I’m usually not big on worrying too much about positional scarcity, but anyone who has competed in a variety of different fantasy baseball league formats knows that depth at a given position is one thing that can make a big difference in approaching a draft for a shallow league versus a deep one.  The last couple of years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to draft with less concern about a player’s position, and more towards getting the best value possible with every draft pick or auction purchase, regardless of league size.  But when approaching a draft this way, it’s even more important to know what your options are going to be at each position, which positions you can wait to fill later, and which players are actually worth reaching for if you do realize you’re running out of decent options at a given position.  Getting to the point of today’s post, let’s take a look at some third basemen for 2020, with an emphasis on how I’ll be approaching the position in deeper leagues.

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Last week we took a very early look at the first base position for fantasy baseball in 2020, both with some early general thoughts that could apply to both deep and shallower leagues, as well as some more specific thoughts about NL-only, AL-only, or other deep leagues.  We’ll move along to the Keystone this week as we try to do some early navigation into the world of second basemen.  Since Grey has already kindly gifted you with his list of top 20 second basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball, I’ll began by quoting him directly — as he said, “First time I can remember a position, besides catcher, that didn’t have one guy in the top 20 overall.”  Two other important points he made which I largely agree with and will now paraphrase:  1) The guys at the very top of this position are probably not worth drafting at their current price in any format, but 2) There are lots of 2B bargains later on.  One other thing I noticed that I thought was interesting when looking at the second base landscape:  just off the top of my head, it looks to me that about two-thirds of the top 30 second basemen also qualify at another position, even when using a 20-games-played-in-2019 threshold.  I don’t remember any position having stats quite like that in the past, and what it means to me at first glance is that there are A LOT of guys who qualify at 2nd base this year.  Let’s take a look at some names, and how the current state of second base particularly affects those of us deep-leaguers.

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Happy New(ish) Year, Razzball friends!  It’s time to stop worrying about what we haven’t quite gotten around to accomplishing so far this offseason, and time to start thinking about fantasy baseball in 2020 — or as I like to think of it, a slightly more official reason to go into procrastination mode when it comes to things like real-life commitments, chores, and duties.  Since it’s still January and all, and since we’re all preparing for drafts and auctions of many different shapes and sizes, I’m going to try to cover things somewhat more generally for the time being.  We’ll still lean towards the deep-league perspective to some degree, but what I’m most interested in for now is keeping on top of the overall baseball landscape – trades, free agent signings, rule changes, depth chart shake-ups, draft trends, recent statistics that I might have overlooked, MLB teams facing unprecedented punishments for cheating, etc. – and viewing it from a more generic lens for the moment, then tailoring all of that information to individual leagues, drafts, and auctions as they come.

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The season is winding down, September Call-up season is here, and we’re on to talking 2020 drafts way too early. We discuss how early is too early to draft Ronald Acuña, as well as numerous 2020 player battles. We talk about a handful of September Call-ups too, but this show is more about Grandpa Joe. For those of you that don’t know, Grandpa Joe is the Greatest Generation’s answer to Grey Albright. At 93, Joe is still making dirty jokes and sexually harassing waitresses.

As far as I know Grey does not sexually harass waitresses.

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Friday night, Milwaukee Brewers’ newest phenom/heartthrob/infielder Keston Hiura went three for four with his fourth home run and three RBI. Keston case you were wondering, Hiura is slashing .296/.345/.537 with four homers a steal and seven RBI through his first 15 games in the majors with two of those dingers coming in the past week along with a .353 batting average in that stretch. Did I mention he has a four game hitting streak as well? Well yes. I just did. Hiura has arrived, folks. Grey gave you his Keston Hiura fantasy a few weeks ago, and when he didn’t Austin Riley rake out of the gate, excitement seemed to cool a bit for the 22 year old 2nd baseman. But now’s your chance. He hit .333/408/.698 in 37 games at AAA San Antonio with 11 home runs, 26 RBI and four steals. I liked everything about that last sentence. Of his 43 hits, 24 went for extra bases. Sure, the 40 strikeouts in just 129 ABs is a bit concerning but when you’re fishing for rookie upside you casually ignore little warning signs like that. Here’s what Grey said about Keston, “He was striking out way too much in Triple-A to hit .333 in the majors, but 18/7/.270 sounds about right from this point forward with a chance for more.  Maybe he could even be the NL MVP.” Methinks Grey just likes him because of his mustache, but honestly, what’s not to like! He should only be better when Milwaukee comes to their senses and moves him into the heart of the lineup. Hiura/Yelich sammys anyone? He’s currently criminally under owned in many leagues and I’d add him everywhere he’s available. This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

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

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In last week’s article, we went over top-50 players that we want to fade. For this week, we’re going with players between 50-100 that we want to avoid. While these guys are much easier to fade, there are still noobs out there reaching on these players. Don’t be that guy! Be the guy who walks out of your draft and has a wonderful day. There aren’t many better feelings than walking away from a draft and knowing you killed it but we’re giving you that opportunity here. Drafting any of these players with give you prom night-like regrets and we don’t wanna go through that again. So, let’s start with the ugliest girl at the prom, Kimmy.

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NL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!  Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper signs… Note that signing can instantly eliminate a position battle detailed herein (although it sounds like only NL teams are involved right now).

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I lied to you loyal Razzball readers. In part 1 of this 2019 fantasy baseball mock draft hosted by Justin Mason of Friends with Fantasy Benefits, I told you this was going to be a four-part series. Well, unfortunately between rounds 23 and 24, the MLB regular season ended and thus, so did our Fantrax mock draft. The draft room disappeared from the league page and every future pick was being auto-drafted. Rather than waste your time discussing random players being auto-drafted I’m just going to highlight a few notable undrafted players at the bottom of this article. Back to the draft itself: three words can sum up rounds 15 through 23: risk, relievers and rookies. You’ll soon see what I mean. (BTW, the 2nd part of the fantasy baseball mock draft.)

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For Harry Potter fans, the Lightning Struck Tower chapter is the end of an era.  For us, it’s the final day of the 2018 Fantasy Baseball Season.  A moment of silence for an incredible season of ups and downs, heroes and goats, legends in the making and fading into the distance….And let us now embark on our final day on the shoulders of the god of lightning himself: Noah Syndergaard.  Thor is striking today against the lowly Miami Marlins, and thanks to his incredible teammate the deGrominator , the Norse Noah will be motivated to put his own indelible stamp on the MLB season.  Not only do the Marlins hit him to a weak .686 OPS, but it’s a day game, and during the warm glow of daytime Syndergaard shines even brighter: 4-1 with a 2.61 ERA.  Other big names are playing for teams that are locked into playoff position so will be on low pitch counts, like Charlie Morton and Carlos Carrasco, or rookies pushing themselves beyond what they’ve ever done, like Walker Buehler.  It’s Noah Syndergaard with a lightening struck bullet as the number one pick today.  Now let’s look at a few more early-, middle- and late-round picks for your Draft…drafts!

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That’s the question that’s been on my brain as I worked on these rankings the past few weeks. I’m not over the past 10 years, not for next year, not for the next 10 years — right now — is Mike Trout still the #1 hitter this year? Even with a lengthy DL stint, Trout is still one of the top players in the league and is close to surpassing all of his numbers from last year’s (also) injury shrunken season (88 runs/31 HRs/2 SBs in 116 games so far this year vs. 92/33/22 in 114 games last year.) But while he missed 19 games in August this year, three players have kept chugging right along and putting up phenomenal numbers. Let’s take a look at these three challengers for the crown.

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