Please see our player page for Travis Shaw 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.

Someone had his white Vans on! Daniel Ponce de Leon had another strong start Friday night pitching 6.1 innings allowing just three base runners (1 hit, 2 BB) and one run while striking out six for his first win of 2020. He had a no-hitter going through the first six innings until an Orlando Garcia home run, the only hit he surrendered, ruined his bid. Damn Daniel, 2016 called–they want their meme back. I touched on PDL (can I call him PDL? sounds like a bad light beer) last week and concluded he was too risky to touch, but his 3.15 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 28/6 K/BB in September tell me something has definitely clicked. Considering he was rocking a 7+ ERA at the start of the month that gives you a sense of the strides he’s made in just a few short weeks. Perhaps he discovered the dot, dot, dot…fountain of youth? I’m sorry! I had to. Regardless the win was his first as a starting pitcher in 20 tries–that’s right 20! And yes, that is the record, albeit a fairly depressing record to hold. Maybe its these Brewers’ hitters, who he’s struck out 15 times this month to pad his 12.6 k/9 in 20 IP in September, or maybe it was finally getting the run support he needed (Cards scored zero runs for him in half his starts this year). More likely he started consistently locating his elevating fastball which allowed him to mix in breaking balls and keep opposing hitters off balance. Whatever it has been, his 4.96 ERA and 1.32 WHIP don’t tell the full story here. I’m going to choose to believe his 31.5 K% and .221 BABIP are more indicators of the pitcher DPdL is and he’s a player I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this postseason even if he’s just pitching in a middle relief role. So grab your white Vans and make sure they’re cleaner than the “WAP” radio edit because I’m telling you Daniel Ponce de Leon could be a a 2021 sleeper to watch!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yard Byron Buxton, known for such classic poems as Don Juan Soto, She Walks In Beauty But Buxton Doesn’t Walk, and Fare Thee Well, a poem about Baby Jessica, was a classic poet during the Romantic movement. Yard Byron would say, “That blows,” and women would say, “That’s so romantic.” If they were being sarcastic, it’s news to Yard Byron. The Yard once said, “I was thunder-stroke recently, until I realized it was Miguel Sano standing on my foot.” Oh, Yard Byron, you are so witty! So, last night, Yard Byron Buxton was more than just witty, he was *sorry* hitty. He went 3-for-5 with his 4th homer and 5th homer, hitting .298, and now has four homers in the last week, and it shows you how quick someone can turn their season around when the season is a blink. Last week, Buxton was droppable; now he’s a top 20 outfielder. That doesn’t blow, and is romantic. Thank you, Yard Byron, and kudos to taking Yardley yard, Yard. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

Hey, welcome back, Buy/Sell Column! “It’s good to be back. I haven’t been this anxious for something to happen since I was screaming for sixteen straight weeks for people to pick up Ty Wigginton.”  Yeah, wasn’t Ty Wigginton already retired, and you were still screaming about it. “I’ve made a lot of other good calls in the past.” Right, right. Like…*The Buy/Sell Column and I think for a good ten minutes about a good call it made* Maybe we should scroll through some of your old posts. “Yeah, good idea.” Hey, in the 1st Buy/Sell last year you told people to pick up Pete Alonso! “I am the best of all-time!” Yeah, then you followed that with a Clint Frazier Buy. “We don’t have to keep recalling past calls.” Fair, fair. So, who’s the number one guy I’m trying to get this week? Kyle Lewis makes me so horny! Last year in 18 games, he hit 6 homers and .268 with the M’s, and has always shown big-time power. I know, I know, I KNOW! His Double-A power numbers (11 HRs in 122 games) are confusing, but that park is one of the worst hitters’ parks in the minors, and his raw power grades out as some of the best you’ll find. I already gave you a Kyle Lewis sleeper during the shutdown, but I’m going to keep pushing the Kyle Lewis narrative until everyone gets him. He has what it takes to be a top 50 overall player in a 60-game season. As good as Pete Alonso? *the Buy/Sell Column and I look at each other* Simultaneously, “Let’s not be crazy.” All I know is Kyle Lewis is more than just what you hear when Forrest Gump says Carl Lewis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Padres traded Franchy Cordero to the Royals. Vincent Vega, “Franchy calls them the Royales with cheese.” If Padres keep trading away fun ballplayers, then Fernando Tatis Jr. better watch himself aka FTJ aka Fun The Jewels. First, the easy side of this trade. With Franchy packing up his red, white and blue flag (no stars), the Padres have an opening for Edward Olivares. They wouldn’t dare, would they? If they dared, then I might be interested. In Double-A last year, he went 18/35/.283, but he was a tad old at that level. Still those numbers are eye-poppers. His overall value until then was of a 4th outfielder (IRL, not IFL). Our Prospectonator (it projects every single rookie) has him down for 14/22/.244 over 162-game season. That’s honestly not bad. I don’t know if Olivares sees any actual playing time, or enough to make him worthwhile. I have added him to today’s Buy column that will be up in a few hours. Yes, that’s right! There’s a Buy this afternoon! Exclamation! (It was released yesterday to our Patreons.) My guess is Wil Myers, Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham are the outfield; Josh Naylor is the DH with, I guess, Ty France, and Edward Olivares is the 4th outfielder. With Franchy headed from the ocean to a-near-a-riverderci, he goes to an equally terrible hitters’ park, and likely still in a platoon. Only now his platoon is less about outfielders needing looks. Against righties, Maikel Franco possibly moves to the bench, and Hunter Dozier takes over third. But vs. lefties, Maikel gets in at third, Dozier moves to the outfield and Franchy is out of the lineup again. It’s pretty flat on fantasy value movement. But, as Franchy was told by Ty France, “If we are going to get men to wear berets, we’re gonna have to spread out.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I prepare for my final drafts ahead of a potential 2020 season, I’m still trying to strike a balance between staying true to my longstanding general strategies for constructing a fantasy baseball team, and zigging and zagging much more than usual in light of the 60-game, pandemic-altered season.  One realization I’ve made, especially when it comes to my deeper leagues, is that I may need to concentrate on quantity over quality more often than I usually do.

