2020 Draft Kit

Holy crap shortstop is deep! You’re guaranteed to say this to yourself at least twice during this episode as we discuss the Top 20 Shortstops for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. From top to bottom few positions offer the type of excitement the six does. In fact, the top six players at this position are all covered in the Overall Top 20 for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. But that’s not all as we touch on nearly 40 players during this episode, it’s a jam packed shortstop-copia. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Our 2020 Razzball leagues are in signup mode. Robot in Signup Mode, “I am entering contest to win Razzball t-shirt even though I’ve never seen a robot wear a shirt. Starting….” The Robot begins to peter out, “…New…Fad.” Oh no, the Razzball Robot has died! *screaming to heavens* What hath you forsaken me?! Heavens, “Focus on the ESPN rankings, you moron.” Wow, the heavens do not take well to histrionics. So, this year’s ESPN rankings are a tad goofier than I remember them, but maybe I just got smarter — Smarterened? Smartered? Became the smarts? Meh, I don’t know. What I do know is ESPN has Tim Anderson ranked 143rd overall and that made me cackle like a hyena for so long a group of white-jacketed asylum workers showed up at my house and tried to cart me away. Me singing to the tune of Pharcyde, “Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…” Any hoo! I’m clutchin’ my pearls like a Barbara Bush hologram and about to take out some ‘perts! *slowly, menacingly sharpens index finger for more incisive typing* I’m about to cut up somebody with words! Now let’s open a window and defenestrate ESPN’s 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. To the tune of Major Tom, I call this Major Dumb:

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Murphy’s law states that, “If something can go wrong, it will.” Murphy’s Law of Expectations (made up by me) has a similar theme: Assumptions lead to outsized expectations, which translates to disappointment. Imagine if your significant other comes home one day and says, “Honey, I’m going to get a boob job or penis enhancement procedure done.” Well, alrighty then. You get all excited and start mental masturbating over gazoongas or I___________________________________________________________________I. But what if the procedure was to reduce the size, or there was a complication with the procedure? You’d be pissed because the outcome did not correlate to all the mental masturbating sessions. That is what happened with Daniel Murphy last draft season. Even though he was coming off knee surgery and missed half of the season, signing with the Colorado Rockies had owners all over the land mental masturbating over what he could do in the confines of Coors Field. There’s no debating that hitting in Coors Field boosts hitting, but the outsized expectations led his ADP to skyrocket from 160 overall up to as high as the 36th overall player. Murphy finished the year hitting .279 with 14 homers in 478 plate appearances. As a result, he’s being selected as the 245th player in NFBC drafts according to data from 1/1/20 to 2/10/20. Does Murphy’s Law of Expectations work the other way as well?

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It’s always dicey to put too much stock into average draft position when strategizing for a draft, particularly for players you are heavily targeting.  No owner wants to come up empty when four or five of his “must-haves” get snatched up a round or two sooner than expected, leaving said owner with a litter of panic picks and a team nothing like he’d envisioned.  On the other hand, paying no attention to ADP could lead to a series of reaches, which might result in a draft devoid of any true value picks, and a team without some solid built-in value is a team with a long season ahead.  In deeper leagues, these value picks are even more important.  The deeper the league, the shallower the free agent pool, so while your hits have an even bigger positive impact on your team, your misses might leave you with nowhere to turn in an attempt to plug holes on your roster.  Deeper leagues most definitely require near-perfect timing in a draft or auction, which makes assessing ADP — and when to use it versus when to ignore it — that much trickier.

Since I am obsessive enough about fantasy baseball that I now consider it more of a part-time job than a hobby, it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am currently — even though it’s only early February — finishing up my fourth slow draft of the season. So far, these are all 15-team mixed re-draft leagues, and while the format is different than some of my other leagues, the 15-teamers go deep enough that I am getting a good idea of players values that feel more “real” to me than just ADP numbers.  What I want to look at today is a handful of outfielders whom I had considered as potential targets going into my drafts but have not ended up drafting yet.  The reason?  They all have been going significantly ahead of their current NFBC ADP.  That ADP, of course, is still doing a great deal of fluctuating this early in the pre-season, and I think I’ve been too reliant on it when assessing where I hoped to draft some of my deep-league targets (the following players all currently have an NFBC ADP ranked well outside the top 200).  Going into my next draft(s), I feel like I’ll know that if I really want any of these guys, I may have to reach a little further than I’d originally planned to secure them (and that’s not even taking into consideration value jumps that may happen depending on who looks healthy and productive in spring training).

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The Fantasy Baseball War Room is back!  I’m not saying the Fantasy Baseball War Room is back, as in, is a butt.  So, if Sir Mix-A-Lot is reading, I’m truly sorry for the confusion.  Our Fantasy Baseball War Room is one part draft tool, one part fantasy team evaluator, one part fantasy junkie’s s’s and g’s tool, one part holy, two parts smokes, three parts… How many parts is that so far?  Cause it’s only really seven parts total.  I think there’s one part kill-your-day-with-this-war-room-thing-a-maboob-as-a-pinwheel-spins in there too.  Essentially, this helps you practice building a fantasy baseball team. Rudy also has a War Room that comes with Razzball subscriptions. His War Room is better and offsite, i.e., he’ll give you a link to download everything. I repeat, his War Room is better, but is not free. Ask anyone in the comments if Rudy’s War Room is better, they will say 100% it is better. This one is free, and janky at times. You’ve been warned, so you cannot complain.

