2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Comparing Rotisserie rankings for Scott White and newcomer Frank Stampfl


The rankings page was looking pretty lonely for a few months there. It was me vs. the computer, basically, with only the SportsLine model displayed alongside my own interpretation for 2020.

But within just the past couple weeks, we’ve introduced Frank Stampfl as the new host of the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. And now, he gets to have his own rankings.

They’re not live everywhere yet, but anyone who plays in a CBS Sports league can access them there. This article will serve as an introduction of sorts, highlighting some of the biggest discrepancies at each position.

Overall, I’d describe Frank’s rankings as “confident.” By that, I mean he tends to take bigger swings than I do. The players he’s down on I tend to be down on as well, but he’s more inclined to bury them while I tend to rank them a little beyond the point where they’re normally drafted. It’s two different approaches, but I’d venture to say neither of us ends up drafting them much.

And it may speak to different philosophies in the actual ranking process. I can at least speak to my own. I’ve always thought of my rankings as a draft tool — something that will show people exactly who I’d advise them to take next, which isn’t necessarily the same as projected order of finish. It takes into account where a player is actually going so that you can maximize the value of each pick. If I’m unusually high on a player, it doesn’t mean you need to reach four rounds early for him. You would be wasting a big part of why I like him and passing up an opportunity for a better all-around team.

Of course, for me it means constantly recalibrating my rankings throughout draft prep season, tweaking them if I find myself drafting a player I don’t like too often or a player I do like too little, but all the mock drafts help. And in the end, it offers a more complete picture for those who go into a draft equipped with only my rankings.

I used to think everybody did rankings this way. I’ve since learned otherwise, which is why I find it necessary to disclose this philosophy prior to an exercise such as this one.

Now … let’s look at what Frank has, specifically with regard to Rotisserie leagues. (I may do Head-to-Head points at a later date.)

Catcher

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

J.T. Realmuto, PHI

J.T. Realmuto, PHI

2

Gary Sanchez, NYY

Gary Sanchez, NYY

3

Willson Contreras, CHC

Yasmani Grandal, CHW

4

Yasmani Grandal, CHW

Mitch Garver, MIN

5

Mitch Garver, MIN

Salvador Perez, KC

6

Will Smith, LAD

Willson Contreras, CHC

7

Salvador Perez, KC

Will Smith, LAD

8

Carson Kelly, ARI

Wilson Ramos, NYM

9

Wilson Ramos, NYM

Omar Narvaez, MIL

10

Christian Vazquez, BOS

Carson Kelly, ARI

11

Omar Narvaez, MIL

Yadier Molina, STL

12

Sean Murphy, OAK

Sean Murphy, OAK

13

Tom Murphy, SEA

Jorge Alfaro, MIA

14

Yadier Molina, STL

Christian Vazquez, BOS

15

Francisco Mejia, SD

Buster Posey, SF

We begin on the milder side, with more agreement here than at most positions. Willson Contreras is a distinction worth noting, though, especially since Frank also ranks him behind Salvador Perez, who I consider to be in a lower tier. And I guess it’s reasonable not to know what to do with Contreras, given that he’s a Statcast oddity, his weak contact and poor launch angle making him out to be more like a .250 hitter with modest power. But those tendencies have always been there for him, and only once (in 2018) did he fail to produce like one of the elites at the position. Besides, Frank appears to be the high guy on Omar Narvaez, who suffers from the same shortcomings.

I appreciate Frank’s willingness to rank Carson Kelly a couple spots lower than I do. To be honest, I’ve been unsure what to do with him. I like so much of what I see in his profile and would prefer to target upside at a position where misses are so common anyway. But I keep coming back to Kelly’s .203 batting average and .708 OPS against right-handed pitchers last year — and to his backup, the left handed-hitting Stephen Vogt.

