Relief Pitcher Rankings for 2020 (Fantasy Baseball)

I’m saving the best for last with my positional rankings with RELIEF PITCHERS! That was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch on. Ranking closers and relief pitchers is a difficult task and extremely frustrating. Spring training is ongoing but several teams are still without a set closer and may not ever actually name a single closer. For fantasy owners, the dreaded closer-by-committee is the worst phrase that could come out of a manager’s mouth. Personally, I’d like to see more leagues transition over the saves plus holds in place of just saves. I’m in one league where we made the change and here’s hoping for more, but I digress.

With closers, I look for three things.

  1. Have they been named the closer and how safe is their job?
  2. Do they have a high-end velocity fastball? Typically, that means 95+ mph
  3. Do they have one dominant secondary offering that can generate a ton of whiffs?

If I made tiers, Josh Hader would be in a class by himself. He can strike out more batter than some starters and he’s cut his walk rate each of the last three seasons. His home run rate spiked but I believe that’ll come back down to earth. He should be good for a sub-2.50 ERA, a 0.9 WHIP and 130+ strikeouts. The rest of the top 12 or so in my rankings pretty much answer YES to all of the questions above. As you fall further in the rankings, you’ll find that these pitchers satisfy only two of the three questions above and so on and so forth. As always, I’m ranking based on 5×5 roto scoring. Keep track on news from team camps if a closer hasn’t been named yet and check out Jeff Zimmerman’s velocity updates over at FanGraphs. 

Relief Pitcher Rankings for 2020 - Top 60

RP RankPlayerTeamPOS
1Josh HaderMILRP
2Aroldis ChapmanNYYRP
3Kirby YatesSDPRP
4Liam HendricksOAKRP
5Taylor RodgersMINRP
6Roberto OsunaHOURP
7Kenly JansenLADRP
8Edwin DiazNYMRP
9Ken GilesTORRP
10Brad HandCLERP
11Hector NerisPHIRP
12Raisel IglesiasCINRP
13Craig KimbrelCHCRP
14Hansel RoblesLAARP
15Alex ColomeCWSRP
16Jose LeclercTEXRP
17Brandon WorkmanBOSRP
18Nick AndersonTBRRP
19Sean DoolittleWSHRP
20Carlos MartinezSTLSP,RP
21Archie BraldeyARIRP
22Mark MelanconATLRP
23Ian KennedyKCRP
24Will SmithATLRP
25Josh JamesHOUSP,RP
26Joe JimenezDETRP
27Keone KelaPITRP
28Gioavanni GallegosSTLRP
29Ross StriplingLADSP,RP
30Emilio PaganSDPRP
31Ryan YarbroughTBSP,RP
32Matt BarnesBOSRP
33Mychal GivensBALRP
34Ryan PresslyHOURP
35Dellin BetancesNYMRP
36Diego CastilloTBRRP
37Brandon KintzlerMIARP
38Matt MagillSEARP
39Tony WatsonSFGRP
40Corbin BurnesMILRP
41Daniel HudsonWASRP
42Scott ObergCOLRP
43Seth LugoNYMRP
44Emmanuel ClaseCLERP
45Andrew MillerSTLRP
46Wade DavisCOLRP
47Drew PomeranzSDPSP,RP
48Ryne StanekMIARP
49Blake TreinenLADRP
50Tyler DuffeyMINRP
51Michael LorenzenCINRP
52Chad GreenNYYRP
53Jose AlvaradoTBRRP
54Kyle CrickPITRP
55Aaron BummerCHWRP
56Matt StrahmSDPRP
57James KarinchakCLERP
58Brad PeacockHOUSP,RP
59Andres MunozSDPRP
60Jimmy NelsonLADSP,RP

I’m starting to warm up to Kenly Jansen rising once again. I was skeptical after a sub-standard 2019 from Jansen but throwing more sliders could help. He also worked with Driveline this offseason, so let’s hope he can maximize his velocity and spin efficiency. Hector Neris and Hansel Robles are my mid-round targets, especially in 12-team formats. I’s love to land either of these guys are my #2 closer in shallower formats. Back in May, I Tweeeted about his elite slider and new he had a shot a closing. A few late-round darts include Matt Barnes (K% is elite and I don’t trust Workman), Diego Castillo (good skills and one fewer arm in the bullpen; should see a dozen or so save opportunities), and Emmanuel Clase. The Indians acquired him for a reason and his fastball regularly touches triple digits. Brand Hand is the closer in Cleveland but if he struggles or is traded (only signed through 2020 with a club option for 2021), Clase is the add once that occurs.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Starting Pitcher Rankings 31 – 152 (FreezeStats Fantasy Baseball)

Last week I released my top 30 starting pitchers for 2020. I wrote a quick blurb for each starter explaining why they were ranked where I had them. You can see that post here. I dropped Mike Clevinger to 15 overall after the news of his offseason knew surgery came through. He’s probably going to miss the first month of the season, so his ceiling is probably 165 innings. I was very high on him coming into 2020 (early rank was seven overall) but I think he can still provide some value. Last season, he threw only 126 innings and finished as the 18th ranked starting pitcher per the Razzball Player Rater. It’s reasonable to project him for around 150 innings which slots him right around the 15th SP in my opinion. Let’s dive into the rest of my starting pitcher rankings for 2020.

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 31-50

SP RankPlayerTeam
31Frankie MontasAthletics
32Zac GallenDiamondbacks
33Madison BumgarnerDiamondbacks
34Zack WheelerPhillies
35Max FriedBraves
36Mike SorokaBraves
37David PriceDodgers
38Kenta MaedaTwins
39Kyle HendricksCubs
40Hyun-Jin RyuBlue Jays
41German MarquezRockies
42Matthew BoydTigers
43Eduardo RodriguezRed Sox
44Dinelson LametPadres
45Julio UriasDodgers
46Joe MusgrovePirates
47Robbie RayDiamondbacks
48Andrew HeaneyAngels
49Mike MinorRangers
50Shohei Ohtani (SP only)Angels

Mike Soroka is known for his power sinker. It generated a ton of ground balls and weak contact. That’s great but his strikeout rate was 7.4 per nine innings. That’s not quite what you’re looking for in a top-40 arm. Remember when I was discussing Clevinger in the introduction? Well, he had a 12.1 K/9 and 27 more strikeouts than Soroka in 50 fewer innings. This isn’t about Clevinger but you can see how valuable strikeouts are.  Soroka does utilize a slider and an elite changeup that can be used as a second putaway pitch to improve his K%. With three plus-pitches, he could take the next step and become a top-25 SP. Zac Gallen and Max Fried are my top targets in this range. Of course, they have a ton of helium going into draft season, so I’ll have to pay up for them.

German Marquez is doomed thanks to Coors Field but his skills looked as sharp as ever in 2019. Maybe he was a tad lucky in 2018 but I believe he was unlucky last year. Can he tame Coors Field? That’s a tall task but I believe he should be even better on the road in 2020 than he was last year. If can post a low-3s ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and 10 K/9 on the road, he should provide enough value to warrant this rank. Shohei Ohtani likely won’t pitch in a Major League game until May. If he throws every six games, that’s 20-22 starts. Averaging six innings per start is asking a lot but that would be his ceiling in terms of innings pitched. So, I’m projecting him for 120 innings which caps his value.  I think they will be very good innings but not quite Clevinger-esque. That’s why he slots in at 50.

