Welcome Back! Week 1 is nearly in the books and what a wild ride it has been! I like to describe Head to Head fantasy baseball as a long race with approximately 25 mini races along the way. The first leg of the race has been interesting, to say the least! COVID tripped up the Nationals before they could get out of the gate. Yermin Mercedes went from 0-60 in 2 seconds flat! Nate Lowe got out to a commanding RBI lead and if Fernando Tatis Jr was a racehorse, there would be rumblings about the glue factory. Please don’t mistake my sense of humor, or lack thereof, for anything short of disappointment for the Padres, and for baseball in general. I wish Tatis a speedy recovery! He is just too good of a talent to go to waste. Let’s turn our attention to Week 2 and which players are going to give you a leg up in your matchups!Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.
Aaaand we’re back. Aaand John Means is an Ace now. Wait–rewind. Means stifled the Boston bats and spoiled their home opener Friday afternoon, allowing just a single base runner (one hit) in seven innings of work and striking out five to notch his first win of the season. I know exactly what you’re thinking outdated Fry meme–not sure if Red Sox are this bad or John Means is this good. Well, as bad as the Sawx looked, Means probably pitched one of his best games in ever. He commanded the zone with 65 of his 95 pitches thrown for strikes, and generated 14 swings-and-misses, eight with changeup alone, which can be an especially nasty pitch when he’s got it working, paired with his 4-seamer. After an awful start to 2020, Means finished strong in September with a 1.52 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 23.2 IP averaging around 94 mph on his fastball, up about 2 mph from 2019. Grey told you to BUY, gushing about his xBA and saying “if he can keep those gains, velocity increases, and stop handing out more gopher balls than a veterinarian with weird party favors, John Means could be a top 25 starter while costing nowhere near that price.” And that’s me quoting Grey! Look, I understand the hesitation owning Orioles pitchers, and Means HR/9 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. In fact, when I drafted Means on draft day I got a audible “HA!” for the pick. But we’ll see who’s laughing in September. Sure things aren’t getting any easier for the homer-prone lefty as he travels to New York next week to take on the Yankees, but Means is owned in less than 50% of leagues and has got some major breakout potential. I think he’s worth a flier at that price wherever he’s available. Means means business! That’s two “means”, and that means something? Who else is confused? Where else you going to get an Ace after draft day. Now your chance! I means it!
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
For all my rankings this year, I have gone along with Major League Baseball’s numberwanging insofar as prospect eligibility is concerned. Within these specialized rules, we find a days-on-roster component and a magical August 14, 2020 demarcation line and I suppose the traditional 50-inning barrier matters as well, although a relief pitcher is much more likely to graduate on time served than innings pitched.
All that is to say: hard pass on MLB’s shizz for the purposes of this list.
The only way forward is to minimize fuzziness and speculation. Also I believe this list functions as a way for deep leaguers to find MiLB eligible relievers on the wire.
One caveat: anyone currently on a starting pitcher path is disqualified. Converted starters make up a big portion of the player pool, so we’ll blend them in here if/when that switch happens but not before.
I’ll also set aside a small group who could switch and quickly leap the ranks like Devin Williams and Jonathan Hernandez have here. I suppose JB Bukauskas qualifies for the switch-and-leap bucket, but he’s in the rankings already because Arizona has clarified they want him in the bullpen this spring. Likewise, Genesis Cabrera and Taylor Hearn are out for the moment because the Cardinals and Rangers have them starting this spring.Please, blog, may I have some more?
For a two-time World Series Champion with over 40 years of experience in MLB front offices, Dave Dombrowski gets a bad rap. The consensus on the baseball operations veteran seems to be that his only formula for success is to either ink big contracts or swap top prospects for elite talent that comes accompanied with hefty salaries. However, Dombrowski’s maneuvers have largely come as a result of the hands he has been dealt and the relative competitiveness of his various organizations at the time of his hire. He turned the 1997 Florida Marlins, a 1993 expansion team, into a World Series Champion. He built one of the greatest starting rotations in modern history in Detroit. He came to Boston in 2015 with a mandate to take the Red Sox to the top and did just that in 2018. Is he perfect? Far from it. Can he win a championship? Clearly. You should desire the same.
I say this to explain why I frequently refer to my strategy in dynasty leagues as Dombrowski-esque. It is not simply because of Dave’s suave, shiny gray hair to which I look forward to sporting myself in my mid-50s. In these formats, managers are drafting using such polarizing strategies that the key is to seek out excess value by pitting your opposition’s own intelligence (or so it may seem) against them. Seek opportunity where it presents itself, and if that means honing in on proven talent to win now, then do so. There will always be newer, shinier (but not as shiny as Dave’s hair) prospects to target in these leagues down the line. That’s why today I will be reviewing my selections in the 12 team, H2H points dynasty startup mock that fellow Razzballer Dylan Vaughan Skorish and I partook in this past week. Although I will reveal all of my selections, my focus in this piece will be to review my strategy and discuss the prospects I targeted in this mock draft.Please, blog, may I have some more?
With these top 100 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball, I’ve finished our (my) 2021 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 Lions jersey that meshes with your silver spandex. Trust me, when you see how long this post is, you’ll be glad I kept this intro short. All the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings are there. Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Here’s all the 2021 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 for 2021 fantasy baseball and start this shizz all over again. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The White Sox invited some gray clouds when they fired Rick Renteria to bring in Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, who was treated by the media as Drunken Old School Baseball Man, for reasons almost entirely of La Russa’s own design.
But as a young Cubs fan during La Russa’s spirited (heh) reign in St. Louis, I think some of the dismissal is shortsighted. This guy put power bats in the two-hole back when it was called the two-hole because everyone thought the only logical baseball move was to put your best bunter slash worst hitter there. The second spot in the batting order was referred to as a hole when La Russa was taking criticism for using good hitters there. I know I’m being redundant, but it’s been weird to see the Twitterverse speculate the guy who oversaw the bash brothers would throw a hissy fit about bat flips. Maybe he won’t love it. Maybe he’ll say something stupid. Maybe he’ll debilitate an up-and-coming clubhouse. And maybe he hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt. But to characterize him as some groupthink fossil who’s never done a single smart thing in the game is the sort of internet sunshine of the spotless mind that gets my neurons firing. He inherits a system with immediate help at the top and not much to dream on beyond that.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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:Please, blog, may I have some more?