Please see our player page for Aaron Civale 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.

August 3-9, 2020

The Major League Baseball 2020 season is a mess, and this is a post about it. As of Saturday night, 104 players and 24 staff/training members had tested positive for coronavirus since the inception of the season, with 42 cases identified in the last week. Boston Red Sox star and former Tier 3 member Eduardo Rodriguez has been shut down for the 2020 season following myocarditis that was associated with his bout of coronavirus. 20% of MLB teams had games postponed this weekend, with the Marlins and Phillies not having played since last week. At the time of writing, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that he intended for the remaining teams to continue playing the truncated season, although there are reports that if more positive cases erupt on Sunday, then a work stoppage would follow. There’s a non-zero chance that if you’re reading this on Monday afternoon, baseball is again in a holding pattern.

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Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) from RotoRanks joins the show to talk about the crazy first week of baseball. We recap the players off to hot starts like Colin Moran, and Corey Seager and the players struggling to find their way so far this season. We discuss the save situation and if it’s worth trying to chase saves. We list a couple of relievers that have grabbed some saves from closers and if they are there to stay.

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On Saturday, Isan Diaz opted out of the season. Someone doesn’t want to sneak out to the strip club anymore. Then, on Sunday, the Marlins said they would bring up Monte Harrison and summon a bunch of journeymen to Baltimore for their next series, starting on Tuesday. I don’t care if they have one player, as long as that player’s Monte Harrison. Outside of Harrison, it sounds like their lineup might be filled with Matt Joyce, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla. “Bah gawd…it’s Ricky Nolasco’s music!” Last year, Harrison went 9/20/.274 in 56 Triple-A games. *does the robot as I head to my waiver wires to pick up Monte Harrison in every league* Robot voice, “Don’t…mind…if…I…” Damn, I was messing around, and someone got him before me. Stupid slow robot! So, grab Monte Harrison in every league for some power and great speed, though he might hit .210. I’d wait and see on Jorge Cantu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to JKJ’s School of Waiver Wire Wizardry. This is Lesson One. Please, take your seat. Feel free to drink adult beverages in class. I encourage it.

It’s been a good while since I’ve blessed your brains and your eyeballs with my writing. And I’ll be honest, in the meantime I wasn’t fully confident we’d have baseball at all. But yay! I was wrong! For now…several teams didn’t play at all this weekend, and I just can’t see this being the last time something like this happens. Maybe I’ll be wrong again. Hope so. First the Marlins, now the Cardinals, maybe still the Phillies, but it seems they may have dodged a giant bullet. Time will tell.

For now, though, we still have baseball, which means we still have fantasy baseball, which means you lucky folks get to read the first of my brand-spankin’ new weekly column here at the Razzball on fantasy baseball waiver targets.

Gonna keep it pretty straightforward. No particular order. Bats in one section, arms in the other. I’m only interested in players owned in the 30-range percentiles or less in either Yahoo! or ESPN leagues, but I’ll list both platforms just cuz I’m nice. That way, there’s a better shot the guys you’re reading about are actually out there for you to get. Ownership rates are always a-changin’, of course, so keep that in mind. I mean, duh, but friendly reminders never hurt. Also, keep in mind this doesn’t include Saturday’s stats since I’m writing before games have started.

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What is going on everyone? I think this is the first FanDuel MLB slate where I have not had at least 10 teams to dig through and woof. Pitching is horrid today at first glance but we take what they give us. Luckily everyone has to deal with this dumpster fire today. Let’s dig into this little 6 gamer that we are working with today.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

Was having a chat in the comments the other day with Razzball writer, Coolwhip, and I said to him something like, “Wonder if starters who throw weak-sauce fastballs are going to be better this year because there will be less effort, and leff esort (sic) this year is better because no pitchers can throw hard with no real ramp up to the season.” Leff esort is such a great concept. It’s like saying ‘less effort’ without opening your mouth, so it is being said with less effort — hence, leff esort. Leff esort is such an easy way to live, yet alone pitch. Could all those jacked 99 MPH fastballs be just too much this year and leff esort is the way to go? I don’t know. But it does seem like guys sneaking by on 91 MPH or slower fastballs are having a much better time so far. Aaron Civale couldn’t get arrested with his 91 MPH fastball (if there was a law against 92+ MPH fastballs), yet here he is. Giddy up, Ryan Yarbrough (88 MPH), you slow dog! Sure, you’ll do, Jon Lester (89). Hey, look at Ross Stripling (91), and you too, Matt Shoemaker (91). Merrill Kelly had moments of 92+ MPH fastballs in his first game, but he is more about his cutter (90 MPH), curve and change. Last September, Kelly also dominated, and I’m adding him everywhere. Maybe we’re all just trying too hard and we need leff esort. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, the Mets debuted their 2017 1st round pick, David Peterson, and he went 5 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 9 baserunners, 3 Ks. Here’s bit of tid on him:  Tall dude, stands about 6’6″. *standing on my chair, arm up in the air* About yay high. Fastball velocity sits *gets off chair, points at my framed picture of Angela Lansbury* low 90’s. Slider and curveball are *looks around to illustrate, points at colored-in Denny’s placement of a cowboy, realizes that won’t be enough, takes crayon and draws a cape on the cowboy* That’s a super okie. As in okie doke. C’mon, that was an easy one. So, lots of okie-doke usually equals okie-dookie, but he has solid command, so he might be a four to five real-world starter, which makes him good for Streamonator in shallower fantasy leagues. In a short season, there could be some value here. He should at least limit damage, as he did last night in Fenway. Also, Prospect Itch wrote about 500 words on David Peterson in his 2020 Mets fantasy baseball prospects writeup, and only one overt threat directed at me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“But wait! The season has already begun!” Razzball nation cries out. 

Yes good people — but many teams didn’t announce their starting rotations until yesterday — and some still haven’t! So there’s going to be a bit of extrapolation on my part trying to predict exactly who is going to be starting, on what day, against which team, with what weapon and in what room. The San Francisco Giants for example have a game in a little over 5 hours as I’m writing this and the scheduled starter is that young, fire-balling, lefty from Korea: TBD. 

If you’ve found Razzball you know what to expect from a weekly two-start pitcher column. Every Saturday morning I’ll highlight the starting pitchers who have two starts in an upcoming week and I’ll rank ‘em and tier ‘em. Tier 1 — you can basically ignore reading this section each week. If you need me to tell you to start Gerrit Cole for both games of his two-start week — you don’t deserve Razzball’s content! But tier 2 through 5 is where your money is made, your bread is buttered and your week is won — well maybe not tier 5. Tier 5 is not for the faint of heart. That’s where your money is lost, your bread is burnt and your week is lost. 

As the season progresses I’ll be able to also recommend/reject certain pitchers based on their match-ups and stadiums. Again — for your top tier pitchers, this won’t matter. But German Marquez against the Dodgers in Coors Field? Maybe leave him on your bench for that match-up. Unfortunately, this early in the season, I can make predictions on who I think will be a tough offense to face — the Marlins are atop the NL East standings so who knows what will happen by week 5? 

One last thing to keep in mind — some teams will be implementing bullpen games. I won’t be including these in the two-start rankings. One or two innings pitched does not really constitute a “start” in my eyes.

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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:

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[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.

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