Please see our player page for Juan Soto 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.

In the first two parts of this series, we covered the infielders that I’ll be relying on this fantasy season, starting with catchers and corner infielders in part one and looking at middle infielders in part two. While players like Francisco Lindor, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, and Tim Anderson provide a nice, stable foundation to build off of, you need more to field a top-notch offense in competitive formats. Safe, high floor players alone aren’t going to get the job done. It’s important to find some impact hitters that’ll make a real difference. That’s where the outfielders come into play. Not only does the outfield represent the largest player pool in fantasy baseball on the offensive side of things, but it is also the most demanding position in terms of starting lineup requirements (5 OF in both the online championship and draft champions NFBC formats). Outfielders are similar to middle infielders in that you can find anything you need here: power, speed, counting stats, and batting average. I’m looking for production in all of these categories, and since there are quite a few players to cover, let’s get started, shall we?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In part one of this little mini series, we looked at all of the catchers and corner infielders that I’ll be relying on once the 2020 season gets underway. As much as I enjoy talking about Yadier Molina and Jose Abreu, those guys aren’t exactly dripping with excitement. They’re high floor foundation pieces who are useful fantasy assets, but aren’t the types of players who will carry a team to a fantasy championship. It’s like going to your local burger joint and ordering a plain cheeseburger – it’s not likely to disappoint, but it won’t be a particularly memorable meal either. Middle infielders and outfielders are the bacon, caramelized onions, and special sauce that can be added to that plain burger to make it exceptional. Sometimes, experimenting with exotic ingredients like spicy peppers can lead to indigestion, but it can also lead to a special, unique experience. And there’s plenty of spice to go around in these groups.

All of these ingredients are represented at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield. Power, speed, average, and counting stats – they can all be found in abundance here. The key is to determine who to target and when to target them. Today, I’ll be sharing the middle infielders that I targeted and ended up drafting across my five NFBC leagues for the 2020 season. I originally intended to cover outfielders as well, but since Magoobot’s self-editing mechanism malfunctioned years ago, there’s only room for the guys up the middle today. There’ll be a whole post dedicated to outfielders in part three.

Just like last week, I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up drafting. Both the 12 team NFBC Online Championship and 15 team NFBC Draft Champions formats require that you start 1 2B, 1 SS, and 1 MI at all times, so that’s something to keep in mind during this exercise. As a quick refresher, each player will be placed into one of the following four categories:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nostalgia can be a funny thing. In challenging times, especially, it can be nice to revisit things that you think back on fondly. It wraps you in a warm, comfy blanket of good memories and better times. Even now, as I’m writing this, I just put on a random 90s alternative rock/grunge playlist that I found on YouTube. I have some very nostalgic feelings about the music from that era. Alice in Chains? Yes please. Soundgarden? Mmm… so cozy. Better Than Ezra? Sure, why not. Underrated band. Tal Bachman? Ahhhh, that’s… wait, what? Joan Osborne? Brrr… it’s getting drafty in here. Savage Garden? Hey, where the hell did my blanket go? Time to pull a Randy Savage and drop the big elbow on this list. Magoo’s gettin’ angry!

Well, so much for my nostalgic musical trip. That brings us back to baseball. It’s really the ultimate source of nostalgia for me. Whether playing, watching, or getting hooked on the fantasy side of things, it’s been a constant in my life since I was about four years old. A nice, warm blanket that’s always at the ready. So to be sitting here in late April with no baseball in sight feels weird. Really weird. And while nobody really knows when or where or in what form our national pastime will return, I’m hopeful that it will at some point this year. But instead of focusing on what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control, shall we?

Which brings us to the topic at hand. We might not know when and where baseball will be played this season, but we can certainly choose who we want playing on our fantasy teams. With that in mind, I’ll be discussing all of the players who I’ve drafted in my fantasy baseball leagues in 2020. It might sound like a lot, but it’ll just be covering five leagues in total – four NFBC Online Championship leagues, and one NFBC Draft Champions league. For some perspective, the four OC leagues are 12 team mixed with weekly lineup locks, weekly pickups, and the following starting lineup requirements: 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 MI, 1 CI, 5 OF, 1 Util, and 9 P. There is a 1000 innings pitched minimum, but no specific minimum or starting requirements for starting or relief pitchers. The Draft Champions is a 15 team mixed league format with the same starting lineup requirements as the OC format, except it’s a 50 round draft-and-hold with no in-season transactions. What you draft is what you’re stuck with until the end of the season. There is no trading and no injured list in both formats as well.

I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up pulling the trigger on. Since this article is already longer than a typical baby seal comment, I’ll just be covering catchers and corner infielders today, with middle infielders, outfielders, and pitchers soon to follow.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve been dreading this next stretch for a hot minute.

Well–not “dreading” dreading. That word doesn’t fit many contexts now the world is experiencing existential dread on a daily basis.

But the faux fear is realish enough that my point stands: infield feels like pretty solid ground for fantasy baseball purposes. Pretty much every league uses a catcher, shortstop and first, second and third basemen. Some use one catcher, some use middle and corner infielders, some use an IF spot, but the needs across leagues, and the depth of each position, are fairly standard. 

Outfield and Pitcher feel like the dark arts. Snape describes them to Harry in book six, and Harry describes them to Dumbledore’s Army in book five, as a constantly shapeshifting, infinite battle for which there is no measure of readiness that reaches the level of being “prepared.” 

You do the best you can and react when the world changes. 

So that’s my task here, starting with the sequencing of the top 50 outfielders for 2021 dynasty baseball. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night I awoke in a rush. I was sweating, panting almost – awakened by a nightmare more ghastly than you can imagine. One more horrific than the chronic nightmares I had as a child in which the tiny troll figurines stalked my bedroom through all hours of the night. One quick Google search and I’m reliving those dreams – and it’s all too real. Yet, even such horrors do not compare to the demons which disturbed my slumber last night.

