It’s been a crazy first half-week of baseball, and I’m already struggling a bit trying to keep up with tracking the waiver wire in all of my leagues. As often happens even after months of offseason research, the first few box scores of the season have featured a handful of surprise names in terms of who’s contributing fantasy stats. Instead of looking at a few of the young up-and-comers who’ve already made contributions that we may not have been expecting based on our winter planning, I’ve decided that this post should instead be dedicated to some names we were already plenty familiar with but may have passed right over. It’s been hard for our heads not to be turned — and perhaps rightfully so — by the Jonathan Indias and the Akil Baddoos of the baseball world (both of whom we’ve already chatted about over the past couple of weeks). But here at Rolling In the Deep, we’ll take one for the Razzball team this week, and concentrate on the Island of Misfit Toys rather than exciting shiny new objects. To earn a blurb below, each player needed three qualifications: to be age 30 or older, to have been basically left for dead (or in this case between #570 and #700) in terms of ADP this year, and to have had at least one impressive/helpful game fantasy-wise to start the 2021 season. Not gonna lie, those qualifications proved a bit more challenging than I thought they’d be, bringing us to the names below.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Albert Pujols 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.
Aaaand we’re back. Aaand John Means is an Ace now. Wait–rewind. Means stifled the Boston bats and spoiled their home opener Friday afternoon, allowing just a single base runner (one hit) in seven innings of work and striking out five to notch his first win of the season. I know exactly what you’re thinking outdated Fry meme–not sure if Red Sox are this bad or John Means is this good. Well, as bad as the Sawx looked, Means probably pitched one of his best games in ever. He commanded the zone with 65 of his 95 pitches thrown for strikes, and generated 14 swings-and-misses, eight with changeup alone, which can be an especially nasty pitch when he’s got it working, paired with his 4-seamer. After an awful start to 2020, Means finished strong in September with a 1.52 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 23.2 IP averaging around 94 mph on his fastball, up about 2 mph from 2019. Grey told you to BUY, gushing about his xBA and saying “if he can keep those gains, velocity increases, and stop handing out more gopher balls than a veterinarian with weird party favors, John Means could be a top 25 starter while costing nowhere near that price.” And that’s me quoting Grey! Look, I understand the hesitation owning Orioles pitchers, and Means HR/9 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. In fact, when I drafted Means on draft day I got a audible “HA!” for the pick. But we’ll see who’s laughing in September. Sure things aren’t getting any easier for the homer-prone lefty as he travels to New York next week to take on the Yankees, but Means is owned in less than 50% of leagues and has got some major breakout potential. I think he’s worth a flier at that price wherever he’s available. Means means business! That’s two “means”, and that means something? Who else is confused? Where else you going to get an Ace after draft day. Now your chance! I means it!
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The top 20 1st basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball are fascinating, at least according to early ADP. There’s some top guys to draft, a few, at least. But, unlike past years, there’s also quite a few 1st basemen to draft after the top 100. Usually I’d scream at you in the most shrill of voices that if you didn’t have a top five 1st baseman you were going to lose your league. I’m not against drafting one of those top guys, but there’s also quite a few later 1st basemen that I could see getting hip wit’. It’s wit’ because it’s hip, get it? Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included. Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Rookie Alec Bohm continued his explosive September Friday night going two for three with a run and an RBI in game one and one for three with a run and his first career steal in the second game. Oh my, did he just steal a base! *swoons* Alec’s underwhelming power to start his career has made it hard on hilarious jokesters like myself who just want to pun all day and improv all night. No bombs for Bohm? What about a nice lip balm? Does that work? Fret not, Bohm-dot-com has picked it up lately with two Bohm-bombs in the past week. So maybe Alec is more of an opposite field contact guy than a ding dong dinger guy? Or maybe it’s his first year in the league and once he adjusts he’ll be a monster and yes I’m absolutely going to draft him everywhere in 2021? Melikes the latter one most. His manager thinks he’s a future 40 home run hitter and Gabe Kapler seems to know exactly what’s up. *hard cough* But forget about the power for a sec, Alec has multi-hit games in nine of his last 20 starts, and has hit safely in all but two games this month. He’s slashing .359/.400/.551 with three Bohm bombs and 14 RBI in September and that’s no joke! I almost wrote this lede about another scrubby Red Sox prospect, but I didn’t (you’re welcome!) because I noticed Bohm was a BUY and was still criminally under owned at less than 35%! What gives? He should have been scooped up in August. Bohm could be the dot, dot, dot…spark your team needs to dot, dot, dot…explode in your final week of fantasy. I’m sorry, I have t,–and you have to pick up Bohm and win your final week. This kid’s gonna be a star–ha-cha-cha!
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
For as batshizz crazy 2020 is, I will say that it is exciting. Maybe exciting isn’t the right word. Maybe batshizz crazy is the right thing to say, and leave it at that. Every day we have another rookie callup and I’m here for it, even if it might lead to roofies and waking up to wonder why a member of al Qaeda is making a lampshade out of your back skin. “Que quiero mi torso…lampshade?” Al Qaeda, “We don’t speak Spanish.” So, yesterday the Padres called up Luis Patino. My mom is always telling people about her kitchen cabinets’ faux patina, so this must be good. Check it out: Here he is in Prospect Itch’s top 25 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball. Also, Prospect Hobbs wrote about 1200 words in his Luis Patino fantasy. I’m jazzed like hands and psyched like a shrink! Here’s a small snippet from PH’s post, “Even with just two refined pitches (and another two in the making), Patino has completely baffled right-handed hitters, as they produced a meager .163/.259/.220 slash against him in 2019. Clearly, Patino could step into a big league bullpen tomorrow and be elite. Like, ya know, the opposite of whatever Grey is.” Oh, man, cmon! So, is this the end of Joey Lucchesi of the Doing Crimes To Your Fantasy Team Crime Family? Not sure, but even if Patino is a long man in the bullpen, he’s worth a flyer in leagues 12-team mixed and deeper, depending on needs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:Please, blog, may I have some more?
