2020 Draft Kit

Continuing on the series that began with April Powers Part 1, I showed you the top hitters over the last 3 years in the month of April with the caveat that they had to be “hot” at least twice. This week we’ll take an initial look at the top hitters from April 2019 and see if how they performed in the following months, and maybe catch a glimpse of what to look out for in Part 3.

In honor of Star Wars week, let’s take a page from Master Yoda. Always in motion is the future, difficult to tell. But to find our way there, we can start by looking at the present. After all, it’s impossible to know where you are going, if you don’t know where you’ve been without feeling under pressure. Right, David Bowie? They said it couldn’t be done! Yoda and Bowie in the same reference? Check. Now lets look at the board:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Let baseball return with the craziest shizz they got! Robot umps? Check! 7-inning games? Why not? Divisions changed? Sure! No shifts! No foul balls! Everything is in play! Pitchers have to throw with their wrong hand! Hitters have to stand on one foot! Mascots get stockpile of vaccines and choose who gets one! I don’t care! Just let baseball return! With all that said, universal DH is being thrown about like that somehow fixes baseball post-Covid-19. Has anyone on this green earth that Al Gore is eating his way through asked why? This is one that keeps coming back after every discussion about restarting baseball like they’ve already unplugged it and blew in the cartridge. Could someone, preferably a journalist, ask WHY? Why does a DH make things better for restarting? I’m guessing no one asks why because they know there’s no reason and it would just make Manfred uncomfortable. Shame more journalists don’t ask questions to make people uncomfortable. Not to go down that rabbit hole too far, but too many sports journalists (and maybe other types) are so concerned with access they refuse to ask tough questions, then they go on Twitter and make fun of the subject. Twitter is bad for a lot of reasons, but this is the reason number one for me. You see reporters say point blank about how stupid something is, but did they pose the stupidness to the actual subject? No, never. Prolly why I couldn’t make it as a journalist. If Manfred said to me about universal DH, I’d ask, why, and minds would be blown. Any hoo! Assuming there is a universal DH, our writer, JKJ, is going over a series of hitters who would benefit from it. I don’t want to go over what JKJ has said already, but Tyler O’Neill…O’Well, he’s too juicy to ignore. So, what can we expect from Tyler O’Neill in 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What a great week. Any time I have a legitimate excuse to binge watch Star Wars one day and bloat myself with an excess of Mexican food and homemade margarita slushies the next, it’s a good week. Making matters even better, I was able to catch some quality KBO action on TV, something that revealed that my thirst for baseball can be temporarily quenched by just about any bat-to-ball action – other than that time I was on a cave tour in Pennsylvania and a big brown bat flew into my crotch.

Although I know not every Razzball reader and writer is a die-hard Star Wars fan such as myself, this got me thinking: how can I incorporate these two loves of baseball and late 1970s-early 1980s science fiction? Since there are only three truly great Star Wars films, I had the idea to split my prospect writing into three categories: 1) A New Hope (breakdown of the six top-100 prospects in the Marlins farm system), 2) The Empire Strikes Back (analysis of Yankees right-handers Clark Schmidt and Deivi Garcia) and 3) Return of the Jedi (what to expect from Brent Honeywell’s long-awaited comeback).

As I began this project, it didn’t take long before I completely lost track of time down in a Honeywellian rabbit hole. What I mean by this, is that I was trudging along, minding my own business with my eyes glued to 2017 Honeywell tape on my iPhone, when I literally fell into a hole in the ground and had no choice but to research Honeywell’s outlook for the next three-to-four hours while I called for help. And that is how this piece went from one of my typical, wide-ranging prospect breakdowns to one focused on a singular arm: Brent Honeywell, the young Jedi Knight, the man who can do things on the hill that no one else can, but has long been struggling with his own inner battle of health and spiritual clarity. In this piece, I will not only break down Honeywell as a prospect, but speculate on his return to the mound, reasons behind his recent arm injuries and what level of health (or lack thereof) we might be able to predict moving forward.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lou Landers (@LandersTalks), owner of Sportscrew Radio, joins the show to talk Yankees baseball. We take a look at their loaded lineup and what kind of potential they have. Who could the potential busts in this lineup be? Gio Urshela was picked by two of us. Can Giancarlo Stanton play 140+ games this season? Can Aaron Judge stay healthy? We discuss the health of this lineup. Gerrit Cole is one of the best pitching signings the Yankees have had since C.C Sabathia. We look into the latter part of the rotation and who is going to fill the 4 and 5 spots. An Andy Pettitte comp was made with Jordan Montgomery.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s the Jays’ rotation:

Hyu-Jin Ryu
Chase Anderson
Tanner Roark
Matt Shoemaker
Trent Thornton

Here’s the Padres’ rotation:

Chris Paddack
Garrett Richards
Zach Davies
Joey Lucchesi
Dinelson Lamet

This is why, when asked recently, if I prefer Nate Pearson to MacKenzie Gore, why I said I like both equally. I love MacKenzie Gore and have drafted him, but who has the easier path to innings? Put aside those teams’ respective aces. Say what you want about Zach Davies, Garrett Richards, Joey Lucchesi of the Rigatoni Crime Family, Dinelson Lamet, and I’ve said plenty, but Trent Thornton, Shoemaker, Roark, Chase Anderson are a goofy mess. Shoemaker injured himself reading about how he is injury-prone. Even in regards to their two respective aces, Ryu is less likely to stay healthy for even a shortened season. Pearson’s sliding into that rotation in the landmark case of sooner vs. later. Any hoo! I just wanted to put it out there that I think both will see innings, and this isn’t about which one I like better, while I make it about which I like better for 2020, but MacKenzie Gore is going to need an injury to get in the rotation or, and this ‘or’ is the size of Kanye’s ego, starters piggybacking this year, in what will be a weird year. Minor leaguers will be a part of the major league team, whether they want to or not (of course they want to). With no conceivable minor league season, Gore should be with the Padres in some form. So, what can we expect from MacKenzie Gore for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Old guys can throw balls, man. 