In most standard leagues, the quantity vs. quality decision is one that rarely needs to be made:  if you do your research, there should theoretically be enough solid every day hitters, starting pitchers, and full-time closers that you can fill out a roster without needing to worry too much about your players having serious shortcomings.  But in deeper leagues, we’re used to accepting players with major warts in one way or another because often that’s all we have to choose from.  This year, I’ve realized that when it comes to hitters, a potential lack of playing time and at bats is one blemish I want to try to avoid as much as possible.

Choosing a relatively low upside player who will likely be in the lineup every day over a sexier/more talented choice who may or may not get a ton of at bats may be boring, but it feels appropriately safe in a year when we’ve all had to put safety ahead of fun more often than any of us would have ever guessed.  Everything feels unpredictable about this year, and there are no sure things in baseball or anywhere else (which anyone who drafted Aroldis Chapman last week after seeing how strong and healthy he looked upon arriving to summer camp can tell you).  But when it comes to deeper leagues, I’m going to try to find a little security in some veteran hitters, largely overlooked when it comes to fantasy baseball in 2020 (they all have an NFBC ADP between 300 and 400, and are listed in order of earliest to latest drafted), whom I think have as good a chance as anyone to be solid fixtures in their respective lineups.

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?

Oh what a year it’s been since my last article was published on April 3rd. At that point I was thinking “Wow, the Athletics could win the AL West this season with this lineup!” Now, I’m left wondering “I wonder if the Blue Jays can beat their division rivals, the NY Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates and win the MLB East.” At this point I don’t care how they break the teams down. Three divisions, six divisions, 15 divisions — just gimme my baseball! There’s only so much KBO I can watch and MLB Power Pros I can play! 

My prediction is that baseball dives face first into “We’re baseball! We ARE America!” and the season launches for 100 games on Saturday, July 4th. What’s more ‘Murican than that?! 

Enough banter — let’s talk about the Blue Jays sleepers. As always — I’m not here to talk about Vlad Guerrero or Bo Bichette — everyone already knows about them and how they’re going to perform. Also — I’m not really going to touch on prospects. The Itch already did a bang up job telling you about Nate Pearson and the other Blue Jays prospects here: https://razzball.com/top-2020-prospects-toronto-blue-jays/

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On a recent spring afternoon, I hopped a DeLorean to go back to the future and discuss the top 100 prospects for 2021.

On Wednesday, we explored next year’s dynasty catcher crop.

Today, we’ll stay on that future theme but continue our position-by-position focus, zooming in on first base.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Excuse the exposition and this clunky intro into aforementioned exposition, but here’s the catchers to target1st basemen to target2nd basemen to targetshortstops to target and something to stick to your dartboards to target. These 3rd basemen to target are being drafted after 200 overall.  Keep in mind, nephew (and five niece readers), your Uncle Grey likes to have a corner man drafted by the time these guys appear, so you’re looking at potential utility men more than anything. As for the coronavirus aka Covid-19 aka “The Disease That Apparently Hates Baseball,” I’m not pretending it’s not going on, but some people still have drafts, and if I liked these guys before the virus started karaoke’ing to Public Enemy’s Shut ‘Em Down, I still like them. So, I’m getting these “To Target” posts out in case people are still drafting. There are upcoming RCL drafts, and I plan on doing another NFBC league for s’s and g’s to pass time until the National Pastime returns. Is there more interest from you in another NFBC draft vs. me vs. youse? Let me know in the comments. Now, this is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Indonesia) supplement to the top 20 3rd basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball.  (All 2020 fantasy baseball rankings have been updated to 100 games played, but I am still going into the positional rankings and moving guys who were injured who now have a better “corona timeline.”) Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2020 projections. Anyway, here’s some 3rd basemen to target for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m usually not big on worrying too much about positional scarcity, but anyone who has competed in a variety of different fantasy baseball league formats knows that depth at a given position is one thing that can make a big difference in approaching a draft for a shallow league versus a deep one.  The last couple of years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to draft with less concern about a player’s position, and more towards getting the best value possible with every draft pick or auction purchase, regardless of league size.  But when approaching a draft this way, it’s even more important to know what your options are going to be at each position, which positions you can wait to fill later, and which players are actually worth reaching for if you do realize you’re running out of decent options at a given position.  Getting to the point of today’s post, let’s take a look at some third basemen for 2020, with an emphasis on how I’ll be approaching the position in deeper leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?