2020 Draft Kit

One of my favorite traditions as a young fan was Peter Gammons profiling each team’s spring training focus points. 

I loved the spittle and shake of his voice, the depth of his details, and especially how he always shot the segments in front of people playing catch, gloves popping symphonically as Gammons predicted an MVP future for Yankees youngster Ricky Ledee. 

It’s in that spirit that I begin our next prospect series—one that works in concert with Razzball’s Gammonsian team previews and one that involves a few nods to some non-prospects. Graduating from eligibility requirements doesn’t mean you’re a known quantity, nor that you’ve graduated to an everyday opportunity. Yesterday’s failed prospects are often tomorrow’s sleepers, so let’s take a lap around the division looking for some fantasy profit. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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The main difference between standard fantasy leagues and deep leagues is, of course, the depth of the player pool and the talent an owner has available to choose from when constructing a roster.  Trying to decide how to let player pool depth affect draft strategy is where things get challenging, and I find that especially true when it comes to starting pitching.  While I, like most of the Razzball community, prefer to eschew top-tier starters in mixed leagues, it can become both more tempting — and in some cases more necessary as far as I’m concerned — to roster a top-ranked starting pitcher in NL or AL-only leagues because that nice big pool of mid-range starters whom you can count on just doesn’t exist.  But whether you decide to splurge on a Cole or a deGrom in a deep league, or choose to try to build a stable of starters without one of the top studs, one thing remains the same:  at the end of any deep-league draft or auction, you’ll want a handful of SP names that you can take fliers on to fill out your rotation or plant on your bench.  Today we’ll take a look a some pitchers that I’d consider throwing a late dart at:  for now, these are all ‘bird in the hand’ guys that theoretically are expected to open the season in their respective MLB rotations, rather than players that might have more upside but may have to wait a bit longer for a full-fledged starting gig.  All of the following players have current NFBC ADPs outside the top 350 players drafted — so as long as you’re not counting on them to do any heavy lifting on your squad, they’re low ultra risk, and any reward you get is almost like free production.

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

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We already gave you the top 50, so here’s the rest… of the top 100 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball. How’s that for a little SEO action? I’m a sad individual, I know. Well regardless, Grey Albright runs through his top 100 outfielders from 51-100, and gives you all the deets on who from this group is draftable, who’s too old, and who just stinks and is overrated. It’s Grey! You know you’re getting unfiltered opinions and truth bombs. Sorry guys but this is latest episode of the Razzball Baseball Podcast!

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Been saying for the last four months it’s crazy anyone would draft Chris Sale this year. Or maybe it was just so brazen, like a guy wearing no helmet on a motorcycle in the rain. You got cantaloupes in your pants, you absolute loon! It was like somehow everyone forgot the narrative all of last year was he lost his velocity and his elbow was bothering him. Like a coconut hit their head and they woke up thinking they were Ginger from Gilligan’s Island and that Sale would stay healthy. Alas, you fruit loops, he will start the year on the IL as he heads for an MRI on his elbow. Next stop will be a lost season for him. The people drafting Sale early on, even with a discount, well, I’ve never seen people convince themselves of nonsense like I see in fantasy sports. “He’ll be fine! It was just the flu! His elbow is feeling great! Great, I tell you!” Use some common sense! You kinda deserve to lose if you drafted Sale in any leagues. Everyone saying things like, “Oh, you’re a doctor now, I guess. You saw this coming, I imagine.” Don’t guess, Goofy McGoofstein! I was pre-med for two months of my freshman year in college! Also, it doesn’t take a doctor to know if a guy missed time due to an arm injury last year, showed up to camp after refusing surgery on his arm, you should avoid him. If only I could’ve placed a bet on whether or not anyone drafting Sale in the first few weeks of drafts would regret it. Damn, I would’ve been a billionaire (assuming I could bet a billionaire dollars and had even odds, but I technically would’ve only made that bet if I were a billionaire already). While singing Happy Birthday twice, I’ve washed my hands of Chris Sale. He’s temporarily ranked in the top 40 starters, but I wouldn’t draft him anywhere (as I wouldn’t have before this), and the next step I imagine will be crossing him out of the top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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I’m attempting something new with this year’s top 100 keepers article. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but never had the time or brainpower to figure out. I want to try to objectively (impossible) rank each player on how many projected categories they provide for your team. 

I broke each standard 5×5 category down into five statistical outcome ranges. Take runs for example.

