Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2020: Top sleepers, breakouts, busts by model that nailed Bieber’s big season

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the “Arizona plan” is one way baseball could resume. The idea would be to have all 30 teams playing without fans at spring training facilities in Arizona while quarantining at hotels and undergoing regular coronavirus testing. That dynamic would create entirely new variables for owners as they attempt to identify potential 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts ahead of the upcoming season.

Paul Goldschmidt saw his numbers decline after moving from Arizona to St. Louis last season, so would a return to the desert boost his numbers and shoot him up the 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings? And would pitchers with elite carry on their fastballs like Lucas Giolito be more prone to home runs with the ball carrying further? 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: Cardinals reliever Giovanny Gallegos. The 28-year-old pitched sparingly for the Yankees and Cardinals in 2017 and 2018 before breaking out in 2019 with a 2.31 ERA over 74 innings out of St. Louis’ bullpen.

He sports a four-seam fastball in the mid-90s with a solid spin rate and a hard slider in the high-80s that generated an absurd 49.6 percent whiff rate in 2019. And after proving he had closer-level skills with 93 strikeouts last season, he was competing for the closing role before spring training shut down. That’s why the model ranks him ahead of closers like Kirby Yates and Brad Hand, who are being drafted at least three rounds earlier on average.

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball breakouts

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball breakouts to target: Rays left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The Rays paid a $2.4 million posting fee and then signed Tsutsugo to a two-year, $12 million contract to bring him over from Japan. Now, he’ll bring an advanced plate approach to the majors that should serve him well.

Tsutsugo hit 183 home runs over the last six seasons in Japan, and his walk rate was 13.8 percent or higher in his last four seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball. He should hit for power and get on base regularly for the Rays, a strong formula for keeping yourself in the lineup. That’s why the model ranks him ahead of players like Willie Calhoun, Tommy Pham and Ryan Braun, who are all left fielders being drafted at least three rounds earlier on average.

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball busts

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball busts the model is fading: Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish. After making just eight starts and posting a 4.95 ERA in his first season with the Cubs after signing a six-year, $126 million deal in 2018, Darvish bounced back slightly in 2019. He posted a 3.98 ERA while going 6-8 with 229 strikeouts in 178.2 innings. 

However, there were still plenty of red flags surrounding Darvish’s 2019 season. The 33-year-old gave up a league-leading 33 home runs, and despite consistent fastball velocity and spin rate over the last four seasons, his four-seamer was hammered (.594 opponent slugging percentage). That points to serious issues locating his fastball, while his average exit velocity was up nearly 2 mph as a result. That’s why the model ranks him behind hurlers like Dakota Hudson and Merrill Kelly, who are being drafted 10 rounds later 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. You can only see who it is here.

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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