Here’s what I said about Musgrove this week at FantasyPros: “Musgrove added about 0.5 MPH on his fastball last year, but the big adjustment was his increased usage of his changeup. The changeup became an elite offering for him, as he got hitters to chase the pitch outside the zone over 50% of the time! In addition to getting batters to chase, Musgrove can also throw the pitch for strikes and generate below-average contact on pitches inside the zone. He pairs the elite changeup with his established slider. Between the two-plus pitches for Musgrove, he should be able to bump his strikeout rate to the 23-24% range. Given his 68% first-pitch strike rate, I anticipate another walk rate well-below league average, keeping his WHIP below 1.20. For 2019, I project Musgrove for 11 wins, 3.80 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 160 strikeouts in 163 innings.”
– Max Freeze (Freeze Stats)

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 51-70

SP RankPlayerTeam
51Griffin CanningAngels
52Jesus LuzardoAthletics
53Lance McCullers Jr.Astros
54Jake OdorizziTwins
55Luke WeaverDiamondbacks
56Masahiro TanakaYankees
57Mitch KellerPirates
58Jose UrquidyAstros
59Dylan BundyAngels
60Mike FoltynewiczBraves
61Michael KopechWhite Sox
62A.J. PukAthletics
63Carlos MartinezCardinals
64Marcus StromanMets
65Jon GrayRockies
66Caleb SmithMarlins
67Dallas KeuchelWhite Sox
68Kyle GibsonRangers
69Chris ArcherPirates
70Anthony DeSclafaniReds

Griffin Canning has a rocking slider with a 21.7% SwStr rate in 2019. His curve and change are decent as well but he served up eight homers off his fastball. I think he’s going to strikeout over 25% of the batters he faces but could run into some issues with home runs and walks. He’s likely going to be a bit of a headache but has the ability to jump a tier. Can Masahiro Tanaka get his feel back on his splitter? That’s going to be the key to his success. If he can, we are looking at a top-35 starter but I am not as confident. I expect more inconsistent outings from Tanaka in 2020. Forget Mitch Keller‘s 7.45 ERA in 48 innings last year, his stuff was ridiculous. Alex Chamberlain’s Pitch Leaderboard had him pegged for about a 30% K rate and a 23% K-BB%. That’s entering the elite territory. He has everything I’m looking for is a breakout. He averages 95-96 mph on his fastball, has an elite putaway pitch, and a curveball that induced a ton of ground balls and weak contact.

Getting out of Baltimore and AL East is the best move for Dylan Bundy. He leaves one of the worst parks for home runs to a more neutral park in LAA. He also will avoid the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays multiple times per year. He brings a very good slider and changeup to the table, so he has a chance at a sub-4.00 ERA with a strikeout per inning. I’ll take a chance on that after pick 225. Kyle Gibsons slider has a 27.1% SwStr%! Oh, and his changeup has a 20.3% SwStr% with a 60% ground ball rate. Those two pitches alone should make him more valuable but he struggles to find the zone. That and both of his fastballs are just trash. He’s going to be a bumpy ride but could find his way to some very elite outings.

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 71-100

SP RankPlayerTeam
71Sean ManaeaAthletics
72Pablo LopezMarlins
73Brendan McKayRays
74Sandy AlcantaraMarlins
75Steven MatzMets
76Garrett RichardsPadres
77Adrian HouserBrewers
78James PaxtonYankees
79Yonny ChirinosRays
80Miles MikolasCardinals
81Josh JamesAstros
82Aaron CivaleIndians
83Joey LucchesiPadres
84Merrill KellyDiamondbacks
85Kevin GausmanGiants
86Tyler BeedeGiants
87Spencer TurnbullTigers
88Dustin MayDodgers
89MacKenzie GorePadres
90Josh LindblomBrewers
91Jose QuintanaCubs
92Wade MileyCIN
93Dylan CeaseWhite Sox
94Cole HamelsBraves
95Chris BassittAthletics
96Jon LesterCubs
97Ryan YarbroughRays
98Johnny CuetoGiants
99Michael PinedaTwins
100Jeff SamardzijaGiants

Sandy Alcantara is getting a lot of love as a sleeper for 2020, but I just don’t get it. He was much better over the last two months of 2019 when he threw his sinker more often. His sinker is his best pitch but it’s not going to get a ton of strikeouts. His changeup is decent but his slider and fourseamer are bad. He’s kind of like a hard-throwing Marcus Stroman without the elite ground ball rate. Jame Paxton! UGGGHHHHHH! The injury/surgery basically puts him into the DO NOT DRAFT LIST. The timetable for his return has him coming back in May or early-June but I’d bet on late-June. I usually add a few weeks for rehab, he could basically be valuable for only three months of the season. That’s too much risk to take on. Now, Luis Severino is having forearm soreness. The Yankees need to already do some damage control with their rotation and we haven’t hit March yet. He will drop in my rankings but I can’t say how much just yet.

Josh James has electric stuff with questionable command and will be competing for the fifth starter spot in Houston. He was a popular sleeper heading into 2019 and it did not pan out. I need to see a little more out of his third pitch, his changeup, to see if he can make it as a starter. But, his fastball is legit and he flashed it with a 14.1% SwStr rate on it in 2019. Unfortunately, the numbers from the bullpen won’t translate linearly if he becomes a starter but I’m drafting skills not roles after SP75 overall.

You all know I love Tyler Beede. I talked about him on Benched with Bubba and wrote about his curveball in my underutilized pitches piece at Pitcher List. He actually has three pitches that generated a SwStr% over 15% and averages almost 95 mph on his fastball. He has the stuff to vault into the top-50 but he needs to reduce his fastball usage and throw his secondaries more often. I think Dustin May is a great breakout candidate but once again the Dodgers have 7-8 options to start games, so guessing how many innings May will get is a fool’s errand. Because of that, I can’t take the plunge on May in 12-team formats unless some favorable news coming out of Dodgers camp but in a 15-team format, he’s a great late-round flier.

Dylan Cease must work on his fastball command to become successful. He only threw it in the zone 43% of the time in 2019. That’s not good. It was also crushed when batters swung at it in the zone with a 189 wRC+ against it in 2019. That means he was missing his spots. Additionally, walks around going to be an issue, especially early on. His slider is good and the changeup has some potential, so he’s a late-round dart in 15-team formats.

2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings Table 101-152

SP RankPlayerTeam
101J.A. HappYankees
102Jordan LylesRangers
103Ross StriplingDodgers
104John MeansOrioles
105Jakob JunisRoyals
106Jake ArrietaPhillies
107Alex WoodDodgers
108Tyler MahleReds
109Austin VothNationals
110Dakota HudsonCardinals
111Zach EflinPhillies
112Kyle WrightBraves
113Cal QuantrillPadres
114Luis PatinoPadres
115Domingo GermanYankees
116Forrest WhitleyAstros
117Patrick SandovalAngels
118Nathan EovaldiRed Sox
119Austin PruitAstros
120Justus SheffieldMariners
121Julio TeheranAngels
122Daniel NorrisTigers
123Trevor WilliamsPirates
124Drew SmylyGiants
125Matt ShoemakerBlue Jays
126Homer BaileyTwins
127Freddy PeraltaBrewers
128Nate PearsonBlue Jays
129Corbin BurnesBrewers
130Reynaldo LopezWhite Sox
131Nick PivettaPhillies
132Elieser HernandezMarlins
133Trent ThorntonBlue Jays
134Anibal SanchezNationals
135Tanner RoarkBlue Jays
136Chase AndersonBlue Jays
137Marco GonzalesMariners
138Mike LeakeDiamondbacks
139Mike FiersAthletics
140Sean NewcombBraves
141Brad KellerRoyals
142Martin PerezRed Sox
143Gio GonzalezWhite Sox
144Casey MizeTigers
145Eric LauerBrewers
146Rich HillTwins
147Chad KuhlPirates
148Vince VelasquezPhillies
149Zach DaviesPadres
150Michael FulmerTigers
151Asher WojciechowskiOrioles
152Logan WebbGiants

If Austin Voth earns the fifth rotation spot for the Nationals, I will bump him up at least 15 spots. Here’s what I said about Voth two months ago.

