Please see our player page for Mike Foltynewicz 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.

The Cardinals, Marlins, and Phillies have born the brunt of the misery in this young baseball season thus far with Covid outbreaks and cancelled games.  This week, we’ve got a group of other teams that are getting put through the ringer with your more traditional injury issues…..”injuries classic” we’ll call it.  We’ve also lost some more big time arms for the remainder of the season as the herd starts to thin here.

Mike Soroka is out for the season after suffering an achilles injury in his latest start.  It’s a brutal blow for the young righty, and even a bigger blow for the Braves, who are now in a real crunch for arms.  This solidifies Touki Toussaint and Sean Newcomb’s spots in the rotation, but the rest of the rotation couldn’t really be worse shape given the recent DFA of Mike Foltynewicz and Cole Hamels still ailing.  Without a trade, it’s hard to see any potential fill in being roster worthy here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Daulton Varsho was called up by the Diamondbacks. His numbers in the minors are gorge, as in they will engorge you. 18/21/.301 in Double-A, and he’s a catcher. Oh…*climbs to top of world’s tallest stack of pancakes*…kay. Yo, Varsho, you the greatest living catcher ever? Varsho! Here’s what Prospect Itch said, “Prospects don’t get much rarer than Daulton Varsho. My estimated time for his arrival says late 2020, but that might be dependent upon Arizona deciding to stop developing him as a catcher. He struck out just 13.9 percent of the time while walking in 9.3 percent of his plate appearances. That along with his .301/.378/.520 slash line and 159 wRC+ in a decent pitching environment suggests he might be ready for the leap to MLB pitching right now. Can Grey take a leap?” Not cool, man. I haven’t been this excited for a catcher since I married my Cougar. My guess is he plays DH, since the DBacks ditched Kevin Cron, and already have Total Request Live and Rock the Vogt to catch. Playing time could be an issue, which is why I didn’t grab Varsho in every league, but I did try him in one very shallow league, knowing I can just drop him if he doesn’t work out. Yo, do you even lift, bro? Also, he’ll be in this afternoon’s Buy, which you could already be reading if you subscribe to our Patreon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Have you seen A Bronx Tale

If so, perhaps the $20 lesson is enough to share the moment in my mind with your mind. 

If not, I am morally obligated to recommend that film and writerly obligated to describe a small scene that has stayed with me across two decades. 

Our main character sees a guy who owes him 20 bucks. The guy sees him too and takes off running. Our main character is stopped from pursuing by his, let’s say mentor, who asks if he likes this guy with the 20 bucks. No. Not at all. He does not like him. So the mentor re-framed the context. Our main character paid $20 to get a guy he doesn’t like out of his life forever. Seems like a small win in that light to our character in that moment, but to me, it landed like few lines of dialog ever have. Perspective. It’s a kind of magic we could cast a little more often with a little help from our friends. 

Atlanta has decided Mike Foltynewicz can keep the 20. They’re moving onto bigger and better things. Things like Tucker Davidson throwing 100 miles per hour from the left side.

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Live for today. That’s what they tell me. “They” are BASE jumpers, so I’m not listening to them, which is why I’m living in a bubble with the NBA players. “Hey, LeBron, where can I get some bubble tea?” “Ah, man, I hear ya, players be gossiping like crazy.” “What are you talking about? I want boba.” So, the Marlins vs. Orioles and Yankees vs. Phils had to be canceled due to an outbreak within the Marlins’ clubhouse. The Marlins couldn’t play back in Florida vs. the O’s, and might’ve infected the Phils’ visiting clubhouse, so the Yankees weren’t going in there. All in all, a totally well-functioning pandemic. By which I mean, it’s terrible for us, but this virus is doing well for itself. “Manfred, man” hasn’t been uttered so much since “Blinded By The Light” was a hit in the 70’s. Now PPD stands for Pandemic Please Desist. Right now, the MLB is waging an age-old war:  Everyone’s safety vs. Capitalism. Not to impersonate the Garbage Pail Kid, Nihilistic Ned, but capitalism usually wins that. Of course, don’t misunderstand my glibness for not caring (that sounds like a Common lyric); I’m just trying to be real with you. As for fantasy, I moved all Marlins, Orioles, Yankees and Phils out of my lineups until further notice, and tried to bench all Marlins in my weekly leagues. As they say, WHEEEE!!! Again, “they” are BASE jumpers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“But wait! The season has already begun!” Razzball nation cries out. 

