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

It’s still anyone’s guess when the new MLB season will begin, but whenever baseball returns, there will be plenty of anxious owners sorting out the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. With rumors that the league may play all its games in Arizona without fans, how will that affect your 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings? Meanwhile, the extra time off is giving injured stars like Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger, Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and White Sox designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion time to heal.

Where should those typically productive players land among your 2020 Fantasy baseball picks, and how much caution should you take given the risk of re-injury? 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: Rangers designated hitter and utility man Nick Solak. The 23-year-old made his MLB debut last season and looked like a productive big league hitter. He slashed .293/.393/.491 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 135 plate appearances. And while he benefited from a .354 BABIP, it wasn’t a major departure from the BABIPs he had previously posted in the minors. 

In fact, after hitting 27 home runs in 476 plate appearances in Triple-A last season before his late call-up, there’s reason to believe Solak will show even more power as he continues to adjust to the Major League level. That’s why the model ranks him ahead of players like Yordan Alvarez, Shohei Ohtani and Miguel Cabrera despite the fact that Solak is going undrafted in most CBS Sports Fantasy baseball leagues.

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball breakouts

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball breakouts to target: Indians starting pitcher Aaron Civale. The 24-year-old has risen methodically through the Cleveland farm system since he was selected in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Last year, he quickly moved from Double-A to Triple-A and finally finished the season in the majors, where he posted a stellar 2.34 ERA over 10 starts.

Opposing hitters had an average exit velocity of just 85.5 mph, which was in the top one percent of all qualifying MLB pitchers in 2019. With all three of his off-speed offerings generating whiff rates of 28.6 percent or higher, he could improve on the 7.1 K/9 rate he posted last season. That’s why the model ranks him ahead of starting pitchers like David Price, Max Fried and Eduardo Rodriguez, who are all being drafted at least four rounds earlier on average.

Top 2020 Fantasy baseball busts

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball busts the model is fading: Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. After eight incredible seasons in Arizona, including six consecutive MLB All-Star appearances, he signed a five-year, $130 million contract to join St. Louis last offseason. However, the Cardinals didn’t quite get the superstar-caliber talent they paid for. Goldschmidt hit 34 home runs and drove in 97 while posting an .821 OPS, but it was a 109-point drop from his career OPS in Arizona. He also saw drops in stolen bases, batting average, walk rate and doubles, becoming a statistically average option at first base. 

Goldschmidt also saw his average exit velocity, barrel rate and launch angle drop, which could be signs of more permanent regression as he moved from a dry climate in Arizona to more unpredictable and less hitter-friendly weather in the Midwest. That’s why the model ranks Goldschmidt behind late-round first base options like Michael Chavis, Justin Smoak and Christian Walker despite a 2020 Fantasy baseball ADP of 87.41 overall.

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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