Please see our player page for Walker Buehler 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 thing about now is that writing about anything feels like writing about nothing. Thus is the nature of fantasy sports in a global crisis. The nature of sports themselves, we’re seeing. 

I’m supposed to be on Spring Break, man.

Or my students are. I never do much with it, if I’m honest. Just baseball stuff, really. I’ll watch last year all winter and try to see as much as I can in Spring, which is typically a lot over Spring Break. Used to play some video games. These days it’s just Fifa 16 because it only takes about ten minutes to pop in and finish a game. Think I just won the 2022 World Cup with Portugal. Just a fluke they offered me the job all those years ago.

Still had time for a draft with CBS around noon Friday. 15-team roto. First one post-shutdown for me, and though it was just a mock, it felt like pretty serious. I’m not sure why. I think it’s the fourth mock I’ve done with them this off-season, and I’m very thankful to Scott White and the crew for inviting me, but the previous ones were very clearly mocks while I was in the room, if you know what I mean. Maybe it was just me feeling like everything is serious. My wife can’t stop coughing and can’t get tested. Our daughter is around her a lot. It’s hard to avoid. 

Anyway here’s the team: (overall pick number in parenthesis)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you drafted any time between the end of the season and now, and you took a SP with one of your top two picks, there’s a good chance you’re playing injury optimism roulette right now.  Someone put Jacob DeGrom, and Walker Buehler under full bubble wrap treatment as they’re really the only ones unscathed from the top 20 picks or so at the moment in the pitcher camp. Even Gerrit Cole had a Coronavirus scare with a fever last month that’s since subsided.  Let’s do some quick hits on where everyone is at the moment.

Editorial Note from the Donkey: Of course everything will be turned upside down if and when the MLB makes a decision on a delayed start to the season. Some of these guys will end up being great buy low targets if you have to draft today. Stay tuned and please be safe out there!

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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.

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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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For those of you familiar with online auction draft rooms, you know the constant refrain to which the article title refers. Waiting for that final, SOLD, to make sure you can mark the player off your list. Well, I was invited to join the CBS NL auction league hosted by Scott White with many names that you’re likely more familiar with than mine.

Spreadsheets on Spreadsheets

Let me start by plugging Rudy’s tools as part of the Razzball subscription. The War Room alone is worth the price of the subscription and is something I take into every roto or categories draft. Grey can give you the hard sell over in his write up though.

I combine Rudy’s War Room with my auction values. I think of auction values in tiers of players with a range of dollar amounts for that tier. If you have a dollar values assigned to tiers rather than specific player values, you can wait for the value or anticipate the cliff coming in that tier rather than being strict on a specific number.  There is, of course, that delicate balancing act between not overspending early when everyone is flush with money and waiting too long while missing out on all of the top options.

Before entering the auction, I lay out the positions on a spreadsheet and input various dollar amounts for different spending in the auction. It helps me to see what rosters may look like if I take a $45 Christian Yelich vs a $30 Pete Alonso. How spending various amounts at hitting vs pitching can adjust a team’s construction.

It’s nothing fancy, just an Excel spreadsheet using the sum function at the end of each column.

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B_Don and Donkey Teeth are joined again by the Fantasy Master Lothario, Grey Albright, to discuss the NL auction that the trio did over on CBS with Scott White and crew. The guys discuss how they approach draft auction values and how you may want to adjust your values.

Spoiler alert: Rudy liked one of our teams more than Grey’s squad. Grey walks us through his auction thought process. Of course, it’s hitter heavy in traditional Grey Albright fashion. You can check out Grey’s write up here.

Donkey Teeth, is flexible in his yoga positions and flexible in his auction values.  DT spent early and often then went looking for draft values, which he found in guys like Shogo Akiyama and Ender Inciarte. B_Don sits back and listens to Grey and DT argue about which awful pitching staff is better.

B_Don finally gets his turn to talk. While the pitching is far better than almost any team in the league, Grey and DT don’t like the approach that B_Don took with his hitting. In NL only leagues, one has to pick and choose where to spend the money and where the roster weaknesses will be. Keep on the look out for B_Don’s write up of his NL auction experience as well.

After all the NL auction talk, the guys discuss the early rounds of their respective TGFBI drafts and note some unique picks after just a few rounds. All sorts of draft goodness in this episode, so, check it out!

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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 Beat Grey Albright NFBC league filled up so quickly that the NFBC folks (you can still use promo code: Razzball25 and get $25 off at NFBC—sign up for a Draft Champions or Cutline Championship League today!) decided to create a second league where 14 unlucky fans got a chance to take on the Donkey who poops in Grey Albright’s backyard. So much has happened since this Donkey draft started on November 22nd and completed, 750 picks and 18 days later, on December 10th: Gerrit Cole signed with the evil empire for *pinkie to mouth* ONE BILLION DOLLARS, Anthony Rendon now calls Los Angeles or Anaheim or wherever home, the White Sox locked up prized prospect Luis Robert for six years, the Astros took cheating to whole new levels and I fell off my roof seven times while putting up and taking down Kwanzaa lights. Fortunately, the roof of my barn isn’t very high off the ground so I only stubbed a hoof. Anyway, here’s my NFBC Draft Champions errrr, draft recap:

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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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