Please see our player page for Jose Urquidy 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.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Giancarlo Stanton is hurt again.

Before the shortened season, things were looking up for Stanton.  The layoff gave him plenty of time to heal from offseason injuries, a shortened campaign meant he had a better shot of staying healthy throughout, and he had started the season off strong.  It looked like everyone who’d proclaimed “well he ONLY has to stay healthy for 60 games” were on their way to a nice profit…..wrong.   Stanton is now sitting on the IL with a minor hamstring strain that is going to sideline him for 3-4 weeks.  Knowing Stanton, and knowing the Yankees, I would expect it to be more towards 4, if not longer.  We’re venturing into total lost cause territory with Stanton.  In his absence, Mike Tauchman immediately becomes startable in all formats and Clint Frazier is going to get yet another opportunity to show he can stick with the big club.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dusty Baker, making an art of not saying a player has Covid while saying a player has Covid, hired an airplane to drag a banner in the sky proclaiming, “Yordan Alvarez is out for an unspecified amount of time for an unspecified reason.” Then another plane flew past with the banner, “Read the context clues here, guys.” Dusty Baker has the most subtle touch with Covid, and that’s why I love him. Unless it’s not really Covid and Yordan just has something else mysterious. MLB should hire Scooby and his Gang (but not Scrappy, he can get f*cked) to try to figure out all these mysterious IL stints. Maybe the league isn’t haunted, but it’s some old-timey guy with a top hat who is just trying to live in one of the stadiums without being hassled. So, Yordan Alvarez hit the IL and this is now me expressing full-throated concern. I moved him down in my top 100, top 500 and top 20 outfielders. Hopefully, he’s okay and can get back out there quickly, but he seems assured to miss the start of the season. This might just be the opening Kyle Tucker needs to get everyday at-bats, which is what we say right as Dusty Baker names Aledmys Diaz the DH. I kid. Kinda. Anyway, here’s what I saw for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Camp is starting up and it’s weird out there folks.  Split squad positionless scrimmages, Covid tests, opt outs….baseball is back!?!  This whole thing feels like the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout from Saved By the Bell…”I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…..scared”.

First round of Covid testing is coming back and there’s plenty of interesting names that have tested positive: Jesus Luzardo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Hector Neris, DJ Lemahieu, Tommy Pham, Scott Kingery, Mitch Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Salvador Perez, and Kole Calhoun are notable confirmed positives.

Of these, most fall into the “asymptomatic” category and should return to the team soon (hopefully).  Hector Neris was already around Phillies camp this week, and Joey Gallo already has one negative test under his belt.  He should be good to go soon.

The most serious case looks to be Freddie Freemen.  The Braves are being candid about exactly what Freeman is going through, but they’re not expecting him back to camp any time soon.

There’s several other guys who are missing from camp still with no given reason why.  Some teams are releasing positive tests, some teams aren’t stating what’s keeping players away but letting us read between the lines.  This list includes: Aaron Nola (who was seen around Phillies camp earlier this week similar to Neris), Yonny Chirinos, Juan Soto, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, AJ Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.  The Astros, as well as some other teams, have had issues with their testing in terms of getting results quickly, so that may be holding up the ‘Stros players, but these are all guys to keep an eye on.

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?

First Charlie Blackmon, now Freddie Freeman…Somebody check on Reggie Cleveland! Welp, this sucks. That’s me cutting to the chase quicker than the editors of the Fast & Furious movies. “Um, Vin Diesel’s been talking for like seven seconds, don’t we have any tire spinning footage?” That’s the editors cutting to the chase. There’s also the Entourage editors, who tried to cut around Chase. Or Ruben Tejada who would like to cut Chase. Any hoo! Freddie Freeman tested positive for Covid and is battling a fever. Besides the fear for Freeman, if something serious happens to a player, baseball’s not happening this year. Other players will walkout, and I wouldn’t blame them. Sorry, I know that’s no fun to hear, but you’re not here to be lied to. As for fantasy, these Covid positive tests are super hard to predict for projections and rankings. Of course, if drafting right now; you can’t draft Freddie Freeman in the top 20 overall. Not sure you can draft him in the top 50 overall, but that’s about where I’d risk it, and have updated my top 20 1st basementop 100 and top 500. I did blow the dust off my landscape architect degree and hedge with my new ranking of Freeman by not updating his projections. It’s just impossible to know if he’ll be out for two-to-three weeks, and fine for near the start of the season, or miss the whole season. Unknown risk is baked into his new ranking, but I left projections. Putting aside “Let the kids play,” MLB has adopted a new slogan for this season:  “Play!” “What? No, it’s not safe.” “I said, “Play!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When assessing starting pitchers, savvy fantasy players look at a wide variety of measures. Velocity, stuff, BABIP, Statcast, 2019 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, SP matchups are gold, whether you’re playing DFS or streaming in season-long. But before the year, I rarely see analysis go any deeper than AL-vs.-NL comparisons. This makes partial sense because we don’t know what a rotation will look like beyond the next week, making projecting out specific matchups impossible.

At the team level, however, we can get get a pretty good handle on who may have advantageous matchups and who will have a tough road in front of them. More specifically, we’re interested in the extremes: How frequently will each team face really tough matchups, or really easy ones? These are actionable (start/sit decisions). For the rest – the fat part of the bell curve – we’ll mostly be making decisions based on individual SP talent, not matchup.

One other note: in a 60-game season, each SP only gets 10-12 starts, meaning SoS will be more important than normal. In a reduced season, there isn’t time for the schedule to balance out. If a Rays pitcher has to face the Yankees three times, that’s 25-30% of their 2020 season stats, and you may want to downgrade them on draft day.

I’m basing this analysis on the proposed breakdown of the 60-game schedule found on MLB.com:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On our Steamer Fantasy Baseball Rankings, which have been updated to a 60-game season, we have 1,310 players ranked. 645 of them gained value. Some, for unstints, gained $0.1 of value like Juan Soto. Another hundred had zero value change like Christian Yelich. Another 600+ lost value. I’ll go over those guys in another post. This post will feature the top 20 players who gained the most value from doing nothing but bingeing Netflix for the last three months. Who knew watching Joe Exotic would add more value than any Driveline drills? Apparently, all baseball players need to know is, “Who is dumpster diving at your nearest Costco?” Anyway, here’s the top 20 biggest positive value changes for fantasy baseball pre vs. post-shutdown:

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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?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?