Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2020: Sleepers, breakouts, busts from unbiased model that called Bieber’s big year

MLB injury news continues to roll in as teams begin making final preparations for Opening Day on March 26. Among the most alarming developments of the past week is the health of Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who is dealing with a sore elbow. A career 3.03 ERA pitcher who ranked eighth in the American League in strikeouts (218) last season, Sale has already been placed on the Injured List, so where should he be in your 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings?

Sale is quickly falling down the 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings as a result, and Fantasy baseball players will be closely monitoring his situation in the coming days. Any 2020 Fantasy baseball picks dealing with injuries come with plenty of risk. Before you go on the clock in your drafts, be sure to check out the 2020 Fantasy baseball cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last season, SportsLine’s Projection Model identified several top Fantasy baseball breakouts, including Cleveland Indians All-Star starting pitcher Shane Bieber. The 24-year-old broke through with a 15-8 record, 3.28 ERA and 259 strikeouts over 214.1 innings to finish as the No. 5 starting pitcher in all of Fantasy baseball even though he was being drafted in the 15th round in standard 12-team leagues. 

The team at SportsLine was all over Bieber as a Fantasy breakout from the start. Their model had him listed much higher than expert consensus rankings, and anyone who listened to their advice was well positioned for a league title.

Their model is powered by the same people who powered projections for all three major Fantasy sites. And that same group is sharing its 2020 Fantasy Baseball rankings and cheat sheets over at SportsLine, helping you find Fantasy Baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts long before your competition. Their cheat sheets, available for leagues on many major sites, are updated multiple times every day. Any time an injury occurs or there’s a change on a depth chart, the team at SportsLine updates its Fantasy baseball cheat sheets.

When it came to ranking players in Fantasy football, SportsLine’s Projection Model beat human experts last season when there were big differences in ranking. And the model was the closest to the hole overall, meaning it best pinpointed where every player would finish each week. That could literally be the difference between winning your league or going home empty-handed.

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers the model is all over: Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak. The 33-year-old has shown plenty of power throughout his MLB career. However, last season, Fantasy owners were displeased by a .208 average that made taking advantage of that power nearly impossible. 

However, Smoak was the victim of a .223 BABIP that was 62 points lower than it had been in any of his previous three seasons and he actually cut his strikeout rate (26.3 to 21.0 percent) while improving his walk rate (14.0 to 15.8 percent) from 2018 to 2019. With better batted ball luck, Smoak’s average should jump back into a serviceable range. His 90.3 mph average exit velocity shows he still has a lively bat that could produce 30 home runs. That’s why the model ranks him ahead of first basemen like Luke Voit, Michael Chavis and Evan White, who are being drafted eight rounds earlier on average.

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball breakouts

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball breakouts to target: Brewers second baseman Eric Sogard. The veteran lefty played the first six years of his career with the Oakland Athletics and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after splitting time with the Blue Jays and Rays in 2019. He saw a major drop off in 2017 and 2018, but showed signs of turning it around in 2019, hitting a combined .290 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs with Toronto and Tampa Bay. 

SportsLine’s model sees him taking another step forward in 2020. Even though the latest 2020 Fantasy baseball ADP lists him going off the board well outside the top 300 overall, the model shows him being more productive than second basemen like Cesar Hernandez (ADP of 258.8), Robinson Cano (217.3) and even Ryan McMahon, who is being picked inside the top 200, making Sogard one of the top Fantasy baseball breakouts 2020 you should be all over. 

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball busts

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball busts the model is fading: Padres reliever Kirby Yates. The 32-year-old closer was dominant in 2019, posting a 1.19 ERA with 41 saves and 101 strikeouts in 60 innings. However, Yates benefited from a 4.8 percent HR/FB rate that was roughly one-third of his career average (14.2).

Some of that has to do with an elite splitter with added vertical and horizontal movement, but Yates still only ranks in the 51st percentile among pitchers for hard-hit contact rate (36.1). That’s why the model rates him behind pitchers like Giovanny Gallegos, Archie Bradley and Ian Kennedy, who are all being drafted at least five rounds later than Yates on average.

How to find proven 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings

SportsLine is also fading one of the top 10 catchers off the board, saying he doesn’t even crack the top 20 when the season is over. This pick could be the difference in winning your league or going home with nothing. 

So which 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target or fade in your drafts? Visit SportsLine now to get 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Shane Bieber’s All-Star season, and find out.  

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