You probably haven’t been to the gym in a minute, but just imagine/remember the locker room. 

Young guys’ balls tend to have a little less movement. More velocity, fewer wrinkles, less wiggle. Ah, youth. 

Command is where the locker analogy falters. Old guy pitchers have movement and command. They are stars of their own Viagra commercials, popping their car’s hood on the side of the road because they’ve learned a thing or two about engines by now and just plain know how to get stuff done. 

Youth reigns in dynasty baseball, but it’s nice to have some oldsters in the locker room when readying a crew for extensive ball-work. 

This old-balls bit is gaining momentum in my mind, and I’m not loving that, so let’s just cut to the first fifty.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is it folks. I can feel baseball getting closer. It’s either that, or Rob Manfred has moved into my basement bunker and has been whispering sweet nothings in my ear. What this weird aside presupposes is, why not both? And despite having a subconscious urge to add a DH to my daily routine, we’re going to shake things up and instead of covering a value pitcher or a Padres anything, I wanted to focus thy gaze (do you even gaze, bro?) upon J.T. Realmuto. Wrongly-used partial middle “ye” English vernacular aside (the yeee!), I’m here to establish that J.T. Realmuto is a very good baseball player. In fact, he’s probably the best catcher in the league right now, both in fantasy and in real MLB terms. And while it’d be quite the content strategy to end the post here and consider this mission accomplished, I’d prefer to make the case that while Realmuto may be the real acuerdo, he’s not the droid catcher you’re looking for. In fact, drafting him may actually handicap your team the entire season, even if that season is shortened down to something like 12 total triskaidecagon-headers…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kyle Lewis is in my top 100 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball, but, as mentioned the other day, these Dart Throws are me being a little more footloose and fancy-free like Kevin Bacon on Casual Fridays with projections and possible upside. By the way, can you imagine explaining to an alien right now what Casual Fridays are? “It’s when you don’t have to dress up for work on Friday.” Alien speaks in an alien language while you wait for the Alien Language Translator to give you back what it’s saying. Finally, the Alien Language Translator says, “You’ve been wearing sweatpants for the last five weeks. What’s more casual? Your stained gotchies?” Yo, that Alien has a smart mouth, which is located on its feet, because it’s an alien. Any hoo! In my top 100 outfielders, I threw Kyle Lewis a bone by including him. To get him in the lineup, Dee Gordon has to be benched; Mitch Haniger’s Mr. Peanut has to be crushed; Austin Nola has to do whatever it is Austin Nola does, but on the bench; Jake Fraley has to do a bit better than Austin Nola, but not good enough to start and Dylan Moore…Well, who? Your 2020 Mariners are tight eh-eff team of recycled garbage that was never recycled. But, when the league starts up again, and, if the M’s are playing in Arizona — better! — then Kyle Lewis could be the starting right fielder. So, what can we expect from Kyle Lewis for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a great dart throw?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There have been a lot of strange things about this off-season.  I mean, in addition to the obvious, like constantly worrying about the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and the fate of mankind while not having baseball as a job/hobby/distraction.  For me, one of the odder consequences of the delayed season is the fact that I have yet to draft an NL or AL-only team this year, as all of my private leagues are waiting to draft until we have a better idea what the coming weeks and months will bring.  Another very weird thing that seems to have happened to me over the last several months is that I have evidently developed a propensity for paying more than ever before for catchers on my fantasy baseball teams.

I realize now that this trend actually started back in another lifetime late November, when my first draft of the season took place.  I’ve drafted quite a few teams since then — mostly 15-team mixed format, 2-catcher leagues, with a standard 5×5 roto scoring system.  Unlike every other season of my fantasy baseball career, almost every one of them features at least one catcher that I had to pay for with either a mid-round pick of a handful of valuable auction dollars.  Last year, I literally did not even include catchers on my master spread sheet… I just had a handful of names in mind that I knew I could grab at the very end of a draft or with my last dollar in an auction.  This year, paying for a catcher was not a strategy that I came into draft season with; it just kind of happened.  Draft after draft, it just continued to occur: time to make a pick, and I felt a catcher was the best value on the board.  This happened back in my first drafts this winter, and continued through my last drafts a couple of weeks ago — so in terms of the catching position, my take on how to construct the best team really didn’t change once the uncertainty of the season’s timeline and potential format changes came into play.  What I’m also realizing is that I’m pretty happy with how most of my teams turned out overall on paper — to the point where, if worse comes to worst and we have no baseball in 2020 and I don’t get to see if my don’t-wait-as-long-as-usual-to-draft-a-catcher method worked, I will most likely jump right back in and employ a similar strategy in 2021.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Coming down from the high of interviewing a Rap God a week ago, Grey and I are back to baseball. Well kind of… we mostly speculate about the speculation coming from the known speculators about all things baseball. In other words we discuss those verkakte plans all over Twitter and the internet. We talk a little food, a little love, a little life, as well as movies and TV. Is there anything else for us to do besides movies and TV? It’s the only thing holding society together at the moment. Someday historians will look back at this period and will be inspired to pen the book “How The Tiger King Saved Civilization”. In the future this is less ridiculous, mostly because we all dress like Kevin Nash in the 90s. Anyway, it’s the latest episode of the Razzball podcast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?