Please see our player page for Michael Brantley 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.

Camp is in full swing, and the initial wave of Covid-19 diagnoses and Opt Outs have taken place. We are not doctors, we only play them on fantasy baseball sites. Seriously, Covid-19 throws a massive shadow and we’re all doing our best. As far as the rankings go, our fearless leader had some big news on Friday:

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BABIP is going to fuel batting average this year, which is to say good luck finding lucky hitters. Now one thousand words on how maybe we can pare down the luck. Since 2000, only three players have qualified for the batting title and hit .400+ BABIP. Last year was a particularly weird year. In 123 games and 518 plate appearances, Tim Anderson hit .335 with a .399 BABIP. Like a sushi chef who smells his fingers after handling hirame, “That’s fluky.” Yoan Moncada had 559 plate appearance and a .406 BABIP. (The other two .400+ BABIPs since 2000 were Manny Ramirez in 2000 and his .403 BABIP and Jose Hernandez in 2002 with a .404 BABIP.) Someone this year is going to have a .425+ BABIP and hit .350+. I hope it’s Ketel Marte, because I own him in every league. Pulling focus and moving into a close-up shows that in August of last year there were 15 guys who had a .400 BABIP. I’d el oh el if I weren’t such a serious man. In September, there were also 12 guys who had .400+ BABIPs. Wait, it gets better. In a full slate of games in September, Moncada had a .520 BABIP and hit .412. Yo, Yoan, you Tony Gywnn Jr. Jr. or no? Okay, cool. You might think BABIP is fueled by speed in the short-term, to which I say, Ryan McBroom, Wil Myers and Kyle Schwarber were in the .400+ BABIP group in September. BABIP is going to make batting averages a short-term coin flip, but we still need to figure out some battle plan. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for batting average?

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Welcome to the re RE started 2020 Summer Camp preseason Top 100. It’s Corona’s world and we’re all just living in it. To wit: There is no specific time period for the Covid-19 IL. Two weeks? A month? Considering it takes two negative tests to come back, and even still medical science has more questions than answers, a positive test could turn the #1 pick into a non factor for your team. In an eight or nine week season, two weeks or more on the shelf is devastating. With that in mind, and Rudy’s alchemy, we’ve got some surprises. Keep in mind health and the Universal DH play a huge role, along with divisional changes.

With that said, once again it’s seamhead heaven, boys of summer katnip, and time to put away the hot stove. Of course we’re picking up our junior health care specialist kits, but I digress. Summer camp baseball has just started. Beer is flowing from Fenway Park to Anaheim Stadium and lazy afternoons at your house, or if you’re lucky your deck, are in vogue.

Finally, let’s be honest, no one truly knows what’s going to happen. So here’s the new pre-season Top 100.”Last” is tracking where the hitters were in the last Top 100 of March of 2020. “Change” is a change from that last 2020 ranking.

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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?

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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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For many stuck at home during this health crisis, we have suddenly been given the responsibility of “home schooling” our children. For some I know this has been quite a challenge, especially those with more than one child. Fortunately for me I only have one, a first grade girl that enjoys math and reading. Also fortunately for me, I work from home 99 percent of the time, so I’m used to the environment and routine. As for having a kid constantly looking to play, it just feels like the summer to me. Although it did snow here yesterday.

One of the math worksheets I gave my daughter this morning required her to determine which way the alligator mouth opens to. For those not in tune with first grade math lingo, this is referring to the greater than/less than sign. The alligator mouth opens to the bigger number. I can almost see light bulbs going on in some of your heads. Chomp! Chomp! Anyway, I figured I’d play a little game of greater than with points league players for the supposed 2020 season.

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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.

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Last week in H2H Categories Strategy we discussed the merits of punting. This week, I want to talk about what I look for in hitters once we get past the early rounds – consistency. Since we play a game that resets every week, we want to roster players that will fluctuate less. Hot and cold streaks will happen even with the best players, but there are certain qualities we can look for in hitters that should minimize our risk.

Growing up, my dad was the coach of my little league team. He would tell us, get on base and good things will happen. While it seems really simplistic, I still follow my dad’s advice when I’m looking for consistent hitters – high contact rates and a low K-BB%. Basically, we’re looking for players with good plate skills. These might not be the sexiest names in the draft, but grabbing a handful of these players in the mid to late rounds will provide your team with an ample floor. Without further ado, let’s get to the list:

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I’m attempting something new with this year’s top 100 keepers article. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but never had the time or brainpower to figure out. I want to try to objectively (impossible) rank each player on how many projected categories they provide for your team. 

I broke each standard 5×5 category down into five statistical outcome ranges. Take runs for example.

 

Points 0 .25 .5 .75 1
Runs Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
HRs Under 16 17-23 24-30 31-37 Over 38
RBI Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
SBs Under 8 9-13 14-18 19-23 Over 23
AVG Under .254 .255-.269 .270-.284 .285-.299 Over .300
W Under 7 8-10 11-13 14-16 Over 17
K Under 159 160-184 185-209 210-234 Over 235
ERA Over 4.45 3.96 – 4.44 3.46-3.95 2.96-3.45 Under 2.95
WHIP Over 1.33 1.24-1.32 1.15-1.23 1.06-1.14 Under 1.05
SV Under 11 12-17 18-23 24-30 Over 30

 

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Oh man, the crack of the bat and the sound of the ball hitting leather. It’s seamhead heaven, boys of summer katnip, and time to put away the hot stove (well almost). Spring training baseball has just started. Beer is flowing from Florida to Arizona and lazy afternoons at the ballpark are in vogue.

As such, Razzball’s 2020 inaugural Top 100 Hitters is here to inform, entertain, and track your favorite sluggers, five category studs and perhaps underappreciated gems. We have to start somewhere, so here are the rules for this first list: They’re geared towards 5×5 roto leagues. “Last” is tracking where the hitters were in the last Top 100 of September of 2019. “Change” is a change from that last 2019 ranking.

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