Please see our player page for J.A. Happ 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.

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.

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The main difference between standard fantasy leagues and deep leagues is, of course, the depth of the player pool and the talent an owner has available to choose from when constructing a roster.  Trying to decide how to let player pool depth affect draft strategy is where things get challenging, and I find that especially true when it comes to starting pitching.  While I, like most of the Razzball community, prefer to eschew top-tier starters in mixed leagues, it can become both more tempting — and in some cases more necessary as far as I’m concerned — to roster a top-ranked starting pitcher in NL or AL-only leagues because that nice big pool of mid-range starters whom you can count on just doesn’t exist.  But whether you decide to splurge on a Cole or a deGrom in a deep league, or choose to try to build a stable of starters without one of the top studs, one thing remains the same:  at the end of any deep-league draft or auction, you’ll want a handful of SP names that you can take fliers on to fill out your rotation or plant on your bench.  Today we’ll take a look a some pitchers that I’d consider throwing a late dart at:  for now, these are all ‘bird in the hand’ guys that theoretically are expected to open the season in their respective MLB rotations, rather than players that might have more upside but may have to wait a bit longer for a full-fledged starting gig.  All of the following players have current NFBC ADPs outside the top 350 players drafted — so as long as you’re not counting on them to do any heavy lifting on your squad, they’re low ultra risk, and any reward you get is almost like free production.

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

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Contracts, the lifeblood of Major League Baseball. If you’re good enough, after you put in your time making nothing and riding on buses, the team owns you until you run through the rookie contract. Of course teams want to protect themselves from paying the next Jon Singleton, and this is how contracts end up with options. Some favor the team and others the player. It usually boils down to who has more leverage at the bargaining table.

Vested options are typically put on the back end of contracts, especially for older players. Some of these milestones might mean that a guy pushes through a minor injury. Others may put the club in a position where they prefer a player miss their vested option. The team can control the likelihood of completing the option.

For instance, Wade Davis has a vesting option to finish 30 games this season. Given his performance last year, the Rockies are more likely to find an alternative option should he falter or give him more days in between closing opportunities even if he returns to form.

What does this mean for you in fantasy? It means Scott Oberg, Jairo Diaz, and Carlos Estevez become interesting options at the back end of the draft. Oberg had the best numbers last year, but underlying numbers show he might have been lucky and has lost velocity on the fastball the last 3 seasons. Jairo and Estevez both throw upper 90s with sliders.

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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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And another one! That’s right, to the dozen(s) of you out there still reading this, Kyle Lewis did it again Friday night going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and his sixth home run. Lewis now has six dingers through his first 10 games as a pro, making him just the fourth player (Aristides Aquino, Trevor Story and Dino Restelli are the other three) to accomplish this. He’s now slashing .325/.349/.850 on the year with 10 runs scored and 12 RBI. He’s got three doubles to go with his six jacks, and yeah, that will help your fantasy team, people! Ignore the fact that he’s struck out in 40% of his at bats, and ignore the dreadful Double-A stats, dude’s got a .525 ISO! The 20.6% swinging strike rate, or the 58.3% contact rate in the minors? Ignore that too! If you want a reason not to BUY Kyle Lewis I suggest checking out Son’s awesome post where he really breaks down some of the advanced stats we saw from Lewis at AA. But like I said, I’m going to ignore all that and focus on the fact that he is hitting all the beisbols right now and he’s hitting them over the fence. He will have plenty of time this offseason to come back down to Earth to be the below-average Mariners prospect he is clearly destined to be, but right now Kyle is hotter than a JLo striptease set to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” And trust me that’s about as hot as it gets. I’d add Lewis everywhere on every team for the final week and pray he can fight off the regression fairies another 7 days and keep hitting home runs into the cheap seats. He was a BUY and he’s the most exciting player to come out of a week of Seattle baseball since Domingo Santana in the first week of 2019. Start with a bang, end with a bang, and play like absolute garbage in between. You do you, Seattle! In the meantime, I’m going to pick up Kyle Lewis.

