It all began on March 19. Of this year, that is. Not March 19, 1918, when Congress passed the first-ever law establishing daylight savings time. Fast-forward 102 years and we’re still acting like everyone’s a farmer. Nor are we talking about March 19, 1953, when the Academy Awards were televised for the first time. The Greatest Show on Earth was named best picture that year. On the same date in 1966, Texas Western won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship — the inspiration for the film Glory Road.

But on March 19, 2020 — I made my Razzball debut and began analyzing the best college prospects to pursue in fantasy baseball, beginning with the Top 10 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues. From there, that list expanded to a top 25 and then a top 100, at which point we began looking into which underclassmen might also be relevant to dynasty leaguers.

In this Complete College Top 100, I not only included prospects from the 2021 and 2022 draft classes, but also reworked my previous top 100 list to illustrate some changes in opinion I have mulled through leading up to the 2020 MLB Draft. The most notable moves occurred within the top 11, as I reshuffled much of what I refer to as “The Magnificent Seven” and also gave Heston Kjerstad a bit of a boost after getting some new intel on how MLB teams are evaluating the Razorback slugger.

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.

In Sunday’s introduction to the top 50 relief pitchers for 2021 dynasty baseball, I explored how Rolaids may have played a role in early analytics by assigning point values to relief pitching events in their quest to annually reward each league’s best pitcher in the 1970’s. 

During these years, Rolaids commercials claimed that their company name spelled relief. Now I know it was just a bit for a commercial, and I appreciate Rolaids bringing shine to an oft-shadowed position (especially to that point in baseball history), but I don’t appreciate—as an English instructor and father of an almost two-year-old human—that a company can build its core marketing strategy around obfuscating the spelling of words. Morphemes matter, y’all. Mastering the English language is heartburn-inducing enough without Rolaids playing fast and loose with phonics.

This reminds me of major league managers playing fast and loose with bullpens while the rest of us scramble to figure out how that team is going to spell relief for the next few weeks. 

But scramble we must, and relish the hustle I do, so let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I take a lot of antacids.

Rolaids created an award (not for me)–a gold-plated firefighter’s helmet–to honor baseball’s best relief pitcher every year from 1976 to 2012. The history behind this fascinates me. Feels like some seeds of analytics were born in the bowels of Rolaids’ 1970’s corporate office.

Relief pitching events were each given a point value. Three points per save. Two points per win. Two points per loss. The biggest end-of-season number won, period. 

Blown saves (-2) were introduced in 1987.

Tough saves (+4) came along in 2000. Surprises me that I’ve never seen this as an option by fantasy providers, especially in points leagues or daily games. An antacid company was using it 20 years ago ffs. Refers to any time a reliever enters the game with a tying run on base and secures a save. 

Relievers might be my favorite thing about fantasy baseball, for reasons I can’t explain except to say I love games that resist attempts to shrink/minimize/categorize/rubricate them. The more multi-layered the better. And saves bring that to fantasy baseball. (As do stolen bases.) I also love Holds leagues because they throw the math off a nudge further and open another market of elite players who just happen to pitch the not-ninth. 

Ranking RP’s is kind of a paradox. It might be the least accurate yet most useful of any positional ranking, especially for dynasty leagues.

So that’s the caveat. 

These rankings are for standard 5×5 leagues, btw. Would look totally different in a holds league.

Relief pitching is a strength for me in fantasy, year over year. I tend to trade from it and trade for it on a regular basis, sometimes within the same week. Still, I’m a little leery to put fingers to keys on this one. The yearly upheaval at this position is like no other, so I’m not surprised there’s very little on the market right now covering relief pitching in dynasty leagues. 

The very thought of the task has my hand reaching for the (insert highest-bidding antacid company here).

Kidding. I love this stuff. My full geek breathes fire when researching the K-BB % leaders across all leagues, digging into their game logs, skipping to their innings, even watching/reading an interview here and there.  

Let’s get to the list.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Exactly three weeks from now, the 2020 MLB Draft will be on its second and final day of selections and nearly all of the players in my Top 25 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues should be off the board. Commissioner Rob Manfred will be found reading off the names of draftees in his personal man cave located in the basement, as he slowly digests a large glass jar of cracker jacks for all to see. During the two-day event, he may even sit down on his leather recliner and announce a few picks while glugging down some Basil Hayden’s bourbon in between sets in a mild attempt to understand why he ever took his job in the first place.

