Please see our player page for Jake Odorizzi 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?

Welcome, friends! Come, sit down, and let me tell you a tale of baseball. Indeed, baseball is truly America’s game, where the owners swim Scrooge McDuck-style in a vat of gold coins while shaking their canes vigorously at those thieves pounding at the door asking for some gruel. But you–yes, you!–fantasy lothario, with your fantasy baseball app at the ready and a sweaty finger hovering over the “draft” button, you can roster these needy players and give them the virtual coins they so deserve. Today, I’m offering a pitcher profile of Jake Odorizzi, and why you should consider him for a place on your team for the next 50, 70, or how ever many games MLB owners decide to let happen before they move their money vaults into the Norwegian tundra.

Because this is my first article with Razzball, I consulted Grey’s Secret Dictionary to see his definition of ‘pitcher,’ and here’s what it said: “1) a tool for mixing margaritas on Wednesday mornings, 2) players you don’t take early in a draft.” And that’s me quoting Grey! Wednesday Grey must have been deep into his routine of margs and Frasier reruns when he wrote the following on Odorizzi: “Odorizzi’s being drafted like a number three or four, but I see a strong number two.” Whoa, Grey, TMI! Let’s get down to business and see why you want this number two to work for you.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at hitters who are being priced cheaper in 2020 than their 2019 stats would dictate. This week, it’s time to assess Starters using the same approach.

Recency bias suggests that 2019 performance weighs most heavily in our minds when making 2020 decisions. That certainly plays out in many scenarios, but there are other players who’s 2020 price is discounted compared to what just happened. I’m guessing that’s mostly due to the prevalence of projection systems in player valuation. A good projection system should absolutely be the baseline for your 2020 valuations. But as we know, these systems are slow to pick up on skill changes. Three year weighted averages & regression to the mean helps the systems get the most players right; but it also means they systematically devalue 2019 stats. The goal of this post is to look at what just happened (2019 performance) and find places where the market (ADP) isn’t pricing in those stats.

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?

Today concludes the fantasy baseball sleepers‘ portion of our program. *nudges homeless woman sleeping on my couch that I tried to get Cougs to agree to a threesome with* No more sleepers, Francine. Meh, I’ll let her rest. Like the outfielders to target, this post is necessary. You need to target the right names at the end of the draft for starters. Last year’s starters to target post included Kenta Maeda, Chris Paddack and Brandon Woodruff. They’ve moved way up ranks this year with one making the jump to my top 20 starters, and, well, can you believe ESPN ranked Paddack 263rd overall last year? Yeah, well, Woodruff was unranked by Yahoo and ESPN. As with other target posts, these guys are being drafted after the top 200 overall. A quick aside portion of the program, as for the coronavirus aka Covid-19 aka “The Disease That Apparently Hates Baseball,” I’m not pretending it’s not going on, but some people still have drafts, and if I liked these guys before the virus started karaoke’ing to Public Enemy’s Shut ‘Em Down, I still like them. There are upcoming RCL drafts, and I plan on doing another NFBC league for s’s and g’s to pass time until the National Pastime returns. Is there more interest from you in another NFBC draft vs. me vs. youse? Let me know in the comments. (Side note within side note:  If NFBC is still doing new leagues, I’m hearing conflicting reports.) Also, all Steamer hitter projections have been updated to 100 games, and all 2020 fantasy baseball rankings have been updated. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s not the culmination of my life’s work, but it is the culmination of the finding aces series. The premise of this series was to identify pitchers showing traits similar to breakout pitchers from the past and ultimately locate the players who will make that value jump in 2020. We’ve discussed 30+ pitchers in the series (links to all articles at the bottom) since the calendar turned and today, I’m providing my top four pitchers with ADPs outside of the top 120 with SP2 upside for the 2020 fantasy season. There were a few landmarks I was seeking out in my analysis of who can reach this peak aside from them having the data points from our series research:

  • Pitchers who will throw 160 innings – Only 3 pitchers who finished as an SP2 on the 2019 Razzball player rater threw less than this. They either came excruciatingly close to this figure (Jake Odorizzi -159) or won 60%+ of their games started which is highly unlikely to occur (Mike Clevinger and Domingo German).
  • Pitchers on average or better teams – The lowest win total among the 2019 SP2s was 11. Only a single SP2 finisher was on a team that won less than 75 games (Lucas Giolito). Pitchers on bad teams struggle to hit this landmark.
  • Pitchers who will strike out 160+ batters – Only one pitcher completed an SP2 season in 2019 without crossing this threshold (Mike Soroka).
  • Pitchers with a WHIP under 1.24 – More baserunners lead to more runs against. Only one 2019 SP2 had a WHIP over this threshold and his success was largely wins driven (Eduardo Rodriguez).

Here are the final four pitchers that I believe can be aces in 2020:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After much success last year in NFBC’s Cutline competition (around top 30 overall out of 1,000 teams), I decided to give it another go. Mind you, they only pay top 20, and I came in approximately (I don’t remember) 30th, so I didn’t win money last year, but money can’t buy happiness. Happiness can only be derived from seeing a Japanese mascot petting a dog. Nothing else counts towards happiness. Luckily, this league doesn’t have a happiness category. You might remember (likely don’t) that I autodrafted the first four rounds last year for my “much success” team, so in some ways this year’s league is a test of Man vs. Machine because I drafted this whole kit and/or kaboodle. Everyone likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are the best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Now that I think about it, it’s not Man vs. Machine this year for me; it’s Man vs. Machine vs. Machine. HOLY CRAP, WE’RE OUTNUMBERED!  Anyway, here’s my NFBC Best Ball, Points League, 10 team draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our 2020 Razzball leagues are in signup mode. Robot in Signup Mode, “I am entering contest to win Razzball t-shirt even though I’ve never seen a robot wear a shirt. Starting….” The Robot begins to peter out, “…New…Fad.” Oh no, the Razzball Robot has died! *screaming to heavens* What hath you forsaken me?! Heavens, “Focus on the ESPN rankings, you moron.” Wow, the heavens do not take well to histrionics. So, this year’s ESPN rankings are a tad goofier than I remember them, but maybe I just got smarter — Smarterened? Smartered? Became the smarts? Meh, I don’t know. What I do know is ESPN has Tim Anderson ranked 143rd overall and that made me cackle like a hyena for so long a group of white-jacketed asylum workers showed up at my house and tried to cart me away. Me singing to the tune of Pharcyde, “Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…Can’t keep gettin’ carted awaaaaaaaaaay…” Any hoo! I’m clutchin’ my pearls like a Barbara Bush hologram and about to take out some ‘perts! *slowly, menacingly sharpens index finger for more incisive typing* I’m about to cut up somebody with words! Now let’s open a window and defenestrate ESPN’s 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. To the tune of Major Tom, I call this Major Dumb:

Please, blog, may I have some more?