At some point in the summer of nineteen after twenty, a young boy by the name of Grey Albright who often went by Fantasy Master Lothario and screamed at people to stop abbreviating it, came upon another boy by the name of Ryan Yarbrough. Monsieur Albright the Third didn’t know much about The One Who Went By Yarbrough. He just grabbed him in a deep league and decided to make like a raft and ride him on a stream. Expecting a Level 5 rapids, Jeff Bezos, the name Grey Albright uses when he checks into hotels, clutched the straps and held on for dear life. How’sever, unbeknownst to Señor Albrighto, he was about to go for the ride of his life and like he told the concierge at the hotel where he was staying under the name Jeff Bezos, “This is prime, baby!” In May, Yarbrough had a 1.64 ERA, and we were riding high over those rapids! Then, in June, he had a 3.86 ERA and we were riding ‘just okay’ but not bad considering everyone else was a Cleveland Streamer. Then, in July, a 2.52 ERA and we started to soar again, but could it continue? Yes, rhetorical question, he could! In August, his ERA fell to 1.50 in 30 IP and we were floating off into the afterlife. Then he had a 7.52 ERA in September and we were in hell, but never the hoo! It was a great run, but who is Ryan Yarbrough really? So caught up in the four-month stream, I never even looked at this man who made me a raft of expectations and wonder. *opens player page* He throws 88 MPH?! Oh, Hayzeus Cristo, goodbye. Or…is it hello?! So, what can we expect from Ryan Yarbrough for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

As I prophesied early last summer, if everyone’s throwing hard, the pitchers who don’t throw hard might have an advantage, and here we are leaning into my theory. Ryan Yarbrough throws four pitches (cutter 36.7%; change 25.6%; sinker 24.1%; curve 13.5%), and all of them are slow eh-eff. But, incredibly, he had the best average exit velocity of any starter in the majors at 84.1 MPH. That is seriously remarkable, and you know it because I’m saying it. This goes back to my theory about pitchers who throw slow. It’s on the hitters to generate all the velocity when a guy is throwing underhanded softballs. Here’s the top 11 for slowest exit velocity:

Look at Kenta Maeda popping twerks all over my screenshot of sexy pitchers. It would be hard to go too wrong with any of these guys, if the price is right (which is to say zero dollars for Martin Perez, but still). So, hitters making weak contact is great, obvi, and if that was all there was, I’d still be in on Ryan Yarbrough. It’s not. His command is sick as in healthy. He had the third best walk rate for starters with 140 IP, and a 1.3 BB/9. If it came with a 6 or lower K/9, I’d be like, “Okay, Mike Leake, ya cool, but ya know I need a little sexier in my sexy.” Yarbrough’s K/9 last year was 7.4 and 7.8 K/9 the year before for the Rays in 147 1/3 IP. Yes, that’s right, Yarbrough has almost 300 IP of major league pitching, and is about to enter his third season as a starter, when everything begins to click. If Yarbrough “clicks” more than he did last year, he’s going to be a top five Cy Young guy in 2020. Think Hyun-Jin Ryu in Tampa. Call him Hyun-Jin Ray. There’s surprisingly very little heat on him right now and his Steamer projections are terrible (4.54 ERA, 1.32 WHIP — up from 1.00 WHIP last year, which has me completely puzzled). Yes, Cash will employ an Opener in front of him on occasion, but so what? Let him throw six innings of one-run ball starting in the 2nd inning. Yarbrough is falling through the cracks because he has no velocity, but I’m drafting him with the quickness. For 2020, I’ll give Ryan Yarbrough projections of 13-7/3.42/1.03/129 in 154 IP with a chance for more.

 
  1. dill says:
    (link)

    Happy new year !
    Any chance Yarbrough can throw 180 innings ?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      Sure. I don’t think he will but there’s a chance. He threw 167 last year including AAA…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Happy new year! Agree with Donks

  2. Keith says:
    (link)

    Any chance Dave Roberts lets Kenta Maeda pop twerks as a starter for a full season what with Hill and Ryu out of the picture? I know the Dodgers get cheap for god knows why cause of his innings/contract, but maybe Roberts lets him start all of 2020? Or nah this is still Dave Roberts after all?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      I think they still find an 8-9 man rotation

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Yeah, I’m expecting Maeda to start for a good 20+ starts

  3. HH says:
    (link)

    What do you think of the Rays other opener this year, Yonny Chirinos? Was having a solid year until an injury derailed him a bit.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      I love Yanni! And Yonny!

      • knucks says:
        (link)

        DT! We are in the same Prospects Live Bestball. Looking forward to it

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:
          (link)

          Looks like we are! I’m actually going to be off the grid when that draft starts so going to see if I can get The Itch to fill in for me, disappointing!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Yonny is sneaky good too, I likey

  4. Packers says:
    (link)

    Just for people to peruse and analyze. This is a just completed $150.00 NFBC draft 50 and hold team. I drafted out of the 8th spot. Not a bad place to be.