As the draft winds to a close, fantasy owners will finally know which farm systems the players they’ve been targeting, or have already bought stock in, will be developing in. If said player is picked by the Miami Marlins, you get excited because you know they’ll be a star in the NL Central within the next four years. If they’re drafted by a New York team, you’ll be filled with mixed emotions, knowing it will be a miracle if that prospect’s arms and legs don’t mysteriously all fall off by year’s end. Let’s face it, even if that actually happened, the Yankees’ training staff still wouldn’t be able to properly diagnose it.

But in all seriousness, draft day will be a glorious day, as we so desperately need something, anything, Baseball. As you consume the 2020 MLB Draft next month, intently take in new information brought about by national coverage, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Know which players you like and are targeting regardless of class, and don’t put stock in a player out of raw emotion or recency bias. Just look at all the first round picks from the last five-to-ten years that still aren’t Major League contributors: you don’t want the “have-now” prospects, you want the right prospects – and if that means buying on a player in the 2021 or 2022 classes as opposed to this one – so be it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

On Sunday, I imagined a hypothetical post-rona bar scene being akin to the deep pitching pool in dynasty baseball.

Today I’ll let you know whose drinks I’m buying if I’ve got the budget (and the roster space). 

I’m going to focus first and most on the 150-200 range because that’s the origin of this article–a comment and question by Harley Earl regarding which arms among the group I’m buying. To which my brain responded: Farts! I should’ve been doing that for every position!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

You see a girl across the bar.

She’s gorgeous.

An angel.

Maybe.

It’s dark.

Tough to see real well.

But one thing you can say for sure is there’s a human sitting across the bar in this post-rona scenario. 

You’re eager to move a little closer, maybe buy a couple drinks. And who knows? Might be the start of something long term. 

You can feel the competition looming. Lotta hungry eyes in the house. Can’t sit around much longer. Have to move in before you’re certain.  

What I’ve just described is the free agent pitching pool in most dynasty leagues. It’s also the general pitching landscape between spots 150 and 200–this week’s focus point. The situation can seem dire most nights, but people get picked up all the time, and some turn out to be great finds. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Over the past two months, I have immersed myself in the college baseball ranks and provided in-depth analysis in regard to which players to target in dynasty formats. As it relates to the priorities of my life, I refer to this project as the “Immersion Diversion,” in which I neglect all other areas of my life for researching college prospects. This began with my top 10 college prospects, which then grew into a top 25 before culminating into my top 100 overall. Then, I was slammed with arguably the largest hazing scandal Razzball has ever seen, as some questioned in the comments why I failed to address the underclassmen in these lists. Was it solely due to an underlying hatred for the newcomers? 

At the time, my response was two-fold: 1) the upperclassmen have added value due to the fact they will be attainable via first-year player drafts next off-season and 2) only those eligible for the 2020 MLB Draft come with complete and updated scouting grades. Not only do these scouting tools help us predict future MLB production, but they shed light on where players will be drafted, and where specifically a player is drafted goes a long way in determining said player’s perceived value in deeper formats. What I’m saying is that no first-year player fantasy drafts have 10th round talents being selected. At least they shouldn’t. Draft position influences hype, which influences who you and your league-mates target post-draft and beyond.

Still, this posed an intriguing dilemma. What about open world leagues, where everyone in the college circuit is readily available at present? In those cases, would I recommend Asa Lacy (2020 class) or Kumar Rocker (’21)? Would I advise anyone to pass on LSU’s Daniel Cabrera (’20) for Colton Cowser (’21) of Sam Houston State? Over the next several weeks, I will begin revealing college underclassmen not yet eligible for the MLB Draft who I recommend deep-leaguers begin targeting NOW, beginning with five names this week to put on your radar.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

My first foray into dynasty baseball gifted me that infinite wild west feeling that really gets my geek out of bed in the morning. 

“Wait, we get to keep everybody!?”

That’s me thinking 50 keepers = party time. 

