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Not usually my style, but we’re taking a break from the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings for a day because of the big trade between the Rockies and Cardinals (and a shizzton of other moves). All the 2021 fantasy baseball rankings, including pitchers, are already up on our Patreon.

So, the Rockies are trying to lose, and they’re a stupid franchise. That is a bad combination. Like burning down your house for insurance money after letting your insurance lapse. The Rockies gave away their marquee player and $50 million. If this is a rebuild, and Austin Gomber is the start of–I’m sorry. I can’t even say Austin Gomber with a straight face. The Cards got Arenado for a Gomber pile of garbage. Bud Black is actually the perfect imbecile to run that team. So, on Arenado’s fantasy value, well…*swallows*…okay, so…*collects thoughts* Yeah, I moved him down in my rankings.

Arenado was traded to the Cards, and I can’t possibly tell you he’s as safe to draft in St. Louis. I don’t think the park change is as dramatic as some are making it out to be. I don’t think he’s suddenly done. I know his road/away splits, but as said many times before, guys are better at home. Even guys who aren’t in Coors. You’re staying at home, you’re surrounded by family and friends, you’re seeing your wife–Wait, are these reasons to enjoy being at home? Right, yes, I kid! Home numbers are always better. Familiarity with the park, just being more comfortable. It’s always like this; there’s stats to back it up, don’t make me pull them out. So, Arenado might not have been great on the road when he played in Coors, but you can’t just say his new home numbers will be his old road numbers. Doesn’t work like that. Trying to see the difference between him and, say, Jose Abreu, though, has become nearly impossible and Abreu isn’t a top 20 overall pick, and neither is Arenado now. I moved Rafael Devers up to the top 20 for 2021 fantasy baseball; Arenado dropped about ten overall spots (but only one spot in the top 20 3rd basemen), and I lowered his projections a bit. His new projections: 88/32/106/.279/1 in 592 ABs.

For what it’s Wuertz, here’s out Steamer projections pre-trade: 103/35/103/.286, 4th best 3B, ~20th overall. Here’s him post-trade: 86/29/85/.256; 8th-10th 3B, ~110TH overall. Um, that’s kinda gross. And, to add fire to the inferno whooshing around the Torenado, look at projections of Austin Riley vs. Nolan Arenado:

Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy-do, folks. I surely do ‘preciate you stopping by for the latest in the world of offseason baseball.

The Blue Jays made three exciting signings, only to have it turn into two exciting signings (unless a Tyler Chatwood signing excites you, then you can still call it three) because the Astros swooped in. For a few hours there, the Jays lineup looked pretty damn formidable. I still really dig it, for what it’s worth.

Other things happened, too. Here’s what stood out to me:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, this is icky. I don’t know what MLB is doing by reporting that they’re not reporting Covid cases. I mean, I think I get it. It’s icky and it’s tricky and — “Shut up, brain, don’t start singing Run-DMC.” — and AND and I don’t know! But not reporting it is doing what exactly? They report injuries to Mitch Haniger that make you want to cross your legs. They report injuries about how a guy fell in a bathtub with a deer — hello, Clint Barmes! — but they don’t report Coronavirus? I just…I don’t know. Not sure it’s the answer. With that said, the Phillies placed Scott Kingery, Hector Neris, Tommy Hunter and Ranger Suarez on the IL yesterday without even a press release. Someone just happened to notice the roster moves. Does that mean they have Covid? Again, I don’t know. Since they announce literally every other injury, one can conclude. How serious is their symptoms? Again, no idea. This is gonna be one helluva 60-game season, huh? My solution is, if you really don’t want Covid speculation, just don’t announce any injuries at all. Change the IL to the ILL and whether it’s a hammy or Covid, don’t say anything. Just say they’re ILL. As for fantasy, Neris’s loss for saves could be huge, but we don’t know yet he’ll miss any of the season. I’d hold him. If you want to speculate, I guess Adam Morgan or a committee (which is atrocious for a 60-game season). As for Kingery, again, we don’t know how long he’ll be out (or why he’s out), so hold. This could be a boost to Adam Haseley. He could be a top 60 outfielder with everyday at-bats, and worth a shot. Or not. Wheeeeee! A 60-game season! Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So we’re gonna have a season, maybe, hopefully…..who knows.  But we need to be prepping like there’s going to be one.  So let’s take a look at some of the specifics that have come down from MLB with the new plan for the season and how it should effect how you handle injuries/Covid related issues going into the year.

First off, the rules.  MLB released a list of precautions when they and the players’ union approved the deal for the 60 game season.  Testing is the biggest thing we need to keep an eye on.  Everyone’s getting tested for active Covid-19 as well as antibodies upon reporting to Spring Training 2.0.  They will not be cleared for work until they tests negative for Covid (we’ll come back to this).  In season, players will undergo multiple “symptom tests” per day (temp checks and “how are you feeling” questionnaires).  They will also be tested every other day.

