2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Analysis 181-190: The case for and 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 haven’t been 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. 181 through 190 here. 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. 181-190

The Case For: For the first time since 2013, Cain failed to hit at least .287 last season, so if you’re the type who likes to bet on bounce backs, here’s a great one to target. Cain played through a thumb injury for much of the season and it seems to have primarily affected Cain’s two strongest traits as a Fantasy player: His batting average and baserunning. He was still one of the best defensive players in the game, so it doesn’t seem like he’s lost a step, meaning the thumb seems like a pretty good explanation. If Cain is healthy, expect him to return to hitting .300 and stealing 25-plus bases.       

The Case Against: Cain will turn 34 shortly after Opening Day, so a bounce back from the injury is no guarantee. He’s at that age where, even if he is ostensibly healthy, he might just struggle to live up to expectations. Cain has been a solid, consistent player for such a long time that it can feel like a bounce back is inevitable, but his game is so reliant on athleticism that there’s just no guarantee he does. If that’s the case, he’s a pretty replaceable player. –Chris Towers

The Case For: Tanaka was a victim of circumstance in 2019. The inconsistencies with the manufacturing of the baseballs MLB uses led to notably shorter seams on the ball, and Tanaka was one of several noteworthy pitchers to struggle to adapt to the new ball. His splitter lost much of its effectiveness, and he spent long stretches of the season trying out new grips to rediscover the pitch. He seemed to find something that worked in August, as he closed out the season’s final two months with a 3.75 ERA. If he can get back to that level again, Tanaka is going to be a great value.        

The Case Against: There’s no guarantee they change the ball back, so you can’t exactly expect a return to form for Tanaka. Even in those final two months, his strikeout rate was well below career norms, so he’d need to be better than that to have much appeal. It’s possible an offseason of work will yield better results than trying to change mid-stream, but you’d have to treat such a claim with considerable skepticism based on what we saw last season.  -Chris Towers

The Case For: Foltynewicz needed a trip back down to the minors mid-season to get right, but by the time he returned to the majors in August, he looked a lot more like the guy who broke out in 2018. In his final five starts of the regular season, Foltynewicz had a 1.50 ERA and struck out 24.2% of opposing batters, much better than what he did in the first three months before his demotion. An implosion in his final start of the postseason might be sticking in your mind, but Foltynewicz turned his season around enough to have some faith him being right for 2020.      

The Case Against: Here’s Foltynewicz’s ERA by season since he became a regular starter in the majors: 4.31, 4.79, 2.85, 4.54. 2018 sticks out like a sore thumb there, just like his September run sticks out like for 2019. At some point, don’t we have to accept that Foltynewicz is what he is? They’ve already shown a willingness to pull the plug if he struggles, and with a slew of top prospects sitting at Triple-A waiting for their opportunity, it might not take much for Foltynewicz to lose his job. –Chris Towers

The Case For: You might be stunned to see Dozier’s final triple-slash line: .279/.348/.522 in 586 plate appearances. That line is basically what Gleyber Torres did, albeit with fewer home runs and in a worse lineup. That’s not to say Dozier is on Torres level, but the underlying numbers backed up a lot of what Dozier did, so there could be a significant value available here.       

The Case Against: Dozier’s 2019 wasn’t just an outlier for his major-league career (though it was). It was also better than anything he has managed at any level since 2016. Maybe he’s a late bloomer, but Dozier had a sub-.770 OPS in three of six months, so it’s not like there’s any kind of guarantee this was for real. –Chris Towers

The Case For: You were paying attention last year, right? You saw what Urshela did taking over third base from an injured Miguel Andujar? The high batting average? The surprising power? The competent defense? Yeah? It should be obvious, then, what he can do for you. If we take his numbers from just his time as a starter, he averaged more Head-to-Head points per game than Mike Moustakas, and that was with more sporadic playing time to accommodate DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu should have a fixed position now with Gleyber Torres moving to shortstop, which should mean even more of Urshela. And with all those big bats ahead of him in the Yankees lineup, the RBI potential is scary.       

