Please see our player page for Gio Gonzalez 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Maybe the real-life baseball season has stopped, but that doesn’t mean fantasy baseball has to. It’s all we have these days, really. Fantasy sports while we fantasize about real sports coming back. I feel bad for my fellow fantasy hockey folks – I get the feeling it ain’t coming back, even if regular hockey does. I’m not about that fantasy basketball life (I dabbled in my younger years – Tracy McGrady anyone? Had to have him on all my teams), but I fear it’s the same fate. Only fantasy football is unscathed…so far. Wild stuff happening on that front, too. Brady to the Bucs? Da BUCS?! DAFUQ! Gurley and Newton RELEASED?! Hopkins TRADED?! Maybe Watson, too?! Madness, I say!

Anyway. This is a fantasy baseball article. Almost forgot. It’s an important year for the fine ladies and gents here at Razzball: the inaugural season of RazzSlam! Big shoutout to the NFBC peeps for hosting it. Give ’em a follow on the Twitter at @TheNFBC. I had the honor of being accepted into League 2 (of 18). Some scrub ass writer for CBS is in it. Big deal. I’m kidding, he’ll probably whoop my ass.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So there I am — minding my own business after putting the finishing touches on a blurb about Leury Garcia and Razzball’s CEO, COO, CFO, HMO, RKO, HBO, Master Lothario, his royal Greyness himself drops this bomb on the Twittersphere: 

“#1 rookie who is not being drafted high who will end up being picked up in 75% of leagues the 1st week:  Nick Madrigal. White Sox added Yasmani, Edwin, signed Lou Bob and they’re going to give the 2nd base job to Leury Garcia? Cmon. Read writing on wall.”

What do I do? I wasted so much time justifying Leury as the lone sleeper bat on this team. Everyone else in this lineup is being appropriately drafted or is a prospect that everyone knows about. There’s Nomar Mazara I guess — but he’s got a Khris Davis-like consistency to not hit over 20 HRs. Do I embrace the potential roasting I’ll receive from Grey? Do I delete the 450 words I wrote about Garcia and lie to myself about some other player? Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I! I will survive! If things go south for Garcia — Madrigal is obviously sitting there in waiting — but I’m still a believer in the potential of Garcia. 

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Razzball is one of the more incredible communities in fantasy baseball, and the quality of the comments is one of the first places I would point towards for proof. Although after one sentence this seems like a kiss ass article, it is not. This is merely a thank you to commenter LenFuego for the premise of this week’s article. In the first article of the series, I offered Zack Grienke as a bounce-back pitcher of note from 2017.  LenFuego pointed out that Grienke had a handful of poor starts in the 2016 season that anchored his ratios at career highs. Thus, his 2017 bounce back was primarily due to eliminating these outlier starts.

It is a dangerous task to simply take out the poorest starts in a pitcher’s season. As much as we don’t want them to, the blowups still count. However, I certainly think it is relevant to locate pitchers who had a deceptive 2019 due to a segment of their season, or a single game, not being representative of their year.

This is was my process in identifying a few pitchers who may have had deceptively good 2019s and qualify as a Restored Vet:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some of you may be saying, “Is this the guy from the football side who is obsessed with defensive pressure rates?” Yes, it is.

Some of you will then ask, “Is this man as funny as Grey?” Sadly, no.

Everyone will then most definitely ask, “What does this man know about baseball?” Enough to spew 1000+ words per week into WordPress.

Baseball is far and away my favorite fantasy sport. I’ve been a Razzball consumer since I was a pimple faced teenager. My background with Razzball is important. It explains many of my philosophies, primarily those in regards to pitching. Typically, I wait on starting pitching far later than the norm and complete pre-season prep with that notion in mind. Instead of spending hours sorting top ranked pitchers, I focus in on pitchers who have the highest probabilities of far exceeding expectations.

