All the final 2020 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done. For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball. This is NOT for next year (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts). This is a recap. Will these affect next year’s rankings? Sure. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. Not entirely. Entirely. Like when you had a knee replacement, this is a recap! To recapitulate the recap, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings. Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:
1. Shane Bieber – Out of these top 20, I didn’t want to draft Bieber, Cole and deGrom, because they were just too highly drafted. I also didn’t want Kershaw, Davies, Burnes, Gonzales and Bundy, but those last four weren’t that I didn’t want them, but they were just so buried, I wasn’t really drafting them, and, in shallower leagues, I would’ve picked them up early on, because why not? So, really, three highly ranked pitchers and Kershaw out of 20 pitchers. 16 of these guys you could’ve owned. You need how many great pitchers on your fantasy team? Four? You don’t need 16 starters on one team? Wow. So, you really still think you need to draft a starter high? This is only the top 20 starters too, there’s still at least another 20 starters you could’ve chosen from, and streamers. Streamers! I mean, c’mon. It’s just disingenuous to say you need a top starter. Preseason Rank #4, 2020 Projections: 6-3/2.81/1.01/92 in 76 IP, Final Numbers: 8-1/1.63/0.87/122 in 77 1/3 IP
2. Yu Darvish – Something I want to point out after saying there’s something I want to point out, there’s a bunch of pitchers I loved whose rankings seem way off, but that’s pitchers for you. In some leagues, Darvish was the 1st pitcher I was drafting. So, he might’ve been ranked 13th by me in January, but if you followed my rankings, it was clear I was drafting Darvish as a number one. Put together his 2nd half of last year and this year, and that’s one fine-looking Yu! Preseason Rank #13, 2020 Projections: 5-4/3.41/1.09/86 in 67 IP, Final Numbers: 8-3/2.01/0.96/93 in 76 IP
3. Trevor Bauer – Same verse as Darvish — Darverse? — because you know I wanted to draft Bauer in all leagues, but him as my number two, which is exactly what I did. People with aluminum foil on their head pretending your fantasy team is screwed if you don’t draft a starter in the top 25 overall are hilarious, but threatening to common sense, so keep them at arm’s length. Preseason Rank #23, 2020 Projections: 5-3/3.61/1.16/96 in 80 IP, Final Numbers: 5-4/1.73/0.79/100 in 73 IP
4. Kenta Maeda – I didn’t just write one Maeda sleeper post; I wrote like six Maeda sleeper posts. If you remember back to January, which feels like it was six years ago, in just about every pitcher sleeper post, I mentioned Maeda and how he was showing up in every list for guys who would break out. In general, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my fantasy pitching staffs did well. In every league, you could’ve owned Darvish, Bauer and Maeda on the same team and not drafted a starter in the top 50 overall. But you need to draft a top starter! Haha, stop. Preseason Rank #39, 2020 Projections: 4-2/3.67/1.10/60 in 56 IP, Final Numbers: 6-1/2.70/0.75/80 in 66 2/3 IP
5. Gerrit Cole – Everyone was drafting Cole in the top 10 overall. No one ranked him as low as me. Yet, the Pantsy Fros will tell you someone ranked Zach Davies 80th and 30 spots above his ADP, and that somehow makes that ranker better than someone telling you not to draft Gerrit Cole. 1,000,000th example of why ranking rankings is so dumb. Like anyone looks at nothing but rankings and drafts off them too. It’s so dumb! Preseason Rank #1, 2020 Projections: 6-2/2.61/0.93/109 in 77 IP, Final Numbers: 7-3/2.84/0.96/94 in 73 IP
6. Jacob deGrom – Two closers finished in front of deGrom (Hendriks and Hand). Yes, this year was screwy and stupid, but pitchers are always this random. It’s so freakin’ obvious. Look at their categories. ERA and Wins are out of their control almost completely. Their WHIP is only slightly in their control, and they don’t give saves at all. You’re drafting starters based on their ability to strikeout hitters. That’s it. Preseason Rank #2, 2020 Projections: 6-3/2.58/0.96/98 in 77 IP, Final Numbers: 4-2/2.38/0.96/104 in 68 IP
7. Dinelson Lamet – In my Dinelson Lamet sleeper post this past preseason (the 1st preseason, not the one that stretched five months into the season), I gushed like a Gusher for 600 words, then the first thing people say is, but he only has two pitches? Process is not always greater than or equal to results. Preseason Rank #27, 2020 Projections: 4-2/3.86/1.22/81 in 62 IP, Final Numbers: 3-1/2.09/0.86/93 in 69 IP
8. Clayton Kershaw – Nope, wasn’t in on Kershaw this past preseason, but, if I’m being honest and defending myself, if I knew all he had to throw was 60 IP, I would’ve been more willing to admit to the possibility of him throwing a top 10 SP season. Preseason Rank #21, 2020 Projections: 5-3/3.42/1.05/60 in 61 IP, Final Numbers: 6-2/2.16/0.84/62 in 58 1/3 IP
9. Marco Gonzales – To take this back to what I was saying in deGrom’s blurb, and point out how wrong I was on Gonzales, I didn’t come close to predicting the one thing I supposedly should be able to predict: his Ks. No way around it, this year was surprising for Marco. No increase in velocity and his pitch mix is pretty similar to his past years. His fastball was way more valuable, while being as bleh. Could it have been a sample size thing? That’s what she would say. I don’t know. Will need to dig in on him this offseason. There is hope though, because great command can lead to positive results. Preseason Rank #98, 2020 Projections: 3-4/4.11/1.28/47 in 61 IP, Final Numbers: 7-2/3.10/0.95/64 in 69 2/3 IP
10. Corbin Burnes – Was a bit surprised I didn’t rank him. I thought I had. I guess I was confusing my love for Adrian Houser for Burnes. What might’ve been the case is once it was announced Burnes was in the rotation, I agreed with people in the comments to pick him up. I had told you a Corbin would be a top ten starter. Only I said Patrick Corbin. Burnes is a guy I am scared about when you look at his innings year-over-year. How many can Burnes actually throw in 2021? Wait, this is about 2020. Right, but still, it’s a concern, and might be why he was so good this past year. It was essentially a great middle relief year, and didn’t really stretch his ability. If he were at 100+ IP, could he be firing beanies at 96 MPH? I don’t know. He did add a cutter, which was a very successful pitch for him. Gonna be one of many tough calls for next year. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 4-1/2.11/1.02/88 in 59 2/3 IP.
11. Lance Lynn – If it wasn’t for one awful start and his beard, he would’ve been a top five starter. Well, the beard didn’t affect him, but, well, it kinda affects all us having to look at it. He’s one guy I want the Yankees to trade for just because of his beard. Lop that puppy off! Preseason Rank #24, 2020 Projections: 6-2/3.58/1.20/88 in 76 IP, Final Numbers: 6-3/3.32/1.06/89 in 84 IP
12. Zach Davies – Okay, didn’t like Davies coming into this year, but (oh, hell yeah, there’s a but) A) You could’ve picked him up off waivers at any time early on. B) Whether I liked him or not proves my point that pitching is arbitrary, meaningless, cheap and eat Arby’s. C) There’s no C. Davies’ giant leap in Ks (5.8 to 8.2 K/9) is interesting, because he does have great command. He might’ve finally figured out to throw less of his junky-as-eff 88 MPH fastball, and focus more on the cutter and, like, 45 MPH change. Even though he throws like a 78-year-old, he is only 27, so I’m more than a little intrigued. Preseason Rank #115, 2020 Projections: 3-4/4.36/1.35/44 in 66 IP, Final Numbers: 7-4/2.73/1.07/63 in 69 1/3 IP
13. Kyle Hendricks – If I had to do a 60-game season again, and I hope I never do, I’d boost guys who strikeout fewer who are great at command and ratios. This is a huge difference than how I felt in July of this year. What I overlooked was pitchers with 7 K/9 don’t have as many IP in a 60-game season to fall behind others, i.e., a pitcher who strikes out 200 hitters, but has a 4.25 ERA *cough* Robbie Ray *cough* doesn’t have a chance to lap Hendricks in strikeouts by as much in only 60 to 80 IP. I.E. Part 2, Return of I.E.: Hendricks is good in a short period of time, but if you gave him a long period of time he’d eventually do a duet with Rob Thomas. Preseason Rank #38, 2020 Projections: 5-4/3.41/1.12/57 in 68 IP, Final Numbers: 6-5/2.88/1.00/64 in 81 1/3 IP
14. Zach Plesac – He was one late-night, maskless pizza party with his high schools bros away from being a top seven starter. Whatever the Indians are feeding their starters — maize? — it’s working. The Indians are the new Cardinals circa Dave Duncan. I’m interested in all their pitchers, no matter what. Also, weird how they all have the same sexy formula of strikeouts without walks. Sign me up for that shizz. That’s Rad-K-e. Preseason Rank #75, 2020 Projections: 4-2/4.12/1.19/49 in 53 IP, Final Numbers: 4-2/2.28/0.80/57 in 55 1/3 IP
15. Aaron Nola – His Ks shot up (10.2 to 12.1 K/9), and I am curious if we’re going to look back on this year and find that pitchers, knowing they could go full tilt for two months, were all pitching above their ability for Ks. There has been some studies done that pitchers do better in September in normal seasons (and higher velocity), because they know a six-month layoff is right around the corner. For unstints, Nola threw his change a lot more in 2020. Maybe he did that because he knew there was no way hitters would get wise to it in only 12 starts vs. 32. Preseason Rank #17, 2020 Projections: 6-4/3.51/1.07/87 in 78 IP, Final Numbers: 5-5/3.28/1.08/96 in 71 1/3 IP
16. Max Fried – I liked Fried; he did well; he also was lucky to do well and he would’ve been a sell-high if the season lasted another four months. Dead giveaway is his 1.09 WHIP vs. his 2.25 ERA and under-9 K/9. It was also coupled with a 3.1 BB/9 and decrease in velocity and, well, there’s a lot to not like here, even if it did work out fine. Preseason Rank #35, 2020 Projections: 5-3/3.77/1.27/68 in 64 IP, Final Numbers: 7-0/2.25/1.09/50 in 56 IP
17. Dylan Bundy – Here’s a random either/or simply because they’re right next to each other, and it wouldn’t be the first time a Bundy was next to something Fried — RIP King Kong Bundy and his donuts — never the hoo: Fried or Bundy in 2021? Thinking it’s pretty easily Bundy, even with Bundy’s decrease in velocity, which I can’t fully overlook. Preseason Rank #85, 2020 Projections: 3-3/4.34/1.36/67 in 66 IP, Final Numbers: 6-3/3.29/1.04/72 in 65 2/3 IP
18. Lucas Giolito – Hard for me not to see what I said in the Hendricks blurb being exactly what hurt Giolito. In 200 IP, Giolito would’ve easily passed some guys ahead of him here if he had time to lap them in Ks. Also, and this is way more anecdotal, but it doesn’t feel like people consider Giolito an ace, even after two seasons of essentially doing the same, ace-like stuff. Feels like I’ll be able to draft Giolito as my ace around 50th overall again, and gladly. Preseason Rank #8, 2020 Projections: 6-3/3.27/1.05/90 in 73 IP, Final Numbers: 4-3/3.48/1.04/97 in 72 1/3 IP
19. Brandon Woodruff – Between sleepers and just ranking Woodruff way above others, there was no reason why you didn’t own Woodruff this year, and if he had seven wins, like Fried, he would’ve had $8 more on his value, and would’ve been ranked up between Cole and deGrom. Seriously. Preseason Rank #26, 2020 Projections: 6-2/3.43/1.12/77 in 68 IP, Final Numbers: 3-5/3.05/0.99/91 in 73 2/3 IP
20. Dallas Keuchel – Surprised there weren’t more “lucky” pitchers in the top 20 in a 60-game season, but there wasn’t a ton. Keuchel was carrying all the luck for himself. He picked up the Luckwagon and dragged that shizz from the start to finish line. Preseason Rank #68, 2020 Projections: 4-2/3.86/1.32/53 in 68 IP, Final Numbers: 6-2/1.99/1.09/42 in 63 1/3 IP
Gotta choose between Corbin Burnes, Davies, Framber, and Cristian Javier for my last keeper. Kept in basically the last round with 1 rd penalty for every year kept. Who you got?
You can take new questions to my newest post
Joe Buck just called Graterol thicc.
If I get the first pick overall next season, should I go Edwin Rios or an ace pitcher like Kershaw?
#21 GOAT Alec Mills.
Think you mean #91
Thoughts on Mike Soroka for 2021
Should be fine by mid-April, early May
Is that a Brad Radke reference under Plesac? Blast from the past!
Haha, it is!
I want to congratulate you on your comments and #9 ranking of Wil Myers in the outfielders section. You refrained from ripping on the guy and acknowledged his talent when he’s healthy. Well done sir.
To be fair, I do think the Padres lineup benefited Myers immensely. Kinda like when Benintendi was good before Mookie left and now Benny stinks.
Meh, maybe, but Myers was legit better, not just bc guys around him
Well he was definitely better. But I think the lineup you’re in definitely helps. Look at Benintendi. Look at Goldschmidt now. Obviously, you still have to hit, but there are more opportunities to produce when the lineup is stacked. That Padres lineup with Machado, Grisham, Tatis, Hosmer is oozing with talent. Cronenworth probably benefited from it too.
Benintendi wasn’t bad bc of the lineup — he was just bad. JD, Devers, Xander and Mookie were fine
Benny might be a poor example for this topic. But are you actually saying the lineup doesn’t matter?
Look at Ozuna in Miami (great lineup). Look at Ozuna in St. Louis (terrible lineup). Look at Ozuna in Atlanta (great lineup).
My point is a strong lineup helps and does matter. I think it helped Myers this year. It sure didn’t hurt him.
Heck, you may believe more in Myers than I do by the sound of it lol.
It matters a bit, definitely for runs/RBIs — Ozuna was not bad in St. Louis
Kershaw – Toward the end of last year that was a decade ago (the math checks out), you actually started saying something to the effect of “Kershaw may return market value” because his ranking will start to match his declining performance. Better deals out there, sure. But at least not a top round rip.
Anyhoo – top SPs are always a joke.
Anyhoo2 – Grey’s the best at SP hidden gems! Mazel tov!
Regarding those with sudden bumps in K rates – did their spin rate change? if so, that could carry over.
Kershaw — Yeah, that makes sense, but it would be disingenous for me to pretend that I liked him this preseason — I prolly didn’t hate him as much after the shutdown, but I didn’t find me saying that anywhere on the site, so I’ll take the L on him
Top SPs are such a joke, why does it not seem like this is obvious?
I’d have to dig in on the spin rates, but I do think SPs were refresher in 60 games vs. 162
Some of those that improved their K-rate changed their pitch mix. Could carry over to some degree or could be partly due to the shorter season and only sustainable for the 10+ starts vs 30 over a full season. A common trend was throwing fastballs less and throwing breakers/changes more… e.g. Davies, Maeda, Lamet, Bundy etc etc
Zach Plesac is only guilty of loving pizza parties. He will be excellent value next season until he tears his UCL playing skeeball at the last remaining Chuck E Cheese.
Haha, I thought you were gonna say if Plesac is guilty of loving pizza parties, they they better come arrest me too
whats your take on all the stud p coming back next year
sale, sevirino, eduardo roriquez, kopech, syndergaard, strasburg how do u rank em n where n when do u draft em
I’ll rank them in January/February
Thanks for the recaps Grey!! Appreciate your tids and bits. Very helpful in prepping for next season.
Well Bossman, if this isn’t a feather in the RazzBall cap, I don’t know what is.
We hyped the top 4, faded Cole, hyped Lamet, we did talk about how Kershaw was a buy after it was declared to be a short season, hyped Burnes when it looked like he getting 5th spot, hyped Lynn, Fried, Giolito, and Woodruff… Thats 11 of the top 20. *golf clap* i think Son wrote a Bundy post too.
And additionally I carried the cross for Davies. LOL. Here’s why Davies was better from the Slam Diego post, “Last year Davies home/away splits were a bit prophetic: his home ERA at Miller Park was 4.26 and his road ERA was only 2.94, which means he was due for better results following a change of scenery. The other big change is his pitch mix. Last year he threw his sinker 52.6% of the time and change 31.3%; compared to this season with those 2 pitches at nearly equal shares of 42% each. And until 2 starts ago, his changeup was used the most in the majors north of 43% with an impressive .186 BAA and 35.8% whiff rate. What a deal he’s been! For both you, me, and the Padres.” and thats me quoting me.
Yeah, there weren’t too many surprises here at all…Somehow, some way, someone will be saying they have to draft deGrom in the 1st round next year…Always happens, multiple people actually…
Nice on Davies! I did remember you liked him, and Dave D. too, if I remember correctly…I don’t think I hated him once he was pitching well, but I was pretty out early in like February of last, wait, that was this year
Yeah Dave was high on him too, regarding the home/away splits.
It’ll be interesting too to see where everyone else puts Darvish, Bauer, Maeda this next year. Maeda might still be good price but I feel like Darvish and Bauer might get pushed up into overpriced area. we’ll see.
Depends a little on which team Bauer signs with, I’d guess…He is coming off a not exactly easy to own 2019, so I could be out, depending on price…I like Yu, and kinda feel like he might be in that 8-12th SP off board range, and if so I’m in…If he’s higher, then out…No one ever drafts Maeda high ever
Maeda metrics look so good in this small sample. LOL. one thing that worked well for him is cut his FB usage by 14% and replaced it with more sliders and changes. Seems to be a common thread across the league… i wonder if there’s an underlying story there aside from a response to the LA Revolution.
I do kinda understand the hesitation on Maeda, because a partial season still hasn’t shown he can do it in 180+ IP, but whatever, in most leagues I’ll take 140-150 great Maeda innings and figure out the other 40 IP elsewhere
Yeah when you bake in some regression you still get 3.20 ERA pitcher. haha. Which over the couse of 180 IP in full season would still be Top 20 material.
Thanks for the props, guys! Too bad NFBC dropped a few teams of mine where I had Lamet, Davies, Pleasac, and I was too busy to do more than one post-Covid draft where I unfortunately took Flaherty. It coulda been a great year.
Yeah, that would’ve been a sweet staff
Grey! Buenos morning. Why does the site ask for a website when you leave a comment? Also, finished your book. It was good, but too short. You should add onto it. I was hoping you’d mention your favorite baseball team or how you became an expert at fantasy baseball.
Appreciate it, LaRockakis! Maybe I will add on one day… I don’t know why the site asks for a site, maybe it’s looking for friends?