Please see our player page for Jacob deGrom 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.

Rudy didn’t like Rounders and he finally watched it the week we are having Scott Pianowski on the podcast…. After the initial shock of Rudy’s poor movie tastes, Donkey Teeth and B_Don ask Scott how he’s handling the quarantine and what a potential baseball season may look like. We get his thoughts on how he would adjust his draft philosophy for anyone drafting during the quarantine.

We move on to a couple of Scott’s teams as we look at the rosters he assembled in the RazzSlam and the Yahoo Friends and Family league with Grey, DT, and many other experts (basically the unofficial major of the fantasy baseball world). We look at how Scott put together pitching staffs in each draft and how position depth and flexibility affect his draft strategy.

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If you drafted any time between the end of the season and now, and you took a SP with one of your top two picks, there’s a good chance you’re playing injury optimism roulette right now.  Someone put Jacob DeGrom, and Walker Buehler under full bubble wrap treatment as they’re really the only ones unscathed from the top 20 picks or so at the moment in the pitcher camp. Even Gerrit Cole had a Coronavirus scare with a fever last month that’s since subsided.  Let’s do some quick hits on where everyone is at the moment.

Editorial Note from the Donkey: Of course everything will be turned upside down if and when the MLB makes a decision on a delayed start to the season. Some of these guys will end up being great buy low targets if you have to draft today. Stay tuned and please be safe out there!

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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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You’ve heard of guys who are post-hype sleepers. Guys who were top prospects at one point but for one even or another faded out of relevancy. Whether it’s a move to a bullpen, an injury, poor performance upon their debut, or a combination of any of the three, these guys have lost the momentum that they had as prospects, but those who believe in them will call them sleepers. Post-hype sleepers are a dime a dozen. Most people can spot them, because all it takes is patience in a young player with potential, which most of us have. Waiting out a guy like Willie Calhoun, Michael Kopech, or Julio Urias may be frustrating, but it isn’t all that difficult. What I’m looking for here is post-post-hype sleepers; guys who are so far removed from the hype that you may not even remember that they’re still playing in the majors. In 2019, two of my favorite post-post-hype breakout picks were Hunter Dozier and Frankie Montas, both of which I was on very early in the season. Identifying breakouts like this can be the difference between winning your league and coming in 4th, so I want to help all of you identify these guys too before it’s too late. Late pitching especially can make a massive difference. For the first installment of this series, I’m going to be talking about a guy who was one of my favorite pitching prospects a few years ago: Daniel Norris.

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I’m attempting something new with this year’s top 100 keepers article. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but never had the time or brainpower to figure out. I want to try to objectively (impossible) rank each player on how many projected categories they provide for your team. 

I broke each standard 5×5 category down into five statistical outcome ranges. Take runs for example.

 

Points 0 .25 .5 .75 1
Runs Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
HRs Under 16 17-23 24-30 31-37 Over 38
RBI Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
SBs Under 8 9-13 14-18 19-23 Over 23
AVG Under .254 .255-.269 .270-.284 .285-.299 Over .300
W Under 7 8-10 11-13 14-16 Over 17
K Under 159 160-184 185-209 210-234 Over 235
ERA Over 4.45 3.96 – 4.44 3.46-3.95 2.96-3.45 Under 2.95
WHIP Over 1.33 1.24-1.32 1.15-1.23 1.06-1.14 Under 1.05
SV Under 11 12-17 18-23 24-30 Over 30

 

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That’s right folks, we’re doing an expert league from the NFBC with the D-O-double-jay in the LBC while AFK and whatever other acronyms you can think of. ALL THE ACRONYMS. So while I’m sippin’ some gin n’ juice, with literally no money on my mind and my mind in desperate search of money, I decided to summarize this expert draft for mass consumption. [Insert my usual statement on how I generally prefer “writers” over the term “experts”, mostly because I’ve never considered myself an expert at anything in life, here.] And don’t worry, we won’t spread this series out too much, I think we’ll focus this post on the first five rounds, then in a future post all the middle rounds, and then we’ll follow up with one final review, focusing on the late-round sleepers and trying not to draft Domonic Brown by mistake. Life goals! Now, for those unfamiliar with the NFBC, it’s your general Roto 5×5 setup with two catchers, 1,000 innings pitcher minimum, and 15 total teams with their world famous marathon drafts that have their own bicentennial celebration midway. For this specific league, I’ll be representing Razzball among other industry stalwarts like Dalton Del Don, Andy Singleton, and Bret Sayre among many other talented fantasy writers. And so, here are how the first five rounds went…

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B_Don and Donkey Teeth are joined again by the Fantasy Master Lothario, Grey Albright, to discuss the NL auction that the trio did over on CBS with Scott White and crew. The guys discuss how they approach draft auction values and how you may want to adjust your values.

