[brid autoplay=”true” video=”370650″ player=”10951″ title=”2019 Launch Video”]

Yesterday, I went over the top 10 for 2019 fantasy baseball.  Was surprised by the questioning of Acuña’s ranking.  Let me say this, if you were not on board with Acuña, you’re going to get thrown from the train on the top 20.  Today, I throw out preconceived notions, drink some potions and lather up my body with lotions, as I sloppily slip and slide my way through a very precarious top 20 for 2019 fantasy baseball.  This top twenty is a blind man playing Twister.  Half the time, I’m grabbing for things not knowing if they’re there or not.  I legit think this top 20 could go countless other ways.  Is countless a widowed Countess?  No, it’s not, it’s a confusing AF top 20 for fantasy baseball.  All the positional rankings will live under the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings. Here’s Steamer’s 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2019 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers.  The projections in this post are, as always, mine.  (But if you click on a player’s name, you see Steamer’s projections for that specific player.  It’s magic!)  Anyway, here’s the top 20 for 2019 fantasy baseball:

11. Bryce Harper – This tier started in the top 10 for 2019 fantasy baseball.  I called this tier, “Hedging is not a tantric move for fantasy.”  This tier goes from here until Just Dong.  As I said when Harper signed–Kidding!  He hasn’t signed yet.  Maybe because only the Phillies, Yankees and White Sox are actually talking to him.  Can you imagine a sport where a generational talent was available and only three teams of a possible 30 are interested?  I love baseball, but shizz is so broke.  Any hoo!  There is some legitimate concerns for Harper.  Maybe that’s why he didn’t receive the $3 kajillion he was seeking, and is only in talks for a half a bajillion.  He’ll do all right, I’m not worried for his family.  As they now say in Harper’s home, “First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the electric bill.”  Perhaps I’m confusing Harper with my deadbeat uncle.  Or as my aunt said, “Then you get the commemorative spoons.”  No matter what you’re getting, if that was Harper trying to get a big contract last year, he abandoned all sense of how to make contact with the baseball.  He didn’t swing at more pitches outside the zone; the number of pitches he swung at inside the strike zone actually went up.  Then, after it went up, it crash landed so haphazardly, he should’ve had Sully be his batting coach.  Harper made so much less contact with pitches inside the strike zone, that, honestly, if he returned with a different eye prescription, it wouldn’t surprise me.  Here’s Harper reading the eye chart, “H-A-N-G-I-N-T-H-E-R-E.”  Eye doctor, “Um, Bryce, you’re reading my inspirational cat poster.”  Something was just not right with Harper, maybe he was pressing.  I don’t know, but I’m a little worried about Harper.  Of course, even with his problems, he was still a top 20 hitter, so he’s not garbage, and could finally have that otherworldly 45/20/.315 season.  I’m just not betting on it.  UPDATE:  Bryce Harper returns to the City of Brotherly Love, where he first visited with the Phillies’ front office six months ago.  “We want you to be a Philadelphia Phillie.”  “I want $330 million.”  “Okay.”  Then six months later, “You’ve got a deal!”  Harper and Boras drive one hard bargain.  They accept the first deal they’re given, but nearly a half year after they’re given it.  Bryce Harper’s gonna love playing in Philly.  They have the best fans in the world.  They’ve already announced May 1st is Rain Batteries On Bryce’s Head Day.  A crowd favorite, for sure.  I don’t think this changes anything about my preseason projections for him, tee bee aitch.  I always assumed he’d end up in Philly, New York or with the White Sox, because, brucely, those were the only three teams ever serious about him.  Maybe the Giants, but let’s just be glad that didn’t happen.  Only difference now will be if Gabe Kapler and Bryce’s dad get into an arm wrestling fight, and Daddy Harper wins and Bryce is randomly benched for Scott Kingery.  2019 Projections:  97/35/112/.261/14 in 527 ABs

