Please see our player page for Mitch Garver 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.

On Saturday, Isan Diaz opted out of the season. Someone doesn’t want to sneak out to the strip club anymore. Then, on Sunday, the Marlins said they would bring up Monte Harrison and summon a bunch of journeymen to Baltimore for their next series, starting on Tuesday. I don’t care if they have one player, as long as that player’s Monte Harrison. Outside of Harrison, it sounds like their lineup might be filled with Matt Joyce, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla. “Bah gawd…it’s Ricky Nolasco’s music!” Last year, Harrison went 9/20/.274 in 56 Triple-A games. *does the robot as I head to my waiver wires to pick up Monte Harrison in every league* Robot voice, “Don’t…mind…if…I…” Damn, I was messing around, and someone got him before me. Stupid slow robot! So, grab Monte Harrison in every league for some power and great speed, though he might hit .210. I’d wait and see on Jorge Cantu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The season is teetering on the edge. I mean the absolute razor’s edge. The commissioner is rattling his sabers about canceling the season in light of the challenge of Covid-19. But as of now baseball is still being played all over the county, even with some games getting postponed. There will be 7 inning makeup games and more and more chaos everywhere. There are players coming and going from the IL, players treating a positive test as if it’s nothing and others going out on paternity leave. On the positive side there will be playoff chases galore for the whole season with more than half the league going! With all that said we do have a Top 100.

You can find last week’s list here. Here are some of the movers for this week, followed by the list:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On the one hand, it’s unbelievable that Opening Week happened at all. On the other, it’s a mad mad mad mad world Sid Caesar would love. Juan Soto, you’re out! Clayton Kershaw, you’re out! Anthony Rendon, you’re out, but Mike Trout is back in! We’ve got masked players sometime, then other times standing next to each other chatting and laughing at first base. We’ve got players spitting, as if that wasn’t going to happen. We’ve got Angel Hernadez strike zones when we were hoping beyond hope that he would be one that would opt out, instead of one of the few we would depend on. As will likely be the case all season there will be big shifts in this week’s rankings. On top of all the above info the Yankees look healthy (for now), and the Blue Jays are settling Buffalo. What?! I’m bumping the Jays just because they’ll feel a little better now actually having a home. Even more because most of the team had a great time in Buffalo in the not too distant past. Also because, I mean, I love Duff’s, beef on weck, the Anchor Bar and tailgating at Bills games, but there’s much less of a chance of catching Covid in the quiet nightlife of Buffalo.

With an expanded playoffs you would think all the players who have half a chance would stop messing around and get to work, but you never can tell. You can find last week’s controversial list here. Here are some of the movers for this week, followed by the list:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At this point I feel a little like a repeating Kevin McCallister, screaming over and over again as I splash the stinging liquid of not stop Covid-19 news against my fantasy baseball face. How are we supposed to keep up? By the time this work is published three more Top 100 players could be struck down, throwing their 60 game season into question. And since all these players are in their home areas for summer camp, when the virus is spiking in that area, particularly Houston, it can throw camp completely out of whack.

As you can probably guess, Yordan Alvarez coming down with the virus and Houston’s cases spiking has slipped Astros batters down. Other individual cases have an effect here and there, and Freddy Freeman is finally having an effect on Braves batters despite coming back. There was also a trade on Thursday that has the smallest effect here. Also, Yasiel Puig doesn’t quite make it. Yup, the virus got him too.

If you are wondering about the particulars of the list a big change was made last week. That includes some park effect fine tuning, and in particular why I have Mike Trout ranked so low. You can find last week’s list here. All that being said, let’s look at some of this week’s movers:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Joey Gallo tested positive, negative, positive, negative, positive, negative, positive, positive, negative, negative for Covid and is asymptomatic. The good news is the Rangers, fans and fantasy baseballers have been contact tracing Gallo for years. You, “This makes no sense, Statcast shows Gallo’s avoided contact for his entire career.” Snort, snort, wheeze! “Geez, Gallo can’t avoid contact when it’s most important.” Wheeze and repeat! Get this pretty fun testing story: Gallo tested positive for Covid on 6/29, then negative on 6/30, then positive again on 7/2, then negative on 7/7, so he seems to be fine, but who knows. Like the guy in The Royal Rumble who hides in the corner for most of the match, the smartest team will just hole themselves up in a hotel somewhere, until every other team loses all their players, then emerge World Series champs. On the reals, Gallo seems to be okay now, and why it’s so iffy on moving guys down in redraft 2020 rankings right now based on a positive test. Don’t think anyone knows how long someone tests positive or negative or positive or–Well, you get it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There have been a lot of strange things about this off-season.  I mean, in addition to the obvious, like constantly worrying about the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and the fate of mankind while not having baseball as a job/hobby/distraction.  For me, one of the odder consequences of the delayed season is the fact that I have yet to draft an NL or AL-only team this year, as all of my private leagues are waiting to draft until we have a better idea what the coming weeks and months will bring.  Another very weird thing that seems to have happened to me over the last several months is that I have evidently developed a propensity for paying more than ever before for catchers on my fantasy baseball teams.

