Please see our player page for Max Fried 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.

Almost every article I’ve written at Razzball has had positive feedback from you guys. Last week’s Fantasy Baseball Busts article was not one of those. Part of that was my fault by screwing up the Rangers ballpark situation and I want to begin this article by apologizing for that egregious dismissal. Missing something like that was a silly mistake on my part and I want to apologize for forgetting that. Everything else stands in that article though. I still don’t trust Kluber, Anderson or Giolito to provide at their respective price tags and Victor Robles’ horrid hitting profile scares me to death too. Even though I got some poor feedback in the last article, I still love to hear from you guys to know what everyone is thinking. With that in mind, let’s get into my busts with an ADP between 100-200.

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*rubbing hands together*  This is where things get interesting. Anyone could tell you Cole, deGrom, yadda-blabbity-blue are top 20 starters.  I could ask some bean counter in Modesto, California who the top 20 starters are and he’d know, and he counts beans! Anyone can count beans! Honestly, why is he counting beans? Seems like a waste of time. Unless he’s making sure each can comes with 239 beans, because one more would be too farty! Any hoo! The top 40 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball is a bit like the top 20 for 2020 fantasy baseball. It could go dozens of ways.  This is the way I went. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Also, Razzball Subscriptions are now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room. All projections listed here are mine and I mention where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Is it a corny acronym? No doubt.

Does it have a purpose in fantasy baseball? Absolutely.

I’m not the smartest person on the planet. There is zero chance I can combine hundreds of metrics into a special formula to conveniently spit out 2020 breakout pitchers. Ask Rudy for that. However, I can break down the game to simple components and use a few metrics at a time. That is exactly what I plan to do in this series for the next month. Keep It Simple, Pat. K.I.S.P.!

Last week, I highlighted a group of pitchers who exceed expectations in the past 3 seasons. Time after time in reviewing these pitchers a commonality was the use of a highly effective secondary pitch. Additionally, the usage of this secondary pitch contributed to a rise in the effectiveness of the player’s fastball. This cohesion leads to the hypothesis of this week’s article, locating exceptional secondary pitches. If a pitcher throws hard with at least one valuable secondary pitch they will generate more strikeouts, more poor swings, and infrequent hard contact.

In order to find players that matched to this premise I did the following:

  • Started with 2019 Fangraphs pitch data and filtered out anyone with less than 50 MLB innings pitched and more than 400 career MLB innings pitched to isolate for Youthful Jumps.
  • Brought in the average fastball velocity for the last two years and removed all pitchers throwing less than 93.4 MPH. This isn’t an arbitrary number; Shane Bieber was the average velocity floor from the Youthful Jump group at 93.4 MPH.
  • Highlighted only players with a Standardized Pitch Value (Pitch Type Linear Weights per 100) for a secondary pitch over 0.5 for the 2019 season.

Shockingly, there were only 12 pitchers from the 2019 season who met the criteria. Of those, seven could be removed for various reasons mentioned at the end of the article for clarity. The five pitchers who remain are detailed below:

