Please see our player page for A.J. Puk to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

July 27-August 2, 2020

We’re watching baseball again! I’m watching baseball again! The Japanese and Korean and Taiwanese people, well, they’ve been watching baseball for like a month because they stayed home instead of going to Uncle Johnny’s Cinco de Mayo party. Be a hero, wear a mask!

This top 100 starting pitchers series is, as David Bowie would stutter, Ch-ch-ch-changing. For the duration of summer training, I treated readers to a daily update in the Top 100 Starting Pitchers while they went through their draft boards. Feedback on the constantly updated list was super-positive for the most part, because most sites weren’t providing news links and sleeper articles and rankings–all updated daily–in one spot. Now that drafts are finished, I’m shifting back to the usual weekly updates. It’ll be like Friends used to be, before you could watch it 24/7 on every streaming platform and TV network.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Where will the Blue Jays play? Who will close for the Pirates? Will Yasiel Puig suit up in 2020? Will A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo ever pitch for the Athletics? Kieboom to Kie-toon with Asdrubal Cabrera. All this and a breakdown of the top FAAB bids in TGFBI this past weekend. There’s a lot to cover and half of it won’t be true by Saturday. The wackiness of the 60 game season is upon us. If you’re like me you’re strapping on your helmet (mandatory I wear one while using the inter-webs per my doctor), and getting ready for more twists and turns than any country road. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Podcast and I lost my car keys.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Brett Anderson hit the IL with a blister on his finger. Shame really. Super, super sad news. *watches two-hour VHS titled, “Fist Pump Like Tiger Woods,” ejects the tape, stands up awkwardly, raises hand and FIST PUMPS* I’m doing it! I’m fist pumping! So, little ol’ Anderson was willing to play through it but the coaches were worried the compromised grip would affect him. Little ol’ Anderson said, “Gonna have to leave it to the other four horsemen.” Corbin Burnes wasn’t in my rankings, but if I were adding people, I would add him. (At this point, I’m only removing opt outs and seriously injured players, because it’s too late in game to be adding guys for drafts. If you’re following along, you know which guys I like more now.) So, Burnes works off three-point-seventy-five pitches. Not quite four, and operates in the fast lane with a 95+ MPH fastball, and a babymaking slider that produced a 52.1% strikeout rate and .188 BAA. The Milwaukee Burnes’ers’ Burnes had a 12.9 K/9 last year and has great command, though he didn’t show it. Looking for a breakout that is likely available in most shallower leagues? Burnes said, “Say goodnight, Bretty,” and you say hello to Corbin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With all the changes to the 2020 season to the 2020 seasons swirling around, I wanted to narrow in on one specific item: the DH in the NL, and specifically, the impact to pitchers. I’m comparing Rudy’s Steamer/Razzball projections from March to those here in July; we’ll focus in on changes in projected ERA.

At first glance, it’s easy to minimize this change. After all, we’re talking about 2-3 plate appearances per start, and pitchers aren’t complete zeros at the plate. In a reduced season, this is likely only 25-35 plate appearances over 10-12 starts. How big of a deal is it?

To set a baseline, let’s first look at the impact on AL starters. Here’s the top 50, comparing their March to July ERAs:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

[places soapbox on ground, stands tall]

Starting pitchers are more important this year. But you should still take hitters first. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

For most fantasy league formats, you are chasing wins in 2020. Thus, WAGNOF (Wins Ain’t Got No Face). With starting pitchers, you’re looking for #1/#2 starters on good teams, who will pitch a lot of innings and contribute to Wins, ERA, WHIP, and K. Relievers with great K/9–even middle relievers–will help immensely with ERA, WHIP, and K. But wins? Welcome to the Twilight Zone. Whereas wins used to the be the domain of starters (and Twins’ middle relievers), we’re already getting reports of top pitchers having inning limits and pitch counts. So, we’ll be seeing a lot of wins going to middle relievers, which makes it much more difficult to predict that category (unless you’re a lifelong Twins fan, holla!). If you don’t believe me on this, then take the advice from three-time Trout Fishing Champion Grey Albright. If you’re in a league that uses Quality Starts, the top three tiers of pitchers are even more valuable because you’ll be relying on pitchers who stay in games AND who don’t give up earned runs. The coronavirus and the style of play in 2020 placed a high scarcity on pitchers who meet these requirements. That said, crafty managers can combine mid-tier pitchers with relievers who provide elite ratios and make an effective pitching staff that will win leagues. So, let’s teach you to be a crafty manager.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Day 17,881 of Quarantine and I ran into an old friend of mine at the supermarket. We wrestled over a roll of toilet paper and he tried to pull my mask off my face, but I’ve glued it on. A muffled laugh as I kicked him in the groin and walked off with the toilet paper. Cougs and I will be crapping tonight! So, the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball were updated with new projections for a 100-game season. With this series, I took a look around the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings to see if there’s any differences now that we might only play a 100-game season. Projections have been updated on all my positional rankings. Tomorrow, I’m unveiling a new series, it’s gonna pack a punch. Too bad it’s not packing a lunch. I don’t have a Whole Foods delivery window until the end of May. Anyway, here’s thoughts on the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball with the new Corona timeline:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The long-awaited finale to my COVID-19 Draft Bargains series culminates with a dive into starting pitchers who were looking at some innings restrictions for 2020. Since we aren’t likely to get a full season at this point, that’s kind of become a moot point for the most part. Here is a list of potential studs who could give similar returns to the household names who are being drafted much, much higher.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A wise man once said, “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are usually both right.” That was Confucius, who also once remarked to a bright young pupil on a particularly overcast day in 531 BC that “He who places his livelihood in the hands of starting pitching health is indeed the king of fools among us all.” I can assure you he said both of those things, and I can assure you that I will do my best to heed his insightful words as I reveal the pitchers on my 2023 All-COVID Team.

