Please see our player page for Charlie Morton 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.

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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There is a LOT of information available for fantasy owners to try and digest these days. New writers and podcasts emerge every day (over 500 different fantasy analysts by last count). New stats and ways of slicing and dicing existing data are constantly emerging. Don’t get me wrong – I love the latest Statcast research as much as the next guy. But fantasy writers often pile up the acronyms and exotic statistics, as if 2000 words on spin rate has inherent interest just because it’s in-depth. It can be hard to find actionable fantasy moves in a table with 10 varying components of xStats.

I’m kicking off a new series today, utilizing data visualization to try and narrow in on fantasy baseball insights. Good visualization helps you achieve your goals by channeling success onto your subconscious until your reality lines up with your drea….I’ve been watching too much late-night Tony Robbins. Good data visualization takes complex raw data and translates it into easily-understood, actionable images.

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I am not a ranker.

I never put players in an official order before writing at Razzball. Last year, MB asked me to provide flex rankings for football. This year, Donkey Teeth asked me to provide top 100 pitcher rankings for baseball. Now all I do with my life is rank players!

My typical draft prep revolved around locating a targeted set of pitchers throughout the draft, and conversely identifying pitchers I had no interest in. The strategy was to draft as many targets as possible and fill in the cracks where my pitching staff was showing weakness to construct a balanced pitching staff. Though I am providing a top 100 list, it remains of the utmost importance to embrace pitching staff construction over drafting based on raw rankings.

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Contracts, the lifeblood of Major League Baseball. If you’re good enough, after you put in your time making nothing and riding on buses, the team owns you until you run through the rookie contract. Of course teams want to protect themselves from paying the next Jon Singleton, and this is how contracts end up with options. Some favor the team and others the player. It usually boils down to who has more leverage at the bargaining table.

Vested options are typically put on the back end of contracts, especially for older players. Some of these milestones might mean that a guy pushes through a minor injury. Others may put the club in a position where they prefer a player miss their vested option. The team can control the likelihood of completing the option.

For instance, Wade Davis has a vesting option to finish 30 games this season. Given his performance last year, the Rockies are more likely to find an alternative option should he falter or give him more days in between closing opportunities even if he returns to form.

What does this mean for you in fantasy? It means Scott Oberg, Jairo Diaz, and Carlos Estevez become interesting options at the back end of the draft. Oberg had the best numbers last year, but underlying numbers show he might have been lucky and has lost velocity on the fastball the last 3 seasons. Jairo and Estevez both throw upper 90s with sliders.

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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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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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All the final 2019 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2020 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts). This is a recap. Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  Like when you had a knee replacement, this is a recap! To recapitulate the recap, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Adalberto Mondesi will have surgery on his shoulder and miss the next five to six months. *insert GIF of King Tommen falling out of the window* Mondesi likely won’t be ready for Opening Day. Cancel 2020. Don’t even want to go on. Please, don’t try to cheer me up. I’m wallowing! Let me wallow! Guess it’s better to get the injury out of the way now vs. in March. Ha, you thought I was being positive! Screw you for misreading my intentions! It’s not good news, this means his shoulder could re-injure at any point in 2020 and become a recurring issue. Give me a tissue. I already miss you. I’m a sad poet and aware of it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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And another one! That’s right, to the dozen(s) of you out there still reading this, Kyle Lewis did it again Friday night going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and his sixth home run. Lewis now has six dingers through his first 10 games as a pro, making him just the fourth player (Aristides Aquino, Trevor Story and Dino Restelli are the other three) to accomplish this. He’s now slashing .325/.349/.850 on the year with 10 runs scored and 12 RBI. He’s got three doubles to go with his six jacks, and yeah, that will help your fantasy team, people! Ignore the fact that he’s struck out in 40% of his at bats, and ignore the dreadful Double-A stats, dude’s got a .525 ISO! The 20.6% swinging strike rate, or the 58.3% contact rate in the minors? Ignore that too! If you want a reason not to BUY Kyle Lewis I suggest checking out Son’s awesome post where he really breaks down some of the advanced stats we saw from Lewis at AA. But like I said, I’m going to ignore all that and focus on the fact that he is hitting all the beisbols right now and he’s hitting them over the fence. He will have plenty of time this offseason to come back down to Earth to be the below-average Mariners prospect he is clearly destined to be, but right now Kyle is hotter than a JLo striptease set to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” And trust me that’s about as hot as it gets. I’d add Lewis everywhere on every team for the final week and pray he can fight off the regression fairies another 7 days and keep hitting home runs into the cheap seats. He was a BUY and he’s the most exciting player to come out of a week of Seattle baseball since Domingo Santana in the first week of 2019. Start with a bang, end with a bang, and play like absolute garbage in between. You do you, Seattle! In the meantime, I’m going to pick up Kyle Lewis.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Cubs rookie Nico Hoerner hit his first career home run Friday night going 2-for-5 with 4 RBI. He started off the Chicago onslaught with a 2-run shot in the first inning and added a 2-run single in the fifth! He was a BUY and here’s what Grey had to say about him, “Hoerner is the Cubs’ top prospect, which is more of an indictment about the Cubs’ farm system. He doesn’t strike out, and possesses decent on-base skills, so maybe some short-term value.” And that’s me quoting Grey! If that’s not a high endorsement, I don’t know what kind of waiver adds you’re looking for in mid-September but Nico might be your best bet. Does he make you Hoerner, baby? Woah, sick reference, bro, how old even are you? Nico is slashing .350/.435/.600 through his first 20 at-bats with a home run and 8 RBI, he’s also still available in most leagues, which is important since I don’t know how many of you are even left reading this at this point in the year. Just my mom and my stalker, most likely (hi mom, hi Gordon!). My stalker Gordon’s wondering why I had to stop playing WoW Classic for 4 hours to do other fantasy things. I’ll be right back, Gordon, I swear, please don’t send my family death threats again! Nico could be worth an add for any team in need of some runs and average, especially if the Cubs plan on scoring 17 every game from here on out.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?