2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Analysis 101-110: The case for, against Draft Day targets

The 2020 Fantasy baseball draft prep season is here, and this year’s player pool might take some getting used to. Starting pitchers are going earlier than ever in early drafts, and stolen bases are more valuable than ever, which means if you aren’t paying attention, you could be surprised by how drafts are unfolding right now.

We’re here to help you get acclimated. We’ve got our position previews and tiers elsewhere, but if you really want to start your Fantasy baseball prep right, this is the place to begin: With our breakdown of the top-200 players for 2020, based on CBS Fantasy baseball expert Scott White’s rankings. Scott White and Chris Towers have broken down every player in the list, giving you the case for drafting them and the case against, so you can make up your own mind on whether you want them on your team.

We’re going through No. 101 through 110 here, beginning with a potential huge breakout bat at the top of the list. And you can find the rest right here: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100 | 101-110 | 111-120 | 121-130 | 131-140 | 141-150 | 151-160 | 161-170 | 171-180 | 181-190 | 191-200

The Case For/The Case Against

No. 101-110

The Case For: Staying relatively healthy and conflict-free in 2019, Sano positioned himself among the game’s elite power hitters, performing at a 50-homer pace. He was Aaron Judge’s co-outlier in both average exit velocity and hard-hit rate, and players like Judge and Joey Gallo have already proven that when you impact a baseball in that sort of superhuman way, you can overcome a 33 percent strikeout rate. Sano could produce similarly to those two at a fraction of the cost.      

The Case Against: Sano’s strikeout rate wasn’t just 33 percent. It was 36.2 percent, making him a whole new kind of vulnerable if he has bad home run luck. Giving away that many outs, a .247 batting average might be his ceiling, and again, that was with him performing at a 50-homer pace. I describe it terms of pace because, yeah, he still missed time, specifically the first six weeks of the season with a laceration on his heel. It was obviously a freak occurrence, but he doesn’t have a history of great decision-making either, which should lead you to wonder how much of him you’ll actually get from him. -Scott White

The Case For: Who wouldn’t take an easy 30-35 homers, especially from a second base-eligible player and especially in the middle stages of the draft, after the top 100 players have already gone off the board? Particularly with him headed to another hitter’s park and another deep lineup, you know what you’re getting with Moustakas, and what you’re getting is irrefutably good.      

The Case Against: But is it great? Well, maybe at the going rate, it doesn’t need to be, but just so we’re all on the same page, home runs and RBI are all you’re getting from him. The high fly-ball rate that makes all the home runs possible also limits his BABIP, making him a lackluster contributor in batting average, and he’s not great at getting on base in other ways. Yes, the overall production is good, but it’s also boring, and the risk-takers among us might set their sights higher. -Scott White

The Case For: Osuna is never going to be the best closer in Fantasy, but five years in, it’s pretty clear there might not be a higher floor at the position. His worst ERA in the majors? 3.38 in 2017. His worst WHIP? 0.974, also in 2017. He saved 39 games and had a career-best strikeout rate that season. Here’s one reliever you won’t have to worry about.      

The Case Against:
There really isn’t one, except that he just doesn’t put up quite the same run prevention and strikeout numbers as some of the elite options at the position are capable. However, after a year in which seemingly all of the “elite” options faltered, that’s hard to hold against Osuna, who will be just 25 this season. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Chapman isn’t quite the overwhelmingly dominant force he once was early in his career, but you don’t want to overstate how much he’s lost — he still had a 2.21 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 2019, even as he saw his strikeout rate dip by three per nine. He remains one of the elite closers in baseball, and nowadays you don’t even have to pay full price for him, because the price of all closers has gone down in 2020.       

The Case Against: The best case against Chapman is he’s no longer the outlier of all outliers among relievers when it comes to strikeouts and velocity — he hasn’t had 100 strikeouts in a season since 2015, and his WHIP is usually a bit higher than you’d want. Some durability issues have begun to creep in, too. He hasn’t thrown even 60 innings in a season since 2015. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Ozuna is a lot like Michael Conforto, except we’ve seen more upside and he’s in a better park. 2019 was a rough one in terms of his average, but Ozuna was still productive and, more importantly, hit the ball much better than his final numbers would indicate. He ranked in the 93rd percentile in average exit velocity and 96th percentile in hard-hit rate and had a batted-ball profile that suggests he probably should have hit closer to .280 or .290. With a bit better luck, Ozuna could have another elite season like the one we saw in 2017.      

