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:

ALL PROJECTIONS ARE BASED ON 60 GAMES PLAYED, DUE TO COVID-19. BE SAFE OUT THERE!

1. Gerrit Cole – Went over him in the top 20 for 2020 fantasy baseball.

2. Jacob deGrom – This tier goes from here until Bieber. I call this first tier, “Let’s be very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear.” And when I say let’s be very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear, I’m talking about being very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear and not just saying let’s be very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear while only being slightly very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear or being very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear in name only. If these guys were to fall in drafts to where I’m willing to draft a starter, I will draft any and/or all of them. It’s not about them as much as it’s about their draft slot. Sure, I have actual problems with guys like, say, Scherzer, which I will get to, but if he fell to the 50s in a draft? Sure, at that point, you have to draft him, because I would be drafting a starter and he’d be above other guys. (Thank you for not laughing too loud when I said Scherzer at pick 50.) For unstints, I always draft a starter around 50th overall (give or take ten picks), so if I’m in a draft with eleven other Greys and we’re sitting there discussing boba and the Maxo Kream album and just general BS’ing, and all of us forget to draft a starter, I’d draft Gerrit Cole at 50th overall, then deGrom, etc. So, this is a ranking of my starters, it’s just unrealistic for me to say I’m actually drafting these guys. They’ll be gone before I’m willing to draft a starter. Yes, I love the pitchers in this tier. They are great. There, I said it. But I will never own them. Last year if you owned Jack Flaherty, Shane Bieber, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Paddack and Tyler Glasnow, you would’ve walked away with your league’s pitching categories and not drafted any top starters. Am I cherrypicking? Yes, just like you could’ve cherrypicked last year’s pitchers based on my suggestions! You could’ve had Ryu, Paddack, Glasnow, Odorizzi, and Giolito and not drafted one starter before 175 overall. I love top pitchers, but you do not need them. In some leagues, you could do fine NOT drafting ANY starters. Yes, I brought out the caps. I’m not only talking about H2H leagues where you can carry only relievers. I’m talking 10 or 12-team roto leagues where you can stream starters. Maybe you own one starter and stream five spots. Maybe you own two guys and stream four spots. Maybe you drink seven cups of coffee and stream all day. Even if you want to draft an entire rotation and hold them (or try to), you don’t need a guy from this tier. There’s plenty of options later to fill out your rotation so you’re competitive in leagues where you can’t stream. I’m not suggesting you Reggie Roby starters. I’m telling you to Reggie Roby top starters. Concentrate on your hitting while these guys are being drafted. Hope that was very, very, VERY, very, vewy, berry, berry clear.  As for deGrom, he’s great, but just had a funny thought that is only partially related. People (I’m one; you might be too) are talking confidently about deGrom’s Hall of Fame chances if he were to retire tomorrow, and I agree. DeGrom is at worst headed for a Hall of Fame career, at best already a lock. He could retire in five years and get into the Hall (he’s already 31 years old, so in five years isn’t crazy). If he were to retire in the landmark case of sooner vs. later, he would be a Hall of Fame starter who didn’t even break 100 wins. Ha! He has 66 wins in 1100 career innings. Good stuff, Mets! 2020 Projections: 6-3/2.58/0.96/98 in 77 IP

3. Jack Flaherty – Before we talk about Flaherty’s 2nd half, here’s something I seriously don’t understand. Every year I tell you who to draft after the top 10 or so starters are off the board. Literally, every year. Yet, every year in the preseason, people don’t trust me to find them pitcher bargains later in the draft and choose to draft a top ten starter. I told you to draft Flaherty last year. This year you can’t afford him. It’s fine, there will be a “Flaherty by a different name” this year, just like there will be a “Bieber by a different name” and others. I owned Buehler, Bieber, Flaherty, Clevinger and Strasburg in multiple leagues last year. You think I just got lucky? Seriously? That’s silly. Also, there’s ‘perts out there who suggest you draft a top ten starter, so how do they explain that seven of the ten top starters change every year? They think last year was special? It wasn’t. It’s like this every year. I know, last year I said to draft German Marquez and he hurt me too, but a ton of people told you to draft Snell too, and he was more expensive and just as crippling! It’s better to get screwed by your 1st starter when you draft him higher? How does this make any sense? It was better to be screwed by Chris Sale than German Marquez? Please explain it to me. Any hoo! Flaherty had a 0.91 ERA in 99 1/3 IP last 2nd half. His K% went up to 11.2, and walk rate down to 2.1. If you think those numbers sound good, but not quite equating a 0.91 ERA, you’re right. His .206 BABIP would’ve been the best BABIP in baseball last year. Still, his 2nd half 2.22 FIP would’ve been best too, and there’s a strong case to be made Flaherty is the 2nd best starter, and easily the 4th. Also, I go over him in the video at the top of the page. 2020 Projections: 6-4/2.69/0.99/89 in 75 IP