While the hitting side of this new infinity was coming into the focus, the pitching side was ducking away from the camera. If you’ve seen DEVS (or read a ton of quantum theory like the rest of us), there’s reference potential in here about how observing a particle makes is singular, while they remain multiple in their unobserved state.

Any revelation about how to forever handle fantasy pitching seems to fit this description.

It’s too simplistic to fade all the old guys in general but especially on the mound. Similarly fraught to dismiss all pitching prospects. These blanket strategies can work to some extent, but they can also lead to inflation for youngish middle tier arms like Jose Berrios and Noah Syndergaard. Arms like these seem to have long runs of usefulness ahead of them, so they’re certainly nice to have, but they’re unlikely to put you over the top in a given year, while older arms can do just that.

This winter I saw Wander Franco traded for Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer.

Typical 15-team, 50-keeper league. Both players know their stuff. 

Which side you’d want might depend on your spot in a competitive cycle or just a general feeling about how you’d like to play dynasty baseball. 

You could squint and see a world in which you replicate via streaming the impact of a Syndergaard or Berrios, but it feels impossible to replicate a Scherzer or Kershaw off the free agent wire. You might pick up a Montas or a Max Fried, but the hyper-elite WHIP guys are the rarest of birds, which is why it feels wrong to see Ryan Yarbrough down here in the hundreds. Part of that is pitching being weird and deep. Part of it is me fearing what’s coming to pitch in Tampa and Yarbrough’s fate should they trade him. Part is me maybe needing to move Yarbrough up a little. 

Let’s get to the list. Drop me a line if you’re seeing an angle I’m not. This project remains under construction. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

“Crisco, Bardol, Vagisil: any one of em will give you another two to three inches drop off your curveball.”

This immortal moment comes courtesy of Eddie Harris in the transcendent classic, Major League

In this exchange with young fireballer Rick Vaughn, Harris articulates the typical path for a pitcher. 

“Haven’t got an arm like yours. Gotta put anything on it I can find.” 

Wily oldsters pick up tricks like Robert Kraft to help themselves keep up in a young man’s game, and they seem to be keeping (and/or setting) the pace better than ever. Blending the fire of youth with the wisdom of experience is no small task, but we’ll try to do just that here today, synthesizing short and long term value to build rankings prescient enough to help any dynasty leaguer build his own double three-peat.

So throw me a line if you’re seeing an angle I’m not. This project is on-going and stretches all the way back to early March when I met some oldster moving plutonium out of the trunk of his DeLorian.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

What a great week. Any time I have a legitimate excuse to binge watch Star Wars one day and bloat myself with an excess of Mexican food and homemade margarita slushies the next, it’s a good week. Making matters even better, I was able to catch some quality KBO action on TV, something that revealed that my thirst for baseball can be temporarily quenched by just about any bat-to-ball action – other than that time I was on a cave tour in Pennsylvania and a big brown bat flew into my crotch.

Although I know not every Razzball reader and writer is a die-hard Star Wars fan such as myself, this got me thinking: how can I incorporate these two loves of baseball and late 1970s-early 1980s science fiction? Since there are only three truly great Star Wars films, I had the idea to split my prospect writing into three categories: 1) A New Hope (breakdown of the six top-100 prospects in the Marlins farm system), 2) The Empire Strikes Back (analysis of Yankees right-handers Clark Schmidt and Deivi Garcia) and 3) Return of the Jedi (what to expect from Brent Honeywell’s long-awaited comeback).

As I began this project, it didn’t take long before I completely lost track of time down in a Honeywellian rabbit hole. What I mean by this, is that I was trudging along, minding my own business with my eyes glued to 2017 Honeywell tape on my iPhone, when I literally fell into a hole in the ground and had no choice but to research Honeywell’s outlook for the next three-to-four hours while I called for help. And that is how this piece went from one of my typical, wide-ranging prospect breakdowns to one focused on a singular arm: Brent Honeywell, the young Jedi Knight, the man who can do things on the hill that no one else can, but has long been struggling with his own inner battle of health and spiritual clarity. In this piece, I will not only break down Honeywell as a prospect, but speculate on his return to the mound, reasons behind his recent arm injuries and what level of health (or lack thereof) we might be able to predict moving forward.

Please, blog, may I have some more?