2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Analysis 141-150: 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. 141 through 150 here, with lots of usable arms highlighting it. 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. 141-150

The Case For: Schwarber had a noteworthy 2019, quietly clearing some of the hurdles that had been holding him back, and now enters 2020 with the most momentum he’s had since he was first breaking into the league. He demonstrated he’s no longer such a liability against left-handed pitchers, producing a respectable .756 OPS against them, which should ensure him close to everyday at-bats. He also cut down significantly on his strikeout rate in the second half, when he hit .280 with a .997 OPS. His exit velocity was up, his hard-hit rate was among the top five in baseball, and he underperformed both his xBA (.267) and xwOBA (.375).      

The Case Against: Maybe Schwarber is genuinely improving as a hitter, but with most of the production being confined to the second half, it’s putting a lot of faith in a fairly small sample. The cost is reasonable enough considering, but you have to remember that even in a best-case scenario, he’s only helping in the most plentiful categories, offering little in the way of batting average and nothing in the way of stolen bases. -Scott White

The Case For: For much of 2019, Boyd looked like a breakthrough ace who had the simple misfortune of pitching for a miserable Tigers team, keeping his win-loss record on the wrong side of the ledger. He continued to up the usage of his slider, a swing-and-miss pitch that largely contributed to him having the eighth-best swinging strike rate in baseball — just ahead of Shane Bieber and Jack Flaherty — and he also had the eighth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio. While a late slump skewed his ERA, his 3.88 xFIP suggests better times are ahead, giving you one last chance to buy in at a discount.      

The Case Against: Was it a late slump or, ahem, the majority of his season? Over his first 14 starts, Boyd had a 3.08 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, but over his final 18, he had a 5.81 ERA and 1.39 WHIP, his HR/9 jumping from 1.06 to 2.59. It’s the home runs that promise to ruin him again. He’s just too vulnerable to fly balls, ranking second in that category at a time when seemingly any ball put in the air has a chance to sail over the fence. -Scott White

The Case For: Even as the league changes around him, Hendricks remains as steady as they come, delivering a third straight season with an ERA south of 3.50, a WHIP short of 1.20 and a K/9 rate shy of 8.0. It’s not an ace profile, which is fitting since he doesn’t have ace stuff, but he thrives in the same way Zack Greinke does: locating pitches and inducing weak contact. It’s an odd fit in today’s power-laden environment, but he has proven reliable enough with it.      

The Case Against: While Hendricks’ reliability makes him an obvious asset at a time when unreliable pitchers are getting straight-up shellacked, you have to be honest about what he’s giving you. Yes, he’ll have his share of six- and seven- inning starts, but the Cubs have always had a quick hook with him, limiting his win potential. And with the Cubs doing little to improve their lot this offseason, those wins may be harder to come by. You’re also settling for a substandard strikeout total with him, which you’ll need to rest of your pitching staff to make up for. -Scott White

The Case For: Long defined by his excellent slider, Minor’s 2019 mid-career breakout was fueled by the development of his changeup, which emerged for the first time as his go-to secondary pitch. He held opposing hitters to a .178 averaged and .265 slugging percentage on the pitch, the best results for any pitch in his arsenal by far. That helps explain why Minor was so much better in 2019 without a huge increase in strikeout rate and even a slight increase in walk rate — he was simply much better at limiting damage on contact. Even in this environment, it’s not all about strikeouts.

The Case Against: As good as Minor was at limiting damage on contact in 2019, he was that bad in 2018, which doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence. And he’ll need to be that good to continue to thrive, because the peripherals sure don’t back up what he did; his 4.25 FIP was only slightly better than 2018’s mark, while his SIERA and xFIP were both worse. We could see a big step back in 2020. –Chris Towers

The Case For: It was a tough season for Price, but there were actually some real reasons for optimism in the veteran’s profile. His strikeout rate spiked to a career-high 28.0%, and he did it without issuing any more walks than usual or sacrificing ground balls. It all added up to a 3.62 FIP and 3.73 xFIP, his best marks since 2016. There is still life in this arm yet, and pitching in the NL could help him get the most out of it.      