First base

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Cody Bellinger, LAD

Cody Bellinger, LAD

2

Freddie Freeman, ATL

Freddie Freeman, ATL

3

Pete Alonso, NYM

Pete Alonso, NYM

4

Anthony Rizzo, CHC

Jose Abreu, CHW

5

DJ LeMahieu, NYY

DJ LeMahieu, NYY

6

Josh Bell, PIT

Matt Olson, OAK

7

Max Muncy, LAD

Anthony Rizzo, CHC

8

Matt Olson, OAK

Josh Bell, PIT

9

Paul Goldschmidt, STL

Max Muncy, LAD

10

Yasmani Grandal, CHW

Paul Goldschmidt, STL

11

Carlos Santana, CLE

Rhys Hoskins, PHI

12

Jose Abreu, CHW

Yasmani Grandal, CHW

13

Rhys Hoskins, PHI

Yuli Gurriel, HOU

14

Danny Santana, TEX

Carlos Santana, CLE

15

Yuli Gurriel, HOU

Edwin Encarnacion, CHW

Here’s another position where we’re not actually far apart, other than with Jose Abreu. And, you know … where Frank has him is fine. Abreu seems like a perfectly safe choice at a position with a number of questionables like Josh Bell, DJ LeMahieu and, yes, Paul Goldschmidt. 

Abreu is a better source of batting average than most people probably realize and is a safe bet to finish right around 30 homers and right around 100 RBI (presuming a full season, that is). The problem is that he actually led the AL with 123 RBI last year, which is unlikely to happen again for the simple reason that there are better hitters than him in better lineups than his, and yet even with that unusually high RBI total, he was only the No. 8 first baseman in this format this year. 

So I question whether Abreu genuinely has the upside to rank fourth among this first base crop, even if he’s less likely than others to go bust.

Second base

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Ketel Marte, ARI

Ozzie Albies, ATL

2

Jose Altuve, HOU

Ketel Marte, ARI

3

Gleyber Torres, NYY

Gleyber Torres, NYY

4

Ozzie Albies, ATL

Jose Altuve, HOU

5

Whit Merrifield, KC

Keston Hiura, MIL

6

Jonathan Villar, MIA

Jonathan Villar, MIA

7

Keston Hiura, MIL

DJ LeMahieu, NYY

8

DJ LeMaheiu, NYY

Whit Merrifield, KC

9

Max Muncy, LAD

Mike Moustakas, CIN

10

Jeff McNeil, NYM

Jeff McNeil, NYM

11

Mike Moustakas, CIN

Max Muncy, LAD

12

Eduardo Escobar, ARI

Cavan Biggio, TOR

13

Cavan Biggio, TOR

Gavin Lux, LAD

14

Tommy Edman, STL

Tommy Edman, STL

15

Gavin Lux, LAD

Eduardo Escobar, ARI

Didn’t I say Frank takes bigger swings than me? Because like with Abreu at first base, he seems to be making the abundance-of-caution play with Ozzie Albies at No. 1. Ketel Marte and Jose Altuve have both shown themselves to have more upside, but of course, the former came out of nowhere and the latter is showing early signs of decline. 

Then again, Frank is taking the bolder stance with Keston Hiura, who’s kind of the darling pick among Fantasy analysts at this position. He did, after all, have 38 homers and 16 steals between the majors and minors last year, and to be honest, I’d like to rank him ahead of Jonathan Villar. But the steals scarcity forces us to behave in irrational ways, and Villar’s capacity for 40-plus steals makes this place in my rankings one where I’ve chosen to bite the bullet.

I guess I’m also playing the chicken by ranking Whit Merrifield ahead of Hiura. He has been a worthy contributor for three years in a row now, but of course saw his steals take a hit last season, dropping from 45 to 20. He isn’t strictly a one-trick pony, being among the safer sources for batting average as well, but he’ll probably need to come closer to 30 steals to live up this ADP. And even if he does, Hiura could still soar past him.