So what happens if someone tests positive?  Well, each team has to put in place their own Covid handling program that meets certain minimum requirements.  The biggest thing though is that, in order to be cleared to play, a player must test negative twice within a 24 hour period and show now symptoms for 72 hours.  This is a big deal.  There’s no real rhyme or reason for how long Covid stays in your system, but even asymptomatic cases seem to last a minimum of 14 days.  I looked into some prominent cases that took place over in Europe when Covid hit some of their soccer leagues: Callum Hudson-Odoi, a winger for Chelsea tested positive for Coronavirus at the beginning of March.  He wasn’t able to test negative until the beginning of May, despite showing few symptoms.  Paolo Dybala, who plays for Juventus, tested positive in mid-March and was asymptomatic.  He wasn’t cleared until almost the end of May.  Suffice to say, it’s going to be case by case when it comes to each one of these testing scenarios, but I think it would be wise to treat a positive test like a month long or more injury when trying to evaluate how to handle your roster.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday most teams announced their 60-man rosters for Summer Camp. You know Summer Camp, it’s when MLB players compete against each other in kayak and potato sack races, learn to respect other kids, even ones with nerdy glasses, and are managed by Bill Murray. Oh, and, yeah, all teams were supposed to release their 60-man rosters, but when you make a rule that in extra innings a runner will start on 2nd base, then rules are officially stupid and should not be followed. Rob Manfred speaking into a phone, “Brewers, we need your 60-man roster.”  Brewers, “It’s in your ass, Rob.” Rob, “I’m looking in a mirror and I do not see it.” One other thing about the 60-man rosters that were released:  they were all a few short of 60. 60-man rosters are a lot like Opening Day, a wait-and-see affair. Guys can be added still in the coming days. So, maybe there’s hope still for Ryan Mountcastle and Adley Rutschman, since they were omitted from the Orioles’ released 44-man roster. It would be surprising if they weren’t included in the coming days, if this weren’t the Orioles. Some teams included their 2020 draft picks. The Orioles have yet to include their 1st pick from 2015 (Mountcastle) and their 1st pick from last year. i.e., Grey’s about to lose his crap and only talk in 3rd person. Anyway, here’s what else I saw 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello, again. Time to wrap this baby on up with the NL East. I don’t know what else to write here that I haven’t in the other two pieces. Check out the NL West Edition and the NL Central Edition if you haven’t already.

Just made myself another old fashioned, the wife is reading, and the kiddo is asleep. Let’s do it to it.

Atlanta Braves

Probably not gonna surprise anyone with this pick: Austin Riley. Riley was having himself a very nice spring, but so was Johan Camargo, his competition at third. Now the DH solves all that – let the slugging prospect, well, slug. Camargo is the better glove, so there you go.

Riley showed glimpses of serious power last season, bashing 18 homers in only 80 games. My lazy and mathematically-challenged brain would double that to 36 HR in 160 games just to give a very rough idea of what we’re looking at. Of course, that’s not sound fantasy advice nor very accurate given those were his first 80 games ever in the majors. We gotta look deeper. Deep dives are king! I’m no expert delver, but let’s give this a shot anyway. He slashed .226/.279/.471 with Atlanta, but hit for a much better average all through the minors. I know that’s not very telling, but I like to at least see if someone has shown ability to hit for average somewhere, sometime. The power last season was nuts – 127 games total and 33 homers. Looking at just his AAA numbers, in 2018 he hit 12 HR in 324 PAs, but launched 15 HR in just 194 PAs last year. Then came up to the bigs and hit 18 more. That’s quite the progression in just a year’s time. His isolated power was .182 in AAA in 2018, which is pretty solid (.200 is the baseline for “great” according to FanGraphs, though it fluctuates a little relative to league averages in a given year). Anyway, his ISO spiked to .333 in 2019, which is off-the-charts good. Yes, we’re judging these numbers off fewer PAs than FanGraphs recommends, but whatever. You can see the power is there. Riley did his best Aristides Aquino when getting the call last season, slashing .324/.368/.732 with nine homers and 25 RBI in his first 18 games. Buuut in his final 62 games, he had almost the exact same production (nine HR, 24 RBI) and a yucky, yucky slash (.192/.249/.379).

The 2019 AAA Riley struck out 20.1% of the time (his best anywhere) and walked 10.3% of the time; but alas, 2019 MLB Riley struck out 36.4% of the time and walked only 5.4% of the time. He still managed a .245 ISO in the majors, which is very damn good, but the rest of his offensive metrics definitely took a nose dive as the year went on. The batted ball metrics are great: 13.7% barrel rate, 44.6% hard-hit rate, and a 20.6-degree launch angle. Riley had 7.7% barrels per plate appearance, which would be top 50 in the league if he qualified. Better than Ketel Marte, Rafael Devers, Gleyber Torres, Max Muncy, and like a ton others, of course. Those are just some big fantasy studs that stood out.