“At age-27, he’s not a highly rated prospect but showed impressive skills in 2019 with a 17.8% K-BB% and a 3.30 ERA in 43.2 innings. His fastball wasn’t bad, but it’s his secondaries that get me going. All three of his secondaries, CU, CT, CH generated swinging strike rates north of 16.5%. The curve is the best of the bunch with a 38.9% strikeout rate. We are dealing with limited samples but hell, it’s after pick 250 and there is a top-150 ceiling here.”

In addition to Voth, here are some of my favorite dart throws after SP-100. Ross Stripling, Tyler Mahle, Patrick Sandoval, Austin Pruitt, Drew Smyly, Corbin Burnes, and Chad Kuhl. Kuhl missed all of 2019 with Tommy John Surgery and hasn’t thrown a pitch in a big-league game just yet. I’m skeptical but if he wins a starting spot out of spring training, I think he’ll be valuable once he gets his rhythm down.

Photo credit: Prospects Live


Home Run Park Factors Part 2 – (Conversion to a Plus Metric, HRPF+)

In order to display my home run park factors in a way that is much more palatable for the readers, I’ve developed FreezeStats Park Factor for Home Runs (PFHR+) metric. It is used the same way other plus metrics are used such as ERA+ or wRC+. It measures how much better or worse a certain ballpark performs compared to the league average with 100 being average. We know if a player finishes the season with a 150 wRC+, he was 50% better than league average offensively. That’s the same premise behind my park factor metric. A park with a 150+ PFHR+ is 50% better than league average for home runs. 

All ballparks are not created equal, dimensions and irregularities within the same ballpark can vary quite a bit. So, I’ve broken the PFHR+ for each field or direction (Left-field, Center-field, right-field). The focus of directional park factors is important when evaluating a player’s tendencies and batted ball profile. It’s also interesting when looking at evaluating pitchers. I’ll analyze pitchers for my next article with respect to this metric in the next couple of weeks. For this article, I’ll cover nine hitters below who have changed teams. I’ll dive into the park change and what type of power output we can expect, both positive and negative based on the team/park change. 

First, I want to look at an example to help explain the park factors. Yankee Stadium is widely viewed as a great place to hit home runs. Part of this is true and part of it is not. It’s perception more than anything. The Yankees have some massive power bats including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. These guys are mashers regardless of where they hit. As you’ll see below, right-field is extremely favorable for home runs at Yankee Stadium. In fact, it’s ranked number one in all of baseball based on my PFHR+ when compared to all right fields! This explains much of Brett Gardner’s late-career success and Didi Gregorius’s 20+ home run power seasons. These left-handed hitters pulled a high percentage of their fly balls to take advantage of the short right-field dimensions. However, Yankee Stadium grades out slightly below-average for home runs to center and left field respectively. 

The slightly unfavorable left-field dimensions don’t hurt the right-handed sluggers on the Yankees because a 450-foot fly ball is a home run anywhere. It actually helps when looking at Aaron Judge. He’s been hitting more and more opposite-field fly balls, up to 49.5% and 48% each of the last two seasons. His HR/FB% on opposite-field fly balls last season was an incredible 37.8% which was significantly higher than his HR/FB% to centerfield. These Home Run Park Factors+ (HRPF+) bare this out. If you take a look at the table below, you can see that Yankee Stadium has a 146 HRPF+ to right field and just an 83 HRPF+ to centerfield. That means Yankee Stadium is 46% better than league average for home runs to right field but 17% below the league average for home runs to centerfield.

To give you an example of the criteria I’m looking at to determine these home run park factors, here’s a three-year snapshot of right field at Yankee Stadium (NYY) and Oracle Park (SFG), the best and worse parks for home runs to right field respectively.

Venue (Rightfield) HR/BRL% (LHB) Non-BRL HR (LHB) HR/BRL% (RHB) Non-BRL HR (RHB)
Yankee Stadium 88.7% 73 77.4% 52
Oracle Park 48.7% 24 15.3% 8
League Average 73.6% 40 49.7% 13

Based on this information, you can see that both left-handed batters and right-handed batters benefit at Yankee Stadium when hitting the ball to right field and the opposite is true at Oracle Park. This is true based on the percentage of barreled balls that become home runs (HR/BRL%) and based on the total number of non-barreled home runs at each venue. The numbers seem a bit confusing and difficult to digest when displayed like this. That’s why I’ve created HRPF+. If you’re interested in the more granular data, feel free to DM me on Twitter or write in the comments below and I’ll share the Google Sheet.

Introducting HRPF+ (Home Run Park Factors Plus)

Park/VenueTeamLF - HRPF+CF - HRPF+RF - HRPF+
Oriole ParkBAL121134100
Comerica ParkDET1042897
T-Mobile ParkSEA97106103
Yankee StadiumNYY9183146
Rogers CentreTOR110101102
Target FieldMIN978294
Minute Maid ParkHOU13673129
Oakland ColiseumOAK9910184
Angel StadiumLAA8214799
Nationals ParkWSH10212485
Kauffman StadiumKCR886677
Fenway ParkBOS966875
Chase FieldARI1066897
Petco ParkSDP11011291
Citizens Bank ParkPHI11591114
Globe Life ParkTEX91110121
Citi FieldNYM110107105
Guaranteed Rate FldCHW110107113
Coors FieldCOL109134113
Dodger StadiumLAD9815095
Busch StadiumSTL8010581
Marlins ParkMIA868091
Tropicana FieldTBR1028295
SunTrust ParkATL88100100
Miller ParkMIL91134117
Wrigley FieldCHC10510679
Oracle ParkSFG896557
Progressive FieldCLE87108112
PNC ParkPIT7810596

Notes: Columns are sortable! Data for Globe Life in Texas is no longer valid. A new park will be used in 2020. 

Mookie Betts (OF – LAD) formerly with the Red Sox

Fenway Park (BOS) 96 68 75
Dodger Stadium (LAD) 98 150 95

I don’t think people realize how much of a boost Betts could see in terms of his power with the move the LA. It’s important to note that while the left field HRPF+ is essentially the same in each park they play differently. Fenway allows more non-barreled home runs to left field (61 HR to 38 HR) where Dodger Stadium has a higher HR/BRL% (74% to 67.2%). That’s the Green Monster at play. The barreled balls with low launch angles smack off the high wall but balls hit at high launch angles that don’t qualify as barrels sneak over the monster. Right field is also more favorable but Betts does not have good power to right field so I don’t expect a huge boost in power production there.

Enough about left field, let’s talk about where Betts is really going to benefit. He’s going from Fenway where the HRPF+ was 38% below league-average to Dodger Stadium that plays 51% better than league-average to CF! Let’s try to quantify this. Betts has increased his fly ball% to centerfield each of the last five years (36.8% to 42.1%). I fully expect Betts, who has an elite hit tool to take advantage of centerfield. His HR/FB% to centerfield over the last three seasons is about 50% below the league average. However, when looking at his average exit velocity and average fly ball distance on fly balls to center, he falls in the top 30% of the league. That’s Fenway Park holding him back. Based on this information, I’d expect Betts to finish with a better than league average HR/FB% to center in 2020. To give some context, I’d expect somewhere between four and six more home runs to centerfield in 2020. 

Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA) – formerly with the Washington Nationals

Nationals Pk (WSH) 102 124 85
Angel Sta (LAA) 82 147 99

Nationals Park plays surprisingly well, especially for right-handed batters, so Rendon takes a hit there. He should see some benefits to center and right field though. His batted ball profile on fly balls is pretty evenly distributed. He hit 23 of his 34 home runs to left field in 2019 with a career-best HR/FB% on fly balls to left field. I expect that number to drop However, he improved his quality of contact on fly balls to center and right, respectively but didn’t see many gains in 2019. So while I expect Rendon to hit more home runs to center and right, it should even out with a decline in homers to left. Expecting a repeat of 34 home runs is probably not wise but 28-30 seems like it’ll be in the cards.

