2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Frank Stampfl’s favorite players at each position



KC


Kansas City

• #13

Age: 29

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

138

Roto

146

Roto (C)

7

H2H

161

H2H (C)

8

2019 Stats
AVG

0

HR

0

R

0

RBI

0

SB

0

SO

0

Salvador Perez is not going to walk, evidenced by his career .297 on-base percentage and 3.5% walk rate. What Perez lacks in patience, however, he makes up for in volume. From 2013-2018, Perez led all catchers with 3,100 at-bats. That’s what allows him to remain relevant in points leagues. Despite a low walk rate, Perez finished as a top-five catcher in that format in both 2017 and 2018. He’s also useful in Roto, posting four straight seasons of 21-plus home runs and a career .266 batting average from the catcher position. While he’s coming off Tommy John surgery, there’s talk he could earn playing time at first base in 2020, which only helps him stay on the field.


CHW


Chi. White Sox

• #79

Age: 33

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

44

Roto

100

Roto (1B)

12

H2H

107

H2H (1B)

13

2019 Stats
AVG

0.284

HR

33

R

85

RBI

123

SB

2

SO

152

Jose Abreu. Need I say more? If you were listening to our player debate on Fantasy Baseball Today, you’re already aware of my love for Abreu, but let me remind you. He’s as steady as they come. In six seasons, Abreu has batted .284 or higher in five, driven in 100-plus RBI in five and has hit 30-plus home runs in four of those. If you want to argue age, I’d advise against it. Just last season, Abreu posted career-highs in average exit velocity (92.1 MPH, 94th percentile) and barrel percentage (12.8%, 19th among qualified hitters). Admittedly, he’s better in roto than points leagues, although he’s not terrible. He’s been a top-12 first baseman in points in five of six seasons with his injury-riddled 2018 being the exception.


ATL


Atlanta

• #1

Age: 23

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

57

Roto

41

Roto (2B)

4

H2H

49

H2H (2B)

4

2019 Stats
AVG

0.295

HR

24

R

102

RBI

86

SB

15

SO

112

Not only has Ozzie Albies been one of the most dependable second basemen in his first two seasons, he’s improving! In both 2018 and 2019, Albies provided at least 24 home runs, 102 runs scored, 72 RBI, and 14 steals. He improved his batting average from .261 in his first full season to .295 in Year 2 thanks to upping his hard contact 8% and his line drive rate 4%. Albies has finished as a top five second baseman in both Roto and points in each of the past two seasons and, at the age of 23, is still getting better.


SD


San Diego

• #13

Age: 27

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

74

Roto

80

Roto (3B)

12

H2H

74

H2H (3B)

11

2019 Stats
AVG

0.256

HR

32

R

81

RBI

85

SB

5

SO

128

Somebody has to remind Scott White and Chris Towers of the greatness that is Manny Machado. You’re talking about one of the most dependable hitters in Fantasy, five straight seasons of 32-plus home runs and 156-plus games. He struggled his first season in San Diego, but there’s optimism for the bounce-back. On Aug. 8, Machado was hit by a pitch on his left arm. At that point in the season, he was batting .272/.340/.494 with 26 home runs, 65 runs and 69 RBI. Over his final 45 games, he hit just .217/.320/.382 with six home runs, 15 runs and 16 RBI. Also, prior to 2019, Machado finished as a top six third baseman in both Roto and points in each season from 2015-2018.


CHC


Chi. Cubs

• #9

Age: 27

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

33

Roto

69

Roto (SS)

13

H2H

84

H2H (SS)

12

2019 Stats
AVG

0.281

HR

29

R

89

RBI

85

SB

11

SO

156

After years of doubting Javier Baez because of his plate discipline, I’ve thrown in the towel. In fact, I’m one of his biggest advocates. Some players defy analytics with raw talent. Baez is one of those players (Fernando Tatis Jr. might be, too). Despite playing just 138 games, Baez still managed 29 home runs, 89 runs, 85 RBI and 11 steals. Over a 155-game pace, that equates to 32 home runs, 100 runs, 95 RBI and 12 steals. Since the start of 2018, Baez owns an .865 OPS, fourth highest among shortstops and more than Francisco Lindor (.863) and Gleyber Torres (.849). With all that being said, he’s a Roto-only target for me due to his poor plate discipline.