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

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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:

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They say New Jersey can only be appreciated by people from New Jersey, which seems stupid. Where else can you get your ass beat over a sub while meeting the love of your life in a Wawa parking lot? Where else can you say you’re from New York when you’re from New Jersey? Where else can you win loose Newports in a boardwalk claw machine? Is there anywhere else you can simply lower the window to hide the smell of a fart? I think not!  Similarly, maybe you have to own Eugenio Suarez (3-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 43rd and 44th homer, hitting .269), to appreciate him, but I just dug in on him, and there’s some concerning stats for 2020. His HR/FB% is goofy high, even though he’s hitting the ball less hard and more in the air. That’s a recipe for a plummeting batting average, and the skyrocketing Ks won’t help. His exit velocity is that of Amed Rosario; his average feet per homer is Piscottish (totally a word) and not Soleresque. The ball dripping of juice could fix all of this, but Suarez looks a lot more like a 32-homer, .255 hitter vs. this new incarnation.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Happy Labor Day, everyone! Today, we celebrate all of those mothers who are in labor giving birth to us, so put your legs up, grunt real hard and scream at a loved one that they are a “bastard” or a “weasel-d*cked moron who isn’t even the real father.” You’ve earned this day, male or female, though I’m not sure how men earned a Labor Day. Do I have this celebration right? Any hoo! People acting like Justin Verlander‘s 3rd no-hitter was stamping his ticket to Cooperstown are hilarious. He was a lock for the Hall of Fame when he posed nude in the mirror with Kate Upton. Yesterday’s butter:  9 IP, 0 ER, 1 walk, 14 Ks, ERA at 2.56 is just another example of the legacy of one of the greatest pitchers ever. Everyone should stop to watch a Verlander game. That’s a ‘stop to smell the roses’ request because you deserve something as glorious as seeing Verlander throw a baseball. This is a request for you to live your life, not like you’re in labor with your feet in stirrups, but like your feet are on the ground and you’re reaching for the stars. Okay, now I’m just misquoting Casey Kasem. For 2020 and beyond, Verlander is an ace until he shows he no longer is, and I’m thankful for every one of his pitches that I’ve never owned on a fantasy team (eff me). Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Throwing a 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks game against the 1927 Twins by Lucas Giolito can mean only one thing, today, we celebrate Lucas Giolito’s Star Mitzvah! Mazel tov! Here’s a check for $18.  Many blessings from your bubbeleh. But, oy, it’s hot in here, can we turn on the fan? Forget the electric bill for one day, it’s a Star Mitzvah! Your uncle, Shlomo, didn’t retire to Boca Raton and leave me with the money he won from scratch-off tickets so I can’t turn on the fan once in a while. Guys and five girl readers, Giolito is a legend. Who isn’t a Giolito fan? (Besides the Streamonator; why the long face, tin can head?) I’ve already given you my Lucas Giolito 2020 fantasy too, that’s what a legend he is. This is his 2nd insane game this month, and, brucely, it’s more fun to revel in great pitching performances this year than the 400th three-homer game. Last time, I said Giolito would be a top 15 starter. Now I’m starting to think I was being too low. Dude’s so lit he’s got that shizz in his last name! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Shane Bieber went 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 walk, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.44. Donkey Teeth and I made a trade the other day. My first trade of the year. I sent him Kenley Jansen for Shane Bieber. I discuss it on this week’s podcast. I receive Shane Bieber in this trade…TOMORROW! I don’t even want him now! He’s tainted with Donkey Teeth juice. That one-hitter is supposed to be mine! Mine, I say! Only thing worse would’ve been he threw a one-hitter and broke his hand high-fiving Bauer. Ugh, why couldn’t Donkey Teeth offer the trade the day before so I had Bieber on my team? I want him. Me! Me! Me! *Idris Elba opens an envelope* “…and Best Dramatic Retelling of a Fantasy Baseball Trade goes to…Some guy in his mom’s basement you never heard of.” Damn, I lost that too!  Donkey Teeth offered me Rhys Hoskins, Madison Bumgarner or Bieber and I jumped at the lattest (totally a word), because Bieber’s peripherals are gorge — 11.2 K/9, 2 BB/9, 3.19 xFIP. Bieber was a preseason sleeper of mine, and he is essentially a top ten pitcher. So, put that in your natch and natch it!  Too bad I own him in one less league as of yesterday.  Me!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?