Please see our player page for Cole Hamels 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.

Dudes and five lady dudes, pitching is going to be a mess in 2020. Pitching is usually where I excel at pinpointing guys to draft and avoid, and right now I’m looking at an array of hot takes: “Top starters are more valuable! “Top middle relievers are more valuable!” “Tops are bottoms, and I’m not talking about baseball anymore!” I can’t tell hot takes from shiitakes. Usually I’m able to say, “With 100% confidence, I would not draft a top starter.” This year, if you’re saying anything with 100% confidence, you’re lying. Seriously, don’t trust anyone who is confident in predicting anything in a 60-game season. We’ve never seen anything like this and may never again. Embrace it? Sure. But “Be Water” like Bruce Lee said, and adapt. With so few innings to prepare for the season in Summer Camp, will top starters even be ready to go? That alone should shut up the “You need top starters” people. With so few innings in the actual season, that should also shut up the “Don’t pay for starters this year” people. Instead, let’s just break down the categories, and see if we can’t just win those. Laura also just gave you a solid look at possible ERA strategy. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for ERA & WHIP?

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So we’re gonna have a season, maybe, hopefully…..who knows.  But we need to be prepping like there’s going to be one.  So let’s take a look at some of the specifics that have come down from MLB with the new plan for the season and how it should effect how you handle injuries/Covid related issues going into the year.

First off, the rules.  MLB released a list of precautions when they and the players’ union approved the deal for the 60 game season.  Testing is the biggest thing we need to keep an eye on.  Everyone’s getting tested for active Covid-19 as well as antibodies upon reporting to Spring Training 2.0.  They will not be cleared for work until they tests negative for Covid (we’ll come back to this).  In season, players will undergo multiple “symptom tests” per day (temp checks and “how are you feeling” questionnaires).  They will also be tested every other day.

So what happens if someone tests positive?  Well, each team has to put in place their own Covid handling program that meets certain minimum requirements.  The biggest thing though is that, in order to be cleared to play, a player must test negative twice within a 24 hour period and show now symptoms for 72 hours.  This is a big deal.  There’s no real rhyme or reason for how long Covid stays in your system, but even asymptomatic cases seem to last a minimum of 14 days.  I looked into some prominent cases that took place over in Europe when Covid hit some of their soccer leagues: Callum Hudson-Odoi, a winger for Chelsea tested positive for Coronavirus at the beginning of March.  He wasn’t able to test negative until the beginning of May, despite showing few symptoms.  Paolo Dybala, who plays for Juventus, tested positive in mid-March and was asymptomatic.  He wasn’t cleared until almost the end of May.  Suffice to say, it’s going to be case by case when it comes to each one of these testing scenarios, but I think it would be wise to treat a positive test like a month long or more injury when trying to evaluate how to handle your roster.

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Anyone who plans on engaging in a little fantasy baseball fun over the (hopefully) upcoming 60-game season has certainly been thinking about the overwhelming number of meaningful changes that have occurred over the last several months.  There are so many alterations and unusual circumstances, and so much incomplete information, that it’s been hard for me to begin even preparing for how to attack things in 2020.  How this all translates specifically to AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues is yet another wrinkle that it may be tricky to successfully iron out before it’s too late.

I have a few teams that have sat “frozen” since as early as November that will re-open for FAAB and waiver wire moves soon, plus at least three more deep-league drafts to do over the next few weeks.  As I begin formulating some strategies for addressing these teams, I’m going to start by checking in on some deeper-league injury situations.  Since I’m writing this several days before players are expected to show up at their new camps, there will likely be a flurry of news and updates soon, but for now let’s take a look at some of the health news that’s come in over the last week or so.  We’ll keep it deep league by checking in on some players outside the top 300 in NFBC ADP this year, listed in order of earliest drafted to latest drafted. These are guys that we might have forgotten about and who might get ignored in standard leagues regardless of whether or not they’re ready to take the field, but who, if healthy, might help those of us who are going to need to get a little more creative with our roster construction.

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Yesterday most teams announced their 60-man rosters for Summer Camp. You know Summer Camp, it’s when MLB players compete against each other in kayak and potato sack races, learn to respect other kids, even ones with nerdy glasses, and are managed by Bill Murray. Oh, and, yeah, all teams were supposed to release their 60-man rosters, but when you make a rule that in extra innings a runner will start on 2nd base, then rules are officially stupid and should not be followed. Rob Manfred speaking into a phone, “Brewers, we need your 60-man roster.”  Brewers, “It’s in your ass, Rob.” Rob, “I’m looking in a mirror and I do not see it.” One other thing about the 60-man rosters that were released:  they were all a few short of 60. 60-man rosters are a lot like Opening Day, a wait-and-see affair. Guys can be added still in the coming days. So, maybe there’s hope still for Ryan Mountcastle and Adley Rutschman, since they were omitted from the Orioles’ released 44-man roster. It would be surprising if they weren’t included in the coming days, if this weren’t the Orioles. Some teams included their 2020 draft picks. The Orioles have yet to include their 1st pick from 2015 (Mountcastle) and their 1st pick from last year. i.e., Grey’s about to lose his crap and only talk in 3rd person. Anyway, here’s what else I saw 2020 fantasy baseball:

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You see a girl across the bar.

She’s gorgeous.

An angel.

Maybe.

It’s dark.

Tough to see real well.

But one thing you can say for sure is there’s a human sitting across the bar in this post-rona scenario. 

You’re eager to move a little closer, maybe buy a couple drinks. And who knows? Might be the start of something long term. 

You can feel the competition looming. Lotta hungry eyes in the house. Can’t sit around much longer. Have to move in before you’re certain.  