PHI


Philadelphia

• #33

Age: 27

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

28

Roto

37

Roto (OF)

12

H2H

48

H2H (OF)

13

2019 Stats
AVG

0.260

HR

35

R

98

RBI

114

SB

15

SO

178

Bryce Harper got off to a slow start in 2019, mostly due to strikeouts. Through his first 57 games, he batted just .248/.364/.481 with a 30% strikeout rate. Over his final 100 games, Harper struck out just 23.6% of the time and managed a .267/.377/.526 triple slash with 25 home runs, 65 runs, 73 RBI and 13 steals. If he can manage that pace over 155 games, you’re looking at 38 home runs, 100 runs, 113 RBI, and 20 steals. Harper is helpful in both formats given his plate discipline in points leagues and steals in Roto. Since 2012, Harper’s 14.7% walk rate ranks 11th among all hitters in baseball.


OAK


Oakland

• #22

Age: 25

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

179

Roto

120

Roto (OF)

31

H2H

131

H2H (OF)

30

2019 Stats
AVG

0.288

HR

24

R

79

RBI

67

SB

13

SO

123

There’s a decent chance Ramon Laureano can provide numbers similar to Austin Meadows in 2020, and Laureano is being drafted over 50 picks later. While it was just a 31-game sample size, Laureano batted .358 with a 1.090 OPS in the second half last season. During that time, he lowered his strikeout rate 5.4% and upped his walk rate 2.1%. Laureano wound up with 24 home runs and 13 steals in just 123 games last season. Even if you want to modestly project Laureano, you’re likely looking at 25 home runs and 15 steals in 2020. His .355 career OBP in the minors suggests he should be serviceable OF3 in points leagues, too.


CLE


Cleveland

• #32

Age: 24

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

184

Roto

165

Roto (OF)

44

H2H

211

H2H (OF)

47

2019 Stats
AVG

0.249

HR

37

R

69

RBI

81

SB

0

SO

156

Franmil Reyes is one of my breakout candidates, which means he makes the All-Star team. Reyes hit 37 home runs last season, and if he continues to raise his launch angle as he did in 2019, we could be looking at a 40-45 home-run hitter. The reason he generates so much power is because of the quality of contact he makes. His 93.3 MPH average exit velocity ranked fourth among qualified hitters last season behind only Aaron Judge, Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz. Reyes won’t fare as well in points leagues because he strikes out a decent bit, but if you need power on your Roto team, Reyes is a strong target.


OAK


Oakland

• #2

Age: 32

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

218

Roto

185

Roto (DH)

NR

H2H

200

H2H (DH)

NR

2019 Stats
AVG

0.220

HR

23

R

61

RBI

73

SB

0

SO

146

Speaking of power, how can we forget Mr. Consistency, Khris Davis? Oh, right. He wasn’t good in 2019. Well, it’s likely due to injury. On May 5 last season, Davis hurt his hip while crashing into a wall in foul territory. Before that injury, he was batting .229/.303/.481 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI. After that injury, Davis slugged just .351 with 13 home runs the rest of the way. I’d love Nelson Cruz as my utility bat, but if I miss out earlier in the draft, I don’t mind Davis almost 100 picks later. He’ll be a detriment to your batting average, but I think he’ll get back to hitting 35-plus home runs.


NYM


N.Y. Mets

• #48

Age: 31

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

6

Roto

11

Roto (SP)

2

H2H

8

H2H (SP)

2

2019 Stats
INN

204.0

W

11

K’s

255

ERA

2.43

WHIP

0.97

I have no problem taking Jacob deGrom in the first half of the first round in Fantasy, regardless of format. Over the past three seasons, deGrom owns a 2.53 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 763 strikeouts in 622.1 innings pitched. He’s also been incredibly durable, which is important when drafting a pitcher that early. He’s made over 30 starts with 200 innings pitched in each of the past three seasons as well. I realize I’m not going out on a limb naming deGrom as one of my All-Stars, but I just want you to know it’s alright to draft him as early as fourth overall. There are first-round caliber hitters available in Rounds 2 and 3.