Like I said, Confucius was a wise man. He would have never dared use ESPN’s rankings to set up his fantasy baseball draft board. No, he would likely make his way to a site like Razzball, where he would study my 2023 All-COVID Team with great satisfaction before stumbling across this post. At this point, we would likely faint out of mere displeasure.

Projecting the top pitchers in fantasy three years from now is an asinine task in nature. Experts such as Grey who are able to nail preseason fantasy pitching rankings year-by-year have achieved quite a feat as is. To venture further into the unknown is, quite frankly, setting oneself up for failure. But, to heed my good friend Confucius’ words, I will be “he who says he can,” and I shall be right.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe the real-life baseball season has stopped, but that doesn’t mean fantasy baseball has to. It’s all we have these days, really. Fantasy sports while we fantasize about real sports coming back. I feel bad for my fellow fantasy hockey folks – I get the feeling it ain’t coming back, even if regular hockey does. I’m not about that fantasy basketball life (I dabbled in my younger years – Tracy McGrady anyone? Had to have him on all my teams), but I fear it’s the same fate. Only fantasy football is unscathed…so far. Wild stuff happening on that front, too. Brady to the Bucs? Da BUCS?! DAFUQ! Gurley and Newton RELEASED?! Hopkins TRADED?! Maybe Watson, too?! Madness, I say!

Anyway. This is a fantasy baseball article. Almost forgot. It’s an important year for the fine ladies and gents here at Razzball: the inaugural season of RazzSlam! Big shoutout to the NFBC peeps for hosting it. Give ’em a follow on the Twitter at @TheNFBC. I had the honor of being accepted into League 2 (of 18). Some scrub ass writer for CBS is in it. Big deal. I’m kidding, he’ll probably whoop my ass.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Been saying for the last four months it’s crazy anyone would draft Chris Sale this year. Or maybe it was just so brazen, like a guy wearing no helmet on a motorcycle in the rain. You got cantaloupes in your pants, you absolute loon! It was like somehow everyone forgot the narrative all of last year was he lost his velocity and his elbow was bothering him. Like a coconut hit their head and they woke up thinking they were Ginger from Gilligan’s Island and that Sale would stay healthy. Alas, you fruit loops, he will start the year on the IL as he heads for an MRI on his elbow. Next stop will be a lost season for him. The people drafting Sale early on, even with a discount, well, I’ve never seen people convince themselves of nonsense like I see in fantasy sports. “He’ll be fine! It was just the flu! His elbow is feeling great! Great, I tell you!” Use some common sense! You kinda deserve to lose if you drafted Sale in any leagues. Everyone saying things like, “Oh, you’re a doctor now, I guess. You saw this coming, I imagine.” Don’t guess, Goofy McGoofstein! I was pre-med for two months of my freshman year in college! Also, it doesn’t take a doctor to know if a guy missed time due to an arm injury last year, showed up to camp after refusing surgery on his arm, you should avoid him. If only I could’ve placed a bet on whether or not anyone drafting Sale in the first few weeks of drafts would regret it. Damn, I would’ve been a billionaire (assuming I could bet a billionaire dollars and had even odds, but I technically would’ve only made that bet if I were a billionaire already). While singing Happy Birthday twice, I’ve washed my hands of Chris Sale. He’s temporarily ranked in the top 40 starters, but I wouldn’t draft him anywhere (as I wouldn’t have before this), and the next step I imagine will be crossing him out of the top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?