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The number one Google suggestion for Max Fried is max fried chicken, which made me giggle, so I’m passing it along. What’s more American than trying to figure out how to fry chicken to the max? Makes me want to go to a Popeye’s Chicken, stand outside in a trench coat, and ask someone to go in to purchase me a max fried chicken like I’m fiending for the crack rock. Then, when they invariably ask me why I don’t go in myself, I’ll tell them that due to my cholesterol Popeye’s has cut me off, then grab them my the lapels of their shirt and scream, “Get me that max fried chicken, man!” Or perhaps this is a fever dream I’m having while pressing keys on my keyboard. Last year, Max Fried (pitcher, not the chicken) had a top 40 starter year (28th, mansplainingly), going 17-6/4.02/1.33/173 in 165 2/3 IP. Obviously, he was lifted in the end-of-the-season rankings due to his wins, but there’s more to Max Fried than just his ability to fry chicken to the nth degree. So, what can we expect from Max Fried for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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So, how’s everyone holding up without baseball every day?  I don’t know what to do with myself!  Yesterday I wandered into a Starbucks and told the coffeerista about Mike Clevinger for 2020.  Then I sobbed into a cheddar scone until someone asked me to leave.  We’ve gone over the final 2019 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters.  This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15.  That’s hardcore nerd shizz!  This is simply fantasy baseball — we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn. So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left.  You’re welcome.  I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2020 rookies — PUT ON YOUR FREAKIN’ SHOES! Not sure why I just yelled that. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Even though I wanted to bet on the Twins to win the World Series and didn’t, I still have to root for them this offseason. With all the bad publicity on baseball, it will be nice to see a team as pure as one led by Polanco, Pineda, Cruz–Wait, has everyone on their team been suspended at one point for PEDs? At least they have Miguel Sano (2-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 32nd and 33rd homer). Hmm…I remember something with Sano.  Hold on…*googling Sano and suspension* Oh, he just tried to force a smacker on a photographer and broke a police officer’s leg in the Dominican Republic. As Young Grey used to dream about, screw the Twins. Any hoo! Miguel Sano now has the 2nd lowest HR/AB (11.1), only being beat by Mike Trout. If we can get a full season from Sano (no guarantee with him) in 2020, I wouldn’t bet against a 45+ homer season. Mean’s while, his price will be that of what? $5 and/or the 12th round in a 12-teamer? There’s gonna be some crazy value for Sano in 2020. You could say *pinkie to mouth* In-Sano.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Was thinking how much I like Harrison Bader and how he feels tailor-made for a 2020 sleeper post, then I had a deep thought. No, not my deep thought about oat milk, but if you wanna hear that one, it goes like this. The dairy industry invented oat milk because when you order, “Coffee with oat milk,” you invariably get a coffee without milk, and it makes you appreciate dairy much more. I’m onto you, industrial dairy complex! But my deep thought about fantasy baseball sleepers was:  If every hitter is great, doesn’t it make more sense to only look at pitchers who are sleepers?  Anyone can tell you so-and-so hitter is a sleeper, because they will likely hit 30+ homers, but every hitter hits 30+ homers, so bleh! More discussion for the offseason, I guess. Yesterday, Harrison Bader went 2-for-4 with two homers (9, 10) as he hits .213. He’ll be 26 years old in 2020, and way past the point when he should have an everyday job, and we care because he has 20/15/.250 potential. Reminds me a bit of all the Bradley Zimmer/Clint Frazier sleeper posts over the years, and now I want nothing to do with him. Obviously, with three homers in last four games, he’s hot, but, as the eight-hole hitter, I’m once again wondering about pitcher sleepers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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*glances at Houston score* Welp, another insane offensive night for the As–Wait a second! Make that As– into an A’s. We’ve got a barnburner like the Astros were John Wilkes Booth! (If you get that joke, you’ve also read Manhunt, to which I say — nerd!) The ALCS is going to be a series of 24-23 games that last eighteen hours. “Joe Buck, are you even watching the game or are you just reading old issues of Men’s Health with the pages stuck together?” That’s Ron Darling reprimanding Buck. It was the 4th inning and the entire A’s lineup already had multiple hits, so let’s check some boxes, shall we? Sean Murphy (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 2nd and 3rd homers, and I recently picked him up for an AL-Only league. He had ten quick homers in only 31 games of Triple-A so he’s got power to spare, and Chris Herrmann was just designated for assignment. I hope Herrmann can find peace with they’re re-assignment. Matt Olson (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) also hit two homers. What Olson is doing in 70% of a season and without a hamate is going fairly unnoticed, and I already know I’m going to be so high on him in 2020. Then, Marcus Semien (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 27th homer, because what goes up must come down with, uh, Semien. Finally, Khris Davis (3-for-6, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 20th homer, asserting he’s not really Chris Davis, but I’m not sure I believe him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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After Reynaldo Lopez‘s last start of 2/3 IP, 6 ER, I wrote him off for this year and next year.  Now, I will begin a backpedal not seen since the bear at the circus who can ride a bicycle. “Beaux-Bo, you can’t pedal so close to that family of three eating a turkey leg. Beaux-Bo, stop it! Beaux-Bo, no! Beaux-Bo, no! Beaux-Bo, put down that torso!” And that’s the final written transcription of Beaux-Bo, the bicycle riding bear. Actually, I’m going to backpedal my backpedal, so, eat a D, Beaux-Bo, the bicycle-riding bear! I was serious last week when I said I’m outlawing pitchers who start a game, give up 5+ runs and can’t get out of the 1st. They’re completely untrustworthy, so it’s not surprising Lopez would have a start of 9 IP, 1 ER, 1 hit, 3 walks, 11 Ks, ERA at 5.17. That’s the problem!  What are we getting next time out?  3 IP, 6 ER? 7 IP, 2 ER? No one has any idea. Listen, I know there’s uncertainty in this crazy thing called fantasy (worst Queen song ever), but I’m not inviting more risk. I’m still out on Lopez. Sorry, gotta put my foot down, even if I’m writing this from an anti-gravity chamber where I can eat turkey legs without fear of a bicycle bear attack.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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For a long time in his career, Jose Quintana seemed to be underrated in some fantasy circles and, if those people didn’t recognize Quintana’s genius, I’d call them jerks, so they were circle jerks. Early in his career, even his radar blips would end up being a tugboat filled with pandas rather a real scare. Then, later in his career, we boarded the tugboat and they were feral pandas. “Ling-Ling thinks my arm is bamboo!” Jose Quintana was no longer safe like the circle jerk Quintana, but became more of the feral panda Quintana. Recently, however, Quintana’s been a good blip again and the feral pandas are satiated with boba, greeting us with Panda Express menus. Yesterday, he went 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA at 4.11, and in three August starts:  1.89 ERA, 26 Ks and only one walk. He looks fixed, and I’m willing to give him more rope, but if I see one more gee-dee feral panda, all bets are off. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?