Nick Castellanos (OF – CIN) – formerly with the Detroit Tigers

Comerica (DET) 104 28 97
GABP (CIN) 121 132 136

I think the baseball world went nuts when they saw this overlay I Tweeted out including Castellanos’ line drives and fly balls over the GABP. 

It’s absolutely nuts. Some people were counting as many as 30 additional home runs based on the overlay. Obviously, that’s not how this works, plus he’s only playing half his games in the GABP. But, going from Comerica that plays like the worst park for home runs to centerfield at 72% below-league average to a top-five park to center is going to do wonders. Castellanos hit 41.5% of his fly balls to center last year but it’s fluctuated over the years. In the final two months of 2019, he benefited from playing in Wrigley which has a 106 HRPF+ to center, so he already took advantage over the final two months of last season. His HR/FB% has consistently been just under 14% for his career and there’s no doubt in my mind, he crushes that rate within a new career-high. I won’t peg him for a 20% HR/FB rate but would probably project him for something around 18% in 2020. Using his 2019 fly ball total, that would bring him to 34 home runs. 

Marcell Ozuna (OF – ATL) – formerly with the St. Louis Cardinals

Busch Stadium (STL) 80 105 81
Suntrust Park (ATL) 88 100 100

I just found out that SunTrust Park had a name change and is now Truist Park. The park remains unchanged otherwise in terms of dimensions, so the park factors should be accurate. Overall, Ozuna will receive a park upgrade but it’s not as drastic as some of the players above. Ozuna was a massive underperformer based on my earned home run (eHR) metric last year, so I think he’s due for some positive regression regardless of his location. The park change just reiterates this point. His 22.1% HR/FB rate last year was the second-highest of his career but his barrel rate, hard hit%, expected metrics, etc were by far the best of his career. The question is whether or not he can keep his elite batted ball metrics for 2020. If he can, he should hit 35-40 home runs across 600+ PA, otherwise, he’s still a safe bet for 30 home runs.

Mike Moustakas (2B, 3B – CIN) formerly with the Milwaukee Brewers

Miller Park (MIL) 91 134 117
GABP (CIN) 121 132 136

While Miller Park in Milwaukee is favorable for home runs, Cincinnati is simply the best park in baseball for home runs, as I discussed with Nicky C. Unfortunately, Moose bats from the left side limiting his overall benefit from the park change. Leftfield in the GABP is 30% better than Miller Park and right field is almost 20% better. Believe it or not, the slugger has just seven opposite-field home runs in his career. Four of those seven came last season. He did improve his hard contact on fly balls to left field, so if I was a betting man, I’d expect Mosse to hit more than four homers to the opposite field in 2020. But, where Moustakas makes his money is on pulled fly balls. His HR/FB% on pulled FBs typically sits around 35% but I have a feeling, it’ll push 40% next year. I’m beginning to think that Moustakas can hit 40-45 home runs next year. In fact, I’ll throw down a bold prediction about Moose & Casteallnos totaling a combined 80 home runs in 2020. This is bold because even if I combine both player’s career-high home run totals, we come up with 65 home runs (38 for Mosse, 27 for Castellanos). Combining for 15 home runs above their career-bests is a long shot but I think they have a chance. 

Starling Marte (OF – ARI) – formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates

PNC Park (PIT) 78 105 96
Chase Field (ARI) 106 68 97

Chase Field had the humidor installed before the 2018 season, so I’m not 100% confident in the data. However, one thing is for sure, Marte’s power will benefit to left field and is going to take a hit to center. Unfortunately, he regularly pulls fly balls at a below-average clip. However, he crushes pulled fly balls and line drives to the tune of 97.7 mph over the last two seasons. Those exit velocities on LD/FB put him in company with teammate Josh Bell, Edwin Encarnacion, and Khris Davis. If Marte can modify his approach and pull more fly balls, he could reach a new career-high in home runs. But, with a total of 20 pulled home runs over the last two years and 18 home runs to center, Marte’s move may just be neutral if his approach remains unchanged.

Didi Gregorius (SS – PHI) – formerly with the New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium (NYY) 91 83 146
Citizen’s Bank (PHI) 115 91 114

We can completely ignore left field when discussing Gregorius’ power. He has NEVER hit a home run to left field and has hit just nine homers to centerfield. Now, he goes from a park that played 46% better than league-average to right field to a park that’s 14% better than league-average. Now that Didi is more than a year and a half removed from Tommy John surgery, I don’t have any doubts that he’ll enter 2020 healthy. Even in an abbreviated season, he was on pace for just under 30 home runs. The switch in his home park probably leads to three-four fewer home runs to right field. The difference to centerfield is about 3% in terms of a three-year HR/BRL%, so that’s relatively minimal. If Didi is a 25-homer hitter in New York, he’s a 22-homer guy in 2020 in Philly.

Avisail Garcia (OF – MIL) – formerly with the Tampa Bay Rays

Tropicana (TBR) 102 82 95
Miller Park (MIL) 91 134 117

Let’s see, 11% worse to left field, 52% better the center, and 22% better to right. Is this not enough for you to buy into Garcia who reached 20 home runs for the first time in 2019? He actually earned 28 home runs based on eHR last year, so if he can maintain his impressive quality of contact, he’s a bargain in 2020. He’s notoriously a heavy ground ball hitter but as I highlighted in my potential power breakouts article on Pitcher List, Garcia has decreased his ground ball in four straight seasons. It’s interesting to note that Garcia doesn’t pull many of his fly balls. Will you look at that? Miller Park plays a little less favorably to left field. It’s almost as if the Brewers saw an advantage others didn’t. Nearly, 86% of his fly balls last year went to center or right field. Here’s the spray chart from last year overlayed at Miller Park.

Miller Park plays very favorable to LCF and RCF. I feel very strongly that Garcia improves significantly on his HR/FB% from 2019 and if given 550+ PA, he should hit 25 homers.

C.J. Cron (OF – DET) – formerly with the Minnesota Twins

Target Field (MIN) 97 82 94
Comerica (DET) 104 28 97

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Cron’s move to Comerica Park is going to kill any power he has to centerfield. Not that Target Field was all that great for fly balls to centerfield but if you remember, Cron played for the Angels prior to 2018. We now know that Angels Stadium is a homer haven to centerfield. While Cron boosted his barrel rate and hard hit% in 2019, he’s trending in the wrong direction in terms of the percentage of pulled fly balls. His pulled FB% has dropped the last three seasons from 32.7% in 2017 to 24.2% last year. He’s going to want to adjust his approach back to the 2017 version of himself to take advantage of Comerica’s most favorable part of the park, left field. His range of outcomes in terms of home runs is huge. Fortunately, he should play every day because he’s basically the Tigers’ best hitter (at worst, second-best). If his pulled fly ball rate continues to drop and his fly-ball rate to center jumps to 40%, he could end up with a home run total in the low-20s. If he gets back to his pull-heavy approach, I could see him reach 30 home runs with the potential for even more.

If you prefer the color-coded version of the HRPF+, it’s below. Although, it’s not sortable like the table above.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Photo Source : MLB and Lou Spirito


Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Top 100 Overall- 2020

Alright guys and girls, here’s my top-100 overall players for 2020! I won’t bore you individual blurbs under the rankings table because, well, I’ve already done that in my positional rankings breakdown. It’s important to note that I am using standard 5×5 rotisserie scoring when rolling out these rankings. My rankings are on the left and in the right-most column I’ve included the NFBC ADP/AAV from the last two weeks. Keep in mind, the NFBC draft favors starting pitching and catchers (2 catcher format) more than most leagues.

