20 for 2020! 20 for 2020! 20 for–Sorry, didn’t hear you come in. I was just selling contacts at a county fair. 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 2020 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 2020 fantasy baseball rankings.  The projections in this post are, as always, mine. For Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers, click those thingie-whosies. Anyway, here’s the top 20 for 2020 fantasy baseball:


11. Jose Ramirez – This tier started in the top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball and ends here. I called this tier, “3.75 of a Does Matter.” A TMZ headline about your life might be, “Man’s Fart Makes Dog Bark.” Or, “Man Debates If Coupon Apps Are Worth The Trouble.” Or, “Short Man Sees Munchkins Listed On Dunkin’ Donuts’ Menu And Cries.” What the title of your life should be, “Man Avoided Jose Ramirez Last Year Thanks To Grey’s Advice, And Is Ready To Get In Again.” The exact problem I had last year when everyone was ranking Jose Ramirez in the top 5 overall came to fruition (which should be what we call ripe fruit; you screwed up, English Language). Jo-Jo-Ram hit too many fly balls and it caused his average to plummet. Of course, I never said his power or speed would completely dry up. They just were due to flatten a little from their previous peaks. Now that we see what he’s capable in the worst case scenario (25/25/.255) we have a better idea what to expect from him, and by ‘we’ I mean you, because I’ve been telling you what to expect from him. By the by, fantasy ‘perts love to overcorrect year-over-year, right? Last year, Jose Ramirez was not a top five overall pick as I told you. This year? He’s not out of the top 20, as I see some people ranking him. Other ‘perts are overcompensating. I’m not saying for what, but I think you know. 2020 Projections: 33/10/36/.263/10 in 213 ABs

12. Nolan Arenado – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Alonso. I call this tier, “Wait a half hour after eating before swimming into a shark’s mouth.” If you draft from this tier, you’re gonna have to wait about a half hour in snake drafts before you can draft cheap steals to offset drafting these guys who have little-to-no speed. Not that I don’t like these guys, I do. I’ll be drafting them at this point (if they’re available), but ideally you have at least one of the guys above here in a 12-team or shallower league to provide some steals, because in today’s game it’s gonna be hard to tell the difference between a guy from this tier and someone like Anthony Rizzo or, heaven help me for making this comparison, Carlos Santana. For further illustration see the Blindfolded Name Game:  Player A has projections of 95/39/109/.273/1 and goes by the name Matt Olson. He compares favorably to Player B’s 105/40/114/.306/3 stats which happen to be Torenado’s 2020 Projections: 39/15/42/.306/1 in 219 ABs

13. Anthony Rendon – Here’s what I said when he signed this offseason, “Not too far off from here, there’s a city named Anaheim. It’s named after Ana Heimlich, the German inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, which was 1st used on a short-haired Daschund who tried, unsuccessfully, to swallow a grape. “Nein grape, Himmler!” Ana screamed as she stepped hard on the small dog’s belly. Out shot the grape, and the entire Bavarian village rejoiced. They all loved that dog. Hundreds of years later, to honor Ana, the city of Anaheim was born, and then, to much disrespect of Ana and Himmler, the dog, they started calling themselves Los Angeles, because they were all star f***ers. That’s not All-Star f***ers; that’s in the Valley. Well, you got your star now, f***kers! Anthony Rendon signed on with the Los Angeles Ana Heimlichs for seven years. Wait until he’s 36 years old, playing across from a 74-year-old Pujols. So far, Boras ‘earned’ Cole $324 million; Rendon $245 million; Strasburg $245 million, and Moistasskiss $64 million. That’s $878 million, or roughly $87.8 million in commissions. You chose the wrong line of work! Any hoo! Anthony Rendon for fantasy…When a player is solid but not completely…there, it’s like they’re in the Fantasy Baseball Friend Zone. They hint at sexiness, and promise of more. They’re still reliable. When you’ve suffered some great loss, like the death in the family or a 1st rounder going down to injury. They can help you grocery shop and add counting stats, but, just when you think you’re going to make love, you lean in and they turn their cheek, giving you 135 games and a 25-homer season. Fantasy blue balls. In the real world, there are ways to bide your time in the Friend Zone. You can try to guess the weight of the purse she asks you to carry or guess how far she move her hips and ass back when she hugs you. For four (stutterer!) years, Anthony Rendon kept us in the Fantasy Baseball Friend Zone. In the real world, there are ways to get yourself out of a Friend Zone, like if you were to lower your standards and move on. For a Fantasy Baseball Friend Zone, you need the player to take it to the next stage and commit to your love by breaking out. In 2019, you and Rendon had sex, uh, metaphorically. Finally, you could stop fantasizing about yelling, “I object,” at Rendon’s wedding to someone else or renting exotic cars on the weekend and cruising slowly in front of his house. You a few minutes ago, “There’s no way Grey can take this Friend Zone thing for 500 words.” Well, I proved you wrong! Rendon’s fly ball rate of 45.7 was coupled with 15.9% HR/FB and a 44.7% Hard Contact rate with a new pronounced launch angle. That makes me think Rendon is a 35-homer hitter now. Whether right or wrong, I cannot write him in for 550 ABs, so taking a few homers off his line. Even though, you guys are not humping, he can still be counted on for, uh, counting stats. Goes with the territory when you’re expected batting average was .319, which was third best in majors for qualified hitters, and his xSLG was similarly gorge, top 5 at .599. It took Rendon a while to finally realize what was right in front of his face for a handful of years, but, now that you’ve committed to each other, I don’t see Rendon having you watch his kid while he goes out to the bar to hook up with other fantasy baseball owners.” And that’s me quoting me! 2020 Projections: 39/12/41/.312/1 in 194 ABs