Third base

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Alex Bregman, HOU

Jose Ramirez, CLE

2

Nolan Arenado, COL

Nolan Arenado, COL

3

Jose Ramirez, CLE

Alex Bregman, HOU

4

Anthony Rendon, WAS

Rafael Devers, BOS

5

Rafael Devers, BOS

Anthony Rendon, LAA

6

Kris Bryant, CHC

Yoan Moncada, CHW

7

DJ LeMaheiu, NYY

Manny Machado, SD

8

Max Muncy, LAD

Vladimir Guerrero, TOR

9

Eugenio Suarez, CIN

DJ LeMahieu, NYY

10

Jeff McNeil, NYM

Josh Donaldson, MIN

11

Yoan Moncada, CHW

Eugenio Suarez, CIN

12

Manny Machado, SD

Matt Chapman, OAK

13

Vladimir Guerrero, TOR

Mike Moustakas, CIN

14

Matt Chapman, OAK

Jeff McNeil, NYM

15

Josh Donaldson, MIN

Kris Bryant, CHC

All right, here’s where things take a turn for the wild. And it’s not a surprise given all the things I’ve said about third base already. There are so many high-end bats at this position that it’s basically a matter of preference after the top five — and as you can see, there’s room for disagreement even within that group. 

Three names in particular stand out here: Kris Bryant, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson. Bryant has sputtered in recent years but certainly hasn’t collapsed. It’s just that while the league’s power production as a whole has improved, his has remained fairly stagnant, pushing him out of the elite and into the also-rans at the position. Does he deserve preferential treatment among them, as my rankings contend? Well, the track record is certainly strong, but I don’t see him as much of an upside play anymore, which makes him not exactly a top priority for me.

But Frank has him so low that I’m honestly wondering what’s up. I mean, Josh Donaldson ahead of him? Sure, it’s plausible. Donaldson beat out Bryant this past year, after all, but only slightly and only because he managed to stay healthy for first time in three years. Which of those two track records are you betting against?

So why don’t I favor Machado like I do Bryant? He was measurably worse than Bryant last year — and in a way that I think is explained by the change in venue if you look at his road numbers from his time with the Orioles, who play in a hitter-friendly park.  

Shortstop

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Trea Turner, WAS

Francisco Lindor, CLE

2

Alex Bregman, HOU

Trevor Story, COL

3

Francisco Lindor, CLE

Trea Turner, WAS

4

Trevor Story, COL

Alex Bregman, HOU

5

Fernando Tatis, SD

Fernando Tatis, SD

6

Xander Bogaerts, BOS

Javier Baez, CHC

7

Gleyber Torres, NYY

Glayber Torres, NYY

8

Jonathan Villar, MIA

Xander Bogaerts, BOS

9

Adalberto Mondesi, KC

Adalberto Mondesi, KC

10

Marcus Semien, OAK

Jonathan Villar, MIA

11

Bo Bichette, TOR

Manny Machado, SD

12

Carlos Correa, HOU

Tim Anderson, CHW

13

Javier Baez, CHC

Bo Bichette, TOR

14

Manny Machado, SD

Marcus Semien, OAK

15

Tim Anderson, CHW

Carlos Correa, HOU

Shortstop, like third base, is star-studded enough that personal preference has to play a role.

Trea Turner at No. 1 is another one of those concessions I’ve made for the sake of stolen bases. Yes, Frank’s top two choices, Francisco Lindor and Trevor Story, are likely to provide about 20 of their own, but that’s still a far cry from Turner’s projected output. And Turner’s value to the Nationals actually depends on him stealing those stolen bases while it’s more of a bonus for Lindor and Story, making them more likely to drop off at a time when stolen bases are falling out of style. Frankly, I’m not so sure that Alex Bregman, once a 17-steal guy himself, doesn’t surpass them now that Dusty Baker is his manager.

Frank is closer to the consensus on Javier Baez, and I guess the thinking there is that some steals are better than none. But Baez was only 11 for 18 in that department last year and is still walking a fine line as a hitter, relying on both an outlier BABIP and home run-to-fly ball rate. I’m accounting a little more for the downside, I’d say.

