2020 Draft Kit

It’s not the culmination of my life’s work, but it is the culmination of the finding aces series. The premise of this series was to identify pitchers showing traits similar to breakout pitchers from the past and ultimately locate the players who will make that value jump in 2020. We’ve discussed 30+ pitchers in the series (links to all articles at the bottom) since the calendar turned and today, I’m providing my top four pitchers with ADPs outside of the top 120 with SP2 upside for the 2020 fantasy season. There were a few landmarks I was seeking out in my analysis of who can reach this peak aside from them having the data points from our series research:

  • Pitchers who will throw 160 innings – Only 3 pitchers who finished as an SP2 on the 2019 Razzball player rater threw less than this. They either came excruciatingly close to this figure (Jake Odorizzi -159) or won 60%+ of their games started which is highly unlikely to occur (Mike Clevinger and Domingo German).
  • Pitchers on average or better teams – The lowest win total among the 2019 SP2s was 11. Only a single SP2 finisher was on a team that won less than 75 games (Lucas Giolito). Pitchers on bad teams struggle to hit this landmark.
  • Pitchers who will strike out 160+ batters – Only one pitcher completed an SP2 season in 2019 without crossing this threshold (Mike Soroka).
  • Pitchers with a WHIP under 1.24 – More baserunners lead to more runs against. Only one 2019 SP2 had a WHIP over this threshold and his success was largely wins driven (Eduardo Rodriguez).

Here are the final four pitchers that I believe can be aces in 2020:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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The fantasy baseball season has officially kicked off and we have real, live draft data to sift through.  Numbers nerds, assemble! We have spreadsheets, charts and ADP, oh my! It was a busy first week here at Razzball Commenter Leagues HQ but I’ve gone through each league that has drafted and added their drafts to a master spreadsheet in order to calculate RCL ADP.  We’ve had fourteen leagues draft already, so there’s plenty of numbers to look at. We’ve had some close calls, but all leagues have filled so far and we’d love to keep it that way. We don’t want to axe any leagues, so if you notice your league is not full the day before the draft, hit us up on Twitter: @Razzball or @MattTruss and let us know.  You can also leave a comment in Grey’s most recent post and/or invite a friend to join. I know, sacrilege to tell your fantasy baseball friends you read Razzball, but sharing is caring. Speaking of sharing, jump below and I’ll share with you a fancy RCL ADP spreadsheet for your perusing pleasure.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Rudy Gamble stops by the Goin’ Deep podcast to talk about the multitude of drafts going on. Of course, B_Don and Donkey Teeth have to ask Rudy about his RazzSlam draft and his general strategy.

The guys then get Rudy to explain his projections down from the initial ratios to how the player rater works. They also ask about Rudy’s tools from the draft war room to the in season management tools that are just as key to Rudy’s success as the draft tools and projections.

Then, it’s time to discuss Rudy’s mixed LABR draft.  He explains how he approaches his draft for different leagues and the adjustments he makes year to year. Donkey Teeth questions a couple of draft picks in Chris Sale and Cavan Biggio before we jump into Rudy’s team and where his strengths and weaknesses may be.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

My prior, uber, hard-line stance has been that you with that one hair wrapped around your head acting as a hairstyle don’t want to draft a sleeper 1st baseman. By the by, I tried to replace Uber with Lyft in the previous sentence, but it didn’t make sense. My wokeness has failed. Previously, I’d tell you to go to my top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball (not clickbait at all) and draft some top guys and stop fooling around with sleepers at this position. Of course, I’m malleable like Gumby and this year there are no top 1st basemen *ducks head*.  Whoa, someone threw a wrench into this! Fine, Pete Alonso and Matt Olson get nethers ablaze, but 1st basemen dry up quick. As with other positions like the catchers to target (again, not clickbait), these are 1st basemen that are being drafted late. For the 1st basemen, I’m going with an ADP of 150 or later, so you should have a 1st baseman already, and these are more corner infidels or utility guys. Anyway, here’s some 1st basemen to target for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Josh James was a lad,

That K’d many a man,

He was robbed of a starter’s gig last year,

The Astros stole signs since ’17,

So Hinch was soon fired,

Dusty then hired, and the Toothpick says he’s near…

That’s just the intro, but it’s a special song near and dear to my heart. So with A.J. Hinch gone from Houston, Dusty Baker rides into town. There’s 2 things we know about Dusty Baker’s managerial style. 1) Young position players often become waterboys for extended periods of time, and 2) he is not afraid to give young pitches a long leash and give them enough rope to hang themselves or succeed. Hold that thought. Losses to the Astros rotation: Gerrit Cole signed a $324 million contract to makeover his closet so he can pitch in pinstripes this year, and Aaron Sanchez went down with a shoulder injury and then subsequently not tendered a contract in offseason (those jerks!). The rotation left behind is now Verlander, Greinke, McCullers, Urquidy… with a 3-man spring battle for the 5th spot. The competition: Josh James, Framber Valdez, and Austin Pruitt. We have ourselves a Mexican (racist?) standoff. Central American standoff? Astro standoff? Astroff?

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Welcome to the 2020 Razzball Team Previews! (Our “2020” comes with more Jay and less Barbara Walters!) (That joke is probably older than you!) Sorry for all the parentheses and exclamation points, I just get so excited when I think about Barbara Walters, and don’t even get me started on Hugh Downs… Regardless, here, you’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season, Razz-style. So while you’re stretching your lats and relearning calculus to get that upper hand on your fantasy peers, why not also check out what the Los Angeles Traders have in store for you and your fantasy team?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

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 we dreamed of a Royals club captained by Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye. 

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?
 

Bernie Brewer is dancing in the streets. Christian Yelich recently signed a nine year $215 Million contract to stay with the Brewers. Yelich went above and beyond, even agreeing to some significant deferrals to make the deal happen. Yelich loves Milwaukee, Milwaukee loves Yelich, all is right in Brewerville. A big part of the outfield is set. But that doesn’t mean there’s not some good old competition on the Brewer’s infield to sift through as spring training games have begun in earnest. In particular, the shortstop position is in flux. Who can fantasy players depend on, much less Craig Counsell?

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Oh, the Dirty South! After breaking down some lackluster NL West teams in my first three previews, we finally get a legitimate contender in the Braves. After posting an impressive 97-win season last year, this club looks fully ready to rock-and-roll again behind Ronald Acuna Jr. This dude has established himself as one of the best players in the Majors and it’s scary just how good this order looks with him up top. The one thing they need to clean up is their mascot game though.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

You’ve heard of guys who are post-hype sleepers. Guys who were top prospects at one point but for one even or another faded out of relevancy. Whether it’s a move to a bullpen, an injury, poor performance upon their debut, or a combination of any of the three, these guys have lost the momentum that they had as prospects, but those who believe in them will call them sleepers. Post-hype sleepers are a dime a dozen. Most people can spot them, because all it takes is patience in a young player with potential, which most of us have. Waiting out a guy like Willie Calhoun, Michael Kopech, or Julio Urias may be frustrating, but it isn’t all that difficult. What I’m looking for here is post-post-hype sleepers; guys who are so far removed from the hype that you may not even remember that they’re still playing in the majors. In 2019, two of my favorite post-post-hype breakout picks were Hunter Dozier and Frankie Montas, both of which I was on very early in the season. Identifying breakouts like this can be the difference between winning your league and coming in 4th, so I want to help all of you identify these guys too before it’s too late. Late pitching especially can make a massive difference. For the first installment of this series, I’m going to be talking about a guy who was one of my favorite pitching prospects a few years ago: Daniel Norris.

Please, blog, may I have some more?