2020 Draft Kit

This week we were stood-up, forgotten, left for dead. They say never meet your heroes, and for Grey and I that will not be a problem. Where art thou Adam Richman, patron saint of hungry men! So, in other words no Adam Richman this week, but don’t be upset, turn that frown upside down kemosabe. Grey and I are back and we tackle the tough questions like “what frivolous purchase would you make with $10 million dollars at your disposal?” We follow that up with one of the more fascinating topics we’ve ever covered on the show. Grey Albright’s resume pre-Razzball, pre-FML, hell it’s even pre-Cougs! So strap in and expect to laugh, expect to be confused, and expect to be Albright’d. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Podcast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Franchy Cordero receives a value increase in a roundabout (not a rotary!) way due to the universal DH, because Wil Myers seems more likely to head to the DH spot now vs. sharing playing time with Franchy in right field. With Myers sharing DH duties (hehe, I said duties) with another red, white and blue flagger with no stars. Not Franchy, but parlez vous français…? How do you say in French, “What France hopes for in every World Cup tournament?” Ty France! That’s their GOOOOOOOOOAL! Sorry, when it comes to Ty France, I’m no Francophile. One thing Franchy Cordero and Ty France might have in common, besides being direct descendants of Robespierre, is they might be Quad-A players. You say Franchy, I say Ty France, let’s call the whole thing off like the French call off their military. But, if I’m being generous like the French with body odor, Ty France had no value prior to the universal DH, and now he’s at least worth a flyer for power — he had seven homers in 69 games (nice!), but hit .234 and we’re here to talk about Franchy, not France. Sorry, to misrepresent what I was baguette’ing at. Today, I’m donning a Franchy jersey, saying in my mirror, “I’m Franch dressing.” Don’t you relish me; that’s thousand island. So, what can we expect from Franchy Cordero for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I’ve been really struggling on a monthly basis to write these articles. It isn’t because my love of baseball, or sports is gone. It’s simply from waiting with anticipation for an entire month to get a confirmed framework for a season to provide true actionable information to you the reader, and then as the article deadline slowly approaches… once again… nothing. So I bite my lip and carry on into the great speculative arena of a potential MLB season as we are all doing. Ironically, the approach the MLB and the players association are taking to negotiating a 2020 season seems to be the root cause of this push the article, get nothing, write speculative article cycle. The two sides are going to take this negotiation down to the last minute and play deal or no deal. I don’t blame either side. It’s business, from both the owners and players perspectives, and there are A LOT of moving parts here. However, I do believe we are coming down to the wire and the MLB can ill afford to miss the natural bump they would receive in even a partial season in viewership. As this deadline is trickling down it seems that the framework for the season is becoming even more narrow. At this point, we haven’t heard any other speculation since the 3 division 10 team proposal approximately a month ago. In my mind, this must be the working plan for the 2020 MLB season going forward. In analyzing these divisions, considering the addition of the designated hitter for the NL teams I see some clear winners and losers:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Why did I choose to preview the Marlins? This team is terrible. The good news is that they appeared to hit rock-bottom last season and might see some improvement this year. They made some interesting signings to fill their lineup and have a talented, young pitching staff to work around. The shortened season is actually a perfect thing for an organization like this too because it speeds up their development period and it allows them to get free agents on the cheap next season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of their statistics from last season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Sadly, we talk a lot about baseball this Patreon podcast. I know, I know, I KNOW! I’m sorry. You don’t pay us the very, very small amount of sixteen cents per day to hear about baseball. You want dong talk! Well, you’re not getting much of it this week. Less schlong, more baseball, that’s what I always say after reading that line off a bathroom stall. To discuss baseball, we welcome our very own prospect writer, Prospect Itch. During our spirited chat, we wrestle with some questions like:  When will baseball return? What will it look like when it does return? And, perhaps most importantly, what will the fantasy baseball prospect rankings look like if — heaven forbid — there’s no baseball season?

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?
 

In the first two parts of this series, we covered the infielders that I’ll be relying on this fantasy season, starting with catchers and corner infielders in part one and looking at middle infielders in part two. While players like Francisco Lindor, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, and Tim Anderson provide a nice, stable foundation to build off of, you need more to field a top-notch offense in competitive formats. Safe, high floor players alone aren’t going to get the job done. It’s important to find some impact hitters that’ll make a real difference. That’s where the outfielders come into play. Not only does the outfield represent the largest player pool in fantasy baseball on the offensive side of things, but it is also the most demanding position in terms of starting lineup requirements (5 OF in both the online championship and draft champions NFBC formats). Outfielders are similar to middle infielders in that you can find anything you need here: power, speed, counting stats, and batting average. I’m looking for production in all of these categories, and since there are quite a few players to cover, let’s get started, shall we?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The prolonged delay to the 2020 MLB campaign is set to extend at least into June, and most likely July.  It’s given lots of players with injury concerns heading into draft season this year some extra time for recovery and even more preventative measures/surgeries that might have knocked their stock down a bit.  When things do pick up again, most every player will be ready to go and will be on a pretty even playing field going into the season injury free.

There are a couple of updates to share on guys who are on longer recovery paths as well as some things to keep in mind when looking forward to this season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I gave you a Wander Franco dart throw! Wheee! I slid a Alec Bohm dart throw in your DMs! Sexy! I alley-oop’d you a MacKenzie Gore dart throw — Horny time! — Monte Harrison — check! Tyler O’Neill? You best believe it! Kyle Lewis? Yum! Nate Pearson? *wearing a Canadian tuxedo* It was my pleasure. So, now the sexiest of the sexy, A.J. Pollock! Okay, he’s the most boring dart throw ever. He’s like the dart throw you make while reenacting a scene from Too Hot To Handle where you’re not touching anything. “Ooh, yeah, baby, how do you like that non-touching? You like that? You want more of nothing? Huh? You bad boy!” That’s me 70-something days into quarantine and slightly losing my mind. The great thing about Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, okay, really the only good thing, besides his ability to steal one base so the country gets a free taco, he’s able to get a lot of players at-bats. Somehow, Roberts has always managed to get part-timers at-bats even when they didn’t have a job. Case in point, Enrique Hernandez had 460 plate appearances last year and Chris Taylor had 414. That’s with Taylor only starting 91 games, and Hernandez starting at seven positions. Dave Roberts is the ultimate Dart Thrower, because he seems to label a bunch of darts with players’ names, then throw them at a lineup card. So what can we expect from A.J. Pollock for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

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?