Spoiler alert: Rudy liked one of our teams more than Grey’s squad. Grey walks us through his auction thought process. Of course, it’s hitter heavy in traditional Grey Albright fashion. You can check out Grey’s write up here.

Donkey Teeth, is flexible in his yoga positions and flexible in his auction values.  DT spent early and often then went looking for draft values, which he found in guys like Shogo Akiyama and Ender Inciarte. B_Don sits back and listens to Grey and DT argue about which awful pitching staff is better.

B_Don finally gets his turn to talk. While the pitching is far better than almost any team in the league, Grey and DT don’t like the approach that B_Don took with his hitting. In NL only leagues, one has to pick and choose where to spend the money and where the roster weaknesses will be. Keep on the look out for B_Don’s write up of his NL auction experience as well.

After all the NL auction talk, the guys discuss the early rounds of their respective TGFBI drafts and note some unique picks after just a few rounds. All sorts of draft goodness in this episode, so, check it out!

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B_Don and Donkey Teeth are Goin’ Deep with the fantasy baseball pitching guru, Eno Sarris of The Athletic.  The guys discuss the RazzSlam format and ask Eno how he may attack the draft in more of a DFS style. Yeah, it caught me by surprise as well, but listen to see what Eno means.

The Goin’ Deep duo then ask Eno about some pitchers from his rankings that don’t line up with Grey’s rankings including Noah Syndergaard, Yu Darvish, Lucas Giolito and Patrick Corbin.  He tells us which pitcher he’s comfortable with in the 1st round and educates us as to what he looks for in his pitching targets.

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1. Don’t Prospect Hug. 

We’ve all heard the term “prospect hugger” before. We’ve all likely played with prospect huggers before. Many of us have probably been prospect huggers before, but if you want to be a successful dynasty player, then you want to avoid prospect hugging. It’s important to note here that there is a difference between properly valuing your prospects and prospect hugging.

There’s nothing wrong with holding on to guys who you think are more valuable than what you’re being offered, but what I’m talking about is guys who will rarely move prospects, or even consider moving prospects, even when they get offers that are more than fair. As someone who writes almost exclusively about prospects, I understand how exciting the unknown can be, and I see the appeal in prospects, but it’s also important to be realistic and understand that a large percentage of prospects never really amount to anything. You should never value a prospect at what their ceiling is, but rather a fraction of their ceiling based on how far they are from the majors. This is especially true the more shallow a league is, as when there are fewer prospects rostered, there’s always going to be solid guys available to replace anyone you trade.

I saw a trade offer posted on twitter recently by @Prospects365 which was Sonny Gray and Matthew Liberatore for Kristian Robinson, and the Robinson side somehow got 40% of the vote. Personally, I would take the Gray side in any league, but what makes this even worse is that this was a league where only ~100 prospects are owned, meaning that there’s plenty of solid prospects available to replace Robinson with. To be completely honest, prospects should mostly be considered trade bait. When I play dynasty, I’m always looking to move prospects in 3-for-1 type deals for major leaguers, and then replacing those prospects with potential breakout guys who I can trade after they breakout, and it’s an endless cycle.

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It’s time for my first (and longest) post of the year. My LABR Mixed draft review.

As always, thanks to Steve Gardner at USA Today for the invite.

Last Year Recap (here’s my post-draft writeup)
Yet again, another competitive season (92 points) but outside the top two (6th place out of 15). The last 5 years I have scored between 87-102.5 points and finished between 3rd-7th.

This is not for lack of trying or being too conservative. Sometimes you barrel a ball only to end up with a double off the Green Monster vs a home run.

One year after basically throwing away a 4th round pick (Darvish 2018), I ended up getting absolutely nothing from my 2nd round pick (Stanton). Combine that with a 10th percentile bad outcome with my 5th round pick (Daniel Murphy) and it is a marvel I was in the top half of the standings. The rest of my early picks were solid to very good: deGrom (#1), Rendon (#3), Mondesi (#4), Robles (#6), Vazquez (#7). I hit big on two later picks with Austin Meadows (#14) and Christian Vazquez (#28). I do not recall any major in-season pickups but I imagine I did pretty well in that regard. I traded Mondesi for Hoskins once my SB lead was secure but Hoskins struggled. Traded Robles late for Bryce Harper which worked out okay.

Congrats to Steve Gardner on the win and Zach Steinhorn on the tough 2nd place finish (crazy last week).

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