Please see our player page for Taijuan Walker 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.

The last news on Taijuan Walker is from March 9th. The Seattle Times reported, “Walker pitched three innings, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts Monday in Milwaukee’s 2-1 victory. He threw 43 pitches with 28 strikes – featuring a fastball that sat at 93 to 94 mph, that sinking change-up and a vastly improved curveball.” I go with changeup — one word, no hyphen, but other than that, it reads like a dream. *fighting self to not sing it, finally blurting out* It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine. Ugh, sorry, I can’t stop myself whenever I hear or read “a dream,” I break into Juicy. It’s especially annoying when I shoot up in bed at four in the morning, sweating profusely and Cougs comforts me with, “Chester Cheetah is not chasing you, it was all a dream,” and I launch into song. That March 9th report was from Taijuan’s first spring training start (he pitched in “B” games prior), and before we knew there would be 78 days in March. Is it still March? Who’s to say? Not me, I’m not going out on that kind of limb. Just a week prior to that start, Taijuan Walker “wasn’t sharp” in his simulated game and a few months prior to that, I didn’t even rank him my top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball or top 500. So, what gives? Or better yet…So, what about Taijuan Walker for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a dart throw?

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So, usually I have an idea if a team is good, and, if I don’t know that, I have some idea when the season will begin, but welcome to the year 2020 when all is unknown. I’m currently typing this with my hands tied behind my back so I don’t accidentally touch my facet–Face! Damn it, this typing with my nose is more difficult than I thought it would beet–Damn! This is giving ‘hunt and peck’ typing a new definition. More like ‘hen and peck’ amiright? Don’t answer me because you might accidentally transmit saliva into the air. Thanks, and remember, SOCIAL DISTANCING!!!, which is what I scream at Cougs every time she comes within six feet of me. Makes for interesting sleeping as our bed is about six feet in width. So, the RazzSlam is a Best Ball tourney with Points scoring. Everyone likely knows what a Best Ball league is, but, if you don’t, it’s when you draft a team and the computer manages it for you by choosing who are the best players, and you get those stats. It’s basically one fantasy league removed from the robots taking over and killing us all. Well, the last laugh is on you robots, there’s a virus beating you to the punch! Anyway, here’s my RazzSlam, 12 team draft recap:

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I consider myself a fairly optimistic person. Take this whole coronavirus thing. I don’t have it (or maybe I do — or maybe I do and don’t know it — or maybe I don’t and do know it and now you have it just from reading this article.) It’s a scary time, but I’ve tried to remain looking on the bright side that we’re all washing our hands, self-isolating, and wiping our butts so well that this thing will pass quickly. Then I started looking at the Mariners projected lineup, rotation and bullpen for 2020. Now I’ve covered the Tigers, the White Sox and the Royals to prove you can mine for fantasy gold in the darkest of baseball caves. But the Mariners might be my hardest task yet. It’s hard to be optimistic about this team.

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Spring Training Sleeper Watch: American League West Edition

One of my favorite traditions as a young fan was Peter Gammons profiling each team’s spring training focus points. 

I loved the spittle and shake of his voice, the depth of his details, and especially how he always shot the segments in front of people playing catch, gloves popping symphonically as we imagine the impossible topside of Rich Harden.

It’s in that spirit that I begin our next prospect series—one that works in concert with Razzball’s Gammonsian team previews and one that involves a few nods to some non-prospects. Graduating from eligibility requirements doesn’t mean you’re a known quantity, nor that you’ve graduated to an everyday opportunity. Yesterday’s failed prospects are often tomorrow’s sleepers, so let’s take a lap around the division looking for some fantasy profit. 

