Please see our player page for Shane Bieber 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.

Okay, so we recorded this show over the weekend prior to the big news about Justin Verlander. Hearken back to a more simple time where yours truly was 100% secure in his second round selection of Justin Verlander in the 2020 TGFBI. Grey, this episode’s unlikely voice of reason tries to impress into my thick skull that pitcher’s are the worst. As it turns out pitcher’s are in fact the worst, but I cannot quit them. Any the who, we roll through another 50 pitchers and tell you who to draft and who to avoid as we navigate the unsuspecting waters of drafting pitchers in fantasy. It’s the Top 50 Pitchers for 2020.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m attempting something new with this year’s top 100 keepers article. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but never had the time or brainpower to figure out. I want to try to objectively (impossible) rank each player on how many projected categories they provide for your team. 

I broke each standard 5×5 category down into five statistical outcome ranges. Take runs for example.

 

Points 0 .25 .5 .75 1
Runs Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
HRs Under 16 17-23 24-30 31-37 Over 38
RBI Under 54 55-69 70-84 85-99 Over 100
SBs Under 8 9-13 14-18 19-23 Over 23
AVG Under .254 .255-.269 .270-.284 .285-.299 Over .300
W Under 7 8-10 11-13 14-16 Over 17
K Under 159 160-184 185-209 210-234 Over 235
ERA Over 4.45 3.96 – 4.44 3.46-3.95 2.96-3.45 Under 2.95
WHIP Over 1.33 1.24-1.32 1.15-1.23 1.06-1.14 Under 1.05
SV Under 11 12-17 18-23 24-30 Over 30

 

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One word about this top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball, before I give you another 5,000 words. I’m going to avoid repeating myself from the position rankings in the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. If you want to know my in-depth feelings about a player, then you need to go to his positional page, i.e., the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball, the top 20 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball, the top 20 Patterns In Queso That Look Like Messages From Another Planet for 2020– Okay, but I almost got you. This post is meant to give you an idea where guys from different positions are in relation to each other. Since this post is only the top 100, there’s more players where this came from. 467 more, to be very exact. Next up, there will be a top 500 that will go to 567. Then, after that, there will be a top 7,500 that will go to 8,602, then a top 25,000 that will go to 28,765, then a top 600,000 that will go to 892,121, until we end up with a top kajillion in April that will go to a kajillion and one. Or maybe I’ll stop at the top 500. Yeah, that makes sense. Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel. Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2020 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.” Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters. Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter! Razzball Subscriptions are also now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room, and you can go ad-free for a $9.99. Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2020 fantasy baseball rankings. That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies. It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown. I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted. Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth. Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around. Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  Simple Math has an attitude problem. Simple Math says, “Try counting on your fingers without me!” Yo, eff you, Simple Math! In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April. With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest. (By the by, Razzball Subscriptions are now open. Early subscribers get Rudy’s War Room.) There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck. Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to change, depending on which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs. Finally, the best starters can give you four categories. The best hitters can give you five categories. So, here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Is it a corny acronym? No doubt.

Does it have a purpose in fantasy baseball? Absolutely.

I’m not the smartest person on the planet. There is zero chance I can combine hundreds of metrics into a special formula to conveniently spit out 2020 breakout pitchers. Ask Rudy for that. However, I can break down the game to simple components and use a few metrics at a time. That is exactly what I plan to do in this series for the next month. Keep It Simple, Pat. K.I.S.P.!

Last week, I highlighted a group of pitchers who exceed expectations in the past 3 seasons. Time after time in reviewing these pitchers a commonality was the use of a highly effective secondary pitch. Additionally, the usage of this secondary pitch contributed to a rise in the effectiveness of the player’s fastball. This cohesion leads to the hypothesis of this week’s article, locating exceptional secondary pitches. If a pitcher throws hard with at least one valuable secondary pitch they will generate more strikeouts, more poor swings, and infrequent hard contact.

In order to find players that matched to this premise I did the following:

  • Started with 2019 Fangraphs pitch data and filtered out anyone with less than 50 MLB innings pitched and more than 400 career MLB innings pitched to isolate for Youthful Jumps.
  • Brought in the average fastball velocity for the last two years and removed all pitchers throwing less than 93.4 MPH. This isn’t an arbitrary number; Shane Bieber was the average velocity floor from the Youthful Jump group at 93.4 MPH.
  • Highlighted only players with a Standardized Pitch Value (Pitch Type Linear Weights per 100) for a secondary pitch over 0.5 for the 2019 season.

Shockingly, there were only 12 pitchers from the 2019 season who met the criteria. Of those, seven could be removed for various reasons mentioned at the end of the article for clarity. The five pitchers who remain are detailed below:

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Some of you may be saying, “Is this the guy from the football side who is obsessed with defensive pressure rates?” Yes, it is.

Some of you will then ask, “Is this man as funny as Grey?” Sadly, no.

Everyone will then most definitely ask, “What does this man know about baseball?” Enough to spew 1000+ words per week into WordPress.

Baseball is far and away my favorite fantasy sport. I’ve been a Razzball consumer since I was a pimple faced teenager. My background with Razzball is important. It explains many of my philosophies, primarily those in regards to pitching. Typically, I wait on starting pitching far later than the norm and complete pre-season prep with that notion in mind. Instead of spending hours sorting top ranked pitchers, I focus in on pitchers who have the highest probabilities of far exceeding expectations.

This concept is at the core of the series, in which the sole purpose is to find the likeliest 2020 breakout pitchers. To start, I will delve into a group of 12 pitchers who exceeded draft day value from the last 3 seasons. Using their backgrounds, I hope to find some cohesion to locate what changed and led to the breakout. Finally, I’ll take those commonalities and locate 2020 pitchers meeting the same criteria to find who is most likely to win us our leagues.

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All the final 2019 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2020 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts). This is a recap. Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  Like when you had a knee replacement, this is a recap! To recapitulate the recap, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Adalberto Mondesi will have surgery on his shoulder and miss the next five to six months. *insert GIF of King Tommen falling out of the window* Mondesi likely won’t be ready for Opening Day. Cancel 2020. Don’t even want to go on. Please, don’t try to cheer me up. I’m wallowing! Let me wallow! Guess it’s better to get the injury out of the way now vs. in March. Ha, you thought I was being positive! Screw you for misreading my intentions! It’s not good news, this means his shoulder could re-injure at any point in 2020 and become a recurring issue. Give me a tissue. I already miss you. I’m a sad poet and aware of it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Late season DFS baseball isn’t quite the “who the heck is that” insanity that late season DFS basketball is (or say, week 17 fantasy football is), but the same concepts still apply, albeit to a much lesser degree. So for those still playing cash games at this point in the season – do be weary of veterans on teams that have that have nothing to play for – both the teams that were eliminated a long time ago, and also teams that have their playoff spots locked up. In the case of teams with their playoff spots locked up (and nothing to play for except seeding) it’s doubtful they’ll pull hitters mid-game, but there’s always a chance they pull the starting pitcher early with an eye towards the playoffs. Tread carefully.

More after a word from our sponsor.

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And another one! That’s right, to the dozen(s) of you out there still reading this, Kyle Lewis did it again Friday night going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and his sixth home run. Lewis now has six dingers through his first 10 games as a pro, making him just the fourth player (Aristides Aquino, Trevor Story and Dino Restelli are the other three) to accomplish this. He’s now slashing .325/.349/.850 on the year with 10 runs scored and 12 RBI. He’s got three doubles to go with his six jacks, and yeah, that will help your fantasy team, people! Ignore the fact that he’s struck out in 40% of his at bats, and ignore the dreadful Double-A stats, dude’s got a .525 ISO! The 20.6% swinging strike rate, or the 58.3% contact rate in the minors? Ignore that too! If you want a reason not to BUY Kyle Lewis I suggest checking out Son’s awesome post where he really breaks down some of the advanced stats we saw from Lewis at AA. But like I said, I’m going to ignore all that and focus on the fact that he is hitting all the beisbols right now and he’s hitting them over the fence. He will have plenty of time this offseason to come back down to Earth to be the below-average Mariners prospect he is clearly destined to be, but right now Kyle is hotter than a JLo striptease set to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” And trust me that’s about as hot as it gets. I’d add Lewis everywhere on every team for the final week and pray he can fight off the regression fairies another 7 days and keep hitting home runs into the cheap seats. He was a BUY and he’s the most exciting player to come out of a week of Seattle baseball since Domingo Santana in the first week of 2019. Start with a bang, end with a bang, and play like absolute garbage in between. You do you, Seattle! In the meantime, I’m going to pick up Kyle Lewis.

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

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