    C Jansen
    C Pina, Maldonaldo, McGuire
    1B Olson, K. Cron, R. Zimmerman
    2B Albies Glavis (ss) Rengifo
    SS Turner
    3B Devers M. Thaiss
    MI Fletcher Cuthbert (2b,3b)
    CI Kingery (of)
    OF Ozuna
    OF Castellanos
    OF Pederson (1b)
    OF Inciarte
    OF Reynolds Tapia, Quinn, G. Allen, Marisnick
    UTL. Canha

    P Woodruff
    P Berrios
    P Fried
    P K. Hendricks
    P Keuchel
    P Yarbrough
    P Melancon
    P Kennedy
    P Robles
    Yamamuto, J. Diaz, Matz, F. Peralta, M. McGill, Roark, E. Hernandez, Suter, Smeltzer, R. Montero,
    A. Garrett, Farmer, Barria, F. Martes, Wittgren.

    My #1 pick Trea has to have a solid year as he is my main source of steals, not much help after him, plus my backup SS are not good, Fletcher and Galvis. Sagnof with reserve outfielders.

    First pitcher was in the 5th round, so in a 15 teamer it doesn’t look to bad. Should be ok in saves, era and whip. Wins and K’s hoping for the middle.

    Thanks for reading and I welcome any feedback, positive or negative.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      Nice team! Pitching doesn’t look too shabby at all for waiting til the 5th.

      • Packers says:
        (link)

        Thanks, Donk!

    • Tom says:
      (link)

      Sorry man but that team look like a turd to me.

    • Dave D says:
      (link)

      I think you did a great job of getting a pretty deep pitching staff. It looks like the trade off is being a little shallow in the OF/MI, but overall looks solid. You pointed out your vulnerability with Trea and SB but if he’s healthy and producing you should have a shot. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot with DCs.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Team looks solid! Think you’re a little weak on power, and I like your pitching but it needs some breaks… not bad tho!

      • Tom says:
        (link)

        Weak on power and your pitching needs breaks. Translation; doesn’t look like a very good team.

  5. JPHanson says:
    (link)

    I had Yarbrough on a few teams last year. He was useful on all of them, but his ultimate value was very dependent on the league settings due to the Rays’ usage of him (employing an opener occasionally, as Grey mentioned). In leagues with an IP limit and a QS category, he takes a hit. But in leagues with a Win category, and a limit on pitcher starts, Yarbrough is gold, Jerry, gold!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Yup, agreed!

  6. Curtis Jones says:
    (link)

    Hello January Grey! Nice to see you again. Just happen to be rocking my Razzball shirt today too. The stars are aligning.

    Yarbrough is on 2 of my first 3 Cutline teams, so love to see this.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Nice! January Grey putting finishing touches on rankings as we speak…

  7. Snacks Zillion says:
    (link)

    Who would you guys say finishes top 5 in Wins and Saves this year? Happy New Year and thanks as always. Big draft coming up tomorrow!!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      My guesses:

      Cole, Verlander, Buehler, Strasburg, Scherzer

      Aroldis, Osuna, Jansen, Kimbrel, Hand

      • Snacks Zillion says:
        (link)

        Thanks DT, much appreciated!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Happy new year! Donks’ picks sound decent… maybe a wild card of Corbin, Giolito and Colome

      • Snacks Zillion says:
        (link)

        I like Giolito alot, thanks Fantasy Master Lothario!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Me too!

  8. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:
    (link)

    Grey!

    In an AL only league – would you consider Liam Hendricks a reliable closer to target?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Sure

  9. Malicious Phenoms says:
    (link)

    Are you enjoying your stay on this side of the big pond?

    Happy New Year

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      I am! Happy new year!

  10. Ace of Spades says:
    (link)

    January Grey

    I love all 12 greys equally, and , like a good parent with many children, I have no favorites. With that being said, When January Grey comes to visit, and starts spitting out his rankings , it is like every day is Christmas morning. Or, for those who spin the dreidel , like Moses coming down the mountain with rankings carved in stone tablets for those smart enough to listen. Or, for those who are more inclined to strap explosives on a vest, its like the 72 virgins they will never get to meet because they spattered themselves to pieces before the rankings came out.
    Now, personally, I celebrate none of these traditions I used the holiday metaphors with. So, to me January Grey would be like waking up each morning next to the wife of a Justin ( Jessica Biel , Kate Upton, either one would work )
    Now, I like foreplay as much as most men do ( which is to say, not so much ) but if I wait too long for January Grey and his teasing ” I am finalizing my rankings ” I may get the dreaded blue balls. I have a birthday coming on January 10th. Any chance the rankings start before or on this date? ( I am guessing no because its a Friday, and my guess is these will start on a Monday ) Seeing the top ten come out would be the best birthday present ever. I know I am asking a lot, ( almost like asking for a healthy full season of ABs for both Buxton and Dahl ) but I so miss January Grey. 11 months feels like 11 years. Welcome back JG and much thanks to you , Rudy, DT and all of the Razzball writers and commenters for helping bring joy and sanity to an otherwise miserable and insane world.

