It’s always hard to know if a major league manager is being sly or stupid. Guessing stupid gets you right at least 75% of the time, sly is 24%. This time Maddon might be in the 1%. Maddon seemed to indicate Jo Adell was nowhere on the radar. Was he being sly, stupid or the rare 1%? The 1% happens when someone is injured and a prospect just needs to be called up twisting the manager’s arm. Thankfully, it wasn’t Shohei Ohtani’s arm that was twisted; enough has happened to that. So, Jo Adell was called up, seemingly to replace Brian Goodwin (hopefully). Prospect Itch wrote about 1,000 words on Jo Adell at his Jo Adell fantasy (which included Luis Robert — hum-ma-na). I wrote a few Jo Adell preseason outlook posts — one last year, one during shutdown. If you’re the type who doesn’t want to look at long-form writing and prefers a quick, “Give me the Cliff Notes, dude. I ain’t got time for work.” Pick him up. Everywhere. He’s. So. Good. I’m Giving. Him. The. One. Sentence. Treatment. For. Emphasis. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We got a week in the books, folks, and I didn’t think I’d being doing another post this year after the unthinkable, unspeakable, most-obvious-thing-to-happen happened when a good quarter of the Florida Marlins team tested positive for coronavirus. Most would think when a worst case scenario like this occurs, the season would be halted, or at the very least restructured. (After watching some NBA last night, the bubble certainly appears to have been the way to go). But no. It’s just the Marlins, right? Who cares. I wonder to myself, “Self, would the reaction have been the same had 15 Yankees tested positive.” But they didn’t, it’s just the Marlins. The “worst” team in baseball. Besides this was a one off thing, right, what are the odds another team gets it? *Fast forward three days* Oh, three teams have it now, you say? Welp. And Commissioner slash idiot Rob Manfred claims he could shut down the season Monday if the “players aren’t more careful.” L-O-L. Careful like sending hundreds of players and workers back into situations where they not only have to travel, but its often impossible to maintain social distancing? So now we have six teams not even playing, teams that actually “matter”, and its an absolute mess not just for players and fans, but anyone trying to field a daily fantasy line up. Phew. OK, sorry for the tangent but this could very well be my final post of 2020, so I’m going to write about what I want, and I want to write about Taijuan Walker’s best start and first win in almost four years! After missing the majority of the past two seasons due to Tommy John, Taijuan Walker returned “home” to start in Seattle for the first time since 2016 Friday night. Walker looked dominant pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, two walks and striking out eight A’s. Tai consistently threw strikes and used his fastball effectively, topping out at 95 mph. Sweet sassy molassy! His Jordan cleats were hitting different, too. It’s always the shoes! The cutter was cutting, his breaking ball had good movement but it was really the way he commanded that fastball that made the difference. After a rough first start in Houston last week, it was an excellent rebound for Walker to get him and the M’s back on track. Rotoworld called a Walker add quote “risky” today, but as I ranted above, this season is all about risk, so why not take a risk on Taijuan Walker!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Have I been wrong, hypnotized, paralyzed, by what my eyes have seen,” sang Natalie Merchant the last time I saw her at Lilith Fair. As I lay there, on that hemp blanket, eating a homemade granola bar, I thought, “I’m buying whatever that Merchant is selling.” Sadly, I can’t have my soul enriched during these dastardly times by some female honkeytonks, unless I happen across something between my binge watching of Siesta Key. Then, yesterday, Nate Pearson (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks) was as good as Natalie Merchant and Siesta Key combined. Yo, my man went from a 99 MPH fastball that had Nats’ hitters bulging their eyes to a backdoor 77 MPH dipsy with poise of a 15-year vet. The 99 MPH fastball is enough, but his secondary command, just dropping pitches in. Go to the top of a mountain and let out a chef’s kiss. This was against the defending champs, and he was like en bee dee. Massively impressed by him during Spring Training in March just off a few clips, but watching him for five innings has me convinced:  He can be this year’s Chris Paddack. He should be owned in 100% of leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nostalgia can be a funny thing. In challenging times, especially, it can be nice to revisit things that you think back on fondly. It wraps you in a warm, comfy blanket of good memories and better times. Even now, as I’m writing this, I just put on a random 90s alternative rock/grunge playlist that I found on YouTube. I have some very nostalgic feelings about the music from that era. Alice in Chains? Yes please. Soundgarden? Mmm… so cozy. Better Than Ezra? Sure, why not. Underrated band. Tal Bachman? Ahhhh, that’s… wait, what? Joan Osborne? Brrr… it’s getting drafty in here. Savage Garden? Hey, where the hell did my blanket go? Time to pull a Randy Savage and drop the big elbow on this list. Magoo’s gettin’ angry!