Outfield

Top 15

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Ronald Acuna, ATL

Ronald Acuna, ATL

2

Mike Trout, LAA

Mike Trout, LAA

3

Christian Yelich, MIA

Christian Yelich, MIL

4

Cody Bellinger, LAD

Cody Bellinger, LAD

5

Mookie Betts, LAD

Mookie Betts, LAD

6

Juan Soto, WAS

Juan Soto, WAS

7

J.D. Martinez, BOS

J.D. Martinez, BOS

8

Ketel Marte, ARI

Bryce Harper, PHI

9

Charlie Blackmon, COL

Starling Marte, ARI

10

George Springer, HOU

Austin Meadows, TB

11

Starling Marte, ARI

Charlie Blackmon, COL

12

Bryce Harper, PHI

George Springer, HOU

13

Aaron Judge, NYY

Ketel Marte, ARI

14

Whit Merrifield, KC

Eloy Jimenez, CHW

15

Kris Bryant, CHC

Aaron Judge, NYY

After those last two positions, going 7 for 7 at the top here is downright refreshing. Things get a little weird thereafter, though. Bryce Harper I guess gets the stolen base bump from Frank given that he quietly delivered 15 of those last year, but I suspect the gap in batting average will tip the scales back in Charlie Blackmon’s favor, especially since he’s no stranger to double-digit steals himself.

I can’t hate on Frank’s ranking of Austin Meadows. He’s 16th for me, so it’s not as far off as your imagination might lead you to believe. And I think in terms of upside, it’s clear he could rank that high. I just have more questions about the path he took to get here while players like Blackmon and George Springer have been fixtures in this range for a long time.

Eloy Jimenez is the one who really sticks in my craw, though it’s again worth pointing out that Frank is closer to the consensus, where Jimenez ranks 18th overall. He was 41st in this format last year, though. Maybe the final six weeks, when he hit .325 (52 for 160) with 12 homers and a .992 OPS, really is the new standard for him — he has the pedigree for it, after all — but that’s a big leap to make given the caliber of player you’d be passing up. Speculative plays like that I prefer to take at a discount, not a markup.

Next 15

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

16

Austin Meadows, TB

Victor Robles, WAS

17

Joey Gallo, TEX

Ramon Laureano, OAK

18

Jorge Soler, KC

Tommy Pham, SD

19

Giancarlo Stanton, NYY

Jorge Soler, KC

20

Victor Robles, WAS

Eddie Rosario, MIN

21

Jeff McNeil, NYM

Marcell Ozuna, ATL

22

Tommy Pham, SD

Luis Robert, CHW

23

Nick Castellanos, CIN

Whit Merrifield, KC

24

Michael Brantley, HOU

Jeff McNeil, NYM

25

Max Kepler, MIN

Kris Bryant, CHC

26

Eddie Rosario, MIN

Nick Castellanos, CIN

27

Marcell Ozuna, ATL

Michael Brantley, HOU

28

Eloy Jimenez, CHW

Giancarlo Stanton, NYY

29

Luis Robert, CHW

Joey Gallo, TEX

30

Michael Conforto, NYM

Franmil Reyes, CLE

I don’t believe it. We’ve found someone who’s more dismissive of Giancarlo Stanton than I am. Dropping him behind Michael Brantley is a new manner of bold.

I think Frank is stating pretty clearly that in this format he’s just not interested in making a big investment in power. You may have noticed he had little love for Max Muncy. The Joey Gallo markdown is further evidence, though Frank certainly wouldn’t be alone in suspecting that Gallo’s flirtation with a respectable batting average last year (in spite of a career worst strikeout rate) was too good to believe. Gallo has become much more of a line-drive hitter over the past year and a half, though, so maybe the .368 BABIP isn’t so wildly off base.

Frank has already pointed out on the podcast that Ramon Laureano, who I rank 31st at the position, is one of his favorites, and he seems like a safe bet for 25 homers and 15 steals with a respectable batting average. But I’m more excited about the prospect of some of these others, like Nick Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna, meeting their upside.