I realize now that this trend actually started back in another lifetime late November, when my first draft of the season took place.  I’ve drafted quite a few teams since then — mostly 15-team mixed format, 2-catcher leagues, with a standard 5×5 roto scoring system.  Unlike every other season of my fantasy baseball career, almost every one of them features at least one catcher that I had to pay for with either a mid-round pick of a handful of valuable auction dollars.  Last year, I literally did not even include catchers on my master spread sheet… I just had a handful of names in mind that I knew I could grab at the very end of a draft or with my last dollar in an auction.  This year, paying for a catcher was not a strategy that I came into draft season with; it just kind of happened.  Draft after draft, it just continued to occur: time to make a pick, and I felt a catcher was the best value on the board.  This happened back in my first drafts this winter, and continued through my last drafts a couple of weeks ago — so in terms of the catching position, my take on how to construct the best team really didn’t change once the uncertainty of the season’s timeline and potential format changes came into play.  What I’m also realizing is that I’m pretty happy with how most of my teams turned out overall on paper — to the point where, if worse comes to worst and we have no baseball in 2020 and I don’t get to see if my don’t-wait-as-long-as-usual-to-draft-a-catcher method worked, I will most likely jump right back in and employ a similar strategy in 2021.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nostalgia can be a funny thing. In challenging times, especially, it can be nice to revisit things that you think back on fondly. It wraps you in a warm, comfy blanket of good memories and better times. Even now, as I’m writing this, I just put on a random 90s alternative rock/grunge playlist that I found on YouTube. I have some very nostalgic feelings about the music from that era. Alice in Chains? Yes please. Soundgarden? Mmm… so cozy. Better Than Ezra? Sure, why not. Underrated band. Tal Bachman? Ahhhh, that’s… wait, what? Joan Osborne? Brrr… it’s getting drafty in here. Savage Garden? Hey, where the hell did my blanket go? Time to pull a Randy Savage and drop the big elbow on this list. Magoo’s gettin’ angry!

Well, so much for my nostalgic musical trip. That brings us back to baseball. It’s really the ultimate source of nostalgia for me. Whether playing, watching, or getting hooked on the fantasy side of things, it’s been a constant in my life since I was about four years old. A nice, warm blanket that’s always at the ready. So to be sitting here in late April with no baseball in sight feels weird. Really weird. And while nobody really knows when or where or in what form our national pastime will return, I’m hopeful that it will at some point this year. But instead of focusing on what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control, shall we?

Which brings us to the topic at hand. We might not know when and where baseball will be played this season, but we can certainly choose who we want playing on our fantasy teams. With that in mind, I’ll be discussing all of the players who I’ve drafted in my fantasy baseball leagues in 2020. It might sound like a lot, but it’ll just be covering five leagues in total – four NFBC Online Championship leagues, and one NFBC Draft Champions league. For some perspective, the four OC leagues are 12 team mixed with weekly lineup locks, weekly pickups, and the following starting lineup requirements: 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 MI, 1 CI, 5 OF, 1 Util, and 9 P. There is a 1000 innings pitched minimum, but no specific minimum or starting requirements for starting or relief pitchers. The Draft Champions is a 15 team mixed league format with the same starting lineup requirements as the OC format, except it’s a 50 round draft-and-hold with no in-season transactions. What you draft is what you’re stuck with until the end of the season. There is no trading and no injured list in both formats as well.

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 pulling the trigger on. Since this article is already longer than a typical baby seal comment, I’ll just be covering catchers and corner infielders today, with middle infielders, outfielders, and pitchers soon to follow.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you had just one stat to use for your drafts this year, what would it be?

A common complaint I see from fantasy experts is recency bias, that cognitive bias whereby we depart from the most rational decision based on an over-reliance of the most recent data because it’s fresh in our minds. Most of us are aware that this bias exists, and try to counterbalance. We use 3-year weighted projections; analyze exit velocity and launch angle instead of RBI; and pay more for a young player with perceived “upside”. In my view, there’s a danger amid smart fantasy owners of going too far the other way and discounting what just happened. Today, I want to take a look at the way a brand-new fantasy owner might answer my initial question: who played the best in 2019?

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With the likelihood of a shortened MLB season growing by the day streaming and targeting matchups will be more important in our 2020 fantasy world than ever before. One of the best places to take a stab at that is using catcher defense to try and mine some stolen bases. Two things factor into this: how often a catcher is run on and how often they throw runners out. Ideally, you’re getting a good matchup on both sides, like finding toilet paper at the grocery store that’s also not sandpaper texture, but I’d prefer volume to efficiency. Here are the 2019 stats and some of the likely hot spots.

Please, blog, may I have some more?