You can check out all of my positional rankings here.

Fantasy Baseball - Top 100 Overall Rankings

My RankPlayerTeamPosNFBC ADP
1Ronald AcunaATLOF1.38
2Mike TroutLAAOF2.54
3Christian YelichMILOF2.35
4Mookie BettsBOSOF5.9
5Cody BellingerLAD1B,OF4.77
6Gerrit ColeNYYSP5.46
7Francisco LindorCLESS8.44
8Trevor StoryCOLSS9.79
9Jacob deGromNYMSP7.94
10Trea TurnerWSHSS10.94
11Juan SotoWSHOF11.1
12Nolan ArenadoCOL3B14.4
13Justin VerlanderHOUSP13.25
14Jose RamirezCLE2B,3B17.98
15Max ScherzerWSHSP15.1
16Freddie FreemanATL1B,3B16.9
17J.D. MartinezBOSOF24.54
18Fernando Tatis Jr.SDSS15.54
19Alex BregmanHOU3B,SS13.77
20Rafael DeversBOS3B23.08
21Aaron JudgeNYYOF27.67
22Blake SnellTBSP33.33
23Walker BuehlerLADSP,RP16.9
24Javier BaezCHCSS40.81
25Anthony RendonWSH3B22.9
26Bryce HarperPHIOF23.75
27Mike ClevingerCLESP21.56
28Chris SaleBOSSP35.33
29Jose AltuveHOU2B36.75
30Starling MarteARIOF31.92
31Ketel MarteARI2B,OF44.42
32Charlie BlackmonCOLOF47.13
33Yordan AlvarezHOUOF,DH38.48
34Shane BieberCLESP28.21
35Austin MeadowsTBOF36.96
36Luis CastilloCINSP42.83
37Peter AlonsoNYM1B32.48
38Adalberto MondesiKCSS39.85
39Xander BogaertsBOSSS37.71
40Stephen StrasburgWSHSP29.79
41Gleyber TorresNYY2B,SS30.65
42Giancarlo StantonNYYOF54.67
43Ozzie AlbiesATL2B40.08
44George SpringerHOUOF43.1
45Clayton KershawLADSP57.52
46Jack FlahertySTLSP23.79
47Yoan MoncadaCWS3B64.29
48Patrick CorbinWSHSP45.13
49Anthony RizzoCHC1B70.71
50Matt OlsonOAK1B57.5
51Manny MachadoSD3B,SS62.83
52Noah SyndergaardNYMSP71.85
53Whit MerrifieldKC2B,OF55.9
54Eloy JimenezCWSOF54.5
55Jonathan VillarMIA2B,SS44.94
56Keston HiuraMIL2B44.54
57Lucas GiolitoCWSSP48.75
58Tommy PhamSDPOF79.85
59Charlie MortonTBSP62.9
60Yu DarvishCHCSP61.83
61Jose AbreuCWS1B74.63
62Luis SeverinoNYYSP61.67
63Nelson CruzMINDH82.88
64Bo BichetteTORSS68.19
65Paul GoldschmidtSTL1B70.38
66DJ LeMahieuNYY1B,2B,3B65.23
67Marcell OzunaATLOF97.35
68Kris BryantCHC3B,OF55.44
69Victor RoblesWSHOF73
70Ramon LaureanoOAKOF79.69
71Josh DonaldsonMIN3B93.5
72Aaron NolaPHISP57.69
73Josh HaderMILRP59.92
74J.T. RealmutoPHIC,1B48.69
75Zack GreinkeHOUSP68.69
76Joey GalloTEX1B,OF82.71
77Matt ChapmanOAK3B91.9
78Chris PaddackSDPSP57.71
79Jorge SolerKCOF88.06
80Aroldis ChapmanNYYRP87.44
81Luis RobertCHWOF77.67
82Nicholas CastellanosCINOF98.04
83Carlos CarrascoCLESP105.08
84Jeff McNeilNYM2B,3B,OF90.19
85Vladimir Guerrero Jr.TOR3B56.69
86Eugenio Suarez (INJ)CIN3B74.77
87Trey ManciniBAL1B,OF101.54
88Josh BellPIT1B97.27
89Trevor BauerCINSP80.17
90Carlos CorreaHOUSS101.15
91Mike MoustakasCIN2B,3B95.58
92Max MuncyLAD1B,2B,3B70.4
93Gary SanchezNYYC,DH77.35
94Eddie RosarioMINOF93.42
95Kirby YatesSDRP78.36
96Jose BerriosMINSP89.4
97Marcus SemienOAKSS90.02
98Brandon WoodruffMILSP83.73
99Oscar MercadoCLEOF119.27
100Yasiel PuigFAOF135.9

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


Top 30 Starting Pitcher Rankings – 2020

When I do my starting pitcher rankings, I look at many different metrics including skills, past performance, injury concerns/history, and to a lesser extent, team context. After all, wins are still a 5×5 category in rotisserie leagues. I don’t play in many quality start leagues but knowing which pitchers regularly average more than six innings is also important. Even with all the advanced metrics that are available, the first thing I look at is the strikeout minus walk ratio (K-BB%). Not only does K-BB% correlate with success in fantasy, but it’s also a good predictor of in-season success. The top-five starters in K-BB% in 2019 were Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Shane Beiber. As I dig deeper, I look into a pitcher’s arsenal. I look at fastball velocity and swing-and-miss metrics for breaking pitchers. I utilize Alex Chamberlain’s pitch leaderboard and his Beta leaderboard that include expected metrics. Sorry, that’s not released to the public just yet but it’s very helpful when deciding between two or three pitchers. OK, enough rambling, let’s get to the rankings. If you want to check out my other positional rankings, click here.

1. Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY)

My number one starter from last year moves from the Astros to Yankees. I’m not concerned about the move too much, obviously. His strikeout rate was head shoulders above all others including teammate, Justin Verlander. He’s 30 years old, should once again push 300 strikeouts with elite ratios and the opportunity for wins will be plentiful. While I think deGrom will finish with slightly better ratios, the prospect of 50+ strikeouts and potentially a handful of additional wins (I know, they are fickle) pushes him to the top.

2. Jacob deGrom (SP – NYM)

With back-to-back Cy Young Awards, there isn’t much left for deGrom to prove. If only the Mets could get him some run support! How does a pitcher of his caliber only have 21 wins over the last two seasons? Shake my head. His strikeout totals won’t be as high as Cole or even Verlander, but his ratios are second to none over the last two seasons. In fact, his ERA is a half a run better than Justin Verlander who is second at 2.55! You can take that to the bank.

3. Justin Verlander (SP – HOU)

Verlander may have had his best season in 2018 at age-36. His expected K-BB% was right in line with the results he put up. Additionally, his expected barrel rate was much higher than the 7.8% he allowed. If that comes down, it will address the one issue he had in 2019, home runs. I don’t see his age showing at all given the results and his velocity, so until there is a sign such as diminished velocity, injury, etc, he will remain a top SP.

4. Max Scherzer (SP – WAS)

For the first time in seven years, Scherzer failed to reach 200 innings. His back issues concern me. There’s no way around that. He’s 35 (will turn 36 in July) and backs don’t magically get better for pitchers as they age. His skills remain intact which is why I can’t drop him any further. A healthy spring training will go a long way in terms of my confidence going forward.

5. Blake Snell (SP – TBR)

Snell is probably the first surprise on this list. He only threw 107 innings following his CY Young 2018. But, his skills are just too good to overlook. He has three pitches with a SwStr% of over 20% (curve, slider, changeup) and his fastball averages 96 mph with a SwStr% of 12.8% (league-avg is 9.1%)! If his walk rate comes down to the 7% range which the expected metrics indicate, he could compete as the top SP in the league.