4. Shane Bieber – Wrote a sleeper post for him last year and told everyone to draft him. Last year was the year to own him. Don’t worry there will be Biebers to own this year, they just won’t have the name Bieber. Ooh, ooh, I’m sorry, yeah. Okay, now I’m just singing Bieber. Bieber’s a gorge specimen of exactly what you want in every starter — high Ks, low walks — except for his ADP. He’s great, wonderful, adjective, but we can’t own him. 2020 Projections: 6-3/2.81/1.01/92 in 76 IP

5. Max Scherzer – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Strasburg.  I call this tier, “Hot grandmas in your area.” Some spam emails are just too good to not open. A subject line like, “Hot grandmas in your area” is just impossible to not open, but you want to resist. I know, it’s hard! See an email subject line, “Tired of NOT owning a monkey?” And you want to click it so bad. Or an email subject line, “For $5.00 a week you can feed a hungry child, or slap the food out of the hands of a fat one;” it’s so hard to resist! I know! I want to click through too, but you shouldn’t. Same with these pitchers, you want to get in on them, but you have to resist. (Unless they fall far enough as discussed in deGrom’s blurb.) As for Scherzer, he was the 11th best starter last year, according to the Player Rater. That was after being essentially useless for the entire 2nd half. His 1st half with 129 1/3IP, 2.30 ERA and 181 Ks powered him to nearly a top 10 starter year. I could infer from that that (stutterer!) pitching is a mess. Could also infer that Scherzer had a 1st half that was about as good as Max Fried’s entire year. That’s Fried, who was the 28th best starter overall last year. If you drafted only Scherzer and Fried, you’d Maximize your fantasy team. Thank you, please tip your waitresses, they don’t have healthcare. Speaking of healthcare, I don’t fully trust Max’s back. That sentence works as “Max’s back” or “Max is back.” Nifty, huh? 2020 Projections: 5-2/2.83/1.02/93 in 66 IP

6. Walker Buehler – Have much love for Buehler, so don’t take this the wrong way, but the Dodgers have shown next to no inclination at throwing anyone 200+ IP. Not saying it can’t happen. Just because Rich Hill could never throw 200 IP doesn’t mean Buehler can’t, and Dodgers’ rotation is shallower this year than it has been in the past, but to think Buehler would suddenly throw many more innings than 200 feels silly. At best it feels like he will come up just short or just over 200. Why does this matter? All of the starters so far have 240+ Ks and for Buehler to come close to that he’s going to need at least 210 IP. Plus, less IP means likely less Wins, and less effect his ERA will have on your team’s stats. For full disclosure purposes — or porpoises if dolphins have already taken over the world by the time you read this — I nearly started the 2nd tier at Buehler over Scherzer, due to health. Six of one, half dozen of another, and like I’ve said so many times, if guys are in the same tier, they’re all interchangeable like Edward James Olmos and his stuntman, Edward James Almost. 2020 Projections: 6-3/2.91/1.03/87 in 73 IP

7. Stephen Strasburg – Here’s what I said this offseason, “Re-signed with the Nats. If you jumped out of a DeLorean and told me you were from the future, I’d say, “Please tell me actionable future information that will help me make money and don’t simply tell me Strasburg is going to throw another 200 IP,” then you’d throw a peace sign in the air and drive off. If you were there to tell me the 200 IP tidbit about Strasburg, I’d be annoyed but would feel more confident about Strasburg being a top five starter, and not more like a top ten starter. It was five years ago when Strasburg last threw 200 IP, after accomplishing it last year. If he’s going to throw 200 IP every five years, wake me in 2025. I’ll be sleeping in my Cybertruck down by the new beach resort town of Juneau, Alaska.” And that’s me quoting me! 2020 Projections: 6-4/3.03/1.03/83 in 71 IP

8. Lucas Giolito – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Paddack. I call this tier, “Fill my holes with dry rice to reduce moistness.” I imagine by now you are moist for starters. Well, before you fill your holes with dry rice to reduce moistness, I have a special treat for you:  You can begin to draft starters. See, that wasn’t too long, was it? Great, I didn’t think so either, and I could tell you were overflowing with moistness, so I’m happy to tell you starters are now available. But you might want to chew on a sanitary napkin or rub deodrant on your forehead, because it might actually be longer before you can draft a starter. Here’s the thing, and, yes, there’s always a thing. I will absolutely draft someone in this tier, but I won’t reach for them. If they make it to around 50 overall, or under $30, then I’d happily draft one to reduce my moistness, and remove the dry rice from my holes. See, I don’t punt all starters, just the very top ones. Just don’t reach for one of these guys. As for Giolito, this year Giolito reminds me of Clevinger and Buehler last year. For whatever reason, after a guy breaks out, there’s people who don’t trust them fully. The projections systems don’t even trust Giolito — putting him down for 4.27 ERA (down from 3.41 ERA) and 1.27 WHIP (down from 1.06). Why though? Or as millennials would say, y tho? Guys need time to find the right mix to use in the majors. Sometimes this takes longer than you’d want. Giolito took three years. So? Jake Arrieta took five years before pounding multiple Cy Young-type seasons; Cliff Lee needed six seasons; Kershaw needed one season. Not everyone is Kershaw. Last year Giolito dropped his curve usage and nearly doubled his changeup. His changeup became the 5th best change in baseball and his curve, which wasn’t great, stopped hurting him. A change, mind you, that is coupled with the 5th best fastball. Only one pitcher in the top 5 for fastballs has a pitch as good as Giolito’s change — Flaherty’s slider. Cole’s slider is not even as good. Oh, and Giolito’s slider at 2 runs above average (his third positive pitch!) is better than Flaherty and Cole’s other pitches. But, wait, there’s more! Giolito’s SwStr% was 6th best — the top five are Cole, Scherzer, Verlander, Castillo and deGrom. Oh…*climbs to the top of a 10,000-foot beanstalk*…kay. Giolito has the 2nd lowest contact made on pitches in the zone. Only one better is Cole. We have to move on before I orgasm, so I just want to wrap this up for those of you slow on the uptake. Giolito cumulatively has three pitches better than Flaherty and Cole, then, when hitters are swinging at actual strikes, they are missing more than anyone, except Cole. If you can draft Giolito this late, and currently you can, do it immediately. 2020 Projections: 6-3/3.27/1.05/90 in 73 IP

