Please see our player page for Corey Kluber 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.

[places soapbox on ground, stands tall]

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.

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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. 

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My last fantasy team preview went live on May 1, 2020. What a simpler time! Back then we were debating the new cross-league divisions they were thinking of creating. I was a rather stupidly optimistic man who predicted we’d get a return to baseball on July 4th. Now with 10 baseball camps claiming they’ve had someone come down with the ‘VID we’ll be lucky if we even see the Long Island Ducks take on the Morristown Mud Rats. Now be honest — how many of you have already googled “NPB fantasy baseball leagues” and searched Amazon for “conversational Japanese for baseball fans?” I know it’s not just me. I’ve already got my first round draft pick lined up for my yakyu chimu: the league’s best ni-rui shu Tetsuto Yamada! He hits lots of hon-rui da and gets tons of tourui. 

Come on Rob SaidFred — let’s get this league back up and running!

As with all of fantasy team preview articles this year I’m not talking about the guys you know to draft. A healthy Joey Gallo is a lock for 45 HRs. Elvis Andrus will still be one of the deepest 15/15 threats in the league. Shin-Soo Choo will continue to be the Korean God of walks until he’s 64. Instead, I like to look deeper at the teams to help you find value you might not have heard of yet — or someone who has been slipping in drafts. 

“No prospects? You’re trash!” Nah anger management comment guy — The Itch is the resident prospect guru and here’s his top 10 Rangers prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball

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Hello, again. Thanks for stopping by. I’m noticing talk ramping up around the fantasy baseball world on how to approach pitching with the short season coming up. It’s looking more and more like we’re going to get the shortest end of the stick the owners want us to get, if we get anything at all. I’m honestly not overly optimistic we get baseball in 2020, but I’m going to operate under the assumption we will get 48-ish games at least. So, if that’s the case, that sure ain’t a lotta starts per starting pitcher. I mean it’s like 10 tops, assuming the typical five-man rotation. So, what, 70-80 IP maximum? In a perfect world it’d be 90 with 10 complete games, so let’s shave a few off for safe measure.

It seems a bit counter-intuitive to suggest fading the top guys, at first glance. “But, like, JKJ, if there aren’t as many starts, don’t you want the best of the best to increase your chances of those being good starts?” you may ask. While I see the logic and merit in that mindset, I think you could get similar returns from non-top-tier guys in a drastically shortened season. It’s really their longevity and big innings that put them ahead of the pack.

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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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Last week, I introduced the goal of this series: utilizing data visualization to try and narrow in on fantasy baseball insights. We looked at ERA across the draft, finding some potential values based on ADP. Today, we’ll take a closer look at Starting Pitcher WHIP by ADP.

To begin with, what’s the context in which we should gauge whether an SP’s WHIP actually helps our team? Here are WHIP trends over the last 5 years:

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In our first Ambulance Chasers post this season, we touched on some of the bigger names that were dealing with some off-season question marks about their injury status and health.  Now that we’re into January, we’re starting to get updates trickling in on some players rehab processes, and they’re not all good. We also touch on some late round names here and speculate on some situations that could change between now and the beginning of the season that would count some of these players as huge bargains for early drafters.

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*rubbing hands together*  This is where things get interesting. Anyone could tell you Cole, deGrom, yadda-blabbity-blue are top 20 starters.  I could ask some bean counter in Modesto, California who the top 20 starters are and he’d know, and he counts beans! Anyone can count beans! Honestly, why is he counting beans? Seems like a waste of time. Unless he’s making sure each can comes with 239 beans, because one more would be too farty! Any hoo! The top 40 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball is a bit like the top 20 for 2020 fantasy baseball. It could go dozens of ways.  This is the way I went. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Also, Razzball Subscriptions are now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room. All projections listed here are mine and I mention where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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We came out with the big guns in our first Fantasy Baseball Busts article, providing you with Top-50 players we want to fade. This article is much easier to write because the success rate will be much higher. In fact, I believe this is where you win or lose your draft and taking any of these guys I mention here is a quick way to land you near the bottom of your standings! Busts are a good way to fall out of your league and hopefully, this can stray you away from some of them. Without further ado, let’s get into our busts between 50 and 100.

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Since we last provided you with a podcast, fantasy football has come and gone, the Astros became synonymous with trash cans in a variety of ways, and Gerrit Cole joined the Yankees and got all of the money. It’s been a wild, frustrating, and exciting few months depending upon your allegiances to team or player. It all culminated in a blockbuster filled Winter Meetings as over $800 million in contracts were handed out. Grey and I team up once again for the annual Winter Meetings wrap-up, an update as we head into the end of the calendar year and the dawn of the 2020 Fantasy Baseball season. We talk Corey Kluber, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner, Padres trades and so much more. Tune in for a little Holiday scented hot stove talk.

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