6. Walker Buehler (SP – LAD)

Buehler’s second half was fantastic with a 2.99 ERA and a K% of 31.4% putting him up with the big boys. He’s just 25 years old but showed improvements in K%, BB%, and SwStr%. His fastball is fantastic and I love pitchers with an elite fastball as a base, just look at the pitchers above. He just needs either the slider or curve to really take the leap. If that happens this year, look out!

15. Mike Clevinger (SP – CLE) (moved down due to knee surgery)

Speaking of elite fastballs, Clevinger’s was on another level in 2019. I know he missed time last year but he found a tick of velo and increased his K% on his fastball by 14%, up to 35.7%. His slider continues to improve and if the curve or changeup becomes an elite third offering, the sky’s the limit. I’m betting on Clevinger finishing with his best season to date.

7. Chris Sale (SP – BOS)

Sale for me if kind the end of the 1A tier. Everyone in the top-eight possess elite “stuff”. Great fastballs, elite secondaries, great control, etc. Sale is at eight due to durability issues but also because of his fastball velocity. It’s been declining over the last couple of seasons and was down to 93.7 mph last year. He’s averaged only a little over 150 innings the last two years and will be 31 to start 2020. He can put up 200 strikeouts in 130 innings or 300 in 200 innings but I feel more comfortable projecting him for 150-160 innings.

8. Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)

If you believe in expected statistics, which I certainly do, or at least take them into account, Bieber outperformed his xK% and xBB%. The good news for Bieber is that his breaking pitches appear to be elite. I’m just skeptical about his fastball that managed an impressive 15.0 pVAL despite just a 5% SwStr% on the pitch. He has great command per Eno Sarris and his Command+ metric, but he gave up a lot of loud contact. Among qualified starters, only Robbie Ray and Tanner Roark had a higher expected weighted on-base on contact (.408). Obviously, I still think he’s great but I just think his numbers may take a slight step back.

9. Luis Castillo (SP – CIN)

Castillo owns the best changeup in the game with a 26.2% SwStr%! His slider continues to improve and his sinker generates a ton of weak contact. In fact, three of four of Castillo’s pitches generate very weak contact. Remember the xwOBacon I mentioned in Bieber’s blurb? Castillo’s was the opposite, ranking third at .336.  If he can get his walks under control, he has a chance to be borderline top-five.

10. Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Strasburg finally put it all together while staying healthy. He was rewarded with a World Series victory but are we all of a sudden going to believe that he will throw another 200 innings? Let’s not forget, he threw 36 innings in the postseason for a grand total of 245 innings. That’s about 20% more than he’s ever thrown in a single season. He may very likely see at least one IL stint which is why I’ve dropped him just outside my top 10.

11. Clayton Kershaw (SP – LAD)

Well, I guess I should never question Kershaw again. After fading him a year ago, he spun the most innings since 2015 with elite level ratios. He also improved his strikeout rate in the second half. He pulled it off while his fastball velocity continued to decline. At some point, generational pitchers find ways to get it done. Enough said.

12. Jack Flaherty (SP – STL)

Alright, it seems I’m lower on Flaherty than most. His second half was amazing but can we trust that level of performance? Obviously not, and while his 23.1% K-BB% was very good it was not quite elite. Additionally, his xK-BB% was just 19.6%. His fastball generated positive results in part thanks to outperforming the xwOBA against by 40 points. I think if his BABIP normalizes (.232 on his FB and .242 overall), he’s just a borderline top-20 option.

13. Patrick Corbin (SP – WAS)

While I normally have trouble with starters who have just two pitches but Corbin is the exception. He’s been remarkably consistent over the last two seasons and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that his level of performance will change. His slider is arguably the best in the league with a strikeout rate above 50% over the last two seasons. He also throws the slider at two different speeds (low-80 and mid-70s) which make it appear like a third pitch. I’d be happy with Corbin as my ace if I grab hitters in the first three-four rounds.

14. Noah Syndergaard (SP – NYM)

I’m debating moving Thor up a little bit because his stuff and command are a lot better than the results have shown. It feels like he could finally bust out with a new pitching coach. He’s got four pitches with swinging strike rates north of 10% and his curveball, which may be his best pitch, was only thrown 10% of the time in 2019. Increasing the usage of his secondaries could yield an elite level strikeout rate for Syndergaard.

16. Lucas Giolito (SP – CHW)

Wow, what an unexpected breakout from Giolito last year! His stuff was absolutely amazing and the metrics back that up. I’m a believer but the reason he isn’t higher is due to his homer prone tendencies and his history with elevated walk rates. He did improve his zone% and F-Strike% last year but I wonder if he can sustain that level in 2020.

17. Charlie Morton (SP – TBR)

Morton, now 36 and is coming off the best season of his career. It’s not even close as he posted a 3.04 ERA with 240 strikeouts across 194 innings. He also threw the most innings on his career while lowering his walk rate. I still think he’ll be great but given his age and injury history, I have to bake in a little bit of regression from 2019 where he finished inside the top-10.

18. Yu Darvish (SP – CHC)

Darvish was truly Jekyll and Hyde in 2019. He was unbearable in the first half while looking like a Cy Young contender in the second half. I tend to think he’s much closer to the second half Darvish than the first half but he’s not without warts. He continued struggling with the long ball and has never had a stretch with a walk rate as low as he managed in the second half. There’s regression coming but he’s always going strike batters out with the best in the business.

19. Luis Severino (SP – NYY)

Coming off a lost season, it’s difficult to project what level of production we will see from Severino. I’m not willing to buy him as an SP1 to find out. I think his innings will be limited, at least early on, and I feel like his normally pristine walk rate is going to increase as he attempts to regain the feel for all of his pitches.

20. Aaron Nola (SP – PHI)

Nola’s career ERA is 3.49 and his career BABIP is .292. In his 2018 breakout, his ERA was just 2.37 with a .251 BABIP. It’s starting to seem like 2018 is an outlier. Additionally, he struggled with his walk rate as his Zone% dropped for the second straight year. I think he improves on his 2019 walk rate but settles in around his career numbers with a 3.50 ERA.

21. Zack Greinke (SP – HOU)

Shrug Emoji. That’s how I feel about Greinke. His skills don’t match his production but he’s a very cerebral pitcher who has over a decade of success. He throws a ton of pitches, mixes speeds well, and can locate his pitches. I couldn’t rank him any lower but at some point, the bottom will fall out, I just don’t think it will be 2020.

22. Chris Paddack (SP – SDP)

Coming into 2019, Paddack was dubbed one of the safest rookie pitchers in a decade. Typically, rookie pitchers struggle with consistency, especially with walks and Paddack bucked that trend walking under two batter per nine innings. I love his fastball/changeup combination but he needs a third pitch to really take the next step. Will that be his curveball that he only threw 10% of the time? His hook didn’t get whiffs or swings outside the zone, so I’m a little concerned. Look, I think he’s very good and safe but his .243 BABIP against his fastball may rise along with his ratios.

23. Carlos Carrasco (SP – CLE)

You can completely write-off Carrasco’s 2019 surface stats. I don’t do that all that much but come on, give the guy a break. Assuming he receives the go-ahead regarding his unfortunate cancer diagnosis, I don’t think there’s much of a reason to give him a massive discount. Even with the missed time, he still managed a very strong 23.5% K-BB% and still has three-plus secondary offerings. Maybe he won’t reach 200 innings but given a clean bill of health, he should push top-20 value.

24. Trevor Bauer (SP – CIN)

Say what you will about Bauer’s antics and inconsistency, he has struck out at least 10 batters per nine innings each of the last three seasons. He’s also a workhorse, so another 225 strikeouts are in the cards. He’ll struggle with walks but I trust that his ratios will improve now that he gets a full season with his Driveline buddies.

