Please see our player page for Nico Hoerner 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.

Wasn’t that long ago that we were screaming about how terrible the shortstops are and how the sky is falling and how red wine is good for your health and you were like, “What if I put grenadine in my vodka?” Maybe it comes with age, but if you’re around long enough you know these things go in cycles. For a few years, middle infidels are terrible, then corner infidels are in that sinking boat. As of now, shortstops are stupid stacked, and the top 20 shortstops for 2020 fantasy baseball are an absolute joy for at least twenty of the twenty but, as always, this is going much deeper. So, here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All my 2020 fantasy baseball rankings are under that thingie-ma-whosie, and I mention where all tiers start and stop, and all shortstop projections are mine.  Let’s get to it!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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Just over a year and 89 minor league games after he was drafted, Nico Hoerner made his debut with the Chicago Cubs, going 3/5 with 4 RBI in his debut, as the Cubs starting SS on September 7th. While the rest of his first month in the majors wasn’t quite as spectacular, Hoerner’s debut was a bit of a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Cubs. His .282/.305/.436 grades out as below average overall, but it displayed his plus hit tool, as well as surprising power. Hoerner has been somewhat of a hot commodity this offseason, so my goal here is to help you realistically guide your expectations for Nico Hoerner, both for 2020 and moving forward.

When Hoerner was drafted, he was seen as a safe, but unexciting pick, yet here he is getting people excited about his fantasy potential. Hoerner’s hit tool has always been his best tool, as he was a .300 hitter through both his last two years of college, and the two summers he spent in wood bat collegiate summer leagues. While he’s shown to be a competent fielder, and can run pretty well, Hoerner didn’t seem to have anything outside of his hit tool that could help him contribute in fantasy, yet here we are. Nico Hoerner’s AA stats seem pretty in line with how he fared in his major league debut. He walked a bit more, and didn’t show as much power, but the overall slash line was very similar.

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Cubs affiliates spent 2019 enjoying the most minor league talent they’ve seen in a while—a welcome sign for a fan base whose dynasty dreams have died a little each year. 

The developmental wing of the organization has been realigned this off-season, so we don’t know much about how the new team will help (or hurt) the players. I’m betting they help, especially the enhanced focus on nutrition and strength training. I think an argument could be made that four hours in a weight room combined with healthy food intake would help teenage players almost as much as four hours at the ballpark. Might be safe to say a whole-human approach would be best in most endeavors where you’re betting on said humans to improve over time. 

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For your viewing and thinking pleasure, I have played a game of Would You Rather using the entire prospect universe.

Or wait, am I thinking of the right game? Not that F, marry, kill game but the one where you have to decide on either/or propositions . . . there’s not sex stuff in that one, too, is there?

Sorry, I’ve been thinking about these young men a long time.

Hope you get some fun out of considering the sequence, reading some words, and playing your own (sex) games!

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The other day I stumbled on this: Highest average for a 22-year-old in the past 100 years (min 300 PA): .406 Ted Williams; .358 Freddie Lindstrom; .357 Stan Musial; Luis Arraez; .346 Joe DiMaggio — four Hall of Famers and Arraez. Since that faithful day (three days ago), I’ve been on Team Arraez. I’ve called six local-area Spanish restaurants and asked them to change “arroz” to “Arraez.” I called a local biker bar, where the Spanish Kings Motorcycle Club hangs out, and asked them to change the “mind eraser” to the “Mind Arraez” and asked them to tell people it’s “mind” as in to pay attention to like, “Mind the Gap.” Finally, I called the Kiwanis Club of Madrid and said, “Hola, yo quiero Arraez to tengo a key-o to the ciudad.” In each case, the person I talked to said either, “What?” or “¿Que?” and hung up on me, which is why I’m here to tell you all about Arraez! Wait! Don’t hang up! I’m not done yet! With a minimum of 300 PAs, Arraez has the lowest strikeout rate in the major leagues (8.5%), and his walk rate is around top 50 (10.3%). No one in the league is particularly interested in OBP — sorry, Michael Lewis! — but Arraez would be top 5 in OBP if he qualified. Not exactly a guy who gives a ton of power or speed, which hurts his 5×5 redraft value, but he gets a ton of hits, and I got this stupid Team Arraez jersey and I was obliged to shine a light on him. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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It’s opening day!

