Please see our player page for Blake Snell 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.

If you drafted any time between the end of the season and now, and you took a SP with one of your top two picks, there’s a good chance you’re playing injury optimism roulette right now.  Someone put Jacob DeGrom, and Walker Buehler under full bubble wrap treatment as they’re really the only ones unscathed from the top 20 picks or so at the moment in the pitcher camp. Even Gerrit Cole had a Coronavirus scare with a fever last month that’s since subsided.  Let’s do some quick hits on where everyone is at the moment.

Editorial Note from the Donkey: Of course everything will be turned upside down if and when the MLB makes a decision on a delayed start to the season. Some of these guys will end up being great buy low targets if you have to draft today. Stay tuned and please be safe out there!

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Okay, so we recorded this show over the weekend prior to the big news about Justin Verlander. Hearken back to a more simple time where yours truly was 100% secure in his second round selection of Justin Verlander in the 2020 TGFBI. Grey, this episode’s unlikely voice of reason tries to impress into my thick skull that pitcher’s are the worst. As it turns out pitcher’s are in fact the worst, but I cannot quit them. Any the who, we roll through another 50 pitchers and tell you who to draft and who to avoid as we navigate the unsuspecting waters of drafting pitchers in fantasy. It’s the Top 50 Pitchers for 2020.

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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:

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I’m attempting something new with this year’s top 100 keepers article. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but never had the time or brainpower to figure out. I want to try to objectively (impossible) rank each player on how many projected categories they provide for your team. 

I broke each standard 5×5 category down into five statistical outcome ranges. Take runs for example.

 

Points 0 .25 .5 .75 1
Runs Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
HRs Under 16 17-23 24-30 31-37 Over 38
RBI Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
SBs Under 8 9-13 14-18 19-23 Over 23
AVG Under .254 .255-.269 .270-.284 .285-.299 Over .300
W Under 7 8-10 11-13 14-16 Over 17
K Under 159 160-184 185-209 210-234 Over 235
ERA Over 4.45 3.96 – 4.44 3.46-3.95 2.96-3.45 Under 2.95
WHIP Over 1.33 1.24-1.32 1.15-1.23 1.06-1.14 Under 1.05
SV Under 11 12-17 18-23 24-30 Over 30

 

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It is important to maintain the fundamental rules of society. One of those rules being, respect your elders. Last week, I introduced luck regression candidates with less than 400 career innings pitched, and piggybacking off of that premise we must also account for our Restored Vets. In order to identify Restored Veteran pitchers who suffered from poor luck in 2019 I performed the following:

  • Gathered all starting pitchers with over 50 innings pitched in 2019. Thanks, Fangraphs.
  • Removed pitchers with less than 400 career innings pitched to isolate for Restored Vets.
  • Sorted to find only pitchers whose ERA was 0.5 greater than one of FIP, xFIP, or SIERA.
  • Eliminated any pitchers who did not have a metric under 4.5.
  • Deleted any pitchers without a top 30 WAR season in the past 3 years.

The result? 9 pitchers. I’ve removed 4 of those for reasons noted at the bottom. The rest of the group is evaluated below:

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One word about this top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words. I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Patterns In Queso That Look Like Messages From Another Planet for 2020– Okay, but I almost got you. This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other. Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from. 467 more, to be very exact. Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 567. Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500 that will go to 8,602, then a top 25,000 that will go to 28,765, then a top 600,000 that will go to 892,121, until we end up with a top kajillion in April that will go to a kajillion and one. Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500. Yeah, that makes sense. Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel. Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2020 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.” Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters. Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter! Razzball Subscriptions are also now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room, and you can go ad-free for a $9.99. Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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While Donkey Teeth finishes up his trip to the zen forest, forest of zen? Anyway, B_Don is joined by fellow Razzballer Roto-Wan to discuss their co-managed Prospects Live 5 Year Best Ball dynasty squad and how they approach a deep draft.

Roto-Don also talk about some of the draft challenges that have come up in the early draft season and how you address your pitching staff may dictate how you attack the first few rounds. Sit down and listen to this classic tale involving fantasy baseball luchadors.

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies. It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown. I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted. Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth. Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around. Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  Simple Math has an attitude problem. Simple Math says, “Try counting on your fingers without me!” Yo, eff you, Simple Math! In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April. With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest. (By the by, Razzball Subscriptions are now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room.) There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck. Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to change, depending on which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs. Finally, the best starters can give you four categories. The best hitters can give you five categories. So, here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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Some of you may be saying, “Is this the guy from the football side who is obsessed with defensive pressure rates?” Yes, it is.

Some of you will then ask, “Is this man as funny as Grey?” Sadly, no.

Everyone will then most definitely ask, “What does this man know about baseball?” Enough to spew 1000+ words per week into WordPress.

Baseball is far and away my favorite fantasy sport. I’ve been a Razzball consumer since I was a pimple faced teenager. My background with Razzball is important. It explains many of my philosophies, primarily those in regards to pitching. Typically, I wait on starting pitching far later than the norm and complete pre-season prep with that notion in mind. Instead of spending hours sorting top ranked pitchers, I focus in on pitchers who have the highest probabilities of far exceeding expectations.

This concept is at the core of the series, in which the sole purpose is to find the likeliest 2020 breakout pitchers. To start, I will delve into a group of 12 pitchers who exceeded draft day value from the last 3 seasons. Using their backgrounds, I hope to find some cohesion to locate what changed and led to the breakout. Finally, I’ll take those commonalities and locate 2020 pitchers meeting the same criteria to find who is most likely to win us our leagues.

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You emerge from mother’s basement, holding your hands up to your eyes to block the sun, and scream, “Ma! I won my fantasy league! Ma!” You stop to look around; it’s a fiery landscape reminiscent to an apocalypse. You open further the basement door, and it falls off its hinges. You, scared, “Ma?” There’s no walls anymore on your house, which gives you a vantage point to the entire surrounding area that smolders. Coming up your once-tree-lined street is a posse of thousands of–An army from another country? Another world? Who are they? What have they done with your family? Just as the questions dissolve over you, a warrior spots you and grunts for you to get in line. You reach for the only weapon you can get your hands on, a Lou Pinella commemorative mini-bat from a 1981 stadium giveaway, and join the post-apocalyptic army. As you scuttle into position behind the marching forces, you see a group of warriors carrying your mother’s head on a pitchfork. Overcome with emotion, you run up and scream, “Ma! I gotta tell you about the fantasy league I won!” In this scenario, I am your mother, and the army is Razzball. You’re welcome! Today is the day when you realize you’ve spent 27,000 man hours this summer beating eleven other strangers to win a virtual trophy, and it feels great! That’s if you won your league, if you came in 2nd or worst, you get an A for effort. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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