Please see our player page for Pablo Lopez 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.

A lot of pitcher fantasy analysis centers around pitcher quality: Velocity, stuff, BABIP, Statcast, recent performance…balancing out all of the available metrics to determine cost (draft slot, $ value) is the name of the game. Today we’re going to look at a metric I rarely see discussed in the pre-season: strength of schedule (SoS).

In-season, starting pitcher matchups are gold, whether you’re playing the streaming game or DFS. But pre-season, I rarely see analysis go any deeper than AL-vs.-NL comparisons. At the individual-SP level, this makes sense: projecting out specific full-season matchups for an SP is impossible.

At the team level, however, we can get get a pretty good handle on who may have advantageous matchups and who has a tough road. More specifically, we’re interested in the extremes: How frequently will each team face really tough matchups, or really easy ones? The middle 60% will be mostly based on pitcher quality; at the margins, we have actionable start/sit decisions.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As many of you know, I’m in the NL-Only Tout Wars and LABR, so every year I take part in an industry NL-Only league with the CBS peeps (and Donkey Teeth, BDon, Itch…Now that I think about it, it’s all Razzball people and CBS’s Scott White) to try to find my footing like a drunk sailor hearing about a peg boy for the first time. If you don’t know what a peg boy is, don’t google it, which is what someone says knowing that will 100% cause someone to google it. Some might mock, some might mock draft, but this is my draft prep, and am happy to take part in this league. Until about 25 minutes into the draft, and players go for way too much, and I start getting hungry and I just want the whole thing to be over and ermahgerd! But, for those first twenty-five minutes of the five-hour draft, I’m laser focused. For this league, I once again use Rudy’s NL-Only rankings, and his War Room (it’s free with a subscription). I won’t try to get you to buy it anymore. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make the horse put a cape down so I can walk over the water without getting wet. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds others for prizes –> Razzball Commenter Leagues.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The top 40 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball fall roughly in the 75 to 125 overall for those of you who are wondering where we are overall, and, of course, when the rankings are done I will be along with a top 500 overall to show you exactly where we are. Think of this set of starters as your number twos and number threes, but, again, I will have a pitchers’ pairing tool to help with that too. I give and you receive. Ho, ho, ho, that’s me giving and you receiving. Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’ve gone over the final 2020 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters. This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15. That’s hardcore nerd shizz! This is simply fantasy baseball — we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn. So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left. You’re welcome. I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2021 rookies. Let’s boogie to the next year, I’m so done with 2020. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s up, Razzballers? Hope playoff baseball is treating you well, and if you’re in any playoff pools like I am, hope they’re treating you well, as well!

Well. What a wild season of fantasy baseball we had, eh? I’m not a super high-stakes type of fantasy baller – I did two Yahoo public leagues mainly because drafts are so easy to join and get through quickly (I won both!), my home keeper auction league (which moved to roto for this year and I got 2nd after being two-time defending champ *sad emoji*), and then the RazzSlam. I got really lucky in the Slam, not suffering a lot of COVID-ness or injury. Finished second in my league and #46 overall. Not too shabby for my first industry league endeavor! Just want to thank Grey, Donkey and others, but mostly of all, you. You’ve made me feel so welcome. Hey, watch me make like a tree’s sap and get sappy!

Anywayyyyy, I bring up my own leagues because a large part of my success came down to waiver wire wizardry. Well, RazzSlam not so much (waivers are limited there), but my final rosters in the other three leagues looked a lot different from Opening Day. That’s always the case in fantasy sports, of course, but this year especially so in baseball.

I thought a fun exercise would be to go back and honor those who were league winners for a lot of you. What better way to honor real players than with fake All-Star selections?! I’m gonna take a standard lineup of C/1B/2B/3B/SS/OF/OF/OF/UT/UT/SP/SP/RP/RP/P/P/P/P and fill it with the best that the 2020 waiver wire had to offer. In most leagues, most of these guys were drafted late or not at all. Of course in deeper leagues maybe all of them were drafted at some point, but in standard 12-team leagues, almost all of these guys came off the wire.

Without further ado, let’s do it to it!

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.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Ask not what your fantasy team’s pitchers can do for you, but what you can do for your fantasy team pitchers.” The number one thing you can do is have your fantasy team page open and curse and scream whenever a reliever comes into the game in a non-save shituation and gives up runs, or when you have a pitcher give up five-plus in under five innings, or when you bench a guy who throws a gem. That’s the least you can do for your country and your team. Yesterday, the Kennedy curse lifted, and Jack and Joe did you right: Joe Musgrove (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.68) vs. Jack Flaherty (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.84). In 2021, Jack Flaherty could be underrated. Imagine he’s not a top five starter next year, because of one bad start. Sign me up for some of that nonsense. Joe Musgrove is a trickier proposition such as, “I’ll do whatever for $50.” Wait, that’s a trick’s proposition. Since Musgrove’s IL stint, his fastball velocity wasn’t quite there, but yesterday saw him touch 95 MPH, and his slider was working for him. For 2021, I could see getting sucked in again by Musgrove, which inevitably will leave me mumbling, “Era, era, my ERA is a mess.” That’s JFK struggling to the finish line of a fantasy season, like all of us. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Keep on go on wondering why, I got out of bed at all,” which are the lyrics for Thank You by Dido, which was the chorus for Stan by Eminem, and I want to thank you, Kwang-Hyun Kim (7 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 0.63) as he was activated from the IL after having kidney problems, and to misquote Eminem, “I Stan Kim.” Actually, here’s Eminem singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem.” Eminem is a big Golden Girls fan, obvi. Any hoo! What a year by Kim, whoa. He has 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed only one home run all year. Granted, he’s only thrown 28 2/3 IP all year, has allowed only two earned runs all year, and that’s less than a month of a regular season. But, wow, what a year! We’ll leave it at that. Will Eminem, or us for that matter, be singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem” in 2021? That seems less likely. His peripherals are not particularly inspiring, but for this year *genuflects* Stan Kim, Stan Kim, Stan Kim. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This sounds absolutely crazy to say but there are two weeks left in the fantasy baseball season. It felt like I just started writing these articles and here we are at the end of the season. It’s been an absolute sprint to get to this point and it makes the rest of these games absolutely critical. That’s why I’m going to kill it with these streamers, so, let’s go ahead and get into it! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?