What I’ve just described is the free agent pitching pool in most dynasty leagues. It’s also the general pitching landscape between spots 150 and 200–this week’s focus point. The situation can seem dire most nights, but people get picked up all the time, and some turn out to be great finds. 

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Day 17,881 of Quarantine and I ran into an old friend of mine at the supermarket. We wrestled over a roll of toilet paper and he tried to pull my mask off my face, but I’ve glued it on. A muffled laugh as I kicked him in the groin and walked off with the toilet paper. Cougs and I will be crapping tonight! So, the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball were updated with new projections for a 100-game season. With this series, I took 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. Tomorrow, I’m unveiling a new series, it’s gonna pack a punch. Too bad it’s not packing a lunch. I don’t have a Whole Foods delivery window until the end of May. Anyway, here’s thoughts on the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball with the new Corona timeline:

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Oh, the Dirty South! After breaking down some lackluster NL West teams in my first three previews, we finally get a legitimate contender in the Braves. After posting an impressive 97-win season last year, this club looks fully ready to rock-and-roll again behind Ronald Acuna Jr. This dude has established himself as one of the best players in the Majors and it’s scary just how good this order looks with him up top. The one thing they need to clean up is their mascot game though.

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

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Los Angeles is such an eco-friendly city that when a recent EPA report cited jet fuel as accounting for 17% of air pollution, the Dodgers went out and traded for Mookie Betts. See, this year’s All-Star Game is in Dodger Stadium, and now eleven of their players don’t have to fly anywhere for the All-Star Game festivities. Always giving, my great City of Angels, that’s not actually the city of the Angels, that’s Anaheim, but they call themselves Los Angeles and it’s nowhere near Los Angeles. Not confusing at all! Let’s just drool for a second at the Dodgers’ lineup:  Betts, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger, Pederson/Pollock, Seager, Will Smith and Gavin Lux. If they trade Austin Barnes to the Astros for a trash can, then their 2020 title hopes will be sealed! Before you laugh, the Astros could use a catcher. So, Betts’s best will be in the starry skies of Los Angeles, and Rihanna might just start liking baseball again. “You’re cute with that silliness.” “Nah, seriously, I want to go bowling.”  That’s Mookie and Rihanna on their first date. Betts is in the prime of his career, and I can’t see any chance a move to Los Angeles slows him down, however–Don’t do it, Grey! Don’t be negative here! Well, Fenway to Dodger Stadium isn’t the best move. Some of those doubles off the wall might go for deep outs to the left fielder. The Dodgers didn’t steal a lot in 2019 either, but that could be from a lack of threats. Justin Turner is running? Muncy? Bellinger did run, because he can. Betts should still be a lock for 15-20 steals, but I’m knocking his power down a tad with the park change. While his projections will change a bit, his ranking is staying the same in my top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball. For what it’s Werth, Rudy’s auction rankings changed dramatically for Betts, knocking him way down, but Betts’s projections are even better than mine, as seen at the hitter projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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With these top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball, I’ve finished our (my) 2020 fantasy baseball rankings for positions.  Still coming will be a top 100 overall and top 500 to see how all the positions mesh together like your mesh Redskins jersey that meshes with your burgundy sweatpants. Trust me, when you see how long this post is, you’ll be glad I kept this intro short. All the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings are there. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Here’s all the 2020 fantasy baseball auction rankings. As always, my projections are included, and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  If you want an explanation of tiers, go back to the top 10 overall and start this shizz all over again. Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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I’m here in sunny downtown San Diego at the Winter Meetings and just ran into Matt Kemp. How ya doing, Matt? “I’m great, Grey, excited about continuing my career.” Which career is that, Matt? “Baseball.” Okay, great! *holds finger to ear* Sorry, hearing now there’s big breaking news! Wow! It was just reported the Red Sox have a lot of suitors for Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Price. An absolute ton of offers. Currently, 32 teams are offering packages and there’s only 30 teams, including them. That is crazy! Just going to pass through this downtown San Diego lobby and, damn it, it’s Matt Kemp again. *ducks behind a bank vault with money that is being wheeled by Brain Cashman, follows him into a room with Gerrit Cole lighting cigars rolled in million dollar bills* Gerrit Cole, “Can you change your Diamond Club to the Cole Club?” Cashman, “We can change Giancarlo to Giancole-lo if you want.” “We have a deal.” Oh my God, I snuck into the biggest signing in the history of signings! Excuse me for a second while I try to piece together some of this million-dollar-ash back into a million dollar bill. So, Gerrit Cole signs with the Yankees. He seems like he might be, I don’t know, good. There’s only one person Cole disappointed last year. “His contact rate was 66.3%? That’s next-to-last in the league! So dumb! Is he as thick as this Fribble?” That’s Ray Searage explaining pitching to a Friendly’s waitress. Luis Castillo was the only pitcher with a lower Contact Rate, but Cole’s O-Swing% was 1.4% higher. Cole was also number one in the majors for Swinging Strike percentage (16.8%). In other words, Cole induced the 2nd lowest contact while making hitters chase more than the number one guy, and made hitters swing and miss more than everyone. I’d like to thank the Academy for telling me who died last year and thank Cole for being wonderful. Cole had the best fastball (36.2 Fastball wins above average). That was the 5th best fastball since 2000. No one in the top 10 had another pitch register higher than 11.4, except Cole, whose slider was a 13. Like Leggs, Cole is sheer excellence. He had arguably one of the best pitcher seasons in the last 20 years. The Pirates got Joe Musgrove, Michael Felix and Colin Moran for him, then the Pirates turned around and traded Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer. Pirates should sell their team bus and buy a Dodge Dart to drive around the team, because they are a bunch of clowns. For 2020, I’ll give Gerrit Cole projections of 17-6/2.61/0.93/294 in 207 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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