2020 Draft Kit

This baseball season is going to be a bunch of fast rappers who somehow con people into thinking they’re impressive because they rap in double-time. Who will be an Overnight Celebrity? Could Anthony Santander be Twista? Spit some bars, Santander! *Santander scream-raps a bunch of gibberish, but because it’s fast it doesn’t sound awful* Yo, Anthony Santander in 162 games your bars were weak, but in a three-month season with 598 syllables in 55 seconds…Well, you kinda nasty, and nasty is good. After my Starlin Castro fantasy yesterday, can you see a theme? Wearing sweatpants every day isn’t a theme, that’s a lifestyle. Okay, there’s not one theme exactly, but Starlin Castro and Anthony Santander do share one similarity — they both are currently penciled in as a three-hole hitter. Something I’ve said before but not sure it’s got through your seven layers of brain crust to the inner core:  If you only draft three-hole hitters, you can only go so wrong. They will get the most runs and RBIs on average, and, well, batting average will likely be okay, because there’s a reason they’re batting third. That reason? They’re likely not automatic outs. So, what can we expect from Anthony Santander for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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?
 

Manager Dave Martinez indicated Wednesday that Starlin Castro is the most likely candidate to open the season as the Nationals’ No. 3 hitter, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reported on March 11th, 2020, which was approximately two and half years ago. You remember March of 2020, it lasted 365 days and was followed by a year of April and we’re now about halfway through a year of May, and I believe May is a leap year. So, roughly 800 days ago, Starlin Castro was penciled in as the Nats’ three-hole hitter, and that alone was reason to give him a closer look. David Wright in 2013 was the last three-hole hitter that wasn’t worth owning for counting stats (that I remember, and my memory is all over the map; I’ll remember thinking in the 6th grade The Peanut Butter Solution was someone with peanut butter in their underwear, so I tried to do a “Peanut Butter solution” rather than go to the bathroom, but I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday). For whatever reason, David Wright’s three-hole year in 2013 has stuck with me and he should’ve stuck it in his two-hole with a Peanut Butter Solution it was such crap. Wright’s 2013 runs and RBIs respectively were 63 and 58 (was in only 112 games, but still). Another crazy stat from that egregious lineup was Eric Young Jr. had 68 runs with a .254 average and 43 steals (so moving into scoring position and still no runs) and that was in 508 ABs! HA! What in the actual eff. Some of those leadoff at-bats came for the Rockies in Coors too, because he was traded to the Mets after 57 games. How is that line by Eric Young Jr. even possible? Mathematically, that Eric Young Jr. is the craziest line in the history of baseball, please prove me wrong, so I can stop thinking about it. Seriously, how does one steal 43 bags and only score 68 times! He also had 7 triples and two homers! Okay, moving on. So, what can we expect from Starlin Castro in 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Hello, again. Hope all you Razzballers enjoyed my takes on how some bats in the West might be impacted by the DH. This time around I’ll take you through each team in the Central. Remember, folks, I’m not here to guess who will DH necessarily. I’m looking at the overall boost a player might get because of the likelihood of an extra hitter in the lineup being a thing. Think more along the lines of guys who would have platooned or had questionable status entering the season.

Welp, let’s jump right in, shall we?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I wanna flap my gums about Monte Harrison all day, e’eryday. To me, he screams a guy who is much better for fantasy than he is in real life. I love those guys. Not coincidentally, I hate guys who are great in real life but terrible in fantasy. That’s nearly every catcher, which doesn’t help them. I’ve hated Buster Posey for nearly a decade thanks to the love he garners in real life. It’s so hard for me to not be contrarian that I almost immediately begin to dislike a guy when others start liking them. On the X-axis is my love and on the Y-axis is everyone’s love, and you can see when they overlap for just about everyone. Last year, around April, Gerrit Cole crossed streams. The top hitters run pretty much parallel along the Y-axis with my love and everyone else’s. Okay, legit way off course here, and veering back to Monte Harrison. These dart throws won’t exactly line up to their projections in my 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. Some of them aren’t even in my rankings; Monte is. He’s in the top 100 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball (barely), and he’s number 60 on Prospect Itch’s top 200 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball. With these darts, I’m aiming for the ceiling. (Good for fantasy baseball, not great for actual darts.) If you want this in more plain English, I like these guys more than my rankings might show as last round sleepers in any league. Also, if we hear soon that baseball is returning for only 82 games vs. 100 games (as it is in my projections and rankings), I will make the necessary adjustments. My ear is to the ground, and baseball sounds like it’s getting close. What’s that, the ground has The Rona? How do I clean my ear now?! So, about Monte Harrison for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

In part one of this little mini series, we looked at all of the catchers and corner infielders that I’ll be relying on once the 2020 season gets underway. As much as I enjoy talking about Yadier Molina and Jose Abreu, those guys aren’t exactly dripping with excitement. They’re high floor foundation pieces who are useful fantasy assets, but aren’t the types of players who will carry a team to a fantasy championship. It’s like going to your local burger joint and ordering a plain cheeseburger – it’s not likely to disappoint, but it won’t be a particularly memorable meal either. Middle infielders and outfielders are the bacon, caramelized onions, and special sauce that can be added to that plain burger to make it exceptional. Sometimes, experimenting with exotic ingredients like spicy peppers can lead to indigestion, but it can also lead to a special, unique experience. And there’s plenty of spice to go around in these groups.

All of these ingredients are represented at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield. Power, speed, average, and counting stats – they can all be found in abundance here. The key is to determine who to target and when to target them. Today, I’ll be sharing the middle infielders that I targeted and ended up drafting across my five NFBC leagues for the 2020 season. I originally intended to cover outfielders as well, but since Magoobot’s self-editing mechanism malfunctioned years ago, there’s only room for the guys up the middle today. There’ll be a whole post dedicated to outfielders in part three.

Just like last week, I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up drafting. Both the 12 team NFBC Online Championship and 15 team NFBC Draft Champions formats require that you start 1 2B, 1 SS, and 1 MI at all times, so that’s something to keep in mind during this exercise. As a quick refresher, each player will be placed into one of the following four categories:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Ben Wagner (@benwag247), voice of the Toronto Blue Jay’s, joins the show to breakdown this young Blue Jay’s roster. We look into the signing of Hyun-Jin Ryu and why they did it. We talk about some of our favorite young players in the organization like Bo Bichette and company. Can Teoscar Hernandez develop into a Khris Davis type player with immense power? The starting rotation has a veteran presence that can help guide Nate Pearson in the big leagues with Tanner Roark and Ryu. We also take a deep dive into their farm system and Ben gives you a couple of guys that he thinks can make a big league impact in the near future.
Sean Reid Foley breakdown: 45 Min
Draft change discussion: 50 Min
J.A Happ memories: 1 HR

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?
 

With the world continuing to be in dumpster fire mode, I figured I’d write about things that I love. No, not my kids (although this week we learned to ride a bike without training wheels, flew a kite, lost a tooth, and watched The Sandlot for the first time – pretty epic week), but two players that I’ve fallen hard (phrasing) for – Marcell Ozuna and Nick Castellanos. Both players have similar ADPs, with Castellanos being at 83.4 and Ozuna landing at 88.6 (average ADPs from ESPN, NFBC, Yahoo, and CBS). Both players also have new homes that feature good lineups in hitters parks and the sum of the parts has my pants feeling a little tight….oh wait, that’s just the quarantine-15 that I’ve put on. Let’s dive into both players and see if we can find a clear winner.

Please, blog, may I have some more?