25. Jose Berrios (SP – MIN)

Berrios is a very different pitcher than Bauer but I think he offers safer value. He’s averaged 196 innings over the last two seasons but with a modest career strikeout rate is 23.1%. Everyone is waiting for him to take the next step and I just don’t see it. His curveball was supposed to be a devastating offering but it’s really actually quite pedestrian with a career 13% SwStr%. He also saw a dip in strikeouts with the pitch in 2019, so while I think he’s a nice backend SP2, but I’m not reaching.

26. Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)

Woodruff was throwing fire in his four-inning postseason outing and I just love his fastball. It averages 97 mph and generated a SwStr% of 12%. Additionally, he allowed a 63 wRC+ off his fastball with an elevated .354 BABIP, so it could be even better. So while his fastball is almost Walker Buehler good, he doesn’t have the secondaries. The slider is OK but doesn’t generate a ton of whiffs and his change isn’t good. Still, if his slider is at least above average, he’s got enough to justify this ranking.

27. Sonny Gray (SP – CIN)

Gray splits four pitches almost equally and they all have their place. He was back in Cincinnati with his former College Coach Derek Johnson and it really seemed to get the best out of him. His fourseam fastball is bad but it gets strikes and I actually like his sinker more because it can get ground balls. I also think his combination of slider and curveball make a nice one-two punch in terms of his secondaries. He overperformed last year but I think he’s much closer to his 2019 self than 2018.

28. Lance Lynn (SP – TEX)

If Buehler and Woodruff have elite fastballs, Lynn’s 2019 fastball was super-elite (I guess). He added some velocity and generated an unheard of 14.1% SwStr% on the pitch. Between his fourseamer and cutter, he throws a fastball over 70% of the time. I can understand why some people are skeptical about Lynn because he is coming off the highest strikeout rate of his career. But, he’s a workhorse with over 175 innings pitched in six of the last seven seasons with a career 3.59 ERA. His success is not completely out of nowhere.

29. Corey Kluber (SP – TEX)

I don’t know what to expect from Kluber in 2020. What I can say for almost full certainty is that he won’t be as bad as he was in the shortened 2019 and he won’t be his 2014 Cy Young self. I’ll be interested to see how his velocity looks this spring because it’s slowly been dwindling. That’s OK because he makes his money on his cutter and curve/slider. The move to Texas might be neutral with the new stadium and the retractable roof. I like the discount he’s receiving don’t feel confident drafting him as an SP-2 to find out.

30. Tyler Glasnow (SP – TBR)

Glasnow’s stuff is amazing. It’s probably in the top-five in all of baseball. The problem is, he’s never thrown more than 111.2 innings in any major league season. He did reach a total of 155 between Triple-A and the majors in 2017, but I believe that’s his ceiling for 2020. He’s also a true two-pitch guy, so going into the seventh inning with regularity is going to be a challenge. I might be one of the low guys on Glasnow not because of his talent but because of his shortcomings. He was great in limited innings last year but was also a bit lucky. I don’t believe he’s all of a sudden a 6% walk guy when his career rate is 11.2%.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports


2020 Outfielder Rankings – FreezeStats

Welcome back all! We are now into February and the Super Bowl is over! That means we have entered prime fantasy baseball research and draft season. Spring training is right around the corner and if you’re just starting your fantasy baseball research, then you’ve come to the right place. I have all of my infield rankings finalized complete with player blurbs below the rankings tables. You can check them out here. As always, my rankings reflect a standard 5×5 rotisserie scoring format but I’d be happy to answer questions that are more specific to your league settings. I’m doing things a little differently with outfielders. Rather than including a blurb for each player (that would take forever on the 130+ players below), I’ll be grouping the rankings in arbitrary 20-player blocks. Let’s do this!

2020 Rankings Table - Outfielders 1-20

1Ronald AcunaBraves
2Mike TroutAngels
3Christian YelichBrewers
4Cody BellingerDodgers
5Mookie BettsDodgers
6Juan SotoNationals
7J.D. MartinezRed Sox*
8Aaron JudgeYankees
9Bryce HarperPhillies
10Starling MarteDiamondbacks
11Ketel MarteDiamondbacks
12Charlie BlackmonRockies
13Austin MeadowsRays
14Giancarlo StantonYankees
15George SpringerAstros
16Whit MerrifieldRoyals
17Eloy JimenezWhite Sox
18Tommy PhamRays
19Marcell OzunaBraves
20Victor RoblesNationals

Changes due to the Mookie Betts trade to LAD as of 2/5/20. I move Mookie down one spot from four to five. Here’s why. He does receive a small park boost in Dodger Stadium for home runs. However, his batting average could take a dip due to the elevated BABIP that Fenway produces. Fenway is great for singles and doubles. Moving the NL means he won’t have as many RBI opportunities from the leadoff spot. So while it’s a very slight downgrade, Bellinger receives more few more RBI opportunities with Betts added to the lineup. Alex Verdugo is the player with the largest improvement. He will play every day, which was going to be an issue in LA and is a great candidate to leadoff for the Red Sox. His high contact approach should yield a great batting average with a boatload of runs. His power is moderate and he doesn’t have a ton of speed. But, I could see a line that looks like this .300-100-20-60-5 if all falls his way this year. The move to LAA for Joc Pederson is neutral but it does block Jo Adell pushing back his call up. I think he’ll be up in June or July rather than May, so he drops about 10 spots for me. Additionally, more playing time could be had for Matt Beaty, Chris Taylor, and Kike Hernandez especially given AJ Pollock’s injury history. 

It’s a Diamondbacks’ Marte Partay at 10 and 11! The move for Starling Marte to Arizona is a slight upgrade for his value. Both the lineup and ballpark are slightly more favorable which should contribute to more run production. I still expect him to hit 20-22 homers with around 25 steals. I’m higher than most on Ketel Marte. I was all over him last year and he surpassed my expectations. Fortunately, the gains seem real and repeatable. He’s ahead of Charlie Blackmon for a couple of reasons. Blackmon’s great, but, he stole two bases on seven attempts last year and turns 34 during the 2020 season. His contact rates are still very good but they’ve dropped (slightly) each of the last five seasons. I believe he’ll once again hit .300 with close to 30 home runs and 3-4 steals. Guess what? My projections for Ketel look like this (AVG-R-HR-RBI-SB) (.301-92-29-87-11). It looks a lot like Blackmon with more speed.

There’s nothing crazy about George Springer hitting a career-high in home runs, RBI, and batting average at age-29. However, there’s the cheating scandal hanging over the Astros heads and the fact that he only played in 122 games is worrisome. He’s great but I won’t pay for last year’s numbers. Expect a slight dip in home runs and batting average similar to where he finished in 2017. I don’t have much to say on Eloy Jimenez except he’s amazing!. 2020 will be the last year you can draft him outside of pick 50 overall for a long time. If he manages to surpass 600 plate appearances this year, I would not be surprised if he reached 40 home runs. Marcell Ozuna was a major under-performer based on his Statcast metrics. My eHR metrics showed that he was very unlucky as well. The move to Atlanta provides a moderate park upgrade along with a fairly large lineup boost. How does .275-35-100-5 sound?

