Please see our player page for David Price 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.

Aaaand we’re back. Aaand John Means is an Ace now. Wait–rewind. Means stifled the Boston bats and spoiled their home opener Friday afternoon, allowing just a single base runner (one hit) in seven innings of work and striking out five to notch his first win of the season. I know exactly what you’re thinking outdated Fry meme–not sure if Red Sox are this bad or John Means is this good. Well, as bad as the Sawx looked, Means probably pitched one of his best games in ever. He commanded the zone with 65 of his 95 pitches thrown for strikes, and generated 14 swings-and-misses, eight with changeup alone, which can be an especially nasty pitch when he’s got it working, paired with his 4-seamer. After an awful start to 2020, Means finished strong in September with a 1.52 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 23.2 IP averaging around 94 mph on his fastball, up about 2 mph from 2019. Grey told you to BUY, gushing about his xBA and saying “if he can keep those gains, velocity increases, and stop handing out more gopher balls than a veterinarian with weird party favors, John Means could be a top 25 starter while costing nowhere near that price.” And that’s me quoting Grey! Look, I understand the hesitation owning Orioles pitchers, and Means HR/9 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. In fact, when I drafted Means on draft day I got a audible “HA!” for the pick. But we’ll see who’s laughing in September. Sure things aren’t getting any easier for the homer-prone lefty as he travels to New York next week to take on the Yankees, but Means is owned in less than 50% of leagues and has got some major breakout potential. I think he’s worth a flier at that price wherever he’s available. Means means business! That’s two “means”, and that means something?  Who else is confused? Where else you going to get an Ace after draft day. Now your chance! I means it!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Early on Saturday, I heard the news that Jay Bruce made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, and I was like, “Cool, if this is 2012.” Then I thought, “Is this 2012? Am I time traveler?” Turned out it was not 2012, and I was not a time traveler. Double bummer there. Somehow, Jay Bruce is still only 33 years old, so he might be a time traveler. After my brief flight of fancy through a time portal that didn’t exist, I thought, “That sucks, keeping Bruce over Tauchman. He can’t catch a break. That’s not the bee’s knees, that’s BS.” Then I thought, “I can just curse in my own head, I don’t need to spell out BS.” Then, out of nowhere, I saw the Yankees were keeping Mike Tauchman on the Opening Day roster too, and things began to peel away from my very logical brain. How were the Yanks keeping three 1st basemen? Was everything fine with Luke Voit? Welp, turned out it wasn’t. The Yankees were watching a triple feature of Luke Skylimper; Luke Cool Hand, But Torn Meniscus and Luke Voit in Meniscus Cowboy. After disowning Angelina Jolie, Voit will be undergoing surgery on his torn meniscus in his knee, and will miss at least April and May. This puts the spotlight on Bruce to reclaim his Glory Days, when every speedball wasn’t thrown right by him. Whereas, Tauchman is interesting in AL-Only leagues, if he can get in the lineup. I’ve added neither to my 2021 fantasy baseball rankings, because they might only be platooning for six to eight weeks. In the top 20 1st basemen, I lowered Luke Voit, taking roughly 200 ABs off his projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A lot of pitcher fantasy analysis centers around pitcher quality: Velocity, stuff, BABIP, Statcast, recent performance…balancing out all of the available metrics to determine cost (draft slot, $ value) is the name of the game. Today we’re going to look at a metric I rarely see discussed in the pre-season: strength of schedule (SoS).

In-season, starting pitcher matchups are gold, whether you’re playing the streaming game or DFS. But pre-season, I rarely see analysis go any deeper than AL-vs.-NL comparisons. At the individual-SP level, this makes sense: projecting out specific full-season matchups for an SP is impossible.

At the team level, however, we can get get a pretty good handle on who may have advantageous matchups and who has a tough road. More specifically, we’re interested in the extremes: How frequently will each team face really tough matchups, or really easy ones? The middle 60% will be mostly based on pitcher quality; at the margins, we have actionable start/sit decisions.

