Please see our player page for Joe Musgrove 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.

A lot of pitcher fantasy analysis centers around pitcher quality: Velocity, stuff, BABIP, Statcast, recent performance…balancing out all of the available metrics to determine cost (draft slot, $ value) is the name of the game. Today we’re going to look at a metric I rarely see discussed in the pre-season: strength of schedule (SoS).

In-season, starting pitcher matchups are gold, whether you’re playing the streaming game or DFS. But pre-season, I rarely see analysis go any deeper than AL-vs.-NL comparisons. At the individual-SP level, this makes sense: projecting out specific full-season matchups for an SP is impossible.

At the team level, however, we can get get a pretty good handle on who may have advantageous matchups and who has a tough road. More specifically, we’re interested in the extremes: How frequently will each team face really tough matchups, or really easy ones? The middle 60% will be mostly based on pitcher quality; at the margins, we have actionable start/sit decisions.

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Pitch Arsenals. Tunneling. X-Stats. Exit Velocity. Spin rate.

The number, and complexity, of new stats to evaluate pitchers is amazing. No doubt, there are edges to be found by parsing this data. Some of the sharpest minds in baseball are assessing this mountain of information to better describe & predict player performance.

There is one pitching stat that captures the majority of what we fantasy players care about, is infinitely more accessible than all the new metrics, and has existed long before Statcast: K-BB% (strikeout % minus walk %).

Yeah, I’m not exactly revolutionizing baseball analysis here. 10 years ago, sharp fantasy managers were using this stat. K-BB% is simple. The more batters you strikeout, and the fewer you walk, the better. Outs are good, on-base is bad, and you’re wondering why you’re still reading. Can one metric (one that we’ve had for a long time) really encapsulate the complexities of pitching?

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All things being equal the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball is around the 150th overall range to about 225th overall. This is your number three to fourth starters. Of course it could be your first starter and you’ve punted everything accidentally by oversleeping your draft. Wipe that sweat off your brow and grab the Streamonator! Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Also, you can get Rudy’s downloadable War Room by subscribing early to the Razzball Tools. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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Not usually my style, but we’re taking a break from the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings for a day because of the big trade between the Rockies and Cardinals (and a shizzton of other moves). All the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings, including pitchers, are already up on our Patreon.

So, the Rockies are trying to lose, and they’re a stupid franchise. That is a bad combination. Like burning down your house for insurance money after letting your insurance lapse. The Rockies gave away their marquee player and $50 million. If this is a rebuild, and Austin Gomber is the start of–I’m sorry. I can’t even say Austin Gomber with a straight face. The Cards got Arenado for a Gomber pile of garbage. Bud Black is actually the perfect imbecile to run that team. So, on Arenado’s fantasy value, well…*swallows*…okay, so…*collects thoughts* Yeah, I moved him down in my rankings.

Arenado was traded to the Cards, and I can’t possibly tell you he’s as safe to draft in St. Louis. I don’t think the park change is as dramatic as some are making it out to be. I don’t think he’s suddenly done. I know his road/away splits, but as said many times before, guys are better at home. Even guys who aren’t in Coors. You’re staying at home, you’re surrounded by family and friends, you’re seeing your wife–Wait, are these reasons to enjoy being at home? Right, yes, I kid! Home numbers are always better. Familiarity with the park, just being more comfortable. It’s always like this; there’s stats to back it up, don’t make me pull them out. So, Arenado might not have been great on the road when he played in Coors, but you can’t just say his new home numbers will be his old road numbers. Doesn’t work like that. Trying to see the difference between him and, say, Jose Abreu, though, has become nearly impossible and Abreu isn’t a top 20 overall pick, and neither is Arenado now. I moved Rafael Devers up to the top 20 for 2021 fantasy baseball; Arenado dropped about ten overall spots (but only one spot in the top 20 3rd basemen), and I lowered his projections a bit. His new projections: 88/32/106/.279/1 in 592 ABs.

For what it’s Wuertz, here’s out Steamer projections pre-trade: 103/35/103/.286, 4th best 3B, ~20th overall. Here’s him post-trade: 86/29/85/.256; 8th-10th 3B, ~110TH overall. Um, that’s kinda gross. And, to add fire to the inferno whooshing around the Torenado, look at projections of Austin Riley vs. Nolan Arenado:

Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for fantasy baseball:

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Howdy-do, folks. I surely do ‘preciate you stopping by for the latest in the world of offseason baseball.

The Blue Jays made three exciting signings, only to have it turn into two exciting signings (unless a Tyler Chatwood signing excites you, then you can still call it three) because the Astros swooped in. For a few hours there, the Jays lineup looked pretty damn formidable. I still really dig it, for what it’s worth.

Other things happened, too. Here’s what stood out to me:

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The Cubs are cleaning house even though they are a big market team. The Reds are seemingly red-tagging the store after going all-in for half a season. The Brewers have made zero moves to improve their lineup around Yelich. The Cardinals, too, have also done absolutely nothing. And now the Pirates have jumped on board with the neighborhood garage sale to boot, after offloading Josh Bell. In a year when the entire NL Central feels like sellers or doing nothing, of course, the Pirates go into full teardown mode again… after, well… never emerging from the last full teardown or the one before that. Does anyone want to win this thing?

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When MLB shutdown on March 13th, we all assumed the season would start up again by April. It was just down for a few weeks, we figured. Baseball would continue, as it always would. Then we were boarded-up into our homes, and baseball wouldn’t return until…June, right? June would be fine, we thought. 100 games they could play, and we could all have some semblance of a season. A distraction during darker times. Then June 1st came and went and we were like, “They can still get 100 games in if they start on that magical day:  July 4th.” Of course, we thought, Rob Manfraud is secretly a genius and the season would start back on our nation’s greatest holiday. The day that saw the birth of George Washington, Ben Franklin, Rob Thomas, literally every great American’s birthday. July dot dot dot Fourth. Fireworks and baseball, and everyone would stand, one hand over their mouth, one hand outstretched so no one was within six feet, and baseball would rise from the ashes like Joaquin Phoenix. Then that passed, and it became clear MLB would start with no fans just to get in the bare minimum of a season as a precursor for their real moneymaker, the playoffs. Finally, when games began, there was a DH in the NL; 7-inning games; runners starting innings on 2nd, and teams shutting down for a week with protocol breaches. Ah, yes, wonderful, terrific protocol breaches. Yet, through all that, we preserved through the craziest fantasy baseball season on record. And on wax, if you’re old school. If you made it to this point, you deserve congratulations. Doesn’t matter if you won your league or not. You deserve kudos for just getting through this season (two months). Also, because I’m in an especially touchy-feely mood, I don’t thank all of you enough. Without you, it would just be me making stupid baseball jokes, snorting and–Well, it is all of that, but with you it makes it feel like we’re all in this together. My over-the-internet friends. Be well and safe all offseason. I’ll be here, churning out offseason content and hoping for a slightly more normal 2021. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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.”

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“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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?