12. Jose Ramirez – The Indians got rid of Chief Wahoo at the end of last year, because he was problematic.  The liberals are also saying kids playing “Cowboys and Indians” is problematic, they want them to play “Tops and Bottoms!”  What will Chief Wahoo do now that he’s not the mascot for the Indians?  Teach sensitivity training?  Open a casino?  Wal-Mart greeter?  Be the Redskins mascot?  What do you want the Cleveland Indians name to be now?  The Indiain’ts?  Liberals have ruined everything!  According to my mom, at least.  However, Chief Wahoo isn’t the only thing problematic, Jose Ramirez’s 2nd half is too.  He hit 10 HRs and .218 in the 2nd half.  Could the league have finally figured him out?  His strikeouts were identical in the 2nd half, and his walks actually went up.  His SLG, OBP, hard contact  and line drives went way down.  His BABIP bottomed out, but I can’t write off everything on luck.  Looks like he was biting on opposite field strikes (and balls) a lot more.  Okay, so bad 2nd half, can we just write it off?  Let’s take a step further back to the full season.  His infield fly balls were terrible.  That says bad contact.  It’s not everything, but he was 26th worst in the league, and no one worst than him is above him in the rankings.  His fly ball rate was 45.9%, easily a career high.  He was 8th in the league for fly balls.  Above him, you see home run hitters and guys who regularly hit .250 or lower.  He had a 18.8 degree launch angle, that’s 7th highest in the league (sorted by 300 batted ball events).  In conclusion, he hits a lot of balls in the air.  Fine for a home run hitter, but is he?  His home run distance on average was 388, easily the worst for a guy who hit 39 homers last year.  He’s either going to continue to hit fly balls at a 46% rate and hit under .250 or he’s going to curb his fly balls and hit 27 or fewer home runs.  He cannot do both.  Right now, the nearest comp I can think of is Ian Kinsler in his prime, that was 30/30/.255, but I’m not convinced Ramirez’s 2nd half was just a blip.  I was all about Jose Ramirez last year, I had him ranked higher than anyone else, but this year, he seems to be going way before this, and I won’t be in again.  2019 Projections:  104/25/82/.288/24 in 582 ABs

13. J.D. Martinez – Now some of you may feel the urge to groan that I’ve still not let go that I kept calling for Just Dong to stop Just Dong’ing last season while he kept Just Dong’ing.  Well, nonsense!  I’m taking down the patriarchy, but as part of the patriarchy.  See, we’re controlling what we take down too!  I’m feeling particularly feisty, so, excuse me, if I start singing Mushaboom, but I can’t get behind Just Dong ranked above this point.  Honestly, he can hit 40+ homers every year for the rest of his career and his career can last until 2059, when we’re all replaced by robots, and I still won’t rank him much above here.  Sex robots, by the way, that’s our replacement.  If Rodney Dangerfield were still alive, “I had a sex robot and I caught it cheating with my Roomba.  No respect, I tell ya.”  Zombie Rodney pulls on his collar.  So, why can’t I ever move Just Dong higher?  He’s 31 years old and he’s had too many 120-ish game seasons.  That’s it?  Purdy much, but I’ll add more.  He is a career 21% HR/FB guy and had 29.5% last year with only a 34% fly ball rate.  Yes, Fenway fixes a lot of this, but his ground ball rate was top 60 in the majors (not good) and his fly ball rate was bottom 50 (terrible).  Not a ton of home runs are hit on ground balls, in case you didn’t know.  The two guys closest to him in fly ball rates are Tim Anderson and Cesar Hernandez.  That fact goes backwards into the bushes like Homer, not like a lowercase homer.  2019 Projections:  96/34/105/.307/4 in 512 ABs

14. Giancarlo Stanton – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Judge.  I call this tier, “Sex Farm.”  I’m not talking about animals who have dabbled in adult entertainment like Dolphin Lundgren or Fapper or Pinky Blowhole or Deep Sea Throat–Okay, you know what, these are all dolphin porn names.  Sorry.  It’s not ewe, it’s me.  On this sex farm, everyone has crabs from the blue-footed boobies.  All right!  Enough pun and games, this is about as sexy as stuffing a bra with Cinnabons.  Actually, that sounds amazing.  I call this tier, Sex Farm, because I’d happily do naughty things with all of these guys and I’d take multiple for some pigomy.  Okay, I’ll stop.  As for Giancarlo, I put him in the Sex Farm tier, because I’m a jackass and I want to have his babies.  There’s some concerns, his K% went up from 23.6 to 29.9% year to year; his ground balls were up and not in the good way; his fly balls were down also in the bad way; semi-colons are more fun than this sentence.  He still hit 38 homers, a top 5 exit velocity, a top 20 barrels per plate appearance, and a top 16 for percentage of hard hit balls.  Giancarlo might only go 38/5/.265, but, over-the-internet friend, that’s still really good.  2019 Projections:  95/43/110/.262/4 in 567 ABs

