Please see our player page for Nate Pearson 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.

I’d like to begin with a quick retrospective to count our blessings despite the stark reality that hitting pause on minor league baseball made 2020 anything but a prospector’s dream. 

This decision was not without its own hidden benefits, though I feel kinda funny saying the temporary demolition of a couple thousand young men’s dreams was not without upside for the fantasy baseball player. Wasn’t even without upside for the real-life player if he found positive ways to invest his time like Luisangel Acuña reportedly has, packing pounds of muscle onto his developing frame. When MLB increased the playoffs from 8 to 16 teams, the entire prospect landscape changed. Suddenly, Baltimore, San Francisco, Toronto and more had incentive to push for wins on the margins. One could argue they had even more incentive to rush their prospects up to the majors just to keep them playing games. We saw more players jump AA and AAA in 2020 than any season I can remember. The expanded playoff format is not solely responsible for that, but it has been a crucial element in breathing some aggressiveness and unpredictability back into our game. I’ll be mildly shocked if MLB doesn’t retain both the 16-team playoffs and the universal DH. 

The stage is set in the American League. Tampa Bay, Oakland, Minnesota, Cleveland, New York, Houston, Chicago, and Toronto are all officially playoff teams. 

Tampa Bay OF Randy Arozarena was kind of the inciting incident for this article focused on at least one guy from each team who should be flat-out fun to watch this October.

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Baseball’s Rat Pack is back! A classic saxophone beat starts playing. It’s Bobby Darin’s Don’t Rain on My Parade. A disembodied voice can be heard, “Hey world here I am!” Just then Jose Altuve stands up from an umbrella stand, “Don’t tell me not to hit a deep fly, I’ve simply got to!” George Springer walks out banging on a bucket, “If someone takes a spill, it’s me and not you! Ow, my hamstring!” Alex Bregman walks out, and faux bashfully closes Altuve’s jersey, “Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on our 2017 World Series parade.” Yesterday, was a sign of old stolen signs. Alex Bregman (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 5th homer, and came within a single of the cycle. The Hungry Man cycle! For 2021, Bregman seems less impacted by this egregious season. He was never going to reach last year’s peak, but he can also avoid this year’s nadir. Speaking of low points (segue!), Jose Altuve (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 4th homer, and his 1st homer in more than a month. Mentioned this a few times on recent podcasts, but I tested positive for a 2021 Jose Altuve not being on my teams. He won’t be drafted in the top 25 again, and I’m not sure if he’ll be in the top 100. Finally, George Springer (3-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 14th homer, and, well, he’s acksually been good, when he’s been on the field, which, like usual, is nowhere nearly enough. Now watch the Astros get hot at the perfect time for the playoffs, and give MLB one of the worst storylines for a team contending for the playoffs since the 1920 White Sox were led by “Wearing Shoes” Jim Jackson, Joe’s dandy brother. “Take your shoes off, Jim! You’re embarrassing yourself!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m freshly back from The Hotties, which is the annual Razzball award ceremony for the “hottest taeks” in fantasy baseball. With the sharp-toothed piranhavirus in full swing, Grey called for a “Mask-erade” ball, but the Eventbrite invitation auto-corrected it to a “masquerade” ball. Everybody showed up with the wrong parts of their face covered. I thought Grey would be upset but he seemed to take everything in stride, saying that he had been waiting for this day since “Eyes Wide Shut” was released. Is that a movie or a novel or a contact delivery service? Anyway, Grey started giggle-whispering “Fidelio!” at everybody. Hey, Grey, I get it. Fidel Castro liked baseball. Let’s get with the times!

I did manage to record Grey’s speech to all the writers and Instagram models who attended. Here’s the transcript if you want to read it:

“I’ll get right to the point: I’m proud to announce a new partnership between Razzball and the San Diego Padres. 2021 will be known as STAN DIEGO around here, and all hot taeks will involve Padres players. The top 10 pitchers? Lamet, Davis, Clevinger, and Paddack [audible hissing from the crowd]. The top 10 hitters? Tatis, Machado, Grisham, and Myers. Trevor Rosenthal is a top 30 pick. You will all write sleeper articles on Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejon, and yes, Eric Hosmer. [pause while Grey dodges thrown masks] Fear not, for STAN DIEGO comes with perks! You will all get a free hot dog with a purchase of an annual pass to Sea World, and you’ll get a personal tour of the tiger enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. Now, writers, start hyping Jake Cronenworth!”

At that point, all the people Grey whispered “Fidelio” to disappeared into Grey’s private grotto, which he named “50 Shades of Play” because of the underwater mini-golf course he installed. Myself? I was left standing in the foyer with a mysterious note that only said, “MacKenzie Gore, 2021 hot taek.”

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Hard to believe, but my first season as a baseball analyst here at Razzball is almost at an end! For athletes, that means they’re leaving the bubble soon. Us fantasy writers? We’re all bubbled-up to protect from the dreaded Piranhavirus. Oh, you don’t know what that is? See, we’re so forward thinking here at Razzball, we’re already sequestered away for the next pandemic. You may be asking, “How does the Razzbubble work?” Well, future victims of piranhas, let me show you my notes from earlier this summer when I bubbled up.

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Matthew Boyd (3 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 7.63) is the ultimate poison pill. If I could, I’d hack into my opponent’s team and put Boyd on their team, and the crazy thing is they’d prolly thank me because there are a lot of FanBoydz out there who think he’s somehow worth owning. Sorry, not just worth owning, but people actively want him. It’s a sickness, FanBoydosis. People affected with FanBoydosis, aka FanBoydz, want you to believe there is so much more here. Oh, there could be, but he needs to stop allowing home runs. He goes from an ace to an Ace of Clubbed from start to start with no consistency, but that K/BB is so tantalizing–Hold up! I’ve been afflicted by FanBoydosis. I’m 250 words into a post about the Brewers and Corbin Burnes (7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks, 11 Ks, ERA at 1.99), talking about Boyd. Not sure what they feed the Brewers’ pitchers — hops? — but Burnes is now throwing his fastball 96 MPH, up from 95, and has completely changed his pitch mix (slider and fastball way less with a cutter and change added). He was essentially a two-pitch pitcher, and now throws four. His 12.7 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 is giving me the feels that I thought I’d get from Woodruff. Is Burnes a number one? Time will tell, but he has the makings. Also, in this game, Jedd Gyorko (2-for-5, and his 6th and 7th homer) went double dong like Jennifer Connelly, and I don’t even want to look at the Player Rater to see how much higher Gyorko is than a bunch of guys who I own. My mental health isn’t worth it. I get it, it’s not Jedd; I’m the Gyorko. Next up, Jacob Nottingham (1-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 2nd homer. Fun fact! Nottingham was the not very successful spin-off to Mountcastle. Now Orlando Arcia (4-for-6, 3 runs) didn’t homer, but four-hit games from Orlando gives Florida Man a good name. Over to Ryan Braun (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) who hit his 3rd homer. Have I mentioned the Brewers scored 19 runs? Flavor Flav through sobs, “Yeah, Boyd.” Finally, Tyrone Taylor (4-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 1st major league homer. He looks like a Quad-A prospect and sounds like a silent film star. Tyrone Taylor Chaplin-steps into frame, motions that his pockets and skills are empty, then a silent film title card reads, “What about Matthew Boyd?” Not you too, Tyrone! Well, with 19 runs scored, at least I have Keston Hiura. He went 0-for-2 without a run scored?Holy ticker tease! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In the highly lucrative industry that is imaginary sports team management, we here at Razzball are always looking to give you readers the sharpest edge of advantage. I mean, how do we keep up with a provider like Pitching Ninja, whose name literally invokes the finely-honed edges of a ninja star slicing through bats before landing softly in the supple leather of a catchers mitt? Fear not, fearful reader! I have been to cram school, and I have been to Austria, and I have been in dungeons, and I combined all of my knowledge of those places and completely threw it out the window. See, to be sharper than sharp, you gotta think outside the box. When the competition goes sharp, you go — that’s right! — blocky. I present to you, followers of the Top 100 Starting Pitcher series, the latest in pitching analysis: 8-bit graphics.

Robbie Ray Demonstrates his elite level of unpredictability

Let’s apply this newfangled technology to our top starting pitchers and see what we can do to help you to fantasy glory!

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All right, we almost made it a week without a Covid positive test in MLB, but Sunday morning, the Oakland Athletics announced that a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus and their play has been postponed. News will be developing more, but as of the time of writing (Sunday morning), you’ll probably want to pay attention to your Oakland starters (i.e. Jesus Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt) in weekly lineup leagues. For DFS and daily lineups, you can follow the news and do what you have to do.

Again, we’re nearing the 60% mark of the season for most teams in MLB, and the same goes for most of your fantasy baseball teams. If you’re going to make a move — whether the waiver wire or a trade — it’s time to do it now. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Rest-of-Season-o-Nator-o-Tron. That Sixto Sanchez guy that everybody’s talking about? Hit Control-F and search his projections for the rest of the season. Come on, do it! Oh fine, I’ll just tell you. It’s 23IP, 1W, and a probably too-conservative 17K. What about Gerrit Cole? 36IP, 3W, and 49K. OK math majors, let’s get to work! If you’re trailing in pitching stats in your fantasy league, what’s the likelihood that Sixto Sanchez helps you catch up to the team that’s starting Gerrit Cole every 5 days? Not all that great, right? The Marlins have a lot of catch-up to do, and Sixto Sanchez can’t throw those extra games, and no manager is going to risk The Sanchize by throwing him overtime in a year when 50% of the teams make the playoffs. For actual baseball, this is amazing, because the Marlins seem on track to make the playoffs and you’re going to see The Sanchize playing in the wildest shootout of baseball playoffs ever seen in human history. But for fantasy baseball, you’re getting, at most, maybe 2W and — if you’re lucky — 30Ks from Sixto over the next few weeks.

So, how do you overcome the teams that are starting the entirely-possible rotation of Shane Bieber, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, and Andrew Heaney (all of whom are in the top 25)?

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Lucas Giolito was the first White Sox pitcher to get a no hitter and rack up ten-plus Ks, going 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 walk, 13 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.09. And you didn’t think he was an ace that you should draft as your 1st starter! *screams at the heavens* REDEMPTION! Crap, I think I just hurt my back. Okay, the Pirates’ lineup was hilariously bad. They didn’t have one hitter with an OBP over .300. No need to bring in a defensive replacement for the White Sox outfield. Go ahead and put your glove away, DeWayne Wise. “Aw shucks.” That’s DeWayne. I turned the game on for the 9th, and I more just wanted to see a social distancing no-hitter celebration. Something akin to Don Larsen jumping into Yogi’s arms, and Yogi sidestepping him to put on a mask and Don skidding on his butt. But that wasn’t the case. We had our first good thing of 2020. Dot dot dot. Until Eloy Jimenez looked like he got hurt in the celebration. “You thought you’d get something nice?” That’s the year 2020 as it evilly cackles. You suck, 2020! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“I want to be a cardiologist, to be a heart surgeon, but I don’t know how that’s gonna work with baseball as well. So, I might do something business-related, so I get a little bit of business acumen going into the real world. And then once I’m done with baseball, I can probably go back and continue my study in medicine.”

–17-year old Triston McKenzie in 2015

 

Triston McKenzie strikeout

23-year old Triston McKenzie, 2020 Debut

I mean, Triston McKenzie achieved both of his dreams, right? In his major league debut, McKenzie surgically sliced through the heart of the Tigers lineup, giving up one run over six innings while whiffing 10 batters. And you know what? There’s a very good chance that he takes the heart out of Zach Plesac, whose arbitration schedule would be delayed if Cleveland keeps him at the alternate site much longer. Is it too early to call McKenzie the “Cardiac Kid?”

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Who ropes us in? Did you just answer, “A rodeo cowboy?” No, I’m talking about in fantasy. Did you just say, “My fantasies involve rodeo cowboys?” I’m saying Bud Black ropes us in…*sees your eyes start to glaze over*…like a great rodeo cowboy! Now that I have your attention, David Dahl was IL’d with something. He is Mr. Glass. I won’t hear otherwise. Earlier this summer it was reported Dahl had no spleen. I have no idea what a spleen does, but if I were a scientist, I’d be looking into how no spleen equals a litany of injuries. “Is the spleen connected to back pain?” That’s me as a scientist while not knowing anything a scientist might know. So, Brendan Rodgers was called up! I grabbed him in all leagues where I could. He could be the call-up — flashing power, some speed and solid average because, and I can’t stress this enough after saying something that is meant to stress this:  Coors. In only 37 games in Triple-A last year, he hit 9 HRs and .350, and guess how many games the Rockies had left when he was called up. Ding, ding, ding — 37! Hopefully, Bud Black isn’t just roping us in again. “I caught me some rodeo clowns.” That’s Bud Black. That bastard. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?