9. Patrick Corbin – He has ERAs of 3.15 and 3.25 in the last two years with 200 IP in each, and a 10.6 K/9 or better. Happily drafting that as my first starter. Since it feels like it needs to be said, he is younger than Strasburg and Scherzer. So, he feels old, but he’s not offering kids hard candies or shopping at Suburban Outfitters. He’s just been doing this (and well) for a while. Last year, his chase rate went down a hair, which led to an uptick in his walks. He still had the 7th best Swinging Strike rate and his chase rate was better than Cole and Scherzer, who were one and two on SwStr%. Corbin is elite; he’s just not often thought of that way. You don’t need to roll in cat litter to reduce your moistness, you can draft Corbin. 2020 Projections: 6-2/3.36/1.09/90 in 75 IP

10. Luis Castillo – This post is going on 55,000 words, so I need to be more succinct, which is helped by me starting this blurb in this manner–Anyhoo! Castillo needs to roll his newfound K/9 into his previous year walk rate, and he will be a top starter, easily. Everything here is butter on the “Reds are gonna be good this year” toast. Extra velocity, top 4 SwStr%, the best in the major leagues for Contact% and fifth best for contact in the zone. These are insane numbers. To put it to you nice and simple as if explaining it to you like you were a Hee Haw cast member, hitters are swinging at his strikes and haven’t a friggin’ chance. Let me just grab a pitcher who is considered great by some. Syndergaard has a 75.1% Contact%, Castillo’s is 65.9. Hitters are making contact almost ten percent less of the time on Castillo’s pitches. I’m sorry, since you are so butter, would you mind if I microwaved you so I can dip my lobster meat into you? C’mon, don’t be *pinkie to mouth* shellfish. 2020 Projections: 6-4/3.32/1.09/88 in 73 IP

11. Mike Clevinger – Not only are these hot grandmas in your area that you definitely want to check out because they are smoking (mostly Bensons & Hedges), but they’re also guys who I’m just a little bit concerned about. So, it goes without saying that I’m not drafting these starters, after saying that about fifteen times in the last eight blurbs, because I also have concerns, not just because of how high they’re being drafted. Clevinger missed time last year, due to his back. While he returned looking like an absolute King, ruling over a fiefdom with a lights-out curfew every time he threw his 95 MPH fastball and goodnight-god bless 80 MPH slider, he still needs to stay healthy for 200 IP. Easier said than done, as the diploma reads from your speech therapist. UPDATE: Out with a partial tear of his meniscus. I have a partial tear just below my eye that I got in San Quentin. I miss you, lockdown buddies! I wasn’t drafting Clevinger in any leagues this year, and this obviously doesn’t change that. Just annoyed more people didn’t draft Clevinger in early drafts. UPDATE II: With the delay to the season and rest Clevinger will get, it’s hard not to like him in a very short, fantastic season. Shoot 120 innings from Clevinger right into my veins, then let me make snow angels in a giant pile of coke while twirling a phone cord around my pinkie as I talk to Pablo Escobar.  2020 Projections: 6-3/3.07/1.06/83 in 71 IP

12. Chris Paddack – I just screamed out loud, “Goddamn it, I love pitchers!” I do, men and five womans. They are just so fun. When they’re good, at least. They are also so predictable for strikeouts. (Hitters are predictable for power and speed.) When you see a guy like Paddack, you just have to exclaim. I insist on it. When sorted by 140 IP, he had the best F-Strike%, and an expected batting average of .217, and a 9.8 K/9. What do you deduce from that? Forget it, I’ll tell you. He throws a ton of strikes, gets ahead of everyone, and hitters know strikes are coming, but still can’t hit him. He had the 12th best fastball and 14th best changeup. Expected batting average on those two pitches was under .200. There were only two pitchers with an expected batting average for all their pitches under .200 (Verlander, Cole). Paddack’s curve was his only less than supreme pitch. Oh, and it was still 43rd best in the majors. This tier is ridiculous with wonderful, like accidentally googling Mama June nudes and your Google safe-search saves you. Chef’s kiss! 2020 Projections: 4-2/3.03/0.96/73 in 64 IP

13.  Yu Darvish – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Nola. I call this tier, “Eat your ideal lover’s weight in cookie dough.” The tier name is a self-help tip. Much like any pizza can be a personal pan pizza with some dedication. Or wait until midnight on Valentine’s Day, go to Wal-Mart and buy 50% off candy so you can gorge yourself. Another self-tip for a person is drafting a starting pitcher. So, stop reading, Who Moved My String Cheese, get off your butt and draft a starter! Now! As for Darvish, I don’t think people understand how good his 2nd half was. It wasn’t good for last year or him; it was good in the historical context of baseball. He had 118 Ks in 81 2/3 IP and seven walks in the 2nd half. That’s 13 K/9 and 0.77 BB/9. He doesn’t pitch every day, because he has to wait five days after registering his cutter with local authorities. Last year I kept saying if he could be as bad as he was in the 1st half, why couldn’t he be that bad again in 2020? Well, 2019 Grey, you are a crank! I’m here to tell you even if he’s as bad as he was in the 1st half, he was still a pitcher with 229 Ks and a 1.10 WHIP. I’m all about self-care, reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad and drafting Yu. 2020 Projections: 5-4/3.41/1.09/86 in 67 IP

14. Tyler Glasnow – As for Glasnow, I’m listening to YBN Cordae’s We Gon Make It. Allow me:

And I been tired of chasin’ dreams, but I’m gon’ chase it,
We ain’t never had a shot, how we gon’ take it?
Success is in my arm’s reach, and I can taste it.

This is every Glasnow owner. Yo, if you have a dream, keep chasin’ it. You crazy as f*ck but god bless, homey. Maybe his forearm strain is recoverable without needing Tommy John surgery. I also nearly got through that last sentence without laughing. Let me recap you on his last year. He had a forearm strain; people feared Tommy John was coming up around the bend like CCR; he decided to rehab; everyone held their breath; everyone exhaled, then he had a setback and was out another few months. Finally, he returned for 12 1/3 solid September innings and seven wonky postseason innings. I do think he can be solid, and, honestly, I hope I’m wrong about him having arm troubles in 2020. Success is in his arm’s reach, and you can taste it. Just hope it’s not a sour taste. UPDATE: Due to the shortened season, I’m jazzed about the idea of Glasnow in less innings. Jazznow? *insert GIF of Jack Nicholson with a Cheshire cat grin while nodding his head* 2020 Projections: 5-3/3.77/1.20/73 in 63 IP

15. Charlie Morton – My pitching this year is going to be a lot of guys I’ve never owned before. I’m still dealing with that emotionally — we’re gonna be all right, fam! I’m trust-falling into this tier, hoping Morton catches my dopey ass. Okay, let’s be honest, trust-falling is for your meetings at EST with Philip Jennings. I’m cold-hard on dem facts. Morton’s exit velocity went down, his fatsball velocity, while down, was still 94.4 MPH and elicited a .217 batting average, while his curve, which he threw 1172 times turned out a .151 batting average. He has five pitches, and needs two. He gets so many strikeouts (11.1 K/9) and ground balls (48.2%) his .340 xSLG was 6th lowest in the league. I know, it makes no sense to trust a 36-year-old, but, if you wanna be an ageist, start casting Hollywood films. If you wanna draft a fantasy baseball team, grab Morton. 2020 Projections: 6-3/3.36/1.10/86 in 71 IP

16. Sonny Gray – True story alert! I ranked my starters, then went to look at ADP (so I wouldn’t be unduly influenced) and saw Sonny Gray about 15 spots after this. Then I saw my reflection and I had to stop for fifteen minutes as I was mesmerized by my hair. How does it stay so full and luscious! So, appizzarently, I’m back in on my son in a big way. Welcome back to my good graces, boy! Please don’t disappoint me again by being bad and/or dropping out of pre-med and becoming a fantasy baseball blogger. Wait, I’m thinking of my own father’s disappointment. Daddy, give me love! I screamed that shaking my fists. Okay, let’s go with this Gray breakdown before Grey breaks down. In 175 1/3 IP, he had 10.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 3.42 FIP. Gonna go with 3.42 FIP and tell you that was 12th best in majors last year. Better than Corbin, Flaherty, Giolito, Castillo, Kershaw…Okay, a lot of guys! His 50.8% ground ball rate was 8th best, and above him in these rankings for ground balls was only Strasburg and Castillo. That’s it. His 29% K% was 14th in the league. If you’re more of a results guy, he has five of six seasons with an ERA of 3.55 or under and four of those years the ERA was below 3.10. He had a terrible 2018, but that was the Yankees messing with him and he was just off from the jump. There’s absolutely no reason why he should be drafted any lower than 20th best starter, at worst. 2020 Projections: 5-4/3.27/1.10/80 in 73 IP

17. Aaron Nola – We have a tough one here to project. Drilled down on him for so long I was about to sing the Dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors. Here’s the problem, his walks went up. Why, is the big question. The one thing that really jumps out is he failed to get ahead on hitters. His first strike percentage went from 69.4% to 62.3%. That makes me think his fastball wasn’t working. Well, his BAA on the fastball went from .216 in 2018 to .269 last year, but his whiff% was better last year. So…*puzzled look* I don’t know. I Googled “Nola tipping pitches” and I found a tipping chart for how many beads to give for different breast sizes. I might’ve spelled pitches with a B. If anyone has any theories, I’m all ears like Alfred E. Neuman. My guess is Nola just wasn’t locating, which explains why his walk rate went way up. Nola has long been a walk-free zone, especially in the French Quarter after 2 AM. So, if you draft him, you’re betting his control will be as it was every year in his career prior to last year. That feels like a decent bet. If he struggles again this year, then I suggest the world’s oldest re-gifting and giving Nola back to France. 2020 Projections: 6-4/3.51/1.07/87 in 78 IP

18. Blake Snell – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 40 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Using your own streaming password.” There’s a ton of subscription services now, huh? Apple, Netflix, MLB, HBO, Showtime, History — you don’t watch Top Shot or Vikings? Shame on you! — PBS for that Downton binge; Hulu for some DiscoveryID true crime crap; some app that only has BBC shows, wait, that might be BBC…Okay, there’s a ton of streaming services! I have a password from a brother-in-law, father-in-law, three different friends and a password I just found on Reddit. If you use only your own passwords, you’re a sucker. If you draft from this tier, you’re also a sucker. Tee bee aitch, I’m giving you a tier now that I won’t own partially because I like to mix it up, and partially because I’m finding it very difficult to find great starters. As for Snell, as someone who minored in Saberhagenmetrics at the Fantasy Baseball College of Charleston, I love the narrative that Snell’s terrible 2019 is going to help him finish top three in Cy Young voting in 2020. To me, that narrative paints a better picture than Bob Ross painting a happy, little Baby Yoda. Sadly, I’m a serious-minded person and I hear Blake Snell had loose bodies removed from his elbow and I think of David Caruso putting police tape around Snell’s arm. Love the discount this year if I felt like a rebound was definitely coming, but gonna take a pass for fear CSI: Snell’s Elbow returns for a 2nd season. UPDATE: Cortisone shot in his left elbow. Awesome! He says he won’t be ready for Opening Day. Superb! So glad everyone fights me on drafting a top starter early. Enjoy your Snell pick, early drafters. But I think…Gonna get shot down cuz you’re over-Snellous! I’ve docked him 20 innings, and I wouldn’t draft him in any league. 2020 Projections: 4-3/3.12/1.09/57 in 70 IP

19. Justin Verlander – I considered ranking Verlander much lower just to see if I could get Kate Upton mad at me. She becomes radioactive Grrrnobyl and it is so hot. When defending Verlander, she gets madder than when you bring up AOC with your Republican relatives. “Where does this Alexandria Casio-Quartz get the nerve?” That was my uncle getting heated. RIP. When handing out some awe, you gotta give it to Verlander’s recent magnificence. His last two year strikeout rates: 12.2 and 12.1. I’m sorry, are you makin’ provolone and sellin’ it from home, because you got cheese. UPDATE: Shut down with a lat strain. Luckily, you didn’t draft any top starters, right? You did? Aw, shucks. Going onto eBay and put in a one cent bid on the world’s smallest violin, then adopt a baby and teach it how to play from a YouTube tutorial. Not sure how many times I have to say don’t draft a top pitcher, but I’m sure everyone this time next year will have forgotten I ever said it. A lat strain is better than an arm injury, or so I’m told. As in I’m told that it’s a lat strain, but on Sunday it was triceps soreness. Sounds great! *insert giant thumbs up emoji* I told you not to draft Verlander before this, guess what this does for me? I’ve updated Verlander’s projections and moved him down in the rankings. UPDATE II: Now Verlander is having groin surgery. He must’ve really needed it, because if I were being quarantined for eight weeks with Kate Upton, I would’ve pushed back surgery to the winter. 2020 Projections: 5-1/2.66/0.98/71 in 56 IP

20. Zack Greinke – I look at Greinke’s 2.93 ERA from last year and I’m spitting out inconceivable like Vizzini. His changeup is 87.4 MPH and his fastball is 89.9 MPH. His fastball and change cause Statcast to do a double take, and hitters are going to do a single take on his curve and pound the fastchange or changefast or whatever he calls it. He does have more pitches in his arsenal than words in his press conferences, so maybe he can keep everyone off balance for another season, but how long until hitters are like, “Maybe I’ll just split the difference on his fastball and change and swing at everything that is 88 MPH?” Eventually hitters are going to start pounding him like Astros hitters on trashcans. 2020 Projections: 6-3/3.44/1.09/68 in 76 IP

STARTER RANKINGS CONTINUE AT TOP 40 STARTERS FOR 2020 FANTASY BASEBALL

 
  1. Tigres says:
    (link)

    Hi Grey. TOP 20 STARTERS!! It was this post, and not the coffee nor the two hungry cats demanding breakfast, that got me going this early morning. So, thanks! I’d ask “Where is Woodruff?” but I guess I can just be patient for now.

    • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
      (link)

      Literally same (plus baby)!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
        (link)

        You got a baby just so you could wake up early for Razzball, didn’t you?

        • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
          (link)

          lol!

        • themendozaline says:
          (link)

          Dude. This. I got a baby and his nocturnal neediness led to my Razzball addiction. The time difference made it perfect, I’d just get him back down, and then refresh a few times and BAM; Grey.

          Ps – I think I will always use “got a baby” as opposed to “Had kids” now.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Coming soon to a starters rankings post near you

  2. Dave D says:
    (link)

    While your comments about top pitching is historically true, I think if the ball is juiced again it may be worth being more top heavy on arms.

    That being said I think you comment about Glasnow helping a team win a championship last year is totally untrue. I drafted him in several leagues, including our Razzball DC, and he harmed me more than he helped me by being injured 2/3 of the year and giving me only 60IP. In a draft and hold that is devastating. If Glasnow was healthy I would have walked away with the league title in our league, yes, but he was INJURED.

    For some reason people this year are dismissing or completely overlooking Glasnows injury and, I believe, a body type that is more prone to injury. Sure, I like him when healthy, but his current ADP doesn’t consider his big risk at that ADP. Maybe you consider that in your rankings though since he’s not top 20 here. But you did mention him falsely as an asset in 2019 IMO.

    • Jonny Stash says:
      (link)

      I agree about Glasnow. Forearm strain last year…yikes town. One season over 150innings total. I was trying to find an injury history on him but couldn’t find anything. I’ve seen Pirates fans call him GlassNow when he was traded to the Rays.
      As a Rays fan I hope he stays healthy but as fantasy baseball GM I wouldn’t over pay for him.

    • Cram It says:
      (link)

      Agreed, Glasnow only threw 60 IPs.

      He had a forearm strain, I don’t know if I’d necessarily correlate that with his body type. If he was shorter, maybe. But I am concerned about his workload this year, coming off of the injury and yet to throw more than 111 innings yet. What’s his ADP going at currently? Because I am definitely in on him as a high-end #3.

      • Dave D says:
        (link)

        I still have trauma from JR Richard dying in my early baseball fan years. Big men appear more prone to health negatives.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          JR Richard is alive and 69 years old — nice!

          • Dave D says:
            (link)

            You would be very disappointed in me if it were 1979 because I would definitely draft him before #50 overall. You would be ridiculing me and I would shake it off with a gleeful sh*t-eating grin.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Haha, I loved JR too!

    • LOLmets says:
      (link)

      Nah he was for sure an asset. Grey said last year he would cut him after the injury in redraft. You shouldn’t have held him. Take the amazing stats for 60 innings then go to the wire to stream the rest. Where was Glasnow taken last year? 170th overall? Maybe I’m off on his last years ADP.

      • cmutimmah says:
        (link)

        170 is pretty close. Glasnow was a top 10 player before getting hurt. He was good when he returned. In-between, what you did with that roster spot is on you.

        He has a 2020 ADP around 71. There’s no value there, IMO. You are basically paying for him to be a top 20 pitcher, when we know that his innings cap is probably going to make that impossible. You could draft him and trade him to an unsuspecting GM depending on your league, but not worth the risk until pick 100+.

        • Dave D says:
          (link)

          Agree on 2020

      • Grey

        Grey says:
        (link)

        Yes, what LOLMets said, thanks, LOL

      • Dave D says:
        (link)

        You and Grey need to work on your reading comprehension. I said DC “draft and hold. Our Razzball NFBC Draft Champions has no drops and its 15 teams.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Yeah, I said it was a specific example…You can’t drop him there, so he doesn’t help, but he prolly just had value in a DC — think 200th overall pick, ended up being 200th worth

          • Dave D says:
            (link)

            Yes, and I take a page from your book with the long-winded metaphor in retort.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              HAHA, no metaphor is too tortured!

          • Dave D says:
            (link)

            Actually he was about 160 ADP. As you know, 40 positions can be a big deal.

            We do agree on being out on him in 2020 unless he does a carbon copy this year and I FA add him in early August. More likely I draft him 300ish in 2021 after he makes 6 starts in 2020 and sits out last 4 1/2 months.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              That’s true, 160 to 200 hurts a bit… I meant in this post for redrafts that have waivers, and Glasnow last year for 60 IP then pick someone up was a plus… Yeah, I see Tommy John surgery for him this year

              • Dave D says:
                (link)

                TJS, HAHA!!!

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
                  (link)

                  Haha

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Meh, that’s a specific case example with Glasnow…If you drafted him last year, he didn’t hurt you, you got a solid 2 months, then dropped him

      I’m completely out on Glasnow this year tho

      There is no value on pitchers after Cole and deGrom until Giolito — Scherzer, Flaherty, Clevinger, they’re all solid, but they’re overpriced this year

      • robo says:
        (link)

        Or, in a keeper league you trade him after the injury and get pieces that help you now to win your league. Definitely can’t complain about what I got for where he was drafted.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Yup

          • Michael Rapaport says:
            (link)

            Gray,
            Sad to report although you might know this but Mike Lombardo passed away about a week ago. He was a very close friend of mine and mentioned he met you a few times.
            Michael M Rapaport

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Yeah, I was very sorry to hear it…He was a great guy, and I’m gonna miss him this year at Foley’s when I come in for Tout (I had been meeting with him the last few years)… It sucks, man… I am super bummed…

      • Dave D says:
        (link)

        I couldn’t drop him in our DC, dude. Why are you denying my pain? HE HURT ME. Yeah he did. That’s it, I’m putting on my Culture Club CD, putting up a picture on my wall of Glasnow and belting out as loud as I can:

        “Give me time to realize my crime
        Let me love and steal
        I have danced inside your eyes
        How can I be real

        Do you really want to hurt me
        Do you really want to make me cry
        Precious kisses words that burn me
        Lovers never ask you why
        In my heart the fire’s burning
        Choose my color find a star
        Precious people always tell me
        That’s a step a step too far

        Do you really want to hurt me
        Do you really want to make me cry
        Do you really want to hurt me
        Do you really want to make me cry

        Words are few
        I have spoken
        I could waste a thousand years
        Wrapped in sorrow, words are token
        Come inside and catch my tears
        You’ve been talking but believe me
        If it’s true you do not know
        This boy loves without a reason
        I’m prepared to let you go

        If it’s love you want from me
        Then take it away
        Everything’s not what you see it’s over again.

        Do you really want to hurt me
        Do you really want to make me cry
        Do you really want to hurt me
        Do you really want to make me cry“

        Do you still doubt my truest feelings on Glasnow still, dearest Grey? ;-)

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Haha, I don’t trust Glasnow at all this year, so we’re on same page this year as we were last year… It’s your specific league where it hurt more bc of no drops, so Culture Club is understandable

        • baby seal says:
          (link)

          Losing Glasnow wasn’t “devastating” last year — even in a DC — you didn’t lose because of him.

          Losing Taillon was much more “devastating.”

          • Grey

            Grey says:
            (link)

            You’re getting close to being up to date!

            • baby seal says:
              (link)

              hahaha, yep, already on the next page

              had to hang w/ the gf all weekend, so wasn’t able to make up any ground since Fri!!

              dude, Lynn is the best value I’ve seen, easily

              that WHIP on EE is scary

              Nola a bit too pricey for me relative to those other guys who I like a lot more in the same area

              Don’t hate Bauer, but I usually avoid headcases as a sort of heuristic. Classic case of — I’ll draft him if he falls a round in my drafts

              Totally w/ you on those other guys like Corbin, Morton, Giolito, etc. I expect some of these prices to go up

              Snell is enticing, but I’ll probably pass like u.. Don’t see a big difference between him and Severino, so I’ll fish there if I’m so inclined

              For anyone who plays a bunch of leagues, I’d consider getting a share of Sale since he’s a league winner type. Think he makes a lot of sense in a best ball type of format where they just take the best weeks; we know what kind of runs he can go on

              so far so good my man!

              • Grey

                Grey says:
                (link)

                Yeah, I love Lynn — maybe on Sale, but he hasn’t done well over a whole year in a while

  3. TC says:
    (link)

    15 keep, 10 team league, standard categories. Over 6 years of league I have four of these pitchers. Keeper round is locked and I can keep them as long as I want. Obviously Scherzer is first to try and trade, based on his round. The others are great value. What level hitter would be a fair return for Scherzer? Thanks
    Scherzer round 2
    Cole round 6
    Clevinger round 7
    Corbin round 14

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Depends what round is attached to hitters right? Maybe Judge if 2nd round, maybe Meadows if 7th round, etc

  4. Jonny Baseball says:
    (link)

    As a Geologist I approve this article.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Rock on!

  5. Steve-O says:
    (link)

    Keep 4 in 10 team H2H league…. 21 Rounds

    Cole – Round 2
    Rendon – Round 3
    Acuña – Round 7
    Flaherty – Round 7
    Baez – Round 9
    Bieber – Round 13
    Buehler – Round 19
    Soler – Round 21

    If I want both Acuña and Flaherty, I can keep Acuna in Round 6

    Who ya keeping?

    • Malicious Phenoms says:
      (link)

      I would go with

      Acuna
      Buehler
      Bieber
      Baez

      • michael says:
        (link)

        ya this

      • bigbear says:
        (link)

        Agree with MP.

      • Peacecoast says:
        (link)

        nah it’s HTH so I would take Soler instead of Baez

    • Homer's got the Runs says:
      (link)

      Just on round for round value I would keep Acuna, Flaherty, Bieber and Buehler. I then would go heavy on hitting at the draft. If there was a change because of not wanting 3 pitchers I like Buehler in the 19th more than Flaherty in the 7th. More bang for your buck.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Not sure if you can go wrong with a bunch of these guys, but I’d go with MP

  6. JAscher says:
    (link)

    In Grey we trust!!!

    The fantasy baseball bible is back!!!

    5 keeper, 27 round keeper league.
    Including corner and middle infield 5 outfield spots and 2 UTIL.

    Have Acuña and Hoskins in the 21st
    Eloy in the 24th

    Need two of the following 5, all 27th round keepers…
    Sean Manaea, Scott Kingery, Wander Franco, Jo Adell and Hansel Robles…

    Leaning towards Adell given his unreal talent and path to play and not sure who else…

    Thoughts?

    • NUX says:
      (link)

      I’d go Adell and Kingery. Wander is the truth! But he is too far away in a just a Keep 5 league. Good luck in 2020!

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
        (link)

        Agree with NUX and his new spelling of his name..hehe

        • Dave D says:
          (link)

          Whats NXT? NXM?

      • Coolwhip

        Coolwhip says:
        (link)

        haha… the new edgy name. i like it.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          NUX is like the Sons of Anarchy name for Knucks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Thanks! Agree with others

  7. Prettay, prettaaay, pretty good says:
    (link)

    Grey,

    I’m hoping January Grey is also the most philosophical Grey. I’m in a keeper league where I can keep 6 at their contract price.

    Typically I favor hitters over pitchers as keepers and never keep closers. However this year I am tempted by a couple of closers at favorable contracts.

    Context: Trout goes for $65 and Chapman $25 typically

    I’m already keeping:
    Meadows $4
    Eddie Rosario $12
    Rendon $28
    Bieber $12

    Need to keep two more of:
    Hader $12
    Yates $6
    Hiura $12
    Suarez $13

    What say you January Grey? SAGNOF forever! Or keep a closer or two?

    Also, For those new to the site, I think your pitching rankings and philosophy are the secret to winning your league and somehow most people still haven’t picked up on it. Your writing is awesome Grey, as well as your advice.

    • Matty says:
      (link)

      Assuming that’s Eugenio Suarez?
      Just had a shoulder procedure, they say he should be ready “near the beginning of the season” but worth noting as you come into the season.

    • bigbear says:
      (link)

      I’d keep Suarez definitely. Probably Hiura too. If you go the CL route, I’d lean toward Yates.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Thanks, appreciate the kind words!

      Hiura for sure, then…Hmm…Suarez was a no-brainer before surgery, but him still prolly, as long as he’s fine by end of March

  8. Charlie says:
    (link)

    Gray,

    In my keeper league one owner is looking to jumpstart his team with talent since his team is a bit lacking. I’ve already determined my keepers and know which players I’m throwing back into the pool to be drafted.

    Would you recommend me trading Scherzer + one of the players I wasn’t going to keep for Flaherty?

    I know it’s crazy trading away Scherzer, but you have Flaherty rated higher than Scherzer and in a keeper league Flaherty is much younger.

    I took a look at rankings around fantasy baseball to see if I can take advantage of someone not using your superior knowledge, and every other place has Scherzer rated higher than Flaherty so I thought maybe I could use that as a selling point. “Well (insert shitty publication) has Scherzer rated much higher than Flaherty plus I’ll throw in one of my non keepers.”

    Thoughts?

    • Prettay, Prettaaay, pretty good says:
      (link)

      Do the trade. Almost always better to be on the right side of the aging curve, but particularly in a keeper league

    • Peacecoast says:
      (link)

      ya do it

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Agree with others

      I’d go Flaherty — if Scherzer breaks down this year his value will be gone after his 2nd half last year

      • Charlie says:
        (link)

        Thanks Gray and others!! I’ll send him a text and see if I can get him to bite.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          No problem

  9. hip hop panda says:
    (link)

    Favorite day of the year!!! Thanks!

    Got offered Paddack and Osuna for my Alvarez. Thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Thanks!

      Yordan, but fair

  10. michael says:
    (link)

    Keep 5, $260 start. OPS and QS league

    Yelich – $40
    Torres – $25
    Springer – $20
    Semien – $8
    Gray – $8
    Robert – $5

    I’m thinking Yelich, Torres, Springer, Robert, and maybe Gray?

    • bigbear says:
      (link)

      Yelich, Springer, Semien, Gray, Robert

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      So throw one back? Between Semien and Gray for me…I think you can just redraft Semien

  11. bigbear says:
    (link)

    My favorite post of the whole year! Your daily recaps are a delight, but the SP rankings are awesome! Thanks G!

    My teams last year we filled with Flaherty, Bieber, Buehler, Giolito, Paddack, Stras, Castillo. Thinking Darvish, Severino, and Gray will be catching my fall this year. Hoping for two in the Gio-Paddack tier and a trust fall into the arms of Yu/Sevy/Gray. BTW – You should change that tier to “You sexy Grey”.

    Sadly, this dinosaur will probably go Morton’s career not owning him. It not you or him. It’s me. I’m also for letting the fat kid keep his food.

    We need to have a moment of silence for Kershaw. … … … He’s been the poster boy for the ‘ranked too high to draft’ SP philosophy for years.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Thanks!

      Yeah, you’re preaching to the choir on SPs… Every year people say this is the year you have to draft top starters, like they did last year — and you (and I) had Bieber, Giolito, Buehler, Flaherty, Castillo…I mean it’s silly

      • bigbear says:
        (link)

        I’ve “punted” top SPs for years. When I found Razzball it was like a homecoming. I’m not nearly as good at picking the breakouts as you are though. That’s what keeps me in the nest! Those picks were me at Piggly Wiggly with your shopping list and some minor tweaks. SPs are your wheel-house!