Dudes and five lady dudes, pitching is going to be a mess in 2020. Pitching is usually where I excel at pinpointing guys to draft and avoid, and right now I’m looking at an array of hot takes: “Top starters are more valuable! “Top middle relievers are more valuable!” “Tops are bottoms, and I’m not talking about baseball anymore!” I can’t tell hot takes from shiitakes. Usually I’m able to say, “With 100% confidence, I would not draft a top starter.” This year, if you’re saying anything with 100% confidence, you’re lying. Seriously, don’t trust anyone who is confident in predicting anything in a 60-game season. We’ve never seen anything like this and may never again. Embrace it? Sure. But “Be Water” like Bruce Lee said, and adapt. With so few innings to prepare for the season in Summer Camp, will top starters even be ready to go? That alone should shut up the “You need top starters” people. With so few innings in the actual season, that should also shut up the “Don’t pay for starters this year” people. Instead, let’s just break down the categories, and see if we can’t just win those. Laura also just gave you a solid look at possible ERA strategy. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for ERA & WHIP?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Luke Weaver 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.
[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?
Mike Ferrin (Mike_Ferrin), play by play announcer for the Diamondbacks, as well as host of MLB Network Radio “Power Alley” on Sirius XM, joins the show to talk D-backs baseball. We discuss if Ketel Marte can carry over his 2019 season into 2020 and beyond. How lethal can this infield be offensively and defensively? We dive into Christian Walkers plate discipline, Eduardo Escobar’s breakout year, and Nick Ahmed’s elite defense. Starling Marte will bring elite speed atop the D-backs lineup. Can Zac Gallen make the leap to elite MLB ace? Will Luke Weaver come back to his pre-injury form? We discuss this and more. Towards the end of the show we discuss their potential top 10 farm system and who can make a big league impact.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at hitters who are being priced cheaper in 2020 than their 2019 stats would dictate. This week, it’s time to assess Starters using the same approach.
Recency bias suggests that 2019 performance weighs most heavily in our minds when making 2020 decisions. That certainly plays out in many scenarios, but there are other players who’s 2020 price is discounted compared to what just happened. I’m guessing that’s mostly due to the prevalence of projection systems in player valuation. A good projection system should absolutely be the baseline for your 2020 valuations. But as we know, these systems are slow to pick up on skill changes. Three year weighted averages & regression to the mean helps the systems get the most players right; but it also means they systematically devalue 2019 stats. The goal of this post is to look at what just happened (2019 performance) and find places where the market (ADP) isn’t pricing in those stats.Please, blog, may I have some more?
So, usually I have an idea if a team is good, and, if I don’t know that, I have some idea when the season will begin, but welcome to the year 2020 when all is unknown. I’m currently typing this with my hands tied behind my back so I don’t accidentally touch my facet–Face! Damn it, this typing with my nose is more difficult than I thought it would beet–Damn! This is giving ‘hunt and peck’ typing a new definition. More like ‘hen and peck’ amiright? Don’t answer me because you might accidentally transmit saliva into the air. Thanks, and remember, SOCIAL DISTANCING!!!, which is what I scream at Cougs every time she comes within six feet of me. Makes for interesting sleeping as our bed is about six feet in width. So, the RazzSlam is a Best Ball tourney with Points scoring. Everyone likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are the best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Well, the last laugh is on you robots, there’s a virus beating you to the punch! Anyway, here’s my RazzSlam, 12 team draft recap:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Luke Weaver was the perceived center piece in a trade for an MVP candidate, Paul Goldschmidt, only 15 months ago. It feels much longer than that as these days we are stuck inside roll by without baseball, but it’s true. You can look it up! Weaver went on to have a brief, but dynamic 2019 season with a 9.65 K/9 and 1.96 BB/9. There were only 5 qualifying pitchers in baseball from a season ago with a higher K/9 and lower BB/9! Why then am I here to write about my disinterest in Luke Weaver for the 2020 season? Is it the inability to grow luscious facial hair like our illustrious Razzball leader? No. I wish it were that simple. I could save myself 1000 words. Instead sit up and enjoy a few paragraphs on why you shouldn’t waste a top 200 pick on Luke Weaver.
The first strike against Weaver is that he hasn’t shown the ability to break the ceiling on 140 innings pitched in a professional season. This downfall can be alleviated by a condensed season and we have all come to the realization that pitchers with less total innings can have fantasy baseball value if they are dynamic enough. This is where the fork in the road comes in for me and Weaver. For him to be a roster worthy fantasy player you must believe in one of two things. He has the capacity to be an accumulator, or he is so dynamic that a lower innings pitched total can be offset by the per innings numbers he provides. The former, even in a condensed season, seems unlikely based on history. We cannot forget that Weaver is coming off a season in which he missed 4 months with a sprained UCL. The Diamondbacks had already made public that they will be monitoring his innings. That may change, but I ask to you the reader, have we learned nothing from Chris Sale? I know I have. There are only so many Masahiro Tanaka’s in the world who can go multiple seasons with a UCL hanging on by a thread. Since this is the case Weaver must be elite in his per inning numbers in order to be fantasy relevant. There will be owners who believe he can do it, as he did it in 2019. I will not be one of those owners.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Okay, so we recorded this show over the weekend prior to the big news about Justin Verlander. Hearken back to a more simple time where yours truly was 100% secure in his second round selection of Justin Verlander in the 2020 TGFBI. Grey, this episode’s unlikely voice of reason tries to impress into my thick skull that pitcher’s are the worst. As it turns out pitcher’s are in fact the worst, but I cannot quit them. Any the who, we roll through another 50 pitchers and tell you who to draft and who to avoid as we navigate the unsuspecting waters of drafting pitchers in fantasy. It’s the Top 50 Pitchers for 2020.Please, blog, may I have some more?
After breaking down my beloved Rockies last week, we’re going to keep things rolling here with another NL West team in the Diamondbacks. While the Los Angeles Dodgers are obviously the cream of the crop in this division, Arizona is a fascinating team. Almost as fascinating as their mascot, Baxter the Bobcat. Why the hell is a snake not the mascot? I mean, they’re the Diamondbacks, not the Arizona Bobcats. In any case, this is one of the most interesting teams this season (including their mysterious mascot), so, let’s get into it.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hiyo, whaddup, it’s ya boy, Grey Albright, the King of SWING! SWING, which abbreviates to Swiss National Guard. See, I got this certificate with my Swatch watch–Any hoo! Today is the top 60 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball. You think we’re late into the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings here, but, in this post alone, you might be able to put together a pitching staff. So, let’s do this! Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All projections listed are mine and I mention where I see tiers starting and stopping. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?