Please see our player page for Michael Kopech 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.

Aaaaaand just like that, the fantasy baseball playoffs are right around the corner for most of us. I don’t know about y’all, but 2020 has been the single longest decade of my entire life. Yet here we are, on the down slope of the baseball season, despite every week having COVID cases pop up here and there. Pretty ding dang surprised we still have baseball, to be fully honest with yinz. Buckle your seat belts, ladies n gents, cuz we gotta a whole lotta baseball coming up. Double-headers galore.

The latter part of a season is always a little cray cray. GMs get desperate, take some risks, snatch up some keepers for cheap, that sorta thing. With all these double-headers, there will be lots of bats and arms getting chances they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. We’ve already seen quite a bit of that throughout the year, and it’s only gonna keep on keepin’ on.

Format is a little different this week. I like tinkering. Doing away with my “39% or less owned” rule, too, cuz I feel like it.

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Maybe one day we’ll spend an episode breaking down baseball related injuries, trades, and actual fantasy play. However, that’s not our reality. So Grey and I return for another week with the freshest updates on opt-outs, COVID list, and the testing. The last week’s activity did open up opportunity for a few players and we get into each playing time battle. Additionally we had a host of Summer Camp action this week and we take some time to fawn over the top players, namely Kyle Lewis. Strap on your helmets, we’re back for another week of the Razzball Podcast.

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Aroldis Chapman tested positive for Covid and has mild symptoms. Aroldis was reading a radar gun, when he said, “Damn, I haven’t thrown 101 in so long,” then he realized he wasn’t reading a radar gun. This is not great news. Zack/Zach Britton would fill in if Aroldis can’t get back on the field in time for Re-Opening Day. (I’m trying to make Re-Opening Day happen. Is it obvious/working?) I’m hesitant about moving Aroldis down in my rankings, because he only needs — what, two throwing sessions to be ready? Seems like he could be back by Re-Opening Day, or maybe a day or two past Re-Opening Day or three days past Re-Opening Day (is it a thing yet?).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball:

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With all the changes to the 2020 season to the 2020 seasons swirling around, I wanted to narrow in on one specific item: the DH in the NL, and specifically, the impact to pitchers. I’m comparing Rudy’s Steamer/Razzball projections from March to those here in July; we’ll focus in on changes in projected ERA.

At first glance, it’s easy to minimize this change. After all, we’re talking about 2-3 plate appearances per start, and pitchers aren’t complete zeros at the plate. In a reduced season, this is likely only 25-35 plate appearances over 10-12 starts. How big of a deal is it?

To set a baseline, let’s first look at the impact on AL starters. Here’s the top 50, comparing their March to July ERAs:

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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. I’ll go over those guys in another post. This post will feature the top 20 players who gained the most value from doing nothing but bingeing Netflix for the last three months. Who knew watching Joe Exotic would add more value than any Driveline drills? Apparently, all baseball players need to know is, “Who is dumpster diving at your nearest Costco?” Anyway, here’s the top 20 biggest positive value changes for fantasy baseball pre vs. post-shutdown:

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The long-awaited finale to my COVID-19 Draft Bargains series culminates with a dive into starting pitchers who were looking at some innings restrictions for 2020. Since we aren’t likely to get a full season at this point, that’s kind of become a moot point for the most part. Here is a list of potential studs who could give similar returns to the household names who are being drafted much, much higher.

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With these top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball, I’ve finished our (my) 2020 fantasy baseball rankings for positions.  Still coming will be a top 100 overall and top 500 to see how all the positions mesh together like your mesh Redskins jersey that meshes with your burgundy sweatpants. Trust me, when you see how long this post is, you’ll be glad I kept this intro short. All the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings are there. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Here’s all the 2020 fantasy baseball auction rankings. As always, my projections are included, and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  If you want an explanation of tiers, go back to the top 10 overall and start this shizz all over again. Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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Someone wins the off-season every winter. The baseball calendar invites us to imagine how a power bat like Edwin Encarnacion and a high OBP catcher like Yasmani Grandal will impact a lineup. It’s math we can do more easily than we can measure the addition of a great left tackle to a football team. We can plug Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez into Chicago’s rotation and add up their wins above replacement. It’s all very earnest and joyful and helps us push through the expanding darkness. 

Course, someone wins summer in football, too, but it feels very different. Football has no WAR, ironically enough, and while I think that’s at least as flawed a statistic as batting average, WAR is currently treated with reverence due to the shorthand evaluative powers it grants the baseball world. 

While it’s efficacy can be debated, WAR dominates our world, and there can be no doubt the White Sox have gone to WAR this winter. The people are singing songs of freedom and glory—not just for these winter wins but also for the prospect waterfall coming this Spring. 

And who doesn’t love to see a slow-cooked recipe come together, especially during the holiday season?

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Giving you a little looksie behind the curtain at Razzball HQ, where I’m not wearing pants and have had multiple lawsuits levied against me, I asked Prospect Itch to give me about 20 names of prospects who will be relevant for 2020, and rank them in order of 2020 relevancy, so I could give you a breakdown of each one, from best to worst. He’s our prospect writer, hence the 1st name, and he knows all of these guys way more in-depthly (totally a word!) than I. My focus is on 2020. After watching some videos of these guys, I could see why they’ll be relevant in 2020 and beyond, but this is about 2020 for me. This is why I didn’t write a post about Wander Franco, and might not. (Still debating it, seems super doubtful though.) With that said (Grey’s turning the ship around!), I don’t know if Michael Kopech will be relevant in 2020, and, therefore, ergo, vis-a-vie, we’re getting towards the end of my fantasy rookie series, when I’m going over guys who might not be relevant this year. (If you have any names of rookies for 2020, who I haven’t covered yet, mention them in the comments.) So, what can we expect from Michael Kopech for 2020 fantasy baseball?

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At some point in the process of curating these Top Prospects lists, I went to talk to Hampson.

I was allowed to see him but learned he’s fresh out of prospect eligibility and busy showrunning for a Winter pilot on CBS called “Everybody Hates Hampson.”

I suggested he tweak the name to “Everybody Loves Garrett . . . Except His Boss.” 

We’re in talks about a Sam Hilliard, Jorge Mateo spin-off/mash-up.

In the meantime, keep your TV Guides at the ready and enjoy these next few tiers of talent!

Review the top 25 here and the top 50 here.

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