BABIP is going to fuel batting average this year, which is to say good luck finding lucky hitters. Now one thousand words on how maybe we can pare down the luck. Since 2000, only three players have qualified for the batting title and hit .400+ BABIP. Last year was a particularly weird year. In 123 games and 518 plate appearances, Tim Anderson hit .335 with a .399 BABIP. Like a sushi chef who smells his fingers after handling hirame, “That’s fluky.” Yoan Moncada had 559 plate appearance and a .406 BABIP. (The other two .400+ BABIPs since 2000 were Manny Ramirez in 2000 and his .403 BABIP and Jose Hernandez in 2002 with a .404 BABIP.) Someone this year is going to have a .425+ BABIP and hit .350+. I hope it’s Ketel Marte, because I own him in every league. Pulling focus and moving into a close-up shows that in August of last year there were 15 guys who had a .400 BABIP. I’d el oh el if I weren’t such a serious man. In September, there were also 12 guys who had .400+ BABIPs. Wait, it gets better. In a full slate of games in September, Moncada had a .520 BABIP and hit .412. Yo, Yoan, you Tony Gywnn Jr. Jr. or no? Okay, cool. You might think BABIP is fueled by speed in the short-term, to which I say, Ryan McBroom, Wil Myers and Kyle Schwarber were in the .400+ BABIP group in September. BABIP is going to make batting averages a short-term coin flip, but we still need to figure out some battle plan. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for batting average?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hello, again. Time to wrap this baby on up with the NL East. I don’t know what else to write here that I haven’t in the other two pieces. Check out the NL West Edition and the NL Central Edition if you haven’t already.
Just made myself another old fashioned, the wife is reading, and the kiddo is asleep. Let’s do it to it.
Probably not gonna surprise anyone with this pick: Austin Riley. Riley was having himself a very nice spring, but so was Johan Camargo, his competition at third. Now the DH solves all that – let the slugging prospect, well, slug. Camargo is the better glove, so there you go.
Riley showed glimpses of serious power last season, bashing 18 homers in only 80 games. My lazy and mathematically-challenged brain would double that to 36 HR in 160 games just to give a very rough idea of what we’re looking at. Of course, that’s not sound fantasy advice nor very accurate given those were his first 80 games ever in the majors. We gotta look deeper. Deep dives are king! I’m no expert delver, but let’s give this a shot anyway. He slashed .226/.279/.471 with Atlanta, but hit for a much better average all through the minors. I know that’s not very telling, but I like to at least see if someone has shown ability to hit for average somewhere, sometime. The power last season was nuts – 127 games total and 33 homers. Looking at just his AAA numbers, in 2018 he hit 12 HR in 324 PAs, but launched 15 HR in just 194 PAs last year. Then came up to the bigs and hit 18 more. That’s quite the progression in just a year’s time. His isolated power was .182 in AAA in 2018, which is pretty solid (.200 is the baseline for “great” according to FanGraphs, though it fluctuates a little relative to league averages in a given year). Anyway, his ISO spiked to .333 in 2019, which is off-the-charts good. Yes, we’re judging these numbers off fewer PAs than FanGraphs recommends, but whatever. You can see the power is there. Riley did his best Aristides Aquino when getting the call last season, slashing .324/.368/.732 with nine homers and 25 RBI in his first 18 games. Buuut in his final 62 games, he had almost the exact same production (nine HR, 24 RBI) and a yucky, yucky slash (.192/.249/.379).
The 2019 AAA Riley struck out 20.1% of the time (his best anywhere) and walked 10.3% of the time; but alas, 2019 MLB Riley struck out 36.4% of the time and walked only 5.4% of the time. He still managed a .245 ISO in the majors, which is very damn good, but the rest of his offensive metrics definitely took a nose dive as the year went on. The batted ball metrics are great: 13.7% barrel rate, 44.6% hard-hit rate, and a 20.6-degree launch angle. Riley had 7.7% barrels per plate appearance, which would be top 50 in the league if he qualified. Better than Ketel Marte, Rafael Devers, Gleyber Torres, Max Muncy, and like a ton others, of course. Those are just some big fantasy studs that stood out.
I think you all get the picture. Riley has the chops to be a fantasy force as is, but he’s got improvements he needs to make. If a pitch is in the zone, dude swings like every time (okay, 80.5%) but also chased almost 38% of the time. If he can keep barreling balls and show some more patience, then whoa nelly. They’ve got Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and now this guy?!Please, blog, may I have some more?
You ever draft, like, twelve teams and have eleven teams that are all very similar and one team that is nothing like the other teams? This, here, is that other team. In theory, this team could be my one good team and the other eleven could be garbage, but I sure hope that’s not the case. I started this draft like every other league this offseason — by taking Pete Alonso in the 2nd round. At that point, this team veered into a different direction to never return. For those not in the know, it’s a weekly, 15-team, 5×5, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. NFBC has decided to cut off new slow draft leagues like this one, so I don’t think we’re doing another one this year. Sorry, I wanted to do one more league too. I will now put on The Knack and change the words in my head to My Corona. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is gonna be a weird one. Just when you think the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball are stacked chef’s kiss finding a vacation home on House Hunters International, they take a left turn and become ugly like the Property Brothers. Well, mostly the one who always wears plaid. Any hoo! This post goes on for about 1.8 million words, so let’s dive in. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included. Let’s do this! Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?