14. Pete Alonso – Maybe because I watched Albombso last year more than any other player and bought him in drafts for next-to-nothing, but I have special feels for him. He’s got easy 50-homer power. I watch him hit popups that go 395 feet like en bee dee. It’s not surprising to see he has a top 10 average distance per homer (414), and it goes without saying, which is what I say before saying it, but Alonso hit a ton of homers to have that high of an average distance. In other words, Ian Desmond had the top average homer distance with 425 feet, but only hit 20 homers. Hit 53 Albombsos and see if you’re still averaging 410+ feet. Alonso is Captain America, and Desmond is Captain Middle America from Marvel’s The Averagers. One thing that is not entirely related, but as I close out this tier I wanted to point out how I wanted to rank Javier Baez in here. Not just this tier either, like, in this post, somewhere. Could see projecting Baez for 30/12/.275, and is that far off from 30/7/.300 or 32/4/.310? It’s rhetorical. I’m not testing you, brah. You licking your index finger like a pencil was a nice touch, though. 2020 Projections: 35/16/41/.263/1 in 218 ABs

15. Alex Bregman – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Cole. I call this tier, “Dicky Fox doesn’t like how you get out of bed.” Dicky Fox, who taught Jerry Maguire everything he knew, loved to get up in the morning. He’d clap his hands and ebulliently say, “This is gonna be a great day!” That energy and enthusiasm is lacking for me with this tier. This tier is My Dinner With Andre, and I want to draft in the top 20 from a My Dinner With Andre 3000 tier. This tier lets its beige cargo shorts do the talking. I want Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and this is tier is Jumpin’ Jack Flash Drive. I’m hoping I’ve ranked this tier low enough, because I am avoiding these guys. As for Bregman, unlike Bellinger’s Launch Angle difference from 2018 to 2019 as discussed in the top 10 for 2020 fantasy baseball, which was small but noticeable; Bregman’s went from ground ball hitter to 8th highest fly ball percentage and a Launch Angle from 16.9 to 19.6. That’s a stark difference. That’s saying I’m now going to hit bazingas and I don’t care who knows it. That’s going into Dwayne Murphy’s Launch Angle Seminar, “Get Uppity With Me,” at the Parsippany-area Ramada and taking copious notes. That’s not being able to knock a stake into the ground because he can only swing up. The problem is Bregman averaged 382 feet on home runs, so if he loses any distance on his fly balls, he becomes Rhys Hoskins, hitting 30 homers and .265. This frightens me. This is a major knock on Bregman, which means a changeup is coming. Or does one knock mean a splitter? 2020 Projections: 38/11/40/.284/3 in 204 ABs

16. Gerrit Cole – 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 Gerrit Cole in the top 20. Should I not draft Cole 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, Story, Tatis, Jo-Ram, Alonso, 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 17, and have no one else available to you but Cole? Are you in a league with sixteen me’s? Otherwise, there’s guys to draft I like more than Cole 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 Cole and Alonso and I didn’t want to draft Alonso, so I went with Cole.’ So, you don’t want to listen to me on who to draft in regards to Alonso, 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’s Sebring*  So, why even rank Cole 17th overall if I wouldn’t draft him here? I gotta rank him somewhere! What, I’m gonna rank him 450th overall next to Travis Jankowski?” 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! As for Cole, here’s what I said this offseason, “I’m here in sunny downtown San Diego at the Winter Meetings and just ran into Matt Kemp. How ya doing, Matt? “I’m great, Grey, excited about continuing my career.” Which career is that, Matt? “Baseball.” Okay, great! *holds finger to ear* Sorry, hearing now there’s big breaking news! Wow! It was just reported the Red Sox have a lot of suitors for Jackie BradleyJr. and David Price. An absolute ton of offers. Currently, 32 teams are offering packages and there’s only 30 teams, including them. That is crazy! Just going to pass through this downtown San Diego lobby and, damn it, it’s Matt Kemp again. *ducks behind a bank vault with money that is being wheeled by Brain Cashman, follows him into a room with Gerrit Cole lighting cigars rolled in million dollar bills* Gerrit Cole, “Can you change your Diamond Club to the Cole Club?” Cashman, “We can change Giancarlo to Giancole-lo if you want.” “We have a deal.” Oh my God, I snuck into the biggest signing in the history of signings! Excuse me for a second while I try to piece together some of this million-dollar-ash back into a million dollar bill. So, Gerrit Cole signs with the Yankees. He seems like he might be, I don’t know, good. There’s only one person Cole disappointed last year. “His contact rate was 66.3%? That’s next-to-last in the league! So dumb! Is he as thick as this Fribble?” That’s Ray Searage explaining pitching to a Friendly’s waitress. Luis Castillo was the only pitcher with a lower Contact Rate, but Cole’s O-Swing% was 1.4% higher. Cole was also number one in the majors for Swinging Strike percentage (16.8%). In other words, Cole induced the 2nd lowest contact while making hitters chase more than the number one guy, and made hitters swing and miss more than everyone. I’d like to thank the Academy for telling me who died last year and thank Cole for being wonderful. Cole had the best fastball (36.2 Fastball wins above average). That was the 5th best fastball since 2000. No one in the top 10 had another pitch register higher than 11.4, except Cole, whose slider was a 13. Like Leggs, Cole is sheer excellence. He had arguably one of the best pitcher seasons in the last 20 years. The Pirates got Joe Musgrove, Michael Felix and Colin Moran for him, then the Pirates turned around and traded Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer. Pirates should sell their team bus and buy a Dodge Dart to drive around the team, because they are a bunch of clowns.” And that’s me quoting me! 2020 Projections: 6-2/2.61/0.93/109 in 77 IP

17. Bryce Harper – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the top 20. I call this tier, “Just wanted to show you how excited I am to work for you.” The tier name is what you text to your boss right after you accidentally text them a nude. If you find yourself in this dilemma, you could also text them, “I’d like to request a clothing allowance,” or, “Does my invisible suit work for casual Friday?” The tier name is turning a negative into a positive. This is what I’m doing with this tier. All of these guys have some negatives attached to them, but I’m feeling good on them. As for Harper, where do the negatives end? Or rather the perceived negatives. He left the Nationals and they won the World Series, which is hilarious because Harper seems like a super douche. Call him by his superhero douche name, Captain Jägerbomb or Spider-Bro or Supermansplaining. One of the last people I’d want to hang out with is Bryce Harper. That’s cool, because, guess what, we’re never hanging out with Bryce. This might hurt your feelings or might just cause you to rethink playing fantasy sports, but we’re not drafting friends. So, it doesn’t matter if Harper seems like he has a license plate that reads, “Nicklbck” or “Tapout4evr.” He can rock Affliction t-shirts and learn how to Pomade his hair from Chase Utley. It doesn’t matter. What matters is he’s a 35-homer, 12-steal hitter at his baseline. That’s the floor. Speaking of floors, his average which seemed to bottom out in 2018 with a .249 mark bounced back to .260 last year, and it was an xBA mark of .279, which was actually 42nd in the majors, tied with Acuña. Harper’s chase rate isn’t elite any longer, but merely average. His Hard Contact and exit velocity are elite, so he’s chasing more, swinging through pitches, can be beat, but when he connects, which is an average number of times, he hits the ball in a way above average manner. He’s basically a 40-homer hitter who will dance between .265 and .255 with great counting stats and double digit steals. Sure, he’s like a human embodiment of a fedora he’s so douchey, but he’s still a top fantasy producer. 2020 Projections: 39/14/41/.261/4 in 208 ABs

18. Rafael Devers – What’s Devers’s negative? I can’t figure it out when I look at his stats, but I know it must exist, because I see he’s ranked or being drafted after this. My guess to what others are thinking is they don’t trust his breakout (similar problem to Tatis). Honest question, if you don’t trust a player after they breakout, when do you trust them? Because once a young player shows a certain level of skills, they can be trusted to repeat them. It’s not like a player needs to do something for two years, before being trusted. Or at least they shouldn’t have to. Last year Devers had a 17.7% HR/FB and a 34.3% fly ball rate, which was down from the year before, and, expectedly, his launch angle came down. If he tweaks his swing, and gets back to his previous mark of 38.6% fly ball rate, he’s going to hit 36-38 homers. As it stands, with no adjustments, he’ll hit 30-32 homers again. Either way is fine, because he hits everything so hard with such a great eye. He had the 4th best exit velocity with a full season of at-bats and an above-average contact rate. Get a load of this, Jose Abreu made contact on 89.3% of pitches in the zone and 60.2% outside the zone; Devers only 77.9% and 71.9%. Abreu and Devers had the same exit velocity. In other words, Abreu is hitting more pitches in the zone and not “bad” pitches, so you’d think better contact, but Devers is hitting everything hard, not just grooved pitches. Oh, and he will be 23 years old for the entire 2020 season. I’m a big-time Devers believer — Delievers? *insert GIF of Jack Nicholson Cheshire grin* Yes. 2020 Projections: 40/12/42/.303/3 in 219 ABs