I think you all get the picture. Riley has the chops to be a fantasy force as is, but he’s got improvements he needs to make. If a pitch is in the zone, dude swings like every time (okay, 80.5%) but also chased almost 38% of the time. If he can keep barreling balls and show some more patience, then whoa nelly. They’ve got Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and now this guy?!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Los Angeles is such an eco-friendly city that when a recent EPA report cited jet fuel as accounting for 17% of air pollution, the Dodgers went out and traded for Mookie Betts. See, this year’s All-Star Game is in Dodger Stadium, and now eleven of their players don’t have to fly anywhere for the All-Star Game festivities. Always giving, my great City of Angels, that’s not actually the city of the Angels, that’s Anaheim, but they call themselves Los Angeles and it’s nowhere near Los Angeles. Not confusing at all! Let’s just drool for a second at the Dodgers’ lineup:  Betts, Muncy, Turner, Bellinger, Pederson/Pollock, Seager, Will Smith and Gavin Lux. If they trade Austin Barnes to the Astros for a trash can, then their 2020 title hopes will be sealed! Before you laugh, the Astros could use a catcher. So, Betts’s best will be in the starry skies of Los Angeles, and Rihanna might just start liking baseball again. “You’re cute with that silliness.” “Nah, seriously, I want to go bowling.”  That’s Mookie and Rihanna on their first date. Betts is in the prime of his career, and I can’t see any chance a move to Los Angeles slows him down, however–Don’t do it, Grey! Don’t be negative here! Well, Fenway to Dodger Stadium isn’t the best move. Some of those doubles off the wall might go for deep outs to the left fielder. The Dodgers didn’t steal a lot in 2019 either, but that could be from a lack of threats. Justin Turner is running? Muncy? Bellinger did run, because he can. Betts should still be a lock for 15-20 steals, but I’m knocking his power down a tad with the park change. While his projections will change a bit, his ranking is staying the same in my top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball. For what it’s Werth, Rudy’s auction rankings changed dramatically for Betts, knocking him way down, but Betts’s projections are even better than mine, as seen at the hitter projections. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Guys, I have bad news. There are just ten days left in the regular season. 240 hours until I’ll have to pack up my clown makeup for the next six months. How’s that song go? 14,400 minutes; 6,390 cups of coffee; $17.75 left in my FanDuel account; how do we measure success in DFS? How about looooooooooooooooooooove? Man, this is off the rails early and if you’ve never seen Rent, all of this is just, whooooooooosh, right over your head. Okay, let’s get to it. I’ll recommend a cheaper pitcher in a little bit because this VIP section is for aces only. We have Shane Bieber ($10,700), Jacob deGrom ($11,000), Clayton Kershaw ($10,400), Luis Castillo ($10,300), Charlie Morton ($9,500), and Zack Greinke ($9,200). That’s six aces on today’s slate, so how do we choose? Let’s look at what the pitchers are playing for. Castillo is the only ace who’s team is eliminated from the playoffs, so he’s booted. The Dodgers and Astros have their divisions clinched, so I wouldn’t expect Kershaw or Greinke to go as deep as they usually do – scratch them. That narrows it down to Bieber, Morton, and deGrom, all of which are on teams fighting for the Wild Card and in Bieber’s case, the division. Those are my three favorites on today’s FanDuel slate, so pick your poison.  I’ll be going with deGrom myself.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s crunch time kids, only two weeks to go.  Many of you probably gave up on your fantasy baseball teams weeks or months ago (as I have with a couple of mine), and are now concentrating your free time on fantasy football, enjoying what is technically the last week of summer, or, craziest of all, focusing on real-life work or family issues.  But if you’re in a deep fantasy league and still fighting for a championship, let’s get right to what we came for:  a few names that may be of interest to those in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Jeff McNeil went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs with a double slam (19, 20) and legs (5), hitting .326. It’s legitimately surprising when I see any player who has more than 400 ABs with less than 20 homers, so I’m glad McNeil stopped confounding me. Usually don’t do this before the end of the season recaps, but sneaked a peek at my preseason blurb for McNeil, and I will share it right after this awkward sentence, “Truth bomb alert!  I almost wrote a McNeil sleeper post, but A) Mets B) Mets C) There’s no C. D) The Mets are saying he might not have a set position and be more of a floater, and, ever since Meatballs, there’s never been a good use of a floater. E) Mets F) Mets G) I wasn’t as blown away by his projections that I came up with as I thought I would be.  H) That’s about it.  I) Whoa, there’s a HI in the middle of the alphabet?  Who’s trying to say hello?!” And that’s me quoting me! I projected him for 17 HRs and 8 SBs. Those numbers aren’t far off, but you know where I was way off? Yup and yup, his average. I projected him to hit .269, so what changed? He hits everything well. He is in the bottom seven in the league for soft contact — Just Dong, Bryce, Mookie, Bryce — are a few of the names there. He also leads the league in Swing% (59.5), but he doesn’t strikeout a lot. Translation:  He swings a lot and makes good contact. It’s a recipe that’s worked for Castellanos, Javy Baez and Devers, to name a few. The fear for 2020 is McNeil becomes Castellanos on the Tigers, and not the She-cah-go Greek God of Hard Contact. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?