Please see our player page for Bo Bichette 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.

In part one of this little mini series, we looked at all of the catchers and corner infielders that I’ll be relying on once the 2020 season gets underway. As much as I enjoy talking about Yadier Molina and Jose Abreu, those guys aren’t exactly dripping with excitement. They’re high floor foundation pieces who are useful fantasy assets, but aren’t the types of players who will carry a team to a fantasy championship. It’s like going to your local burger joint and ordering a plain cheeseburger – it’s not likely to disappoint, but it won’t be a particularly memorable meal either. Middle infielders and outfielders are the bacon, caramelized onions, and special sauce that can be added to that plain burger to make it exceptional. Sometimes, experimenting with exotic ingredients like spicy peppers can lead to indigestion, but it can also lead to a special, unique experience. And there’s plenty of spice to go around in these groups.

All of these ingredients are represented at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield. Power, speed, average, and counting stats – they can all be found in abundance here. The key is to determine who to target and when to target them. Today, I’ll be sharing the middle infielders that I targeted and ended up drafting across my five NFBC leagues for the 2020 season. I originally intended to cover outfielders as well, but since Magoobot’s self-editing mechanism malfunctioned years ago, there’s only room for the guys up the middle today. There’ll be a whole post dedicated to outfielders in part three.

Just like last week, I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up drafting. Both the 12 team NFBC Online Championship and 15 team NFBC Draft Champions formats require that you start 1 2B, 1 SS, and 1 MI at all times, so that’s something to keep in mind during this exercise. As a quick refresher, each player will be placed into one of the following four categories:

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Ben Wagner (@benwag247), voice of the Toronto Blue Jay’s, joins the show to breakdown this young Blue Jay’s roster. We look into the signing of Hyun-Jin Ryu and why they did it. We talk about some of our favorite young players in the organization like Bo Bichette and company. Can Teoscar Hernandez develop into a Khris Davis type player with immense power? The starting rotation has a veteran presence that can help guide Nate Pearson in the big leagues with Tanner Roark and Ryu. We also take a deep dive into their farm system and Ben gives you a couple of guys that he thinks can make a big league impact in the near future.
Sean Reid Foley breakdown: 45 Min
Draft change discussion: 50 Min
J.A Happ memories: 1 HR

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Oh what a year it’s been since my last article was published on April 3rd. At that point I was thinking “Wow, the Athletics could win the AL West this season with this lineup!” Now, I’m left wondering “I wonder if the Blue Jays can beat their division rivals, the NY Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates and win the MLB East.” At this point I don’t care how they break the teams down. Three divisions, six divisions, 15 divisions — just gimme my baseball! There’s only so much KBO I can watch and MLB Power Pros I can play! 

My prediction is that baseball dives face first into “We’re baseball! We ARE America!” and the season launches for 100 games on Saturday, July 4th. What’s more ‘Murican than that?! 

Enough banter — let’s talk about the Blue Jays sleepers. As always — I’m not here to talk about Vlad Guerrero or Bo Bichette — everyone already knows about them and how they’re going to perform. Also — I’m not really going to touch on prospects. The Itch already did a bang up job telling you about Nate Pearson and the other Blue Jays prospects here: https://razzball.com/top-2020-prospects-toronto-blue-jays/

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On a recent spring afternoon, I hopped a DeLorean to go back to the future and discuss the top 100 prospects for 2021.

Then I built a quantum computer to predict next year’s dynasty landscape around the infield.

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Third Base

Today, I’ll post my updated shortstop list, share my thoughts on the process and synthesize conversations we had this week about the position’s future.

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Last night I awoke in a rush. I was sweating, panting almost – awakened by a nightmare more ghastly than you can imagine. One more horrific than the chronic nightmares I had as a child in which the tiny troll figurines stalked my bedroom through all hours of the night. One quick Google search and I’m reliving those dreams – and it’s all too real. Yet, even such horrors do not compare to the demons which disturbed my slumber last night.