The Case Against: Ah, but won’t Andujar be back this year? Yes, but seeing as he was a disaster defensively at third base, his playing time figures to come more at first base, left field and DH, if he sticks around at all. Maybe Urshela regresses, though, opening the door for him to sit more. He did make a swing adjustment that improved his exit velocity and has always had the sort of line-drive profile and contact skills that would support a high batting average, but it all came together a little too easily for a two-time castoff. It’s a crowded corner infield picture in New York, no matter how you look at it, and while Urshela has the leg up for now, any letup could change things. -Scott White

The Case For: Something about stolen bases and upside. Not to be flippant, but it’s the same case we’ve been making for Buxton for about four years now. Maybe this is the year he finally stays on the field for long enough to put it all together. He did cut down significantly on both the strikeout and ground-ball rates for the time he was healthy last season, which are especially positive developments in the context of today’s game. He was on a near 20-20 pace before his season was uprooted by shoulder problems, and he might have led the league in doubles.       

The Case Against: Whatever momentum Buxton was building toward a breakout last year was halted by a shoulder injury that was eventually revealed to be a torn labrum, requiring surgery. So that’s a sizable wrench to throw into the machinery. If you’re keeping the faith, it’s still going to cost you a middle-round pick in Rotisserie leagues, where stolen bases are in such high demand, and the players you’d be passing up (guys like Willie Cahoun, J.D. Davis and Garrett Hampson) are pretty interesting in their own right. -Scott White

The Case For: For a three-year stretch beginning in 2016, Davis was one of the game’s premier power bats, averaging 44 homers and 112 RBI. His 2019 started much the same way, with 10 homers in his first 17 games. But then a hip injury in late May forced him to the IL, and while it didn’t sideline him for long, he clearly wasn’t the same thereafter, homering just 11 times (while batting .207 with a .616 OPS) over his final 90 games. If you buy into the theory that he was never right after hurting his hip, then you have to like the discount you’re seeing for a guy who was typically drafted in about the fourth round last year.       

The Case Against: Davis’ profile has always been built on one thing: home runs — like, a lot of them — because he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. Anything short of a full rebound, then, will make him a significant liability in batting average and a difficult fit as a DH-only player. He has enough believers that he’s not just free for the taking, and since there’s a chance it could be a wasted pick, you’ll have to weigh how desperate you are for home run production at that stage of the draft. -Scott White

The Case For: It wasn’t too long ago that Yankees fans were beating the drum for Andujar as Rookie of the Year over two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, and let’s not forget the 25-year-old hit .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBI that year. Expected back this year after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, he still offers a unique offensive profile that lends itself to a high batting average at a time when power production is so easy to come by. And particularly with the RBI potential that the Yankees lineup presents, it gives him a chance to make a considerable impact in three categories for the cost of a late-round pick.

The Case Against: Of course, the cost is a late-round pick because Andujar, lest you forget, is coming back from shoulder surgery, making a return to his prior production in no way a certainty. Gio Urshela may have upstaged Andujar in his absence, providing comparable numbers with far superior defense. DH isn’t an option with Giancarlo Stanton needing to play there much of the time, and the Yankees already have two pretty good first base options in Luke Voit and Mike Ford. Andujar has seen some time in left field this spring, which should help, but he’ll have competition there, too. -Scott White

The Case For: Rosario showed definite improvement as a hitter in his second full big-league season, demonstrating the potential to hit for batting average with a high contact rate and low fly-ball rate. His .291 xBA pretty much tells the story there, but considering Rosario leaned even harder into these tendencies in the second half, when he hit .319, it’s likely he’s only beginning to show his upside as a hitter at age 24. And, hey, he wasn’t a zero in home runs or stolen bases.       

The Case Against: Rosario may have figured out how to hit for batting average, but putting the ball on the ground more will work against his already limited power potential. And while he runs fast, he won’t run more unless he can figure out how to do it more successfully, having been caught stealing more than any other player last year. Shortstop is too deep for you to have to settle for mediocrity, and barring a transformation in his third season, that’s what Rosario is. -Scott White

The Case For: Upton has been a steady middle-of-the order bat for a decade now, reliably delivering 25-35 home runs with a batting average in the .250-.280 range. He has decent on-base skills, making runs just as much a part of his profile as RBI, and has been known to deliver double-digit steals from time to time. He has rarely performed up to the level of the game’s elites, which can cause him to slide in drafts, but he’s so bankable from year to year that you’ll never regret making him a part of your team.       

The Case Against: All of that would have been the perfect case to make for Upton prior to last year. Now, there’s reason to wonder what, if anything, he has left. Maybe it’s just that his 2019 was disrupted beyond the point of recovery by an early bout with turf toe, but for the 219 at-bats he was able to take the field, he made some of his weakest contact ever while striking out more than ever. There’s no salvation to be found in the Statcast data either, so an investment in Upton is simply about putting your faith in the track record. -Scott White

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.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *