Please see our player page for Josh Fleming 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.

Happy Saturday, Razzball Folks! The All-Star break is upon us, and we have a record low number of bodies that have hit the floor due to injury. However, we have a record number of folks on the IL because of COVID-19 in the “vaccine avoidance” category. Specifically, the Kansas City Royals have 10 unvaccinated players, […]

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Welcome to week 4 — the week where all the data finally makes sense and the futures of every player become written in stone! Not really — that’s kind of the wonky thing about baseball — it might take years to make effective predictions about player performance (see Greinke comma Zack). For me, May is where I start to vaguely pay attention to baseball again because the stats are meaningful again. DFS becomes a bit more predictable, and the rest of us fantasy ballers (Grey’s mom’s word) are ready to spew out meaningful and actionable takes. Like, “Sit that clown Lucas Giolito! I kid, I would never bad-mouth a White Sox player [stares at Dylan Cease]. 

Let’s learn about some interesting players! 

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I’ll be honest: a lot of the job of a fantasy sports writer is constrained by search engine optimization and giving audiences what they expect. This article, for example, is ostensibly about starting pitchers. But what *is* a starter, anyway? So many teams are using openers now. So many teams are letting pitchers go 4.2 IP, or piggybacking, or bullpen games, or long reliever, or, or, or. And tee-bee-ache (pronounce that last word softly, like you’re staring longingly into its eyes waiting for the next clause), starters don’t require a mass of innings pitched to be effective for fantasy baseball. In 2021, Corbin Burnes finished SP5 with 167IP, Carlos Rodon SP10 with 132IP, Jacob deGrom SP13 with 92IP (!), Freddy Peralta SP14 with 144IP, and so on. Unless you’re in one of those quality starts league — which I established in the pre-season were just different ways of slandering a Win — you could really roll with any number of “pitchers,” broadly speaking, and do fine.

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Motivational speaker, Manny Machado, entered the Padres’ clubhouse before yesterday’s contest and asked new head coach, Bob Melvin, if he could speak. His teammates’ rapt attention centered on Manny, and he spoke, “I won’t always run hard to first, 2nd, third or home. I will usually ask for a golf cart to take me out to 3rd base between innings. When it’s my time in the on-deck circle, I will ask the umps if I can put on water wings and slap around in a kiddie pool. When that clock strikes April 19th, I will check out until sometime in July. But I am telling you right now, you have every piece of me from this moment here, until roughly ten o’clock on April 18th, then again sometime in July. And I will take you where you need to go, so hop on!” And with that Wil Myers stood and began to clap at first. Then he elbowed Eric Hosmer (4-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs), who was dreaming of grounding out to 2nd base, and he stood and clapped too. And, before anyone knew it, the entire clubhouse was in a rousing ovation for their leader, Manny Machado — the best clubhouse guy a team could hope for. Then, as the ovation began to dissipate, Machado asked Luke Voit if he could drive the golf cart that would take him out to the field. So, yesterday, Manny Machado (5-for-6, 4 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 1st homer, a 111 MPH shot into left field, and two steals for the magnificent slam and double legs. This was Machado’s 2nd career five-hit night. Five hits, 4 runs, 2 SBs with a homer in a game had only been done three times since 1987 — Andrew McCutchen, Carl Crawford and Tony Gwynn. Machado gets a bad rap; he does usually put up top 25 overall type numbers, as long as Voit continues to gas up the golf cart. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Before Lewis Brinson (3-for-4, 3 RBIs) homered twice (6, 7) on Wednesday, I wrote him up for the Buy column this week — which is available now on the Patreon. I had included him, because I saw recently that Lewis Brinson was hitting near-.350 in the last two weeks, and had hit some homers, so I was pumped to open his Statcast page to see improvement and! And! AND! Well, no, not entirely. He’s been better than he has been for Launch Angle, getting good wood on ball and xBA is up, but, damn, he still misses so much. If you lift balls with good wood–Wait, are we still talking about hitting? Right, right. Yes, good things will happen. Brinson is hitting balls as hard as Tatis, Verdugo, Story and Walsh. Clearly, great guys to be mentioned in the same breath, but they all make far more contact, and have three-plus times as many at-bats. This last few-week stretch has been great, but when I called him recently Byron Pennieston, because he was a poor man’s Buxton, it still applies. Of course, I’d still grab Pennieston in any league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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We mentioned that last week’s streamers could be tough sailing, and it ended up proving to be that way. While they weren’t terrible, it was certainly one of my worst weeks of the year. That has me motivated to bounce back here, and I feel like we have a great group of streamers for this week. There are also some major discrepancies on different sites regarding ownership percentages, though, so be sure to check your waiver wires to make sure some gems aren’t sitting out there. We’ll actually include a couple of guys for shallower leagues in the consideration section because there are some studs sitting out there in way too many leagues. With that in mind, let’s talk about this week!