Over the past several weeks, I have been struggling to cope with the delay of the Major League Baseball season – something I’m sure you can all relate to. While trying to keep a healthy perspective concerning the real issues and concerns of the present, I have been unable to keep my mind from wandering to the darkest corners of the baseball world. Before the Coronavirus even put the MLB season on hold, I dreamed of such harsh realities taking form. *queues Danny Glover voiceover* You can call it a vision. You can call it a coincidence. I don’t care what you call it, but last night, it got worse.

I found myself walking through an unfamiliar land in which Airpods were even more popular than they are now. Wandering through the streets, I was passed by an Amazon drone engaged in an air delivery. While gazing at its sheer beauty, I stumbled through the gates of Camden Yards and a game program subsequently blew though the wind and onto my startled face. As I pulled the flier away and began to read its text – I instantly gasped in disbelief. 2023 All-Star Game: The Long-Awaited Return of the Midsummer Classic it read, with an action shot of superstar catcher Adley Rutschman spread across the front page.

As I stood in disbelief, I overheard a conversation between two young fans, arguing who indeed was the top backstop in the game, Rutschman or San Francisco’s Joey Bart. But what about J.T. Realmuto, I thought? Or the mid-career development of Willson Contreras? I continued to eavesdrop with the hope that more details would soon become clear.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No one is playing baseball, which means there’s a lot of wives around the country telling their husbands to stop scratching themselves, and that’s just the wives of fantasy baseballers. Imagine those poor ballplayers’ wives. “Why do you keep spitting into my potted plants?” and “Stop with the complicated signs when you’re calling in our basset hound. He doesn’t understand.” We should be complaining about Bud Black not playing Sam Hilliard or Raimel Tapia while opting for Ian Desmond, but instead Bud Black is home deciding to go with mustard on his hamburger for the last 17 days and refusing to give ketchup a chance. Ketchup is good, Bud, give it a shot! New things don’t have to scare you! Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should be on the field, reminding everyone of his father, but instead he’s home reminding his father to wash his hands. After 1st hearing about the restrictions, Vlad Sr. replies, “Forget shaking hands, I wouldn’t even elbow bump with Moises Alou.” Since everyone has been home for the last two-plus weeks, we’ve culled all the important player news from around the league for your fantasy teams and bring it to you now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As quickly as the baseball season was approaching it came to a screeching halt even faster. With no baseball on the docket for seemingly a few months at minimum, Grey and myself dug into our Tout Wars auction results. We talk high level strategy in each format and how we executed our pre-draft game plans. It’s not the show you deserve but it’s the show you need! Join us for the latest episode of the Razzball podcast. Oh BTW, wash your hands!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dude, what does mine say? Sweet. What about mine? Dude. What does mine say. It says “hey malamoney dude, where is that spreadsheet you’ve promised us”? It’s tattooed right here on my upper back. Unfortunately today is not the day. This whole virus thing we’ve got going on has really put a monkey wrench in my plans. The problem is that my spreadsheet is driven by projections. The problem with my projections is that with the length of the season up in limbo, my projections are kinda in a holding pattern. I highly doubt we are going to see a full season, and am expecting a shortened season. But how short. No clue. There’s even a chance of no season. Say it ain’t so.

So why can’t I just share the spreadsheet with whatever projections I currently have and then adjust once the season is better understood. The short answer is that it would be a boat load of work. Unfortunately the way I created that thing it’s not so simple to just replace the projections, at least not for more than a few players. I have no desire to go through the motions twice once they announce the official plans for the season. A lot of the work I have been doing to the spreadsheet these past few weeks has been to remedy this problem for the future.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grey comes on the podcast to blame B_Don for everything coronavirus related. Grey and Donkey Teeth are going a little stir crazy while B_Don was partying in Vegas. I think Grey was just jealous.

The trio then move on to how they are adjusting for ongoing and future drafts during this unknown period.  Grey discusses how he’s adjusted his projections initially and the randomness that may ensue in a shortened season. We each offer up our thoughts on how a shortened season may adjust our approach at pitching.

We finally get to discuss Grey’s Tout Wars NL auction and Grey auction value shames us poor amateurs. We discuss Grey’s big purchases of Bellinger and Soto, and how that affected his auction strategy. Grey identified the types of players he needed, and we ask him about some of his buys.

Before everyone retreats to their quarantined sections of Razzball HQ (aka Grey’s basement), we discuss Grey’s pitching and how he thinks he can make his value staff work. Rather than watching The Office for the 53rd time under quarantine, you might as well listen to a little baseball talk. It’s not like I watched a 2+ minute marble race yesterday or anything.

 

You can check out all of the auction results here. If you’d rather read Grey’s article about his NL Tout team, you can read his article here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. It’s the age, I’m told. Then, with only the faintest of amber glowing from behind my Squidward Tentacles nightlight, I catch a glimpse of myself. It’s the middle of the night, yet my hair is still perfectly coiffed; my mustache tenderly manicured; my eyes a dazzling shade of hazel, and I can’t help but be taken aback by my handsomeness. Well, instead of myself greeting myself every night from now on, I’ve printed out my Tout Wars team and hung it from the mirror, because it is sexier than even I could ever hope to be. Frankly, I’m worried that I might be in my office when nature calls for a twinkle, and head into the other room to find my much older wife making out with my printed-out team. “Get off the printed name of Juan Soto, Cougs! That’s my fantasy team you’re dry humping!” For those unaware, it’s 5×5, with OBP instead of AVG, two-catcher, 12-team NL-Only league, so don’t ask me how much Mike Trout went for. Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?