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All things being equal the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball is around the 150th overall range to about 225th overall. This is your number three to fourth starters. Of course it could be your first starter and you’ve punted everything accidentally by oversleeping your draft. Wipe that sweat off your brow and grab the Streamonator! Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Also, you can get Rudy’s downloadable War Room by subscribing early to the Razzball Tools. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Merry Christmas, you giant nerds! Look at you, checking a fantasy baseball blog on Christmas like a bunch of giant nerds! That’s why I love you. Seriously, I have love for you. Like someone who’s never met someone else could love someone. Very, very intimate. I wasn’t planning on doing a post today, but Josh Bell was traded to the Nationals and I really wanted to get out this update post of so many other signings, that I was like, “Meh, what the heck, put it out there for my over-the-internet friends since this Christmas is like none I’ve ever lived through.” I miss my family, but I have you, my non-family family. So, Josh Bell was traded to the Nats, conspicuously within minutes of, well, we know what happened here. The Pirates’ payroll needed to be slashed after the House was unable to increase the stimulus checks to $2,000. Now that Josh Bell is in Washington there’s only one thing can we can be certain of:  confirmed Josh Bell 2021 All-Star. Could see Josh Bell out-pitching even Tyler Glasnow. If he wants to, of course. He might just want to hit. So, getting out of Pittsburgh can’t hurt anyone. He’s also coming off one of the boringiest (totally a word!) 1st baseman seasons. How’sever, if 2019 was only two months long, Josh Bell would’ve been a top 20 overall player last year. What’s my point? Meh, don’t really have one, but Josh Bell was hurt by last year’s small sample, and hurt by 2019’s, uh, long sample. Who is Josh Bell in Washington? A better question might be how long is this season going to be and when will it start? Josh Bell is prolly somewhere between the two extremes of his 1st few months of 2019, and his 2020. For 2021, I’ll give Josh Bell projections of 73/26/81/.257/1 in 512 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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Pitching, like everything else this year, has been a literal S-Show. My TGFBI team got quickly dismantled thanks to David Price, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, and Joe Musgrove. That dismantlement forced me to turn to streaming early on. Now that we’re a full five weeks into the season, it’s clear what teams to pick on and what teams to avoid for streaming. For example, Indians versus righties avoid (.364 wOBA over the last 14 days), but those same bats against a lefty have posted a .272 wOBA on the year. Justin Dunn (7.5% ESPN, 10% CBS) has learned well that the Rangers are an awesome team to stream against. He’s faced the Rangers twice already this year going 6 IP in each start and allowing just 2 earned runs. He didn’t do anything exceedingly special. Dunn struck out 8 batters over those two starts, but just let the Rangers do what they do best – suck. As of this writing, Dunn gets a third lucky matchup with the Rangers on September 7th. A little bit of a look-ahead for us, but a great spot for us to attack if you’re looking to improve your ratios or grab a streaming “W”. Let’s take a look at five more streamers this week to get you ahead of your competition.

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Camp is starting up and it’s weird out there folks.  Split squad positionless scrimmages, Covid tests, opt outs….baseball is back!?!  This whole thing feels like the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout from Saved By the Bell…”I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…..scared”.

First round of Covid testing is coming back and there’s plenty of interesting names that have tested positive: Jesus Luzardo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Hector Neris, DJ Lemahieu, Tommy Pham, Scott Kingery, Mitch Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Salvador Perez, and Kole Calhoun are notable confirmed positives.

Of these, most fall into the “asymptomatic” category and should return to the team soon (hopefully).  Hector Neris was already around Phillies camp this week, and Joey Gallo already has one negative test under his belt.  He should be good to go soon.

The most serious case looks to be Freddie Freemen.  The Braves are being candid about exactly what Freeman is going through, but they’re not expecting him back to camp any time soon.

There’s several other guys who are missing from camp still with no given reason why.  Some teams are releasing positive tests, some teams aren’t stating what’s keeping players away but letting us read between the lines.  This list includes: Aaron Nola (who was seen around Phillies camp earlier this week similar to Neris), Yonny Chirinos, Juan Soto, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, AJ Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.  The Astros, as well as some other teams, have had issues with their testing in terms of getting results quickly, so that may be holding up the ‘Stros players, but these are all guys to keep an eye on.

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These unprecedented times call for unprecedented preparation for upcoming fantasy drafts. Never before have we had the worry of a player opting out of the season after or even during our drafts. So now we plan, we update, we read the news (baseball news), and we pray our teams stay in tact. Is this a silly pastime? Absolutely! Are there many much more important issues? Of course! But level with me, we all need some release and I like many of you hope this sixty game sprint can provide the escape we all need. In this vein Grey and I breakdown the opt outs, the positive tests, and the opportunities created. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball podcast in it’s most apocalyptic form.

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First Charlie Blackmon, now Freddie Freeman…Somebody check on Reggie Cleveland! Welp, this sucks. That’s me cutting to the chase quicker than the editors of the Fast & Furious movies. “Um, Vin Diesel’s been talking for like seven seconds, don’t we have any tire spinning footage?” That’s the editors cutting to the chase. There’s also the Entourage editors, who tried to cut around Chase. Or Ruben Tejada who would like to cut Chase. Any hoo! Freddie Freeman tested positive for Covid and is battling a fever. Besides the fear for Freeman, if something serious happens to a player, baseball’s not happening this year. Other players will walkout, and I wouldn’t blame them. Sorry, I know that’s no fun to hear, but you’re not here to be lied to. As for fantasy, these Covid positive tests are super hard to predict for projections and rankings. Of course, if drafting right now; you can’t draft Freddie Freeman in the top 20 overall. Not sure you can draft him in the top 50 overall, but that’s about where I’d risk it, and have updated my top 20 1st basementop 100 and top 500. I did blow the dust off my landscape architect degree and hedge with my new ranking of Freeman by not updating his projections. It’s just impossible to know if he’ll be out for two-to-three weeks, and fine for near the start of the season, or miss the whole season. Unknown risk is baked into his new ranking, but I left projections. Putting aside “Let the kids play,” MLB has adopted a new slogan for this season:  “Play!” “What? No, it’s not safe.” “I said, “Play!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

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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. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?