Well, so much for my nostalgic musical trip. That brings us back to baseball. It’s really the ultimate source of nostalgia for me. Whether playing, watching, or getting hooked on the fantasy side of things, it’s been a constant in my life since I was about four years old. A nice, warm blanket that’s always at the ready. So to be sitting here in late April with no baseball in sight feels weird. Really weird. And while nobody really knows when or where or in what form our national pastime will return, I’m hopeful that it will at some point this year. But instead of focusing on what we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control, shall we?

Which brings us to the topic at hand. We might not know when and where baseball will be played this season, but we can certainly choose who we want playing on our fantasy teams. With that in mind, I’ll be discussing all of the players who I’ve drafted in my fantasy baseball leagues in 2020. It might sound like a lot, but it’ll just be covering five leagues in total – four NFBC Online Championship leagues, and one NFBC Draft Champions league. For some perspective, the four OC leagues are 12 team mixed with weekly lineup locks, weekly pickups, and the following starting lineup requirements: 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 MI, 1 CI, 5 OF, 1 Util, and 9 P. There is a 1000 innings pitched minimum, but no specific minimum or starting requirements for starting or relief pitchers. The Draft Champions is a 15 team mixed league format with the same starting lineup requirements as the OC format, except it’s a 50 round draft-and-hold with no in-season transactions. What you draft is what you’re stuck with until the end of the season. There is no trading and no injured list in both formats as well.

I’ll be breaking things down by position, briefly discussing my pre-draft strategies followed by a quick analysis of each player that I ended up pulling the trigger on. Since this article is already longer than a typical baby seal comment, I’ll just be covering catchers and corner infielders today, with middle infielders, outfielders, and pitchers soon to follow.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the likelihood of a shortened MLB season growing by the day streaming and targeting matchups will be more important in our 2020 fantasy world than ever before. One of the best places to take a stab at that is using catcher defense to try and mine some stolen bases. Two things factor into this: how often a catcher is run on and how often they throw runners out. Ideally, you’re getting a good matchup on both sides, like finding toilet paper at the grocery store that’s also not sandpaper texture, but I’d prefer volume to efficiency. Here are the 2019 stats and some of the likely hot spots.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This league has been going on so long I’m not sure if I’m a friend or family at this point. Think I started as a friend, became a frenemy, briefly became family through a cousin’s marriage to Dalton Del Don’s uncle, Don Del Don, then, after a messy divorce and some ugly text messages, I was called a friend again, but it was like when you say you are friends with the one person from your high school class who is now a millionaire, but they don’t really know you, i.e., we’re Facebook friends, but they’ve muted me and I don’t know it. For those unfamiliar, this is a standard 5×5, 16-team league, and, since it’s Yahoo, it’s 4 outfielders and two UTIL. As always, I used Rudy’s War Room, which is available with a subscription to our Razzball Tools. (I’m not peeing in your water and calling it Corona, we’re still drafting up in this mug, because the season will happen; it’s on my vision board!) Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh, the Dirty South! After breaking down some lackluster NL West teams in my first three previews, we finally get a legitimate contender in the Braves. After posting an impressive 97-win season last year, this club looks fully ready to rock-and-roll again behind Ronald Acuna Jr. This dude has established himself as one of the best players in the Majors and it’s scary just how good this order looks with him up top. The one thing they need to clean up is their mascot game though.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s the episode you’ve waited patiently the entire off-season for, it’s of course the Top 20 Catchers for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. This was essentially Grey recording 60 minutes of catcher questions. Imagine if that was a specialty series weekly during the season here on Razzball? We need a catching expert! Donkey Teeth make this happen! Words, words, words. More words, stop. Oops didn’t mean to write that, but my delete button is broken so I’m going to leave that here. It’s not like I ran out of exciting things to say about catchers, or the players we discuss not named Gary, J.T., Yasmani, Willson, or Carlton Banks cousin. It’s catchers, but we make it enjoyable. Grey talks about Chance Sisco and doesn’t make a single Dru Hill joke.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is gonna be a weird one. Just when you think the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball are stacked chef’s kiss finding a vacation home on House Hunters International, they take a left turn and become ugly like the Property Brothers. Well, mostly the one who always wears plaid. Any hoo! This post goes on for about 1.8 million words, so let’s dive in. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers.  All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included.  Let’s do this!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?