15. Trevor Story – He says his elbow is fine, his MRI results showed no structural damage in late September, and he returned after missing five games and hit three homers in the final week, and played in the playoffs, so, I mean, I guess he’s fine.  Of course, nightmarish flashbacks of Corey Seager having Tommy John surgery are flooding back to me like that time I was pantsed in 3rd grade.  For the thousandth time, I was wearing brown underwear!  I really don’t want to lose my 2nd round pick in April to a bum elbow.  Fun fact!  A bum elbow was first diagnosed from someone who was trying to get a handout.  Hey, I’m turning into my racist uncle!   There’s risk with Story, but Giancarlo’s missed time to injury in the past, Aaron Judge’s missed time in the recent past, Freeman, Au Shizz, all of them.  Story comes with risk, but a guy who is 26 years old who just went 37/27/.291 in Coors is a top 5 player, and is only dropped down to 15 because of the injury risk.  I don’t want to be a lamb led to slaughter, but I’m drafting Story onto my Sex Farm.  Besides, slaughter is really just sex and laughter slammed together, right?  That’s romance.  2019 Projections: 90/34/105/.276/17 in 582 ABs

16. Aaron Judge – This is funny (not funny).  I clicked on the leaderboard for exit velocity, expecting to see Aaron Judge at or near the top, and I saw Rich Hill.  Silly me, I had sorted to the worst exit velocities.  Rich Hill’s 64.7 MPH average was the worst.  He’s a pitcher though, so, ya know, whatever, but that led me to look for the worst hitter.  Any guesses?  Too slow!…unlike the winner (loser), Billy Hamilton.  2nd was Delino DeShizz.  Any hoo!  That was off topic (like the rest of this shizz is on topic — the tier’s name is Sex Farm, for crissakes).  So, yes, Aaron Judge was the top exit velocity guy.  Oddly enough, his average feet/homer was “a little past 2nd base.”  Kidding, it was 397, which was only one foot better than Adam Eaton.  397 feet per homer was only the 252nd best in the majors.  Judge Judy’s average feet per homer was higher (399), and she’s an 87-year-old TV judge.  Honestly, I think this is just an aberration, but Judge’s fly balls did come down and his line drives and ground ball ratios went up.  Maybe there’s something to this, but, obviously, I think he hits around 40 homers if he plays 155 games.  Finally, on his wrist injury as mentioned briefly in Story’s blurb, all reports say he’s fine, and a full offseason of rest should make him more Aaron Judge and less Punch & Judge Judy.  2019 Projections: 103/39/93/.267/7 in 529 ABs

17. Paul Goldschmidt – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Scherzer.  I call this tier, “You think avocado is too ethnic.”  Here’s you at Chipotle, “Can you wrap my burrito in white bread?”  After a brief moment of confusion, you clarify, “Oh, I know you only have those thin flat things — tortitos, I think you call them — so I brought my own Wonder Bread for you to use.”  You wear a slicker everywhere you go for fear of it raining at any time.  You watch airplane edits of movies even when you’re not on a plane because some of the words “they” say scare you.  I understand you better than you understand yourself, which is why I made a tier for you.  This tier is boring AF.  The best case scenario for two hitters in this tier is going to be 35/12/.310, which is not bad at all, and, worst case scenario is 24/5/.275.  The reason why I’m even considering a possible 24/5/.275 guy for the top 20 is track record and 1st base is a Death Valley.  As for Goldy specifically, here’s what said after his trade to the Cards, “Au Shizz was “aw shizz” until the beginning of June last year, as he hit .144 in May.  However, Au Shizz’s BABIP in May was .186, and his strikeouts boomed to 31.5%, because he was in an extended slump.  He still ended the season more valuable (33/7/.290) than, say, Freddie Freeman who played 162 games (23/10/.309).  Au Shizz still feels pretty risk-free, like you getting to the airport four hours before your flight.  At least less risky than your November charity pledge to go “condom free” or dressing as Jar Jar Binks for a Star Wars convention.”  And that’s me quoting me!  2019 Projections:  102/30/105/.284/8 in 574 ABs

18. Freddie Freeman – That a guy with a name like Freddie Freeman is white feels like a perfect fit for this tier.  Too bad, Kelby Tomlinson isn’t better.  Whatever the case, you want Freeman because he feels safe, then fine.  I won’t argue it.  He does feel safe.  But allow me to repeat what I said in the last blurb, he went 23/10/.309 in 162 games.  I know, I know, you’re screaming, “But what about his runs and RBIs?!”  Okay, Screamy, but he didn’t even reach 100 in either category.  His HR/FB% was a little low, but not that low (14.9%, and his career mark is 15.8).  In layman’s terms, he’s more of a 26-homer guy than a 35-homer guy.  By the way, a layman is not a euphemism for a porn actor.  You’re thinking of Freddie Freeballin.  Freeman is the new Joey Votto.  I will call him, Nouveau-y Votto.  He seems a lock for solid stats with an outside chance for more power.  2019 Projections:  101/27/103/.303/7 in 582 ABs

