Our long national nightmare is over (except for the actual long national nightmare that isn’t over — sigh, to be a person with parenthetical blindness and not have to read this caveat)! We did it, boys and five girl readers. We f*cking did it! Not us, per se. We didn’t do shizz, except draft some baseball players for fantasy. But, ya know what, that’s enough for me! See, with lowered goals and expectations, you’re never disappointed. It’s a zen thing; you wouldn’t understand. It was a mere nine months ago when we started talking about sleepers and rankings and…How old am I now?
Well, whatever, baseball is back and that’s all that matter. Singing like an absolute loon, “Baseball’s back and I want to get married — hey nah, hey nah — baseball’s back!” And, now in my mind, I’m married to Giancarlo Stanton. Ask yourself why you didn’t send us a wedding gift. Selfish much? Of course, Opening Day couldn’t have happened in any other way in 2020. It had to be met with cold-ass reality, which why Juan Soto tested positive for Covid. It sucks, Mr. Obvious said, but it’s also a reminder of what this year will be. It’s going to be waiver wire pickups, the Streamonator, the Hittertron and playing of matchups. If you’re curious and want to torture yourself, Juan Soto fell to 179th overall in the final 2020 preseason rankings. Stepping in to replace Juan Soto will be Andrew Stevenson, the James Spader of replacements. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Well, hello everyone and welcome back to your favorite place to hear about split fingers, Razzball’s Top 100 Starting Pitcher List! If you’ve been a good fantasy baseball manager, you’ve already bookmarked the previous article while you were drafting your teams and social media should be cheering your wise moves. If you’ve been a bad manager and Grey put you in his basement, well, you’re probably sitting next to me right now eating from a hoarded supply of Pop Tarts. Leave me the strawberry!
Before we get to the list, let’s check up on a couple of important news bits. If you follow me on Twitter @everywhereblair, some of these updates are already old stories for you. In case this is your first time here, I’ll catch you up: I update the Google Doc below daily in response to hearing about Covid news, rotation management, and summer training performances. Bookmark this page and check it out to get the most up-to-date pitcher rankings for your drafting needs. By following me on Twitter, you’ll hear first when I update the Top 100 Starting Pitcher List.
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:
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.
On our Steamer Fantasy Baseball Rankings, which have been updated to a 60-game season, we have 1,310 players ranked. 645 of them gained value. Some, for unstints, gained $0.1 of value like Juan Soto. Another hundred had zero value change like Christian Yelich. Another 600+ lost value. I’ll go over those guys in another post. This post will feature the top 20 players who gained the most value from doing nothing but bingeing Netflix for the last three months. Who knew watching Joe Exotic would add more value than any Driveline drills? Apparently, all baseball players need to know is, “Who is dumpster diving at your nearest Costco?” Anyway, here’s the top 20 biggest positive value changes for fantasy baseball pre vs. post-shutdown:
True story: DonkeyTeeth calls me up on the ol’ Twitter machine this morning. Me, I’m just awake from dreaming of 5-year-old Blair riding out in my dad’s Buick Skylark into the Minneapolis night to celebrate the Twin’s 1987 World Series win. Suddenly Donkey’s typing: “Top 100 Switchers.” And I’m like, “Donkey, it’s 7AM, I’m not ready for that!” He types into the Twitter machine, “TOP 100 PITCHERS!” So I say, that’s fine, here: 1) Beer, 2) Sangria, 3) Margarita… . Donk does it. You know. He starts typing, but doesn’t finish. The little dots on the bottom of my Twitter machine beep out in morse code–or whatever code Jack wants to call it–that causes mental insanity among so many people. I’m transfixed. The next use of a nuclear code, you know it’s going to be preceded by those little waiting dots. President Swift will have to verify the code with Vice President Lovitz but only after they clear their notifications. Finally, Donkey’s message comes across. “2-for-1 pitchers at BWW if you get there before 9AM. See ya.” That’s the level of training they give here at Razzball. I tell ya, I get no respect at all.