 

Points 0 .25 .5 .75 1
Runs Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
HRs Under 16 17-23 24-30 31-37 Over 38
RBI Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
SBs Under 8 9-13 14-18 19-23 Over 23
AVG Under .254 .255-.269 .270-.284 .285-.299 Over .300
W Under 7 8-10 11-13 14-16 Over 17
K Under 159 160-184 185-209 210-234 Over 235
ERA Over 4.45 3.96 – 4.44 3.46-3.95 2.96-3.45 Under 2.95
WHIP Over 1.33 1.24-1.32 1.15-1.23 1.06-1.14 Under 1.05
SV Under 11 12-17 18-23 24-30 Over 30

 

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I fulfilled my quota for young, exciting players when I wrote about Keston Hiura last week. Now back to our regularly scheduled program of boring, undervalued players. I liken it to walking into a Baskin Robbins. Ooooohh, 31 flavors. There’s mint chocolate chip, rainbow sherbert, jamoca almond fudge, and cotton candy with their fancy names, colorful skin, and sweet taste. The scooper behind the counter has to dig his/her arm way down into the bucket to mine the deliciousness due to their popularity. But, but, but…..let’s not forget about the vanilla, very berry strawberry, and old fashioned butter pecan. They are boring compared to their more high-profiled brethren, but they get the job done. Which brings me to Jonathan Schoop of the Detroit Tigers. He doesn’t steal a lot of bases or hit for a high average, but he could club 25-30 home runs and is being drafted as the 321st player on average in NFBC drafts from February 1, 2020 to March 2nd, 2020. Scoop Schoop?

 

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

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The RazzSlam fan lottery odds were slimmer than Grey Albright on his twenty day juice cleanse. Please eat some food already, Grey! Anyway, hundreds of fans signed up for the 54 precious spots to compete against 162 of the top fantasy baseball industry analysts in all the land. Those spots have been filled and the 18 inaugural RazzSlam drafts are now underway. But if you didn’t get lucky in the lottery, don’t fret, there’s still time to get lucky in your mom’s basement. The 2021 RazzSlam Qualifier is now open for business. Here’s everything you need to know about the qualifier (or you can just blindly sign up for FREE thru this RazzSlam Qualifier link):

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Hey, how’s everyone doing? Enjoying your preseason? That’s nice. Have you see Parasite? It was great–*intern whispers in my ear* Yeah, I will talk about DJ LeMahieu and why he’s overrated. It’s so obvious, though, I thought I’d take this opportunity to check in on people. You know, give the impression I care about other people. What’s that? They can read this? Ohhhh…So, DJ LeMahieu just had a better season than any dream an acne-faced, 12-year-old DJ LeMahieu ever imagined while he was launching imaginary home runs in the back of the Party City his family ran. His father, Noisemaker LeMahieu, speaks to a customer, “Do you need a DJ for your party?” DJ overhearing, “Dad, I don’t want to go to anymore parties.” Noisemaker turns to his wife, “Piñata, straighten your son out, or I will.” Piñata, “¡Dios mio!” Then DJ would run into the parking lot, crying. After he composed himself, he would mimic the crowd noise of Yankee Stadium, and imitated Bob Sheppard announcing him to the plate. Or so the 30-for-30 that I’ve imagined has told me, i.e., DJ LeMahieu’s wildest dreams <are less than or equal to> His 2019 season. For s’s and g’s, I’m going to tell you his last three seasons stats, two of which were in Coors:  95/8/64/.310/6; 90/15/62/.276/6; 109/26/102/.327/5. Yo, am I the only one cackling? Giancarlo didn’t miss all of last year; he peed in the same fountain as DJ LeMahieu and, magically, they inhabited each other’s bodies. So, what can we expect from DJ LeMahieu for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him overrated?

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With that said, I began with ATC projections, which amalgamate the best from other projection systems. I then altered the projections based on my own assumptions about playing time and the five traditional hitting categories. For instance, I accounted for barrel rate by using hitters’ 2019 predicted home runs–which are home run totals I derived based on barrel rate, among other inputs–and projecting out my own 2020 home run totals.

Finally, I performed my own mock 12 team draft to derive player values based on z-scores from my projections. You can read more about that process in my friend Alexander Chase’s excellent article. A z-score shows the relationship to the mean of a group of values, measured in terms of standard deviations—degrees of spread—from the mean. Where a z-score is 0, the value is equivalent to the mean in the sample. Where a z-score is 1.0, the value is one standard deviation greater than the mean.

Z-scores are useful because, in a vacuum, 15 HRs and 15 SBs are meaningless. They are only telling in relation to one another. For instance, if the mean for the sample of players’ SBs is 9 and the mean for their HRs is 25, then those 15 SBs are worth a lot more than those 15 HRs. Z-scores reflect those relative values.

And with my process out of the way, I won’t bury the lede any longer.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Razzball Commenter League drafts are off and running!  Don’t let the chance to play with your favorite writers and commenters in free leagues for an overall top prize pass you by!  We’ve only had a handful of drafts so far, but next week we’ll really be able to dive into early RCL ADP and over-analyze to our hearts content.  As for now though, go sign up for a league drafting in the next week or so and contribute to our data pool. It’s so easy to sign-up, it’s really just one click!  Use it as a mock draft that is actually useful. We will be drafting the Writer’s League this week and covering it in the coming weeks. Today, we’ll be going over how to approach your pitching in the RCL format, hopefully, to get you prepped for the first draft of the year.

Please, blog, may I have some more?