19. Max Scherzer – If you’ve been following my rankings for a minute, and not an actual minute, but an Urban Dictionary minute which is actually a long time, you know I’d never draft a starter in the top 20.  So, yes, I’ve chosen to only rank one starter in the top 20.  If you want to bemoan my low ranking of one starter, then bemoan away.  Just remember, a bemoaner sounds a bit to me like “U be a boner.”  Here’s what I’ve said previously about ranking one starter in the top 20, “Before you say, ‘Grey, you’re handsome AF, and super smart.  You rub-a-dub places I thought only ladies could rub and/or dub.  Yet, you say you’d never draft a starter in the top 20, but you’ve ranked Scherzer in the top 20.  Should I not draft Scherzer if he’s available?  Thank you for your time, you are a real pleasure.’  This always drives me crazy.  Not the compliments, those are nice.  You ask if you should draft (fill-in player name) if he’s available, because I have him ranked around where he’s going.  If you’re following my rankings, Au Shizz, Baez, Machado, Trea, Bregman, Giancarlo, Judge, Acuña and more are ranked higher than their ADP and where others are ranking them (for the most part; there’s exceptions, obviously).  So how on earth did you get to pick 19, and have no one else available to you but Scherzer?  Are you in a league with eleven me’s?  Otherwise, there’s guys to draft I like more than Scherzer available.  A companion piece to this question is the guy (and, let’s be honest, it’s always a guy), who says, ‘Only players available were Scherzer and Judge and I didn’t want to draft Judge, so I went with Scherzer.’  So, you don’t want to listen to me on who to draft in regards to Judge, but you want me to say it’s okay to draft a guy I’ve ranked later who I’ve said not to draft?  Okay…*places traffic cone on head, kneels down in driver’s ed course, gets slammed by pimple-faced teenager*  So, why even rank Scherzer 19th overall if I wouldn’t draft him here?  I gotta rank him somewhere!  What, I’m gonna rank him 450th overall by Mitch Garver?  As for Scherzer, doode’s a mixed-eye dynamo.  Last year, his K/9 was 12 with a 2.1 BB/9 and 2.53 ERA.  His 3.06 xFIP was a bit high, but he always throws 200 IP and his team could easily set him up to win 20 games.  Last year, he had a 30 pitch value on his fastball.  The likes of which we have not seen since Randy Johnson.  By the way, in Vegas, I was at a urinal and there’s a crazy tall guy next me, so I look up and it’s Randy Johnson.  I immediately blurt out, ‘Hey, it’s the Big Unit!’  Not what you wanna say at a urinal.  Awkward.”  And that’s me quoting me!  I changed some names and numbers from last year to this year, but that’s still completely applicable, so please appliqué!  2019 Projections:  17-6/2.58/.93/285 in 212 IP

20. Adalberto Mondesi – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until here.  I call this tier, “Raul Mondesi, your son is a Fantasy God, but what did you do to make him change his name?”  Something I want to clarify that I think gets lost on people.  Fantasy baseball is not real baseball.  You are not reading The Athletic.  If I’m starting a major league franchise and I’m calling the County Registrar’s Office for a player’s WAR record, I’m going Andrew Benintendi, Jose Altuve, Jacob deGrom and others.  I understand it’s weird to see Mondesi over someone like Altuve, but let’s just go off of last season.  In 599 plate appearances, Altuve hit 13 homers; Mondesi hit 14 in 291 PAs.  Altuve had 17 SBs; Mondesi had 32.  If you’re in a OBP league, things change.  If you’re in a league that counts how good someone is in real baseball vs. fantasy baseball, then, by all means, take Altuve.  Take me out of the equation, Steamer projects Altuve for 17/18/.302; Mondesi’s projections are 19/38/.252.  Sure, fifty points on average makes a difference, but not enough.  If you were to jump out of a DeLorean and tell me, “Altuve hits .350 and goes 20/20 while Mondesi goes 20/40/.252,” I’d say, “That’s the info you bring from the future?  What is wrong with you?  Tell me which stocks to invest in!  Who do I bet on to win money?  I have a mortgage to pay now!  I need moneymaking schemes!”  After that tirade, I’d say I still want Mondesi.  I only need to get around .272 on average to be competitive in fantasy leagues.  Altuve’s average is nice and all, but Mondesi’s 40 SBs, I’m taking it to the bank if it’s coming with 20 homers.  You know what I’m not taking to the bank?  Any money because of your terrible future stock advice!  I’m house poor!  I need money!  2019 Projections:  91/20/71/.249/40 in 594 ABs