Starting pitcher

Top 15

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Gerrit Cole, NYY

Jacob deGrom, NYM

2

Jacob deGrom, NYM

Gerrit Cole, NYY

3

Max Scherzer, WAS

Walker Buehler, LAD

4

Justin Verlander, HOU

Max Scherzer, WAS

5

Walker Buehler, LAD

Justin Verlander, HOU

6

Shane Bieber, CLE

Mike Clevinger, CLE

7

Jack Flaherty, STL

Shane Bieber, CLE

8

Mike Clevinger, CLE

Stephen Strasburg, WAS

9

Stephen Strasburg, WAS

Jack Flaherty, STL

10

Patrick Corbin, WAS

Charlie Morton, TB

11

Lucas Giolito, CHW

Lucas Giolito, CHW

12

Luis Castillo, CIN

Patrick Corbin, WAS

13

Clayton Kershaw, LAD

Clayton Kershaw, LAD

14

Aaron Nola, PHI

Luis Castillo, CIN

15

Blake Snell, TB

Chris Paddack, SD

Starting pitcher begins harmoniously enough. I still don’t totally understand the case for Jacob deGrom over Gerrit Cole, even if just for the strikeout disparity, but Frank isn’t alone in that thinking. Walker Buehler over Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander is an unconventional choice, but it’s hard to fault anyone for discounting two guys on the wrong side of 35. I certainly struggled with the age question there.

That brings us to Charlie Morton. He’s also on the wrong side of 35. I love the ratios and believe he’s legit, but his 194 2/3 innings last year represented the first time he reached even 180. Is he durable enough to hang with the aces? What’s the downside at his age? These are the questions that compelled me to drop him to 17th in my rankings.

Next 15 

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

16

Zack Greinke, HOU

Yu Darvish, CHC

17

Charlie Morton, TB

Aaron Nola, PHI

18

Tyler Glasnow, TB

Blake Snell, TB

19

Chris Paddack, SD

Zack Greinke, HOU

20

Yu Darvish, CHC

Tyler Glasnow, TB

21

Sonny Gray, CIN

Brandon Woodruff, MIL

22

Trevor Bauer, CIN

Jose Berrios, MIN

23

Brandon Woodruff, MIL

Sonny Gray, CIN

24

Mike Soroka, ATL

Frankie Montas, OAK

25

Jose Berrios, MIN

Max Fried, ATL

26

Corey Kluber, TEX

Zac Gallen, ARI

27

Frankie Montas, OAK

Dinelson Lamet, SD

28

Lance Lynn, TEX

Mike Soroka, ATL

29

Carlos Carrasco, CLE

Zack Wheeler, PHI

30

James Paxton, NYY

Matthew Boyd, DET

So I have Trevor Bauer 22nd, and Frank has him … 33rd. I have Corey Kluber 26th, and Frank has him … 34th. I have Lance Lynn 28th, and Frank has him … 37th. There’s an optimistic way and a pessimistic way of looking at those three pitchers, and it seems like Frank and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

I struggle with Bauer because the track record is, by and large, underwhelming, but I do think, just breaking down the numbers, that what he needs to do to get back to being the Cy Young contender he was in 2018, when he had a 2.21 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, is fairly small. He got away from the curveball-heavy approach that allowed him to break out in the second half of 2017, which caused him to put the ball in the air more, and it’s the home runs that killed him. The strikeouts were still there — his 253 ranked fifth in all the majors — which means the upside is, too. There’s obviously some danger in taking him, though.

Lynn, meanwhile, ranked seventh in strikeouts and had a 3.24 ERA from April 28 on. He was consistently dominant in a year few pitchers were, but you don’t see many pitchers break out like that after age 30. The skepticism is understandable, but I’m willing to look past it because I feel like the remaining pitchers are just as risky.

So what about Corey Kluber? Well, I’m wary of him, too. He missed almost a full year at an age where the aging process can happen suddenly. I don’t think we should assume his 5.80 ERA in seven April starts last year was the start of it, though. The sample size is too small, and the list of aces who similarly struggled that particular month is a long one.

