Please see our player page for Leury Garcia 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.

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If I’m putting all my cards on the table, I’m not even sure where to begin with advice. This season is just plain crazy. Figuring out who, what, where, when and why almost seems impossible. I’m certainly not the first to say this, but it seems like the best thing we can do is to play the hot hand. As Frank the Tank said, we’re going streaking! Not to show of my math skills, but in a 60-game season a 8-game hot streak is the equivalent of 21 game hot streak in a regular season. That’s one hell of a month of baseball. In years past we’ve looked at small sample sizes and pointed out that they were just that, small samples. No such thing as a small sample size in 2020.

Before I jump into a few players to whom I intend to give a shout out, I’d like to bring up a few points. With all of the game cancellations and postponements, fantasy leagues with weekly lineups just aren’t going to work. For years I’ve always hated when a player hits the IL on a Tuesday in a weekly league and I end up practically taking a zero. It seems senseless. In order for things to work, head-to-head points leagues need to have daily lineups this year. Owners need the ability to adjust to the constantly changing landscape. We need to be able to pivot. Losing a week simply because you had more players have their games canceled is garbage. Especially in a season that has so few weeks. While I realize that at this point in the fantasy season it’s too late to make these kind of changes, I still feel compelled to say so.

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Surprised Dylan Bundy is breaking out, said no one because literally everyone said exactly that when he was traded to the Angels. Okay, maybe the O’s are surprised, but I have a feeling even they knew it was coming. They just like losing, right? “We like to be owned by the good teams.” That’s the O’s front office. Even the Pirates are like, “Damn, for Bundy, we would’ve traded you Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and…well, we don’t have anyone else. You want Colin Moran?” So, Dylan Bundy was masterful yesterday, going 9 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.08. He has changed his pitch mix in a dramatic way. Leaning way more on a slider and easing off his fastball, that has been become increasingly bleh in velocity. His command and Ks have been outstanding, but, I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sold. Don’t get me wrong, I can be sold. I’m not saying it’s a mirage, go buy some more tigers, Steve Wynn. I’m just saying it’s 21 2/3 IP in three starts. Oh, I’d own him in 100% of leagues, but decreased velocity makes me want to see more. Promising vs. Promise Land. Me like vs. Me likey. Yummo vs. Gummo is a masterpiece. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Cardinals, Marlins, and Phillies have born the brunt of the misery in this young baseball season thus far with Covid outbreaks and cancelled games.  This week, we’ve got a group of other teams that are getting put through the ringer with your more traditional injury issues…..”injuries classic” we’ll call it.  We’ve also lost some more big time arms for the remainder of the season as the herd starts to thin here.

Mike Soroka is out for the season after suffering an achilles injury in his latest start.  It’s a brutal blow for the young righty, and even a bigger blow for the Braves, who are now in a real crunch for arms.  This solidifies Touki Toussaint and Sean Newcomb’s spots in the rotation, but the rest of the rotation couldn’t really be worse shape given the recent DFA of Mike Foltynewicz and Cole Hamels still ailing.  Without a trade, it’s hard to see any potential fill in being roster worthy here.

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It’s always hard to know if a major league manager is being sly or stupid. Guessing stupid gets you right at least 75% of the time, sly is 24%. This time Maddon might be in the 1%. Maddon seemed to indicate Jo Adell was nowhere on the radar. Was he being sly, stupid or the rare 1%? The 1% happens when someone is injured and a prospect just needs to be called up twisting the manager’s arm. Thankfully, it wasn’t Shohei Ohtani’s arm that was twisted; enough has happened to that. So, Jo Adell was called up, seemingly to replace Brian Goodwin (hopefully). Prospect Itch wrote about 1,000 words on Jo Adell at his Jo Adell fantasy (which included Luis Robert — hum-ma-na). I wrote a few Jo Adell preseason outlook posts — one last year, one during shutdown. If you’re the type who doesn’t want to look at long-form writing and prefers a quick, “Give me the Cliff Notes, dude. I ain’t got time for work.” Pick him up. Everywhere. He’s. So. Good. I’m Giving. Him. The. One. Sentence. Treatment. For. Emphasis. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Happy Opening Week, folks — I’m exhausted as I’ve had more to do over the last week than I had in the previous four months combined, but I’m not complaining!  Let’s get right to what we’re here for… a look at some under-the-radar players (all of the following guys are 5% owned or less in CBS leagues, and let’s just say the pickings are slim when using that metric) who might be of interest to those of us in AL-only, NL-only, and other deep leagues as we navigate the weirdest baseball season ever.

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Man am I glad to have baseball back. Fantasy baseball is my escape from reality. I guess that’s partly why it’s called “fantasy”. I don’t know about you, but every time I turn on a different game on my TV I feel like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson when they walk into a different wedding in Wedding Crashers. The excitement is real people.

I have a suspicion that Michael Brantley is going to be a very valuable fantasy player this season. In Jay’s Staff Picks post from earlier this week I chose Carlos Santana as the potential MVFH. If I could get in Bill and Ted’s phone booth I would have Rufus help me change my pick to Brantley. First I guess I’d have to go back and get Rufus (RIP). I chose Santana last year and I think I hit the proverbial nine inch nail on the head. But this year I’m leaning towards Brantley. Guess I kinda rushed my selection. I do like me some Carlos Santana, but the big difference between the two is their ADP, which is a significant factor in determining MVFH. Santana had a H2H ADP in the 60s, while Brantley clocked in at around 118. I have Santana projected to score a few more fantasy points, but it’s close. Nothing a big game couldn’t erase. In twelve team leagues Santana is being drafted in the 5th round, while Brantley is going in the 10th. If you can get nearly the same production 5 rounds later I think it’s clear which pick would be more valuable.

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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. These are their stories. *Law & Order sound effect chung-chung* This post will feature the top 20 players who lost the most value from doing nothing but bingeing Netflix for the last three months. Who knew Love Is Blind could hurt one’s fantasy value? “I’m gonna go with George, he’s so funny.” “Okay, Jenn, here’s George…He’s a sign spinner for State Farm!” Anyway, here’s the top 20 biggest negative value changes for fantasy baseball pre vs. post-shutdown:

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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:

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Baseball, like a flower, blooms in the spring. They also share equally effusive PR people. Just the other day I read about how a petunia’s branches gained 15 pounds and was in the best shape of its life. Sure, it’s always good to look at spring training numbers to give you an idea what you can expect from guys during the season — can I draft Adalberto Mondesi yet?! Players in spring training are facing the top pitchers who are all displaying their best stuff. No one needs time to get warmed up. No one’s trying new pitches or getting a feel for the ball. They are at the height of their game in the beginning of March. Our former commissioner, Bud, once doffed his toupee and tried to have the World Series played in March. Since these spring training numbers mean so much, I decided to look at some players stats so far:

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