    Anyways , two quick questions .
    1. which side: Yarbrough or Gallen?
    2. which side: Bueller and Vladdy or Gallen and Soto?

    as always thanks in advance

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Haha, an awesome comment here… rankings start on that Monday after your bday…ya know, my birthday is a week after yours… may all your women be a wife or a Justin

      Yarbrough for 2020

      Walker for 2020

  11. JPHanson says:
    (link)

    That’s a sublime comment in the last sentence. Grey.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Haha, thanks!

  12. alldayLT says:
    (link)

    In a dynasty league – 30 teams and what you bid on a player’s contract is what you pay in real dollars. Super deep but I’ve made a number of deals weakened my minors but think my majors is solid pre-draft of free agents this year. Here is what I’m working with:
    C-Free Agent
    1b- Rizzo
    2b-Addison Russell/Free Agent
    3b-Rendon
    SS-Lindor
    LF-Benintendi
    CF-Springer
    RF-Puig
    Until-Andrelton Simmons/Travis Shaw

    SP-Bauer
    SP-Giolito
    SP-Kikuchi
    SP-Martin Perez
    RP-Leclerc
    4 FA needed for RP spots

    Remarkably I am not even a top 5 payroll at this point. What would you do to adjust roster? Or would you stay put?
    Cats are H2H
    R,HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS, BB, SO
    H/IP, BB/9, K, ERA, QS, W, L, SVH

    Best minors guys I have left to make deals are Grayson Rodriguez/Casas and then massive drop off to McConnell so think I should stay put. Most of the big name guys are signed to my team until 2023

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Stay put? You can always get better! Your team is solid tho, be nice to have a third starter (and fourth, 5th, etc) — you’re hitting is stacked…

  13. chicitysox23 says:
    (link)

    Going to have a league vote coming up to switch from a draft to auction. Preferences from people that do both?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Auction is more fun, especially in person… both are equally difficult tho

  14. AL KOHOLIC says:
    (link)

    Roberts signed 6 year deal. Most likely opening day center fielder for whitesox

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Yeehaw!

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
        (link)

        You a fan of Lou Bob? I personally think he will be the next Lewis Brinson.

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
            (link)

            LOL..that was one of your best post!

            Still think he is a bust or Buxton or Brinson. Just a feeling I have..

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Don’t jinx him, man!

              • Malicious Phenoms says:
                (link)

                lol, I have seen it before, I have both Buxton and Brinson in my dynasty league..I just keep thinking how good my team, which is already good, would be if they could ever live up to expectations.

                • Hater Bell

                  Grey says:
                  (link)

                  Yeah, apples and oranges tho

                  • Dave D says:
                    (link)

                    He seems more like Ronald Acuña than Lewis Brinson to me. Id take that bet. He could have a slow first month or two, but by July I’d be suprised if he’s not on a 20/20+ pace the rest of the way.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
                      (link)

                      Amen!

        • chicitysox23 says:
          (link)

          I’m a complete Sox homer, but always like differing opinions. what makes you think he will be Lewis Brinson?

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
            (link)

            Just a gut feeling. I could be wrong.

  15. Malicious Phenoms says:
    (link)

    You like Niko Goodrum this year?

    • Hater Bell

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Not especially

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
        (link)

        Goodrum would be a bench bat. He plays all 4 inf postions and outfield..

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          I guess, if the league is deep enough

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
            (link)

            60 players each team, 10 teams. I could add JA Happ instead for pitching depth..Thoughts?

            Thanks as always

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              In place of who?

              • Malicious Phenoms says:
                (link)

                instead of Goodrum, who I already added before asking for your permission..LOL

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Come to Musgrove sleeper with follow ups

  16. normgi says:
    (link)

    Do you assume eloy and Roberts both start? How does Roberts rate with Eloy? Both top 100? or better?

    • Hater Bell

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Yeah, seems like hat now…. Eloy is easily top 100… still doing rankings for Roberts

  17. Malicious Phenoms says:
    (link)

    Fun FACT:
    Frank Jobe, the Dodgers team doctor who performed the first Tommy John surgery, once quipped that the procedure could have been called the “Sandy Koufax surgery” if he thought of it a decade earlier.

    • Hater Bell

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Ha, nice

  18. Scott Kimmel says:
    (link)

    happy new year Grey. I just heard that White Sox extended Luis Robert to a 6/50M deal. two questions.

    1) Am I correct to presume that he will make the Opening day lineup.
    2) What should I do about Mazara? Should I drop him when possible or try and trade him (i wont get much if anything for him).

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      1) Probably unless he sucks in spring
      2) Depends on league depth. 12 teamer I’d take anything useful for him…

      • Scott Kimmel says:
        (link)

        donkey its a 10 team league

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Agree with Donkey

  19. Arms race says:
    (link)

    Trading for lamet or woodruff in a dynasty. Which would u choose?? Thx

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Woodruff but close

      • Arms Race says:
        (link)

        Painfully close. Thx for the response

  20. Jeremy says:
    (link)

    Very deep dynasty pts league
    John Means or Yarbrough?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
      (link)

      Yarbrough for me

  21. LOLmets says:
    (link)

    Big year for Noah ?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      That puts the LOL in Mets… I kid… but I don’t expect it

Comments are closed.