to the field.

Since second base falls off into the abyss, we’ll take a look at the top four off the board – Jose Altuve, Ozzie Albies, Gleyber Torres, and Ketel Marte. We’ll go through the pros and cons of each with our focus being on H2H Categories leagues. After checking out my opinion, let’s keep the debate going in the comments section!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Over these next two weeks, we’ll be focusing on late-round category targets. This week we’ll touch on hitting categories and follow it up next week with pitching categories. While these will be geared towards the standard 5×5 categories, feel free to leave a comment if you have a more specialized category.

For this exercise, I limited my player pool to hitters projected to get at least 350 plate appearances (with a handful of exceptions). I tried to stick with players being drafted beyond pick 175, but in my mind, the later a player’s going, the better. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Last week in H2H Categories Strategy we discussed the merits of punting. This week, I want to talk about what I look for in hitters once we get past the early rounds – consistency. Since we play a game that resets every week, we want to roster players that will fluctuate less. Hot and cold streaks will happen even with the best players, but there are certain qualities we can look for in hitters that should minimize our risk.

Growing up, my dad was the coach of my little league team. He would tell us, get on base and good things will happen. While it seems really simplistic, I still follow my dad’s advice when I’m looking for consistent hitters – high contact rates and a low K-BB%. Basically, we’re looking for players with good plate skills. These might not be the sexiest names in the draft, but grabbing a handful of these players in the mid to late rounds will provide your team with an ample floor. Without further ado, let’s get to the list:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Head-to-head fantasy baseball encompasses some of my favorite parts of fantasy – rivalries, strategies, and ties. Okay, maybe not that last one, but overall, it’s my favorite format to play. Like in roto leagues, you’re focused on compiling stats in your scoring categories (homers, runs, steals, strikeouts, etc.), but your matchup resets each week and you’re on to the next opponent.

Punting is one of my favorite strategies in H2H Categories, mostly because it allows me to not pay a premium for saves or speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a) punting both or, b) fully punting either, but I do recommend a version of punting that I feel gives you an advantage over your opponents.

Here’s our disclaimer – This is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. You know your league and your in-season management ability. If you’re an owner who is excellent at scooping up new closers, then punting saves is a reasonable strategy to explore. These strategies are also not meant to be half-assed. If you’re leaving your draft knowing you need to find steals on the wire, take the time to find those steals. Now that you’ve been warned, enter the punting dungeon……if you dare.

 

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?