Next 15

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

31

Zack Wheeler, PHI

Julio Urias, LAD

32

Zac Gallen, ARI

James Paxton, NYY

33

Hyun-Jin Ryu, TOR

Trevor Bauer, CIN

34

Madison Bumgarner, ARI

Corey Kluber, TEX

35

Shohei Ohtani, LAA

Shohei Ohtani, LAA

36

Julio Urias, LAD

Carlos Carrasco, CLE

37

Max Fried, ATL

Lance Lynn, TEX

38

Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS

Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS

39

Matthew Boyd, DET

David Price, LAD

40

Kyle Hendricks, CHC

Kenta Maeda, MIN

41

Mike Minor, TEX

Hyun-Jin Ryu, TOR

42

David Price, LAD

Madison Bumgarner, ARI

43

Luke Weaver, ARI

Kyle Hendricks, CHC

44

German Marquez, COL

Robbie Ray, ARI

45

Dinelson Lamet, SD

Joe Musgrove, PIT

What did Frank do with Max Fried? Matthew Boyd? Dinelson Lamet? Oh, they were in the last group, checking in at 25th, 27th and 30th. I actually have both Fried and Lamet in my breakouts column, so this looks like another instance of Frank leaning even further into ideas I also subscribe to.

How do I explain the difference, then? I’ve made a rule in this age of specialization and prolific power hitting not to count on a pitcher to do anything he hasn’t done before, and we’re still in the count-on-it phase of the draft here — or at least through the top 30, we are. Fried and Lamet have both only shown themselves to be two-pitch pitchers. Maybe Fried doesn’t make any progress with the changeup and gets hit even harder by right-handed batters. Maybe Lamet’s slider isn’t enough to baffle hitters a third time through the lineup. And going beyond even questions of effectiveness, neither have the workload assurances Bauer or Lynn do.

As for Boyd, yeah, I could see him going either way. He showed prolific strikeout ability last year but also an extreme vulnerability to the long ball, and together, they played out in both the best (first two months) and worst (last four months) possible way. Still, the net result was an ugly 4.56 ERA, and since the Tigers aren’t offering much in the way of support, he has a thin margin for error to begin with. 

Relief pitcher

 

Scott White

Frank Stampfl

1

Josh Hader, MIL

Josh Hader, MIL

2

Kirby Yates, SD

Kirby Yates, SD

3

Roberto Osuna, HOU

Aroldis Chapman, NYY

4

Aroldis Chapman, NYY

Roberto Osuna, HOU

5

Carlos Carrasco, CLE

Jesus Luzardo, OAK

6

Brad Hand, CLE

Ken Giles, TOR

7

Kenley Jansen, LAD

Brad Hand, CLE

8

Liam Hendriks, OAK

Taylor Rogers, MIN

9

Taylor Rogers, MIN

Edwin Diaz, NYM

10

Jesus Luzardo, OAK

Julio Urias, LAD

11

Julio Urias, LAD

Craig Kimbrel, CHC

12

Craig Kimbrel, CHC

Carlos Carrasco, CLE

13

Nick Anderson, TB

Raisel Iglesias, CIN

14

Edwin Diaz, NYM

Liam Hendriks, OAK

15

Ken Giles, TOR

Kenley Jansen, LAD

I won’t get too nitpicky about where we have the relief pitcher-eligible starting pitchers (guys like Carlos Carrasco and Jesus Luzardo) because they’re always difficult to place. That’s especially true in this format where starters and relievers are typically merged into one all-inclusive “pitcher” position anyway. 

How do I feel about Ken Giles relative to Kenley Jansen? Well, closer to the way Frank ranks them — I’ll tell you that. Giles doesn’t have the most stable track record, but track record only goes so far with closers. The guy had a 1.87 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 14.1 K/9 last year, so I’m not entirely sure why he’s so heavily discounted. I want to take advantage of the discount, and my rankings haven’t prevented me from doing so. I could, meanwhile, be talked into moving Jansen down given they way his numbers have been trending, but the Dodgers offer their closer so many save chances and there was that talk of him upping his velocity this spring.

I find it interesting that Frank has Nick Anderson so far behind Edwin Diaz, slotting him 20th, while I have them back to back. The risk-reward seems similar for both, but I have fewer concerns about Anderson performing poorly and having absolutely no value, if even just for ratios. If, however, you’re convinced that the Rays will continue with their by-committee approach to the closer role, never allowing Anderson to break free, it limits his upside to something closer to where Frank has him.





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