Day 1,292 of Quarantine and I’ve started sliding my feet everywhere I go in my house while swinging my arms and screaming to Cougs, “Guess who I am?!” Then she has to try to guess which Olympic skater I am based on my routine. Me, stopping suddenly, glitter top chafing my nipples, making me especially irritated, “Dorothy Hamill?! Are you drunk woman? I’m Maxim Kovtun, you absolute loon!” Honestly, from my selection of Genesis’s I Can’t Dance for my routine, I thought it was obvious. So, the top 80 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball were updated with new projections for a 100-game season. With this series, I will take a look around the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings to see if there’s any differences now that we might only play a 100-game season. Projections have been updated on all my positional rankings. Anyway, here’s thoughts on the top 80 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball with the new Corona timeline:
Best part is that if you shake anyone’s hand, the cocktail in the title can be used as a disinfectant. So (with forty-six oh’s), we could have baseball. Just in Arizona and Florida. That was the news reports on Friday. By today that news will likely change. Tomorrow, we’ll hear something else. On Wednesday, well, on Wednesday, we’ll hear there’s one place Coronavirus still hasn’t affected. The MLB season can be played out in full. Allow me to set the scene: A manager comes out for a mound visit, “Just trust your stuff. Please. It’s freakin’ freezing,” as baseball plays out its 162-game season in Antartica. With the Florida/Arizona schedule the MLB has floated, the Mets will face the Astros, Nats, Cards and Marlins. El oh–oh, eff me and my Pete Alonso shares. “Hello, I’m Gary Cohen, and the Mets are coming off a 15-minute road trip to Ft. Lauderdale where they saw Scherzer, Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Now they return home for two 7-inning doubleheaders vs. Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, then it’s off to see the Cards and Jack Flaherty.” Luckily, I doubt it happens. I mean, maybe. Right now, everything’s on the table, which is a good sign that baseball will happen. But everyone in Florida and Arizona? I guess it’s not absolutely crackers, but I don’t see why playing there is any better than just playing in empty stadiums in their home cities. Is it more manageable because everyone’s in one place? Travel is not an issue for MLB teams with private jets. Long-term residences in Arizona or Florida is easier? I guess, maybe, but if teams have people come in to those residences to clean the rooms, are the maids tested? Are the Jersey Mike’s employees tested from where Mike Trout ordered his subs? Because you know homeboy loves the roast beef sub and calls himself Jersey Mike. My point is players will be at risk in Florida or Arizona. So, a Grapefruit/Cactus League season is interesting, but doesn’t solve all or really any issues. Though, I do wish I drafted German Marquez in one league with the thought he won’t have one game in Coors. Oh, and Nolan Arenado outside of Coors becomes like a 4th or 5th rounder. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for 2020 fantasy baseball:
As I sit at my laptop, staring aimlessly into an abyss of text, numbers and a series of minimized Incognito windows dedicated to my side-hobby of sending Trevor Bauer unsolicited romantic couplets, I find myself wondering how to properly attack my first article as a Razzball contributor. I debate whether Eddie Murphy felt this way before his public debut in a Gumby costume, or if Christopher Columbus experienced similar inner musings prior to the first time he pretended to discover a piece of land.
I’m sure they did. When it comes to matters as essential as fantasy baseball, impersonating a childhood cartoon character and kind-of discovering the free world, it’s only natural to want to put your best foot forward and start off on a positive note.
Amidst these trying times, I have prepared a list for the great readers of Razzball which may ordinarily seem premature, but in the age of Coronaphobia and near-world downfall, it unfortunately is not. Today, I present to you the top 10 college baseball prospects to target mid-season (and beyond) in dynasty formats.
Last week I drafted against Scott White of CBS and like ten other Razzball guys. Pretty soon this league’s draft will be Scott White smashing a bottle of champagne on the front of the Razzball ship, then twelve Razzball guys will battle for the ‘ship with Donkey Teeth screaming, “You’ve sunk my battleship,” and me saying, “I’m standing next to you, stop screaming.” So, it was B_Don, The Prospect Itch, Donkey Teeth, me, Scott White and some other ‘perts. Maybe those other Razzball guys will give you a recap of their drafts (if you ask nicely), but we’re here for my ishkabibble and I came away with a team more imbalanced than your aunt after two cocktails. This league is deep so hold onto ye olde hat. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues. Or closet buddies, if you’re reading fast and/or experimenting.) Anyway, here’s my 12-team AL-Only team and some thoughts: