The start of the 2020 MLB season has been delayed indefinitely, but it doesn't mean we still can't prepare and look forward to the upcoming fantasy baseball season.
When baseball is able to return to operation remains to be seen but chances are plenty of leagues have proceeded with their drafts or are planning on doing so. So you still need to make a plan to make sure you are prepared when we finally hear those cherished words, "Play ball!"
Plenty of things happened during and after spring training was suspended to impact the rankings, so keep that in mind. And some things in the rankings are just ingrained philosophies that I have when ranking fantasy baseball players. Which of course brings us to observations and things you should be aware of when reviewing my top 300 rankings:
- It's cliche, but you should resist the urge to pay heavily for pitching, especially saves. You should not grab any RPs before at least the seventh round, and even then you should still wait. My five biggest "fallers" are all SPs: Jack Flaherty, Blake Snell, Gerrit Cole, Walker Buehler, and Aaron Nola. And it's not a huge drop, but its why they are on average ranked about half a round lower than you might see elsewhere.
- Positional scarcity really matters. It's important to look at each player's position when considering them because there are more good outfielders than middle infielders. It's the reason you will see I rather have Francisco Lindor than Betts. Or Cavan Biggio over Mallex Smith.
- As an extension of that, I'm a sucker for multi-position eligibility. When I get near the end of a draft, I don't even look at individual hitter positions. But I'll gladly take Jeff McNeil in the 9th round, for example, far earlier than most, because I love having that roster flexibility. It's the same reason I have Bregman ranked higher than I probably should. The same goes for Eduardo Escobar, but you might have a harder time convincing me I'm wrong.
- Also, when in doubt, I go NL SP over similar AL SP because they don't have to face DHs. In a similar vein, I like the AL hitter more than the NL hitter. Unless I need speed, of course.
- Finally, what might be most noteworthy is how little noteworthiness there is in my rankings versus the ECR (Expert Consensus Ranking). One difference is my opinion of James Paxton vs. the industry. I love his chances of bouncing back and providing plenty of value in relation to his ECR (which could continue to go down as the season gets closer), assuming he shows little to no rust upon his return from back surgery in early February to remove a cyst in his spine. Otherwise, things are fairly status quo.
*Notes predate the start of spring training.
Check out my top 300 below for yourself. Let me know your thoughts (@MarkStrausberg)!
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.