The Arizona Fall League begins early this year, and I’m interested to see how the prospect fallout differs now that the kids aren’t the only ballgame in town. The previous iteration created a month-plus layoff for the arms, which was deemed a bad thing for reasons known to someone, presumably.

Fantasy leagues might be frozen already, transaction-wise, but if you’re in one that’s not, it’s sound strategy to fit some fall-league prospects into your build. I think the echo-chamber value-bounce has increased year-over-year as more and more prospectors make their way to Arizona for live looks. Last year, Jazz Chisholm went from borderline top 100 to top 30 range in just those few weeks. Nico Hoerner made his first professional noise and climbed the lists under this same bright spotlight. So who’s likely to get that shine this time around?

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Cubs rookie Nico Hoerner hit his first career home run Friday night going 2-for-5 with 4 RBI. He started off the Chicago onslaught with a 2-run shot in the first inning and added a 2-run single in the fifth! He was a BUY and here’s what Grey had to say about him, “Hoerner is the Cubs’ top prospect, which is more of an indictment about the Cubs’ farm system. He doesn’t strike out, and possesses decent on-base skills, so maybe some short-term value.” And that’s me quoting Grey! If that’s not a high endorsement, I don’t know what kind of waiver adds you’re looking for in mid-September but Nico might be your best bet. Does he make you Hoerner, baby? Woah, sick reference, bro, how old even are you? Nico is slashing .350/.435/.600 through his first 20 at-bats with a home run and 8 RBI, he’s also still available in most leagues, which is important since I don’t know how many of you are even left reading this at this point in the year. Just my mom and my stalker, most likely (hi mom, hi Gordon!). My stalker Gordon’s wondering why I had to stop playing WoW Classic for 4 hours to do other fantasy things. I’ll be right back, Gordon, I swear, please don’t send my family death threats again! Nico could be worth an add for any team in need of some runs and average, especially if the Cubs plan on scoring 17 every game from here on out.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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“…and the Fantasy Baseball Overlord smitten thee with wheat, maize and Christian Yelich, then said, ‘You can’t have all three, you must choose two,’ and the people of Jerusalem, Wisconsin, a small city outside of Milwaukee, received their bounty of corn and wheat to make beer and dispatched Yelich to a nearby hospital.” — The Book of Uecker. *makes sign of the cross* Sadly, it’s written, therefore it is, as they say in elementary schools using fifteen-year-old textbooks.  The bright side to come out of Yelich’s body issue — not the one that your sister touched herself to, the other one — is Trent Grisham should leadoff and play every day. Remember, he was a guy who hit 13 HRs and stole six bags, while hitting .381, in only 34 minor league games, and could be worth a pick up in all leagues for the stretch-run. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The playoffs just started in my home league: a ten-team mixer. And it’s great to make the playoffs and all, but something seems weird about deciding our season during the only month when the real team’s seasons are decided. It’s not that nothing’s at stake in the real games, but the greatest motivator for most organizations might be their draft slot: a significant number in this Collective Bargaining Agreement whereby regular season record dictates both amateur acquisition budgets: draft and international.

The other exigencies still in play—development and health—have a variety of impacts in our game. Clubs want to see their young players on the field, but they’d rather not see them get hurt. Most young pitchers are running out of innings, and a lot of the good pitchers are resting/planning for the playoffs. On the swinger side, the idea of an everyday player in September is . . . nice, as an idea. But as a general rule, you’re looking at a lot of off days.

They’re not for you: the off-days. In fact, players’ days off make more work for you, which is where a lot of these late-season prospects come into play: as newly stream-able entities. Maybe you’re a little tired in these twilight weeks. Maybe you’re giving your fantasies to football. That’s fine. The players are tired too. Might be the same for everyone, no? The world belongs to anyone who gets out of bed, so let’s kick that alarm-clock Rocky music and punch these carcass—er, ugh, weigh the merits of this week’s newly minted major leaguers!

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