TB


Tampa Bay

• #50

Age: 36

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

32

Roto

47

Roto (SP)

17

H2H

32

H2H (SP)

17

2019 Stats
INN

194.2

W

16

K’s

240

ERA

3.05

WHIP

1.08

If Charlie Morton were 26 years old rather than 36, he’d probably be a borderline first-round pick. Defy the ageism. If you had any concern that Morton was just a product of the Astros, he quickly shut that down in 2019 with the Rays. He was better than ever last season, posting a 3.05 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 240 strikeouts in 194.2 innings pitched. He managed to improve his swinging strike rate (12.9%) while posting a three-year best walk rate (2.64 BB/9). You love to see it. Grab one of the best curveballs in the game in Round 4 or 5 this season.


OAK


Oakland

• #47

Age: 27

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

95

Roto

97

Roto (SP)

27

H2H

72

H2H (SP)

27

2019 Stats
INN

96.0

W

9

K’s

103

ERA

2.63

WHIP

1.11

Frankie Montas finally put things together in 2019, and no, it was not because of PEDs. It was a new splitter that allowed Montas to take that next step. He threw the pitch 18% of the time, and it was the missing piece to his mid-90s fastball and above average slider. Montas posted a 2.63 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 16 starts in 2019, helped by a fantastic K:BB rate. His 20.3% K-BB% would have ranked 14th among qualified starting pitchers last season. Feel free to believe Montas’ breakout was due to PEDs while I laugh my way to Fantasy championships.


ATL


Atlanta

• #54

Age: 26

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

108

Roto

135

Roto (SP)

37

H2H

111

H2H (SP)

37

2019 Stats
INN

165.2

W

17

K’s

173

ERA

4.02

WHIP

1.33

Max Fried is another one of the popular breakout candidates for 2020, and rightfully so. While Fried’s 4.02 ERA from 2019 looks pedestrian, his 3.32 xFIP tells us he was unlucky in certain areas. Most notably, his 20.2% HR/FB ratio ranked second among all starting pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched last season. Fried does a lot of things well; he generates a ton of ground balls (54% GB rate), can rack up strikeouts (9.4 K/9), plus he made massive gains in his command (2.55 BB/9). During 2019 spring training, Freddie Freeman said Fried was the most talented pitching prospect on the team then. I believe him.


PIT


Pittsburgh

• #59

Age: 27

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

190

Roto

239

Roto (SP)

62

H2H

186

H2H (SP)

63

2019 Stats
INN

170.1

W

11

K’s

157

ERA

4.44

WHIP

1.22

I know it’s hard to keep the faith in Joe Musgrove if you’ve earned him before, but please give him one more chance. Many of the Pirates pitchers were held back by the previous regimes’ organizational philosophies. The previous pitching coach for the Pirates, Ray Searage, stressed a heavy fastball/sinker approach with no analytics to back it up. It’s a small sample size, but over Musgrove’s final four games last season he doubled his curveball usage and saw massive results. Musgrove’s got excellent command and if he continues to use his secondary pitches more, I believe the success will follow.


TOR


Toronto

• #51

Age: 29

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

92

Roto

153

Roto (RP)

15

H2H

154

H2H (RP)

17

2019 Stats
INN

53.0

S

23

K’s

83

ERA

1.87

WHIP

1.00

Ken Giles has been a knucklehead in his career but when his head is screwed on right, he can be one of the best relievers in baseball. We were reminded of that in 2019. He pitched to a 1.87 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with 83 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched for the Blue Jays last season. His 39.9% strikeout rate and 18.8% swinging strike rate both ranked fourth among qualified relievers. The Blue Jays still play in a tough division, so wins will be hard to come by. When they do, however, those games should be close and lead to save opportunities for Giles.


BOS


Boston

• #44

Age: 31

Fantasy Breakdown
ADP

145

Roto

158

Roto (RP)

19

H2H

165

H2H (RP)

19

2019 Stats
INN

71.2

S

16

K’s

104

ERA

1.88

WHIP

1.03

Brandon Workman broke out for the Red Sox last season with a 1.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 104 strikeouts over 71.2 innings pitched. While their bullpen was a mess for most of 2019, Workman provided stability with 11 saves over the final two months. He definitely has issues with walks (5.65) but there are reasons to believe he can rectify that. In his previous four seasons, he never posted higher than 3.72 BB/9. Matt Barnes is still on the Red Sox, but he was given his chance to close early in 2019 and he blew it.





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