Yes good people — but many teams didn’t announce their starting rotations until yesterday — and some still haven’t! So there’s going to be a bit of extrapolation on my part trying to predict exactly who is going to be starting, on what day, against which team, with what weapon and in what room. The San Francisco Giants for example have a game in a little over 5 hours as I’m writing this and the scheduled starter is that young, fire-balling, lefty from Korea: TBD. 

If you’ve found Razzball you know what to expect from a weekly two-start pitcher column. Every Saturday morning I’ll highlight the starting pitchers who have two starts in an upcoming week and I’ll rank ‘em and tier ‘em. Tier 1 — you can basically ignore reading this section each week. If you need me to tell you to start Gerrit Cole for both games of his two-start week — you don’t deserve Razzball’s content! But tier 2 through 5 is where your money is made, your bread is buttered and your week is won — well maybe not tier 5. Tier 5 is not for the faint of heart. That’s where your money is lost, your bread is burnt and your week is lost. 

As the season progresses I’ll be able to also recommend/reject certain pitchers based on their match-ups and stadiums. Again — for your top tier pitchers, this won’t matter. But German Marquez against the Dodgers in Coors Field? Maybe leave him on your bench for that match-up. Unfortunately, this early in the season, I can make predictions on who I think will be a tough offense to face — the Marlins are atop the NL East standings so who knows what will happen by week 5? 

One last thing to keep in mind — some teams will be implementing bullpen games. I won’t be including these in the two-start rankings. One or two innings pitched does not really constitute a “start” in my eyes.

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[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.

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Oh, the Dirty South! After breaking down some lackluster NL West teams in my first three previews, we finally get a legitimate contender in the Braves. After posting an impressive 97-win season last year, this club looks fully ready to rock-and-roll again behind Ronald Acuna Jr. This dude has established himself as one of the best players in the Majors and it’s scary just how good this order looks with him up top. The one thing they need to clean up is their mascot game though.

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

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There is a LOT of information available for fantasy owners to try and digest these days. New writers and podcasts emerge every day (over 500 different fantasy analysts by last count). New stats and ways of slicing and dicing existing data are constantly emerging. Don’t get me wrong – I love the latest Statcast research as much as the next guy. But fantasy writers often pile up the acronyms and exotic statistics, as if 2000 words on spin rate has inherent interest just because it’s in-depth. It can be hard to find actionable fantasy moves in a table with 10 varying components of xStats.

I’m kicking off a new series today, utilizing data visualization to try and narrow in on fantasy baseball insights. Good visualization helps you achieve your goals by channeling success onto your subconscious until your reality lines up with your drea….I’ve been watching too much late-night Tony Robbins. Good data visualization takes complex raw data and translates it into easily-understood, actionable images.

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:

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The Beat Grey Albright NFBC league filled up so quickly that the NFBC folks (you can still use promo code: Razzball25 and get $25 off at NFBC—sign up for a Draft Champions or Cutline Championship League today!) decided to create a second league where 14 unlucky fans got a chance to take on the Donkey who poops in Grey Albright’s backyard. So much has happened since this Donkey draft started on November 22nd and completed, 750 picks and 18 days later, on December 10th: Gerrit Cole signed with the evil empire for *pinkie to mouth* ONE BILLION DOLLARS, Anthony Rendon now calls Los Angeles or Anaheim or wherever home, the White Sox locked up prized prospect Luis Robert for six years, the Astros took cheating to whole new levels and I fell off my roof seven times while putting up and taking down Kwanzaa lights. Fortunately, the roof of my barn isn’t very high off the ground so I only stubbed a hoof. Anyway, here’s my NFBC Draft Champions errrr, draft recap:

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