Please see our player page for Jon Lester 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.

On Saturday, Isan Diaz opted out of the season. Someone doesn’t want to sneak out to the strip club anymore. Then, on Sunday, the Marlins said they would bring up Monte Harrison and summon a bunch of journeymen to Baltimore for their next series, starting on Tuesday. I don’t care if they have one player, as long as that player’s Monte Harrison. Outside of Harrison, it sounds like their lineup might be filled with Matt Joyce, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla. “Bah gawd…it’s Ricky Nolasco’s music!” Last year, Harrison went 9/20/.274 in 56 Triple-A games. *does the robot as I head to my waiver wires to pick up Monte Harrison in every league* Robot voice, “Don’t…mind…if…I…” Damn, I was messing around, and someone got him before me. Stupid slow robot! So, grab Monte Harrison in every league for some power and great speed, though he might hit .210. I’d wait and see on Jorge Cantu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“But wait! The season has already begun!” Razzball nation cries out. 

Yes good people — but many teams didn’t announce their starting rotations until yesterday — and some still haven’t! So there’s going to be a bit of extrapolation on my part trying to predict exactly who is going to be starting, on what day, against which team, with what weapon and in what room. The San Francisco Giants for example have a game in a little over 5 hours as I’m writing this and the scheduled starter is that young, fire-balling, lefty from Korea: TBD. 

If you’ve found Razzball you know what to expect from a weekly two-start pitcher column. Every Saturday morning I’ll highlight the starting pitchers who have two starts in an upcoming week and I’ll rank ‘em and tier ‘em. Tier 1 — you can basically ignore reading this section each week. If you need me to tell you to start Gerrit Cole for both games of his two-start week — you don’t deserve Razzball’s content! But tier 2 through 5 is where your money is made, your bread is buttered and your week is won — well maybe not tier 5. Tier 5 is not for the faint of heart. That’s where your money is lost, your bread is burnt and your week is lost. 

As the season progresses I’ll be able to also recommend/reject certain pitchers based on their match-ups and stadiums. Again — for your top tier pitchers, this won’t matter. But German Marquez against the Dodgers in Coors Field? Maybe leave him on your bench for that match-up. Unfortunately, this early in the season, I can make predictions on who I think will be a tough offense to face — the Marlins are atop the NL East standings so who knows what will happen by week 5? 

One last thing to keep in mind — some teams will be implementing bullpen games. I won’t be including these in the two-start rankings. One or two innings pitched does not really constitute a “start” in my eyes.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

[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?

The prolonged delay to the 2020 MLB campaign is set to extend at least into June, and most likely July.  It’s given lots of players with injury concerns heading into draft season this year some extra time for recovery and even more preventative measures/surgeries that might have knocked their stock down a bit.  When things do pick up again, most every player will be ready to go and will be on a pretty even playing field going into the season injury free.

There are a couple of updates to share on guys who are on longer recovery paths as well as some things to keep in mind when looking forward to this season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

  • Last week of the regular season. Playoff teams may decide to adjust or sit their starters as they lock up their position and start getting ready for the playoffs. Did my best to recognize the 2 starters as best I could here.
  • There’s still some questions about who will start, but the situations I couldn’t nail down were:
    • Baltimore: Dylan Bundy is in line to start, but there’s a chance that Chandler Sheperd gets a chance in that spot instead.
    • Mariners have Marco Gonzales down to pitch both Sunday and Tuesday. It could be Tommy Milone or Justin Dunn if Marco goes Sunday.
    • The Reds could throw Kevin Gausman as an opener or could let Sonny Gray take the spot on Tuesday.
  • Oakland and San Diego are likely running a 6 man rotation.
  • Cincinnati may run a 6 man rotation, but have to monitor that situation.
Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Starter Notes for Week 24…

    • The Padres and Athletics are both throwing a 6-man rotation this week.
    • The Dodgers are giving Hyun-Jin Ryu a pass on his next start, but haven’t announced when he will make the next one yet, or how the rotation will work this week. While Ryu will be skipped, the Dodgers are also getting Rich Hill back this week, which could maintain the 6 man rotation.
    • How the Dodgers handle the rotation means that Walker Buehler may or may not have 2 starts this week. The good news, of course you’re starting Walker Buehler. The bad news, not sure that he’s getting 2 starts, but he’d be a ‘No Doubt’ guy if he does.
    • The Yankees Tuesday starter has yet to be announced, but should be a 2 start option whoever they throw. My best guess right now is that it’s a bullpen game with Chad Green starting.
    • Please, blog, may I have some more?