Please see our player page for Andrew Vaughn 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.

Been a while since I gave you a roundup of news, so guess what? Here’s a roundup of news, or in the case of Josh Jung, a guy who I added to the rankings. First off, what Prospect Itch said previously, “The best Texas prospect since Gallo, Josh Jung brings full-field power, plate discipline, and a plus hit tool along with functional defense at the hot corner. I’m trying to acquire him in my 20-team OBP league and suggest anyone seeking potentially affordable third base help consider the same in their leagues. Speaking of affordable, anyone know a reasonably priced hitman to take out Grey?” Okay, that’s not cool. Hold on one second, are you telling me the Rangers have a decent prospect? I call BS. I thought the Rangers gave up after finally figuring out how to spell Saltalamacchia. Oh, I know, this is the Rangers just trying to sneak Michael Young back out at 3rd base, and spelling his name differently. Jung, you’re nothing but a Freud! Podcaster Ralph told me the other day, he thinks Jung is a 25-homer, 3-steal, .280 hitter. Not sure how much time Jung sees this year, but the draft season is still Jung! Sorry, hashtag never again. I added Josh Jung into my top 20 3rd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball with the projections: 21/6/25/.272/1 in 170 ABs, but obviously those could go up if he breaks camp. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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For a two-time World Series Champion with over 40 years of experience in MLB front offices, Dave Dombrowski gets a bad rap. The consensus on the baseball operations veteran seems to be that his only formula for success is to either ink big contracts or swap top prospects for elite talent that comes accompanied with hefty salaries. However, Dombrowski’s maneuvers have largely come as a result of the hands he has been dealt and the relative competitiveness of his various organizations at the time of his hire. He turned the 1997 Florida Marlins, a 1993 expansion team, into a World Series Champion. He built one of the greatest starting rotations in modern history in Detroit. He came to Boston in 2015 with a mandate to take the Red Sox to the top and did just that in 2018. Is he perfect? Far from it. Can he win a championship? Clearly. You should desire the same.

I say this to explain why I frequently refer to my strategy in dynasty leagues as Dombrowski-esque. It is not simply because of Dave’s suave, shiny gray hair to which I look forward to sporting myself in my mid-50s. In these formats, managers are drafting using such polarizing strategies that the key is to seek out excess value by pitting your opposition’s own intelligence (or so it may seem) against them. Seek opportunity where it presents itself, and if that means honing in on proven talent to win now, then do so. There will always be newer, shinier (but not as shiny as Dave’s hair) prospects to target in these leagues down the line. That’s why today I will be reviewing my selections in the 12 team, H2H points dynasty startup mock that fellow Razzballer Dylan Vaughan Skorish and I partook in this past week. Although I will reveal all of my selections, my focus in this piece will be to review my strategy and discuss the prospects I targeted in this mock draft.

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I don’t have some big introductory explanation here. I trust you grasp the premise and intend to skip this paragraph, but if I still have your eyes for the moment, I’ll say I imagine a start-up build for a 15-team, 2-catcher dynasty league when parsing through the lists and try to explain when a player’s value varies based on settings. If you’re in a contention window, your rankings should look a bit different than they’d look on the front end of a rebuild. I’ll flag some players along the way for whom the disparity in value can get especially large from build to build. 

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Baseball is in good hands. Look no further than Grey’s top 10 for 2021 fantasy baseball, where you can witness the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto and Mookie Betts ranked ahead of the greatest player of our time, Randy Arozarena. Just kidding, I really do mean Mike Trout. Venture further into the top 20 and you’ll find Christian Yelich (No. 11), Bo Bichette (No. 12), Nolan Arenado (No. 16) and Luis Robert (No. 20). Side note: what a steal Yelich is going to be in 2021, amiright? But the point I’m trying to get to (and I really am trying), is that right now in baseball we have a beautiful mixture of established veterans performing at high levels (dare I say their prime?) at the forefront of the game and a deep group of emerging young players quickly breaking through into the top 20 talents in all of baseball. The sport, as a whole, is in tremendous hands and the picture only improves when one looks to the plethora of talent trickling down the prospect pipeline. Wander Franco, Jarred Kelenic, Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodriguez and Royce Lewis are all pounding on the door, just to mention a few names, and I haven’t even broached the subjecting of pitching talent in baseball today. Long story short: it’s a good time to be a baseball fan, but still a bad time to be short, or tell long stories.