The Case Against: Ozuna has underperformed his expected wOBA per Statcast data in all but one of his MLB seasons, so it’s hard to write it off as just bad luck or a fluke. There is something about his swing that doesn’t seem capable of maximizing his production. He’s also struggled to stay healthy at times, adding more concern for his profile. –Chris Towers

The Case For: If not for Vladimir Guerrero, Jimenez would have been the most hyped prospect in years coming into 2019. That he didn’t manage to live up to the hype despite hitting 31 homers in just 122 games tells you exactly how high expectations for Jimenez were and are. We saw a glimpse of the potential upside in the second half of the season, when he hit .292/.328/.542 with a 38-homer pace. Jimenez could be a legitimate four-category contribute as soon as 2020.      

The Case Against: The plate discipline is scary. Even in that great second half, he struck out 62 and walked just 11 times, so the bat really has to play up. That profile isn’t a death knell, but there aren’t many elite hitters in 2020 who walk that infrequently and strike out that much — Javier Baez is probably the closest example, and Jimenez doesn’t have the steal potential Baez does. Jimenez needs to improve to be worth his Draft Day cost, and there’s no guarantee he will.  -Chris Towers

The Case For: Let’s start with this: The White Sox know Robert better than anyone, and they gave the 22-year-old a $50 million contract with fewer than 50 games at Triple-A under his belt. Robert will be on the Opening Day roster, barring injury, and brings legitimate 30-homer, 30-steal potential to the table, along with a career .312 average in the minors. This a potential Fantasy superstar’s profile.       

The Case Against: Haven’t we learned from Vladimir Guerrero and Eloy Jimenez? Sometimes it takes time for even top prospects to adjust to the majors, and Robert comes to the majors with a long track record of injuries and a subpar approach at the plate — 23.4% strikeout rate, 5.1% walk rate between three levels in 2019. The power-speed potential is obviously enticing, but Robert is by no means a can’t-miss prospect. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Carrasco has been one of the steadiest starting pitchers in Fantasy since his breakthrough in 2014, consistently delivering big strikeout totals with an ERA between 3.25 and 3.50 and a WHIP south of 1.15. Last year was obviously an exception when he was diagnosed with leukemia at the end of May. He returned to pitch out of the bullpen in September, not having enough time to build up as a starter, and showed about the same velocity as before the leukemia diagnosis. Given his track record, the discount may be unwarranted.     

The Case Against: There’s simply no way of knowing the sort of toll that Carrasco’s leukemia battle took on him physically. Even if you want to point to his September velocity as a positive sign, endurance is arguably the bigger concern. His going rate, while discounted from the typical Carrasco season, still requires him to be more than Ross Stripling, but if he’s struggling to make it that third time through a lineup, he might be reduced to a similar role. The odds are already against hard-thrower maintaining his stuff deep into his 30s, and Carrasco will be 33 by opening day. -Scott White

The Case For: You don’t love the batting average, but Hoskins had been plenty productive in his career before 2019. Even if you take his whole career including 2019, his 162-game average has seen him hit 36 homers, score 95 runs and drive in 102. He’s still mostly just been a three-category contributor, but if he tightens up his launch angle, it’s possible Hoskins could be more like a .260 hitter.

The Case Against: There’s not much evidence to suggest better days are coming for Hoskins, unfortunately, apart from some work done to change his stance in the offseason. Based on Statcast batted-ball metrics, he might have been lucky to have as good a season as he did in 2019 — his expected batting average was .221 while his expected slugging percentage was .426, both below his already disappointing actual numbers. Hoskins’ swing was a mess last season, and there’s no telling if this offseason’s mechanical adjustments will be enough to turn it around. -Chris Towers

The Case For: Let’s take a moment here to fully appreciate what Escobar accomplished last year. His 35 home runs were tied for 23rd in the majors, up there with Bryce Harper and Trevor Story. His 118 RBI were tied with Nolan Arenado for fifth. He was the No. 4 player at second base – with only curious cases like Jonathan Villar, Ketel Marte and DJ LeMahieu ahead of him — and No.7 at the deepest position of all, third base. So why is he the one being sold at a discount, going right around 100th overall?      

The Case Against: What he did, all of it, was pretty fishy. The most obvious is that the sort of RBI total he delivered is normally reserved for some of the best all-around hitters in the game, but beyond that, dude makes some weak contact. He had a hard-hit rate like Daniel Descalso. He had an xwOBA like Marwin Gonzalez. He has proven twice over now that he’s more than just the utility infielder those two are, but his production in 2018, when he hit 23 homers with 84 RBI, is more in tune with reality. Besides, if you want proven 35-homer guy who won’t kill you in batting average and plays second base, you can take Mike Moustakas a few picks earlier. -Scott White

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