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Around The Lou, Paul DeJong is colloquially known as Colonel Mustard, the Land Marshall, who is both dignified and dangerous who always rolls second. Or, uh, *counts the spots in the lineup* sixth. Yesterday, Colonel Mustard (2-for-4, 3 runs, 5 RBIs) did it with a baton on the back of a miniature horse while riding through our nation’s capital. “Onward tiny chap!” The Colonel coaxed his horsie, not a pony, many people make this mistake, around the bases not once, but twice. His fourth and fifth homer-jaunts around the bases in this too-early-to-be-called-a-season season. Will the Colonel Mustard continue to *pinkie to mouth* musquerade as an All-Star General or will his dong-ability be more of a lowly private? A tiny horse, of course, can carry him to 30 homers, and a .250 average easily, and I won’t hear any neighs. My condiments to the Colonel. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s still only early February and meaningful baseball feels light years away, but as far as I’m concerned it’s never too early to think about your next fantasy draft.  Last week we thought a bit about the outfield, but this week I’m in the mood to switch gears entirely.  So, let’s ponder some starting pitchers who are going late in drafts that could conceivably outperform their ADP.  We’ll keep things outside the top 250 players selected based on current NFBC ADP, including a few guys outside the top 400 that likely won’t see little yellow stickers with their names on them on draft boards outside of NL-only, AL-only, and similar formats of interest only to those of us in the deep-league world.

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I had Dane Dunning listed as a two-start pitcher last week, but I guess that didn’t happen for whatever reason. However, he was the headlining player of that article, and he’s back again for this week! Way back then I wrote: “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.” Well, he did allow a HR to the Twins last week, but still only held them to that 1 ER over 7 innings while tying his season-high with 7 K’s. JUST LIKE I TOLD YOU. So what about these Indians? They’re only hitting .230 against righties with a .373 slugging percentage. The ingredients are there for another delicious recipe for success from Dunning. I’m a little less optimistic about his start against the Cubs, although they have been middle of the road against righties with their third-highest K/rate against them. Take the risk if you can afford it. 

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Pitching, like everything else this year, has been a literal S-Show. My TGFBI team got quickly dismantled thanks to David Price, Justin Verlander, Corey Kluber, and Joe Musgrove. That dismantlement forced me to turn to streaming early on. Now that we’re a full five weeks into the season, it’s clear what teams to pick on and what teams to avoid for streaming. For example, Indians versus righties avoid (.364 wOBA over the last 14 days), but those same bats against a lefty have posted a .272 wOBA on the year. Justin Dunn (7.5% ESPN, 10% CBS) has learned well that the Rangers are an awesome team to stream against. He’s faced the Rangers twice already this year going 6 IP in each start and allowing just 2 earned runs. He didn’t do anything exceedingly special. Dunn struck out 8 batters over those two starts, but just let the Rangers do what they do best – suck. As of this writing, Dunn gets a third lucky matchup with the Rangers on September 7th. A little bit of a look-ahead for us, but a great spot for us to attack if you’re looking to improve your ratios or grab a streaming “W”. Let’s take a look at five more streamers this week to get you ahead of your competition.

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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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I’ve got my fingers crossed, but unless I’m mistaken, every major league team is currently cleared to play baseball games! No small feat in 2020. 

With so many games to play, and prospects popping up like whack-a-moles, we’ve got a lot to track, especially with double headers and compressed schedules and on and on. Here’s what I’m seeing around the league.

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