The Case Against: For the second time in three years, Price couldn’t make it through the full season, this time with a cyst on his wrist that ultimately required surgery. While that shouldn’t be an issue that lingers into 2020, he’s still an older pitcher who has struggled to stay on the mound, and that’s not a trend that usually reverses itself. The Dodgers aren’t shy about moving pitchers in and out of the rotation either. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Before the injury that cost him all of 2019, Perez was about as reliable a source of power as you could find at catcher, and that was before the juiced ball sent his home run numbers skyward. He hit at least 20 in four straight seasons, including back to back years of 27 homers in 2017 and 2018.       

The Case Against: Perez will turn 30 this year and has caught a ton of innings — he played at least 129 games in each season between 2013 and 2018 — and now he’s coming back from Tommy John surgery. Obviously, that isn’t as tough a task for a hitter as a pitcher, but a big part of Perez’s value in the past came from volume. If he isn’t going to play as much, he might be a pretty marginal option, even at catcher. –Chris Towers

The Case For: You’d like to see a bigger sample of success, but what Weaver did in 2019 was very impressive. He reworked some of his pitches in the offseason and came back throwing his cutter more than ever. Each of his pitches played better in 2019 than ever before, and it gave him a deep and varied arsenal to keep hitters off balance. Sure, he only threw 64.1 innings, but the improvements looked real, and the cost is pretty cheap.

The Case Against: Weaver pitched just two innings after coming back from the elbow injury that cost him most of the season, so we just don’t know how he’s going to look. Obviously, there is plenty of risk in his profile, both performance-related and health-related, and though he did get more strikeouts with his arsenal changes last season, he also got hit pretty hard when batters did make contact. He’ll need to sustain those strikeouts to be successful. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Marquez was being overvalued last season, and now he might be being overlooked. He finished as the No. 51 SP last season and has an ADP of 49 at the position, which seems about right, except that 2019 is probably closer to Marquez’s floor than his baseline. Even if you don’t buy that Marquez has ace upside pitching half the time in Coors Field — and he probably doesn’t — he has a 4.23 ERA and 1.203 WHIP over the past two seasons. The ERA will probably not be helpful, but Marquez will give you plenty of strikeouts and a better WHIP and win potential than most pitchers in the 4.00 ERA range. He’s a nice value.       

The Case Against: There is probably pretty limited upside for Marquez in Colorado, and we saw how slim the margin for error was for him in 2019. While his floor is pretty high, there are probably other pitchers in this range with a better chance to put together a truly great season if a few things break right. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Lamet came back from missing a full season recovering from Tommy John surgery and looked better than ever. He was throwing his fastball a full mph faster than prior to the injury and racked up a massive 14.0.% swinging strike rate and 33.6% strikeout rate. It was only 73 innings, but they were 73 incredibly impressive innings, and you usually can’t find this kind of upside at pitcher this late.       

The Case Against: Lamet is strictly a two-pitch pitcher, and he has always given up a ton of fly balls. The strikeouts can mitigate the risk of that somewhat, but he’s going to struggle to pitch deep into games without a reliable third pitch to give hitters another look, and he might always disappoint as a result. There’s upside here, sure, but the floor could be quite low. –Chris Towers

The Case For: We only saw Manaea for 29.2 innings, but they might have been the most impressive of his career. He struck out 27.6% of opposing batters, well up from his 16.5% rate in 2018, and he did better than ever at limiting damage when batters did make contact. It’s a tiny sample size, but Manaea’s increased confidence in his slider means it may not have been unsustainable.      

The Case Against: It’s not even 30 innings, for a pitcher who was largely written off as mediocre prior to 2019. He has one of the slowest fastballs in the league and still allowed a robust 37.1% hard-hit rate, so it’s not like he was Kyle Hendricks there either. The small sample size could have been a real signal that Manaea has taken a big step forward, but the more likely outcome is that Manaea is the guy the Fantasy community was so unimpressed with prior to 2019. –Chris Towers

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda’s huge breakout last season, and find out.

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