This concept is at the core of the series, in which the sole purpose is to find the likeliest 2020 breakout pitchers. To start, I will delve into a group of 12 pitchers who exceeded draft day value from the last 3 seasons. Using their backgrounds, I hope to find some cohesion to locate what changed and led to the breakout. Finally, I’ll take those commonalities and locate 2020 pitchers meeting the same criteria to find who is most likely to win us our leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Someone wins the off-season every winter. The baseball calendar invites us to imagine how a power bat like Edwin Encarnacion and a high OBP catcher like Yasmani Grandal will impact a lineup. It’s math we can do more easily than we can measure the addition of a great left tackle to a football team. We can plug Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez into Chicago’s rotation and add up their wins above replacement. It’s all very earnest and joyful and helps us push through the expanding darkness. 

Course, someone wins summer in football, too, but it feels very different. Football has no WAR, ironically enough, and while I think that’s at least as flawed a statistic as batting average, WAR is currently treated with reverence due to the shorthand evaluative powers it grants the baseball world. 

While it’s efficacy can be debated, WAR dominates our world, and there can be no doubt the White Sox have gone to WAR this winter. The people are singing songs of freedom and glory—not just for these winter wins but also for the prospect waterfall coming this Spring. 

And who doesn’t love to see a slow-cooked recipe come together, especially during the holiday season?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Jays. That’s…interesting. *scrambling to see Ryu’s interleague ERA vs. AL teams* 3.84 ERA in 86 2/3 IP with a 8.8 K/9 and this is still too small a sample. Plus, as I always say, you can’t just say a guy’s away stats are what he’d now do when he’s calling a place home. Also, what is going on with Ryu’s early draft price? Maybe it’s still early for ADP and I shouldn’t assign any real truth to where guys are going, but like Hugh Jackman’s marriage to his grandmother, it’s very real how late Ryu’s been going so far this year. I get it, I get it, I GET IT! He’s not a 1-something ERA pitcher, so y’all are compensating for that, but like me with my Happy Socks in my pants, you’re overcompensating. He didn’t just have a Cy Young-type year last year. He had a 1.97 ERA in 2018, too. In six seasons, his career ERA is 2.98. Okay, fine, ERA is stupid. He has a 1.01 WHIP two years in a row. WHIP’s stupid too? Fine, but these are two of the categories you’re hoping to get from your starters. Wins are just stupid stupid. Nothing can be figured from those. So, that leaves us with Ks. He has a 8 K/9 and a 1.2 BB/9, so, you got it, you’ve figured out a reason to not absolutely love Ryu. He’s merely a 2.75/1.01/150 guy. Shucks, what a shame. For penance, I will dye my skin whiter and cat-o-nine-tails my back like a villain in a Dan Brown book. Even if you think the AL could be less kind for Ryu, how much worse will he be from a 2.75/1.01 ratio guy? Fifty points on ERA? Sixty? Five points on WHIP? Ten? He suddenly won’t have one of the best walk rates in baseball? I’m going to be conservative with his projections and they still look great. For 2020, I’ll give Ryu projections of 13-6/3.32/1.09/153 in 167 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The ones that don’t draft pitching early. The Muslim Mrs. Garretts. The Yu’s that we saw in the 2nd half. The ones that see things differently and not simply the ones who are holding drinking glasses up to their face to make googly eyes. They’re not fond of the rules like:  Don’t wear sweatpants every day. And they have no respect for the status quo, because they’ve checked out every time someone defined “status quo” for them. They held onto Yu Darvish (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA at 3.97) all 1st half and were rewarded nicely. Unless he’s just on a team that started checking out fantasy football in June. Back in July, Coolwhip wrote, “I’m not prepared just yet to say he’s back back, but it’s looking like he’s finding his way back. I’ll call him a tentative buy for now, while advising to keep an eye on his walks and I’ll be watching his velocity and arm slot. In fact, I just picked him up where I could to see what happens.” Hashtag nailed it. Prior to that, Darvish had a 5.01 ERA.  Since then, 2.44 ERA in 66 1/3 IP. The fix, as we all know by now, he’s stopped walking everyone. His season-long peripherals 11.2 K/9, 3 BB/9, 4.39 FIP are sweet, but his 2nd half peripherals are legendary, and some of the best in baseball — 12.6 K/9, 0.8 BB/9, 3.20 FIP. For 2020, the thought of getting anywhere close to Darvish’s 2nd half has me, not only interested in him, but thinking he could be a steal as a number two fantasy starter. Yu might think I’m crazy, but the crazy ones change the world, or at least do well sometimes in their leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?