If you’re unfamiliar with our Fantasy Baseball War Room, it’s a draft tool to help you track where you are at any moment in a draft. It shows you if you have too many steals, homers… Or if your ERA or WHIP are too low. Or too high. Or if your lamb is still rare or should be turned (results vary on lamb). If you’ve already drafted a team, go into the War Room, enter your team and it shows you exactly how stacked/dreadful the team is. If you want to practice mocking for your Razzball Commenter League, do that too.  (Fantrax waived $80 fees for us, so go join some Razzball Commenter Leagues!)  If you’re in the middle of a draft, you can filter which guys are left that have the most home runs according to my projections. Or the most steals, or the most runs or the most whatever (only applicable if “Whatever” is a category in your league). If you’re in a bind, go into a Warm Room and take a shvitz.  Ah…That’s better! There might be some bugs in our Fantasy Baseball War Room, just comment here and we’ll look into fixes. The default projections are mine from the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. Also, Rudy’s projections are now up! They can be found at my ranking page that I just linked to or here:  hitter projections and pitcher projections. There, you’ll see rankings for every conceivable league (OBP, OPS, Holds, etc).  Anyway, here’s the step by step instructions on how to use the Fantasy Baseball War Room:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

It is important to maintain the fundamental rules of society. One of those rules being, respect your elders. Last week, I introduced luck regression candidates with less than 400 career innings pitched, and piggybacking off of that premise we must also account for our Restored Vets. In order to identify Restored Veteran pitchers who suffered from poor luck in 2019 I performed the following:

  • Gathered all starting pitchers with over 50 innings pitched in 2019. Thanks, Fangraphs.
  • Removed pitchers with less than 400 career innings pitched to isolate for Restored Vets.
  • Sorted to find only pitchers whose ERA was 0.5 greater than one of FIP, xFIP, or SIERA.
  • Eliminated any pitchers who did not have a metric under 4.5.
  • Deleted any pitchers without a top 30 WAR season in the past 3 years.

The result? 9 pitchers. I’ve removed 4 of those for reasons noted at the bottom. The rest of the group is evaluated below:

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If you’re like me most days, you’re sitting in your car beneath an underpass and writing ALF fan fiction, but today we have a different type of fantasy for you to engage in. No, not your fantasy where it’s you and that girl from high school in a tub of Alphabet Soup and you write her a love letter on her back in noodles! This is a fantasy baseball fantasy!  Because you know what would be really cool? If you could join a fantasy baseball league that was against, like, 1000 other fantasy baseball teams.  But not a 1000-person league, where people are trying to figure out who the back-up third baseman is on the Single-A Astros affiliate, the Corpus Christi Amscrayers.  No, this is a 12-person league designed so you compete against eleven other people in your league, then 75 other leagues of twelve. That would be cool. Oh, wait, we’ve done that. It’s called the Razzball Commenter Leagues, and they’re back, and you don’t even have to be a commenter to join it!  For a limited time only, get your loved one a fantasy baseball league! That’s right, your hearts go pitter-patter or you’re dead on the inside (my condolences). Since back in June when you abandoned your fantasy baseball team because it was totally sucking and you returned to your cubbyhole of leftover Chinese food and Teddy Grahams, you’ve longed for this day. As Bob Marley sang, this is your redemption song, mon. Or womon, for our five girl readers. It’s time again to join some fantasy baseball leagues!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Mookie looking like we all looked at the news. All the news.

With the recent blockbuster trade between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins now null and void, what was supposed to be a week-long extravaganza of both real and fantasy analysis all around the interwebs has now turned into broken dreams (for Dodgers fans), confused relief (Twins fans), and a strange sense that all the middle fingers in all the universe raised all at once (MLB fans in the direction of Boston). But as one who goes left (max three times, or you know, it’s just the Daytona) when the world goes right, instead of talking about the trade, or if the Red Sox know what they’re doing or ever did, or about what a medical report reveals, I wanted to take a step back in time (twang it like Huey!) and highlight some of the most notable three-team trades that have taken place in the 21st-century (this one like Duck Dodgers!)…

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What’s up party people. Surprise, surprise. Angels made a move and it’s actually worth talking about. So, naturally, I’m shelving my planned article and calling an “Omaha” like Peyton Manning. On the heels of Mookiepalooza (that came at a steep, umm, Price), the Dodgers called their neighbor down the street to help them shed some cap space in order to stave off the luxury tax hammer, due to Mookie’s, hmmm don’t do it lofty Price tag. Angels are receiving: A) the final arbitration year of Joc Pederson (to buy time for Adell/Marsh to develop at AAA and platoon with Goodwin), who naturally became the odd man out at RF with Mookie moving in, B) Ross Stripling who I am now low key hyped for this year (more on that in a minute) and C) prospect Andy Pages, who just went off for .298/.398/.651 with 19 HRs 7 SBs in 63 games of 2019 Rookie Ball… and all for the low low price of Luis Rengifo and possibly prospect Gareth Morgan. That’s some mighty fine discount shopping.

***UPDATE*** I wrote this prior to the hilarity that is the Boston Red Sox and apparently their lack of medical research. Mr. Met is that you in there? *queue Curb Your Enthusiasm music* So Minnesota will/has pulled out of the deal. As of right now, the deal is up in the air. Everything I’m seeing is that it is likely to push ahead without Twins involvement, it’s just that the 2 sides will need to restructure the deal themselves which will thus involve a lot more bartering, or maybe they get the Angels more involved (I could even see the Angels giving more to get both Stripling and Maeda); Who knows? I believe it will happen eventually since the Dodgers seem to finally be aware they have 12 SP on the 25 man roster, so we’ll proceed ahead…

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In dynasty baseball, the June draft is must-watch television and the July 2 international signing day is fodder for a million clicks. 

Months later, typically in February or March, dynasty leaguers select their favorite college, high school and international players in annual first-year player drafts. I have attempted to consider and rank this year’s player pool for your reading pleasure. 

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