19. Adalberto Mondesi – Usually I drop a wallop at the end of the top 20 overall. This doesn’t feel like a wallop. Or maybe it is because this is the 2nd year in a row I’m ranking Mondesi at 20th overall. He’s still nowhere near top 20 for most other rankings I’ve looked at or ADP. People don’t appreciate Mondesi. I’m going to take me out of the equation and compare him to a few hitters who I’ve seen drafted in the top 20 overall not named Adalberto Mondesi. Steamer projections have Jose Altuve at 24/12/.295; Starling Marte at 22/27/.286; Jonathan Villar (seeing people draft him in the top 20 is hilarious to me, by the way) 20/32/.261. There’s a few other hitters I saw, but those guys are the most comparable, giving steals and some power. So, what does Steamer project for Mondesi? 18/45/.253. Altuve with a bit more power, oh, I don’t know, missing thirty-plus steals and more average; Marte with similar-enough power, about half the steals and more average; Villar has same power and average and less speed. I’m not being ignorant of Mondesi’s labrum surgery. That’s the big negative. Even though labrum surgery sounds like a surgery a gymnast would have on their lower half, it’s a shoulder surgery that he needs five months to recover from. Last time I checked Mondesi runs with his legs and not his shoulders. Though, if he ran with his shoulders, he’d still be faster than Pablo Sandoval. Maybe you’re thinking about how Mondesi hurt himself last year, then couldn’t dive for steals, then re-injured himself after six weeks of rest. Last year, he didn’t have surgery and re-injured himself on a dive. That’s, try to pick up what I’m putting down here, why he had the surgery. Now, he can have full range of movements. If he wants to dive? Great! If he wants to swing a bat? Super! If he wants to win a game of dominos in Jamaica and slam one domino down with a full range of shoulder motion, it shouldn’t be an issue. That’s, again for the back of the room, why he had the surgery. He’s only 24 years old. He can recover. He’s not you who needs three days to recover from a hangover when the only real hangover cure that works for you is a Freaky Friday body swap with your Mormon co-worker. 2020 Projections: 31/6/29/.258/19 in 206 ABs

20. Matt Olson – As you might’ve ascertained from my Torenado blurb, I’m goofy excited for Olson and had to sneak him into the top 20. Honestly, that my top 20 is only a top 21 is a disappointment to me, you, numbering, and just the entire art of ranking, in general. I nearly ranked Matt Olson five spots higher. I’m so excited about drafting Olson that I just drafted Olson and I’m not even drafting. Finding it hard to differentiate between Olson’s projections and some of the 1st basemen above in this post.  Last year, Olson was struck by the same lightning bolt that hit Roy Hobbs, only Olson was struck in the hamate bone. Then, his hamate bone spun out of his hand into the air like the opening scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey and thus began one of the great partial seasons in recent memory. In 127 games, he hit 36 HRs and .267. Don’t want Mr Prorater to excite you too much, but if he played 162 games last year, he’d be a top 15 overall guy this year and people would be like, “Albombso or Olbombson.” 162 games is silly to expect though, right? WELL…. In 2018, Olson played in 162 games, then played in every game last year except one after returning from his hamate bone removal surgery. The game he sat was the last game of the regular season after the A’s clinched their playoff spot. Hard to expect 600+ ABs from anyone, but Olson is as close to a lock as it gets. But 600 eh-bees don’t mean shizz if it’s not coming with the goodness. Olson’s a career 22.4% HR/FB with a 44% fly ball rate. If he had 600 at-bats, Olson would have hit roughly 190 fly balls and 43 homers. *places handkerchief to forehead and faints* I’m sorry, where was I? One second I was talking about Olson, and the next moment I was laying in my beanbag chair that I’ve outfitted to look like Kathy Bates in the About Schmidt hot tub. I could go on, and, eff it, I will. Olson was top 6% in MLB for exit velocity and barrel percentage, top 5% for xSLG, top 2% for Hard Hit percentage, and top 13th in league for avoiding chasing pitches outside the zone. Olson is Superman! Superman is Olson! 2020 Projections: 35/14/40/.273 in 224 ABs