Of the five prospects named above, all could potentially debut in the Majors in 2021. I’m excited about them all. But as I began writing this piece, I realized that despite their varying long-term outlooks, there’s one positional prospect I’m more excited about owning in re-draft leagues this year than any of them — and their name might surprise you.

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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:

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The White Sox invited some gray clouds when they fired Rick Renteria to bring in Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, who was treated by the media as Drunken Old School Baseball Man, for reasons almost entirely of La Russa’s own design.

But as a young Cubs fan during La Russa’s spirited (heh) reign in St. Louis, I think some of the dismissal is shortsighted. This guy put power bats in the two-hole back when it was called the two-hole because everyone thought the only logical baseball move was to put your best bunter slash worst hitter there. The second spot in the batting order was referred to as a hole when La Russa was taking criticism for using good hitters there. I know I’m being redundant, but it’s been weird to see the Twitterverse speculate the guy who oversaw the bash brothers would throw a hissy fit about bat flips. Maybe he won’t love it. Maybe he’ll say something stupid. Maybe he’ll debilitate an up-and-coming clubhouse. And maybe he hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt. But to characterize him as some groupthink fossil who’s never done a single smart thing in the game is the sort of internet sunshine of the spotless mind that gets my neurons firing. He inherits a system with immediate help at the top and not much to dream on beyond that. 

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Andrew Vaughn, hmm. A classic case of team ready to win, having the parts to do it, but are they thinking long-term to save money? Like Altuve trying to get cereal, going with the latter always wins. Never trust teams to promote prospects. It’s good self-care to expect teams to be absolutely monolithic creatures of saving money and not caring for fans’ wants and/or needs. Imagine a giant glove compartment filled with all the Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons in the entire world, that’s every major league team, except the Dodgers and Yankees, and maybe now the Mets. By the by, how do the Dodgers and Yanks compete every year? Hmm, let’s see, could it be they spend money? Really? I nailed it on my first guess? Damn, just lucky I guess. The Pirates’ team owner is worth $1.1 billion. He could sign Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and Liam Hendricks to one-year $25 million contracts, and still have one billion left over accruing enough interest to pay for those contracts. But, ya know, poor franchises! Any hoo! Andrew Vaughn’s ETA is what this entire post is going to come down to, but, well…So, what can we expect from Andrew Vaughn for 2021 fantasy baseball?

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I love most things about playing fantasy baseball leagues, but I especially love the push/pull of short versus long-term outcomes. I play a lot of dynasty, keeper and redraft leagues of various shapes and sizes, so the range of values I might place on a prospect in a given league is wide.

Not here, though, where I’ll be going full cut-throat, win-the-money redraft style.

  • Note: Nobody will be cutting actual throats. I love that phrase, but yikes, what a thing to say in casual conversation, huh?

This list won’t turn out to be 100 percent accurate, but it will reflect many hours of trade talks, gameplay, research, roller coasters and centrifuges of thought, educated guesswork, and dash of the psychology motivating humans working within a nihilistic capitalist structure. 

  • Note: I wasn’t sure how to handle innings caps. Every pitcher got dinged a little for the purposes of this list because some/most organizations will be very conservative pushing pitchers from 30-something (or zero) innings up above 100 (or more).
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Who doesn’t love reading something that starts with a disclaimer? Nobody, that’s who. Unless you do, in which case I’m sorry, but here goes: this list is built around players I don’t think will debut before 2021, in part because those were the parameters malamoney gave me in the comments section a few posts ago, in part because the AB and IP math won’t be settled for a while yet.  

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Cowabunga, dude! I really dropped the Butterfinger on Joey Bart. I’ve done okay predicting the call-ups in this space, but I just didn’t think San Francisco would start Bart’s service clock during a lost season in exchange for five weeks of games. Turns out, it’s not a lost season just yet. Despite occupying last place in the NL West, they’re just a few games out of a playoff spot at 12-and-16 before Saturday’s game. Johnny Cueto looks pretty good, AC Slater is rocking those amazing pants, and young(ish) Yaz is still getting on base half the time. They might be Giants after all!

So who’s next?

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