Over the past several weeks, I have been struggling to cope with the delay of the Major League Baseball season – something I’m sure you can all relate to. While trying to keep a healthy perspective concerning the real issues and concerns of the present, I have been unable to keep my mind from wandering to the darkest corners of the baseball world. Before the Coronavirus even put the MLB season on hold, I dreamed of such harsh realities taking form. *queues Danny Glover voiceover* You can call it a vision. You can call it a coincidence. I don’t care what you call it, but last night, it got worse.

I found myself walking through an unfamiliar land in which Airpods were even more popular than they are now. Wandering through the streets, I was passed by an Amazon drone engaged in an air delivery. While gazing at its sheer beauty, I stumbled through the gates of Camden Yards and a game program subsequently blew though the wind and onto my startled face. As I pulled the flier away and began to read its text – I instantly gasped in disbelief. 2023 All-Star Game: The Long-Awaited Return of the Midsummer Classic it read, with an action shot of superstar catcher Adley Rutschman spread across the front page.

As I stood in disbelief, I overheard a conversation between two young fans, arguing who indeed was the top backstop in the game, Rutschman or San Francisco’s Joey Bart. But what about J.T. Realmuto, I thought? Or the mid-career development of Willson Contreras? I continued to eavesdrop with the hope that more details would soon become clear.

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For many stuck at home during this health crisis, we have suddenly been given the responsibility of “home schooling” our children. For some I know this has been quite a challenge, especially those with more than one child. Fortunately for me I only have one, a first grade girl that enjoys math and reading. Also fortunately for me, I work from home 99 percent of the time, so I’m used to the environment and routine. As for having a kid constantly looking to play, it just feels like the summer to me. Although it did snow here yesterday.

One of the math worksheets I gave my daughter this morning required her to determine which way the alligator mouth opens to. For those not in tune with first grade math lingo, this is referring to the greater than/less than sign. The alligator mouth opens to the bigger number. I can almost see light bulbs going on in some of your heads. Chomp! Chomp! Anyway, I figured I’d play a little game of greater than with points league players for the supposed 2020 season.

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After much success last year in NFBC’s Cutline competition (around top 30 overall out of 1,000 teams), I decided to give it another go. Mind you, they only pay top 20, and I came in approximately (I don’t remember) 30th, so I didn’t win money last year, but money can’t buy happiness. Happiness can only be derived from seeing a Japanese mascot petting a dog. Nothing else counts towards happiness. Luckily, this league doesn’t have a happiness category. You might remember (likely don’t) that I autodrafted the first four rounds last year for my “much success” team, so in some ways this year’s league is a test of Man vs. Machine because I drafted this whole kit and/or kaboodle. Everyone likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are the best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Now that I think about it, it’s not Man vs. Machine this year for me; it’s Man vs. Machine vs. Machine. HOLY CRAP, WE’RE OUTNUMBERED!  Anyway, here’s my NFBC Best Ball, Points League, 10 team draft recap:

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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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Oh man, the crack of the bat and the sound of the ball hitting leather. It’s seamhead heaven, boys of summer katnip, and time to put away the hot stove (well almost). Spring training baseball has just started. Beer is flowing from Florida to Arizona and lazy afternoons at the ballpark are in vogue.

As such, Razzball’s 2020 inaugural Top 100 Hitters is here to inform, entertain, and track your favorite sluggers, five category studs and perhaps underappreciated gems. We have to start somewhere, so here are the rules for this first list: They’re geared towards 5×5 roto leagues. “Last” is tracking where the hitters were in the last Top 100 of September of 2019. “Change” is a change from that last 2019 ranking.

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Holy crap shortstop is deep! You’re guaranteed to say this to yourself at least twice during this episode as we discuss the Top 20 Shortstops for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. From top to bottom few positions offer the type of excitement the six does. In fact, the top six players at this position are all covered in the Overall Top 20 for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. But that’s not all as we touch on nearly 40 players during this episode, it’s a jam packed shortstop-copia. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast.

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