Please see our player page for Jesus Luzardo 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.

I’d like to begin with a quick retrospective to count our blessings despite the stark reality that hitting pause on minor league baseball made 2020 anything but a prospector’s dream. 

This decision was not without its own hidden benefits, though I feel kinda funny saying the temporary demolition of a couple thousand young men’s dreams was not without upside for the fantasy baseball player. Wasn’t even without upside for the real-life player if he found positive ways to invest his time like Luisangel Acuña reportedly has, packing pounds of muscle onto his developing frame. When MLB increased the playoffs from 8 to 16 teams, the entire prospect landscape changed. Suddenly, Baltimore, San Francisco, Toronto and more had incentive to push for wins on the margins. One could argue they had even more incentive to rush their prospects up to the majors just to keep them playing games. We saw more players jump AA and AAA in 2020 than any season I can remember. The expanded playoff format is not solely responsible for that, but it has been a crucial element in breathing some aggressiveness and unpredictability back into our game. I’ll be mildly shocked if MLB doesn’t retain both the 16-team playoffs and the universal DH. 

The stage is set in the American League. Tampa Bay, Oakland, Minnesota, Cleveland, New York, Houston, Chicago, and Toronto are all officially playoff teams. 

Tampa Bay OF Randy Arozarena was kind of the inciting incident for this article focused on at least one guy from each team who should be flat-out fun to watch this October.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m freshly back from The Hotties, which is the annual Razzball award ceremony for the “hottest taeks” in fantasy baseball. With the sharp-toothed piranhavirus in full swing, Grey called for a “Mask-erade” ball, but the Eventbrite invitation auto-corrected it to a “masquerade” ball. Everybody showed up with the wrong parts of their face covered. I thought Grey would be upset but he seemed to take everything in stride, saying that he had been waiting for this day since “Eyes Wide Shut” was released. Is that a movie or a novel or a contact delivery service? Anyway, Grey started giggle-whispering “Fidelio!” at everybody. Hey, Grey, I get it. Fidel Castro liked baseball. Let’s get with the times!

I did manage to record Grey’s speech to all the writers and Instagram models who attended. Here’s the transcript if you want to read it:

“I’ll get right to the point: I’m proud to announce a new partnership between Razzball and the San Diego Padres. 2021 will be known as STAN DIEGO around here, and all hot taeks will involve Padres players. The top 10 pitchers? Lamet, Davis, Clevinger, and Paddack [audible hissing from the crowd]. The top 10 hitters? Tatis, Machado, Grisham, and Myers. Trevor Rosenthal is a top 30 pick. You will all write sleeper articles on Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejon, and yes, Eric Hosmer. [pause while Grey dodges thrown masks] Fear not, for STAN DIEGO comes with perks! You will all get a free hot dog with a purchase of an annual pass to Sea World, and you’ll get a personal tour of the tiger enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. Now, writers, start hyping Jake Cronenworth!”

At that point, all the people Grey whispered “Fidelio” to disappeared into Grey’s private grotto, which he named “50 Shades of Play” because of the underwater mini-golf course he installed. Myself? I was left standing in the foyer with a mysterious note that only said, “MacKenzie Gore, 2021 hot taek.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Ask not what your fantasy team’s pitchers can do for you, but what you can do for your fantasy team pitchers.” The number one thing you can do is have your fantasy team page open and curse and scream whenever a reliever comes into the game in a non-save shituation and gives up runs, or when you have a pitcher give up five-plus in under five innings, or when you bench a guy who throws a gem. That’s the least you can do for your country and your team. Yesterday, the Kennedy curse lifted, and Jack and Joe did you right: Joe Musgrove (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.68) vs. Jack Flaherty (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.84). In 2021, Jack Flaherty could be underrated. Imagine he’s not a top five starter next year, because of one bad start. Sign me up for some of that nonsense. Joe Musgrove is a trickier proposition such as, “I’ll do whatever for $50.” Wait, that’s a trick’s proposition. Since Musgrove’s IL stint, his fastball velocity wasn’t quite there, but yesterday saw him touch 95 MPH, and his slider was working for him. For 2021, I could see getting sucked in again by Musgrove, which inevitably will leave me mumbling, “Era, era, my ERA is a mess.” That’s JFK struggling to the finish line of a fantasy season, like all of us. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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“Keep on go on wondering why, I got out of bed at all,” which are the lyrics for Thank You by Dido, which was the chorus for Stan by Eminem, and I want to thank you, Kwang-Hyun Kim (7 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 0.63) as he was activated from the IL after having kidney problems, and to misquote Eminem, “I Stan Kim.” Actually, here’s Eminem singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem.” Eminem is a big Golden Girls fan, obvi. Any hoo! What a year by Kim, whoa. He has 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed only one home run all year. Granted, he’s only thrown 28 2/3 IP all year, has allowed only two earned runs all year, and that’s less than a month of a regular season. But, wow, what a year! We’ll leave it at that. Will Eminem, or us for that matter, be singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem” in 2021? That seems less likely. His peripherals are not particularly inspiring, but for this year *genuflects* Stan Kim, Stan Kim, Stan Kim. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hard to believe, but my first season as a baseball analyst here at Razzball is almost at an end! For athletes, that means they’re leaving the bubble soon. Us fantasy writers? We’re all bubbled-up to protect from the dreaded Piranhavirus. Oh, you don’t know what that is? See, we’re so forward thinking here at Razzball, we’re already sequestered away for the next pandemic. You may be asking, “How does the Razzbubble work?” Well, future victims of piranhas, let me show you my notes from earlier this summer when I bubbled up.

