Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2020: Top sleepers, breakouts, busts by simulation that called Bieber’s big year

The new baseball season was supposed to be underway already, but the coronavirus pandemic has postponed the start of the year. However, MLB officials are still hopeful to get a partial season, which means you still have time for 2020 Fantasy baseball draft prep. Top-ranked starting pitchers like Mike Clevinger (knee) and James Paxton (back) were originally scheduled to miss the start of the season, but the extra time off means they could be healthy before play resumes.

Where should Clevinger and Paxton be in your 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings? And which 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts should you be on the lookout for in your drafts and on the waiver wire? 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: Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella. The 31-year-old spent four seasons with the Cubs as a utility man before finally breaking out with the Angels in 2019, hitting 16 home runs and driving in 44 with a .295/.346/.486 slash line on his way to an All-Star appearance. However, La Stella still has a 2020 Fantasy baseball ADP of 132.99 in CBS Sports Fantasy baseball leagues, which means he’s going in the 12th round on average in standard 12-team formats.

However, La Stella sported an improved average exit velocity (86.0 mph to 87.8 mph) and a dramatically-increased hard-hit contact rate (31.0 percent to 43.2 percent). Those strong numbers came despite a surprisingly low .282 BABIP. That’s why the model lists him as the No. 5 second baseman in its Fantasy baseball rankings 2020, ahead of players like Keston Hiura and Ozzie Albies, who are going 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: Padres outfielder Tommy Pham. The 32-year-old logged three strong years in a row while splitting time between the Cardinals and Rays, but now moves to a ballpark that has been stifling production for years. Petco Park was the third-most run-suppressing park in baseball last season, and we’ve seen proven offensive talents like Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado fail to come close to previous production in Southern California. 

To make matters worse, Pham saw dramatic drops in average exit velocity (92.8 mph to 90.8 mph), barrel rate (10.1 percent to 7.9 percent) and hard-hit contact rate (48.5 percent to 43.4 percent) from 2018 to 2019. That looks like the start of regression for Pham now that he’s firmly in his 30s, and Petco Park will only serve to exacerbate the issue in 2020. That’s why the model ranks Pham behind left fielders like Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Ian Happ and Tyler O’Neill, who are all being drafted at least eight rounds later.

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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