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The main difference between standard fantasy leagues and deep leagues is, of course, the depth of the player pool and the talent an owner has available to choose from when constructing a roster.  Trying to decide how to let player pool depth affect draft strategy is where things get challenging, and I find that especially true when it comes to starting pitching.  While I, like most of the Razzball community, prefer to eschew top-tier starters in mixed leagues, it can become both more tempting — and in some cases more necessary as far as I’m concerned — to roster a top-ranked starting pitcher in NL or AL-only leagues because that nice big pool of mid-range starters whom you can count on just doesn’t exist.  But whether you decide to splurge on a Cole or a deGrom in a deep league, or choose to try to build a stable of starters without one of the top studs, one thing remains the same:  at the end of any deep-league draft or auction, you’ll want a handful of SP names that you can take fliers on to fill out your rotation or plant on your bench.  Today we’ll take a look a some pitchers that I’d consider throwing a late dart at:  for now, these are all ‘bird in the hand’ guys that theoretically are expected to open the season in their respective MLB rotations, rather than players that might have more upside but may have to wait a bit longer for a full-fledged starting gig.  All of the following players have current NFBC ADPs outside the top 350 players drafted — so as long as you’re not counting on them to do any heavy lifting on your squad, they’re low ultra risk, and any reward you get is almost like free production.

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

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Last week I drafted against Scott White of CBS and like ten other Razzball guys. Pretty soon this league’s draft will be Scott White smashing a bottle of champagne on the front of the Razzball ship, then twelve Razzball guys will battle for the ‘ship with Donkey Teeth screaming, “You’ve sunk my battleship,” and me saying, “I’m standing next to you, stop screaming.” So, it was B_Don, The Prospect Itch, Donkey Teeth, me, Scott White and some other ‘perts. Maybe those other Razzball guys will give you a recap of their drafts (if you ask nicely), but we’re here for my ishkabibble and I came away with a team more imbalanced than your aunt after two cocktails. This league is deep so hold onto ye olde hat. (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues. Or closet buddies, if you’re reading fast and/or experimenting.) Anyway, here’s my 12-team AL-Only team and some thoughts:

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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:

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You emerge from mother’s basement, holding your hands up to your eyes to block the sun, and scream, “Ma! I won my fantasy league! Ma!” You stop to look around; it’s a fiery landscape reminiscent to an apocalypse. You open further the basement door, and it falls off its hinges. You, scared, “Ma?” There’s no walls anymore on your house, which gives you a vantage point to the entire surrounding area that smolders. Coming up your once-tree-lined street is a posse of thousands of–An army from another country? Another world? Who are they? What have they done with your family? Just as the questions dissolve over you, a warrior spots you and grunts for you to get in line. You reach for the only weapon you can get your hands on, a Lou Pinella commemorative mini-bat from a 1981 stadium giveaway, and join the post-apocalyptic army. As you scuttle into position behind the marching forces, you see a group of warriors carrying your mother’s head on a pitchfork. Overcome with emotion, you run up and scream, “Ma! I gotta tell you about the fantasy league I won!” In this scenario, I am your mother, and the army is Razzball. You’re welcome! Today is the day when you realize you’ve spent 27,000 man hours this summer beating eleven other strangers to win a virtual trophy, and it feels great! That’s if you won your league, if you came in 2nd or worst, you get an A for effort. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Sorry, but first I must purge myself of all Yu song references.  If you don’t like that, Yu Can’t Always Get What Yu Want, but, if Yu try, Yu might get what Yu need, because all Yu Need Is Love, and I Wish Yu Were Here.  Yu Give Love A Bad Name, but I’m gonna Run to Yu.  Even if Rick rolled, I’m Never Gonna Give Yu Up, and shut don’t go up, but Yu do. Yu Take My Breath Away when Yu pitch well, but Yu Never Give Me Your Money, which makes sense since Yu Don’t Know Me.  Without or Without Yu Yu (stutterer!) can put together a solid rotation, but Yu Light Up My Life when it’s the Best of Yu. Have I Told Yu Lately he needed to cut down on his walks? Yesterday, he went 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks (zero walks!), ERA at 5.14, and I Know What Yu Did Last Summer (disambiguation: song), but what about now? Don’t Yu (Forget About Me).  Did the Rangers closer, Chris Martin, Fix Yu? Remains doubtful, but no walks is Arthur’s Theme (Best Yu Can Do).  Any hoo!  Yu Darvish might’ve been dealing with a mechanics issue, and maybe now that’s fixed.  He does have a near-12 K/9, the only bugaboo is his 7+ BB/9, but if he can tame that he immediately shoots to at least a number two, and stops plopping out number twos.  Do Yu Understand (ft Tory Lanez & Gunna).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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NL WestNL Central | NL East | AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!

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