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Dane Dunning sounds like someone who should be hosting a 70’s dating show and looks like the T.A. all the young co-eds would be lusting after in Psych 101. That being said, he’s pitched pretty well in his 4 starts so far this year allowing only 6 ERs in 20 IP. If he does well against the hard-hitting Twins and the Reds at home — I’ll consider moving him up. I’ll give him this — the career 0.5 HR/9 over 449 professional innings will serve him well this week. Also working in his favor is he’s facing the 7th and 9th worst teams in K/rate to right-handed pitchers. 

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In the highly lucrative industry that is imaginary sports team management, we here at Razzball are always looking to give you readers the sharpest edge of advantage. I mean, how do we keep up with a provider like Pitching Ninja, whose name literally invokes the finely-honed edges of a ninja star slicing through bats before landing softly in the supple leather of a catchers mitt? Fear not, fearful reader! I have been to cram school, and I have been to Austria, and I have been in dungeons, and I combined all of my knowledge of those places and completely threw it out the window. See, to be sharper than sharp, you gotta think outside the box. When the competition goes sharp, you go — that’s right! — blocky. I present to you, followers of the Top 100 Starting Pitcher series, the latest in pitching analysis: 8-bit graphics.

Robbie Ray Demonstrates his elite level of unpredictability

Let’s apply this newfangled technology to our top starting pitchers and see what we can do to help you to fantasy glory!

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All right, we almost made it a week without a Covid positive test in MLB, but Sunday morning, the Oakland Athletics announced that a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus and their play has been postponed. News will be developing more, but as of the time of writing (Sunday morning), you’ll probably want to pay attention to your Oakland starters (i.e. Jesus Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt) in weekly lineup leagues. For DFS and daily lineups, you can follow the news and do what you have to do.

Again, we’re nearing the 60% mark of the season for most teams in MLB, and the same goes for most of your fantasy baseball teams. If you’re going to make a move — whether the waiver wire or a trade — it’s time to do it now. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Rest-of-Season-o-Nator-o-Tron. That Sixto Sanchez guy that everybody’s talking about? Hit Control-F and search his projections for the rest of the season. Come on, do it! Oh fine, I’ll just tell you. It’s 23IP, 1W, and a probably too-conservative 17K. What about Gerrit Cole? 36IP, 3W, and 49K. OK math majors, let’s get to work! If you’re trailing in pitching stats in your fantasy league, what’s the likelihood that Sixto Sanchez helps you catch up to the team that’s starting Gerrit Cole every 5 days? Not all that great, right? The Marlins have a lot of catch-up to do, and Sixto Sanchez can’t throw those extra games, and no manager is going to risk The Sanchize by throwing him overtime in a year when 50% of the teams make the playoffs. For actual baseball, this is amazing, because the Marlins seem on track to make the playoffs and you’re going to see The Sanchize playing in the wildest shootout of baseball playoffs ever seen in human history. But for fantasy baseball, you’re getting, at most, maybe 2W and — if you’re lucky — 30Ks from Sixto over the next few weeks.

So, how do you overcome the teams that are starting the entirely-possible rotation of Shane Bieber, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, and Andrew Heaney (all of whom are in the top 25)?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holy rookie starters! I swear, there are more rookies debuting on the mound in 2020 than there are jokes about dongs on this site. After hearing much conversation about rookie starters and seeing some of the love-at-first-sight that is happening in some fantasy circles, it got me to thinking: of all the rookie starters out there, how do they all stack up from now through the rest of the season? Our very own everywhereblair has already been providing you with awesome updates to Razzball’s starting pitching rankings each week, but I thought I’d take it a step further as one of the prospect gurus and hone in on the first-year hurlers. These are solely rankings for the rest of the 2020 fantasy baseball season, although I plan to have updated dynasty rankings on these same names in the near future. Warning: my rankings do not directly translate to how everywhereblair has the top 100 starters ranked, therefore this article is not doctor approved.

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Starts quietly at first then builds, “Javy….Nagilla….Javy…Nagilla…Javy…Nagilla!” Waving napkins above my head while I’m lifted in my chair above my fantasy team, “Javy….Nagilla….Javy…Nagilla…Javy…Nagilla!” Spots someone who looks like a Rabbi with a long beard, and screams down, “Thank you, Rabbi!” The bearded man replies, “I’m Lance Lynn.” So, Javier Baez went 3-for-5, 2 RBIs, 3 RBIs with his 4th and 5th homer, hitting .219. Shoot, hold on, someone is ringing my doorbell. “Oh, hey, Instacart deliveryman, I ordered the smelling salts thinking I might need them for Javier Baez, what’s your return policy?” Hopefully, this is the start of Baez hitting like a top 25 hitter, and not like every rookie the Marlins call up. I could use it. Plus, I have this chair now propped on top of my desk for the Javy Nagilla dance. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?