2020 Draft Kit

This was written before all the craziness this week and nothing has changed. Despite the season being moved back, there’s still a ton of value in drafts. It just blows my mind how many good players there are outside of the Top-150. That’s where all of these guys lie and I truly believe that a couple of these players can be game-changers for your fantasy team. Without further ado, let’s get into some of my late-round values. 

If you have any comments or questions, comment me below or reach me on Twitter @Bartilottajoel 

Also, if you want to see some of my team previews, check out my profile here! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I hear the only way this Coronavirus goes down any smoother is with the Lyme Disease. Thank you, I will be here all day. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses. *waitress coughs on me, I tumble slowly out an open window*  WHAT…THE…WHAT…THE…WHAT…? Sadly, I’ve landed on my feet…and standing in a sea of mouth breathers! AHHHHHHH!!! Well, this sucks (unlike mouth breathers — yo, do you ever breathe, like, in?) and there’s no easy way to say it, but baseball is about to go MIA for a few. Guy in Miami, “Don’t send anyone here!” Not to MIA International Airport, they’re going missing in action. The healthcare professionals say–I’m totally kidding. I’m quoting healthcare professionals? WHO am I. No, I’m not the WHO. WHO is the World Health Organization. But WHO’s on third base? Ugh! This is garbage-awful news, but we must soldier on. Holy crap, Tom Hanks has it! AHHHHHH!!! No! No! No! No freaking out! We must pull up our big-boy pants, wash our hands while singing Happy Birthday twice, and get through this national crisis. I’m Grey and I approve this message. In my highly unprofessional opinion, baseball will return in some capacity by May 1st. In the meantime, I’ll still have posts every weekday, because, honestly, what else are we doing? I write every day during the offseason, nothing’s changed for me. Thinking about doing a series of posts about guys most likely to cough without covering their mouths. Is Matt Albers still in the league? He 100% never covered his mouth. I’ve updated the top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball with a few small adjustments, which I’ll get to in the post. And, to the Coronavirus, I say, “T. Hanks, but no thanks!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Yusei Kikuchi experienced the full gamut of emotions last year. He followed in the footsteps of Prince Akeem and came to America, where he had to learn a new language, culture, and game. His father passed away from cancer, while becoming a father for the first time himself. On the mound, he experienced glory by pitching a complete-game, two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts against the Toronto Blue Jays and struck out 10 Indians in seven innings back in May. On the flip side, he allowed 5 earned runs in a game three times, 6 earned runs four times, and 7 earned runs once. He did start 32 games, so there’s that, but the final line was 161.2 innings pitched, 5.46 ERA, 16.1% strikeout rate, and 6.9% walk rate. On average, he’s being drafted as the 434th overall player and 178th pitcher being selected in NFBC drafts from 2/1 to 3/11. Am I writing up Kikuchi as a peace offering to Donkey Teeth (noted Kikuchi lover) after hating on his other love, Luis Robert? Kind of, but for full disclosure, I’ve drafted Kikuchi everywhere. Here’s why:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Over these next two weeks, we’ll be focusing on late-round category targets. This week we’ll touch on hitting categories and follow it up next week with pitching categories. While these will be geared towards the standard 5×5 categories, feel free to leave a comment if you have a more specialized category.

For this exercise, I limited my player pool to hitters projected to get at least 350 plate appearances (with a handful of exceptions). I tried to stick with players being drafted beyond pick 175, but in my mind, the later a player’s going, the better. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

If you drafted any time between the end of the season and now, and you took a SP with one of your top two picks, there’s a good chance you’re playing injury optimism roulette right now.  Someone put Jacob DeGrom, and Walker Buehler under full bubble wrap treatment as they’re really the only ones unscathed from the top 20 picks or so at the moment in the pitcher camp. Even Gerrit Cole had a Coronavirus scare with a fever last month that’s since subsided.  Let’s do some quick hits on where everyone is at the moment.

Editorial Note from the Donkey: Of course everything will be turned upside down if and when the MLB makes a decision on a delayed start to the season. Some of these guys will end up being great buy low targets if you have to draft today. Stay tuned and please be safe out there!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Okay, so we recorded this show over the weekend prior to the big news about Justin Verlander. Hearken back to a more simple time where yours truly was 100% secure in his second round selection of Justin Verlander in the 2020 TGFBI. Grey, this episode’s unlikely voice of reason tries to impress into my thick skull that pitcher’s are the worst. As it turns out pitcher’s are in fact the worst, but I cannot quit them. Any the who, we roll through another 50 pitchers and tell you who to draft and who to avoid as we navigate the unsuspecting waters of drafting pitchers in fantasy. It’s the Top 50 Pitchers for 2020.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The highlights of this post last year were Fernando Tatis Jr., Jorge Polanco and Brendan Rodgers. So they’re not all winners, but 2nd basemen to target and the shortstops are necessary evils like changing your underwear. Whether you want to or not, it is a good idea to take a flyer on a late middle infielder, and you should still expect to get crapped on. Unlike previous years, I’m hopeful that everyone owns at least one shortstop prior to getting to the sleepers in this post. Top shortstops are the bees knees and bees do have knees; I’m a scientist. This is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Lichtenstein) supplement to the top 20 shortstops for 2020 fantasy baseball.  The players listed have a draft rank after 200 on other sites.  Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2020 projections. Anyway, here’s some shortstops to target for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Spring Training Sleeper Watch: American League West Edition

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 imagine the impossible topside of Rich Harden.

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. 

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Last week, I introduced the goal of this series: utilizing data visualization to try and narrow in on fantasy baseball insights. We looked at ERA across the draft, finding some potential values based on ADP. Today, we’ll take a closer look at Starting Pitcher WHIP by ADP.

To begin with, what’s the context in which we should gauge whether an SP’s WHIP actually helps our team? Here are WHIP trends over the last 5 years:

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Shin Soo Choo has been around for a while. I know this because I’m a pretty sentimental person. I’m the guy who stops walking when he smells a familiar fragrance, trying to pinpoint the memory. (Generally it’s an ex and nausea immediately follows.) I’m the guy who starts crying when someone quotes The Matrix, and I’m all smiles when I see how much Lego sets cost nowadays. (So much money saved by being an 80’s kid.) And of course being part Korean, Choo was a cornerstone to almost every one of my fantasy teams the last decade, because racism or something. Choo has also been entwined with my long history of content here at Razzball as a vehicle for kimchi jokes, because racism or something. But despite all that racism, there is another trend I’m noticing, and that’s I really have to remember to draft him this season. Granted, there are some red flags in his profile that we’ll address, but despite waxing poetic about how all my ex’s make me sick, I wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about Shin Soo Choo either…

Please, blog, may I have some more?