2020 Rankings Table - Outfielders 21-40

21Kris BryantCubs
22Ramon LaureanoAthletics
23Nicholas CastellanosReds
24Joey GalloRangers
25Jorge SolerRoyals
26Jeff McNeilMets
27Yasiel PuigFA
28Luis RobertWhite Sox
29Trey ManciniOrioles
30Eddie RosarioTwins
31Oscar MercadoIndians
32Michael ConfortoMets
33Andrew BenintendiRed Sox
34Max KeplerTwins
35Michael BrantleyAstros
36Lourdes GurrielBlue Jays
37Kyle SchwarberCubs
38Franmil ReyesIndians
39Danny SantanaRangers
40Nick SenzelReds

Kris Bryant at 21 is odd to see. His metrics continue to be underwhelming and lingering health issues have held his production back a little bit. When I compare him to Nick Castellanos, who is two spots below Bryant, I don’t see much of a difference. Remember, Castellanos goes from an awful park for home runs to the unquestioned number one ballpark for home runs in Cincinnati. I expect both players to hit for a good batting average with 30 homers and solid run production. Neither player runs (Bryant has six steals on 10 attempts over the last two years), so Bryant no longer holds an advantage there. I should touch on Luis Robert due to his rank inside of the top-30. I fear that he’s going to strike out 30% of the time but then again talented rookies like Fernando Tatis proved that an elevated strikeout rate isn’t a killer. Robert is cut from a similar cloth as Tatis expect that Robert’s SwStr% in the minors is actually worse than what Tatis showed before the call-up. So, while Robert may hit .240, he could hit 25 homers and steal 20 bases which is basically what we expect from Tommy Pham sans the solid batting average.

I know Oscar Mercado is just outside of the top-30, but if there’s anyone that could vault into the top-20 it’s Mercado. His stolen base total could be better than projected and I could see similar production to what I expect from Robles. In fact, while both players had poor batted ball profiles, it was Mercado that ended up with a better hard hit% and exit velocity on fly balls and line drives. Robles is actually three years younger, so there’s a reason Robles is ahead of Mercado but there’s a lot to like about Mercado who should bat second between Lindor and Ramirez this year.

2020 Rankings Table - Outfielders 41-60

41David DahlRockies
42Kyle TuckerAstros
43Scott KingeryPhillies
44Andrew McCutchenPhillies
45Justin UptonAngels
45Avisail GarciaBrewers
47Lorenzo CainBrewers
48Mallex SmithMariners
49Bryan ReynoldsPirates
50Shogo AkiyamaReds
51Adam EatonNationals
52Arstides AquinoReds
53David PeraltaDiamondbacks
54Trent GrishamPadres
55Byron BuxtonTwins
56Mark CanhaAthletics
57Alex VerdugoRed Sox
58Nick SolakRangers
59Wil MyersPadres
60Randal GrichukBlue Jays

David Dahl and Kyle Tucker are paired together and it makes sense to me. Dahl is still just 25 and has flashed the sought after power/speed combination. However, he has yet to put it all together, let alone stay healthy. With the backdrop of Coors Field, 2020 could be the breakout we’ve been waiting for but his injury risk drops him outside of the top-40. Tucker isn’t injury prone but hasn’t been given the opportunity to start every day by the Astros. After playing 225 games at Tripe-A over the last two seasons and closing out 2019 with a 30-30 season, he has nothing left to prove. That being said, Josh Reddick is still under contract. Tucker seems like an upgrade based on potential but it’s anyone’s guess as to when Tucker will get his shot. With my best estimate, I like Tucker to produce around a 20-15 type of season across 450 plate appearances. Solid veterans Andrew McCutchen and Justin Upton missed significant time with injuries in 2019 and are coming at discounts this season. I like both to outproduce their ADPs providing OF3 in most formats.

Bryan Reynolds is going to have to hit second in the Pirates lineup right in front of Josh Bell. That’s good but the lineup around him is awful, outside of Bell. That being said, he’s a little more than an empty batting average. He could hit .290 with 18-20 homers and a good bet to reach 85-90 runs. We don’t know what to expect from Shogo Akiyama and my ranking reflects that. He’ll be playing in a favorable park but the outfield is crowded. He has shown moderate power/speed but great on-base skills overseas. If he becomes the Reds every day leadoff hitter, I expect Adam Eaton 2.0 with slightly more power and speed. NOTE: With the trade to Boston, Verdugo gets a major bump as he’s projected to hit leadoff for the Red Sox when healthy. This is the injury section of the rankings. Alex Verdugo is dealing with back issues but claims he’ll be ready for opening day. As part of an already crowded outfield, that gives me concerns. I do believe that when healthy, he can be a .300 hitter with 20-homer pop, so I do like him a lot. If the rumors come to fruition and Verdugo heads to Boston in a Mookie Betts deal, he becomes an intriguing option and I’d move him up about 10 spots.

2020 Rankings Table - Outfielders 61-80

61Nomar MazaraWhite Sox
62Corey DickersonMarlins
63Shin-Soo ChooRangers
64Joc PedersonAngels
65Hunter RenfroeRays
66Jon BertiMarlins
67Willie CalhounRangers
68Brandon NimmoMets
69Brian AndersonMarlins
70Dylan CarlsonCardinals
71A.J. PollockDodgers
72Jackie Bradley Jr.Red Sox
73Kole CalhounDiamondbacks
74Brett GardnerYankees
75Jo AdellAngels
76Domingo SantanaFA
77Ender InciarteBraves
78Teoscar HernandezBlue Jays
79Gregory PolancoPirates
80Mitch HanigerMariners

Jo Adell was not healthy for most of 2019 injuring his ankle and hamstring early last spring but still managed an impressive 173 wRC+ at Double-A before struggling in 27 games at Triple-A. Because of his injuries and poor performance to close the season, he’ll start 2020 on Triple-A. The Angels are pushing their chips in this year and will enter the season starting Brian Goodwin in right field. Eye roll. It won’t be long before Adell is patrolling the outfield next to Mike Trout. I have some concerns about Adell’s strikeout rate and he may struggle to hit over .260 immediately, but the power should play. If he was up day-one, I’d project him for .250-28-12. Playing time projections for Dylan Carlson aren’t great. He’s projected for around 60 games above Triple-A for 2020. That’s not a lot. However, he’s probably the best outfielder in the Cardinals system right now. Yes, that includes the Majors. He hit 26 homers and stole 20 bases across AA/AAA. I think he gets the call early this year as the Cardinals will be competing in a tight NL Central. If he’s able to go 20/15 in five months this ranking is definitely justified.

Gregory Polanco hasn’t been healthy in a couple of years. He used to provide a nice power/speed combination but I fear that he’s lost some of his stolen base potential. At this point, I’m not expecting more than 400 plate appearances from GP and his ranking here reflects that. Mitch Haniger has had a rough calendar year. He’s expected to need core muscle surgery and I’ve already ruled out the possibility of him being ready for opening day. This lingering issue could keep him out for a few weeks into April or potentially miss a good half of 2020. I don’t feel comfortable ranking him any higher and won’t be drafting him until further notice.

2020 Rankings Table - Outfielders 80-137

81Sam HilliardRockies
82Ryan BraunBrewers
83Ian DesmondRockies
84Austin RileyBraves
85Stephen PiscottyAthletics
86Austin HaysOrioles
87Jose MartinezRays
88Jesse WinkerReds
89JaCoby JonesTigers
90Kevin KiermaierRays
91Clint FrazierYankees
92Monte HarrisonMarlins
93Harrison BaderCardinals
94Kevin PillarFA
95Anthony SantanderOrioles
96Ian HappCubs
97Jason HeywardCubs
98Delino DeShieldsIndians
99Tyler O'NeillCardinals
100Alex DickersonGiants
101Alex KirilloffTwins
102Nick MarkakisBraves
103Christin StewartTigers
104Manuel MargotPadres
105Cristian PacheBraves
106Jake BauersIndians
107Dexter FowlerCardinals
108DJ StewartOrioles
109Jake MarisnickMets
110Yoenis CespedesMets
111Adam HaseleyPhillies
112Jay BrucePhillies
113Billy HamiltonFA
114Aaron HicksYankees
115Jordan LuplowIndians
116Lewis BrinsonMarlins
117Jarrod DysonFA
118Jake FraleyMariners
119Tyler NaquinIndians
120Dwight SmithOrioles
121Josh ReddickAstros
122Drew WatersBraves
123Taylor TrammellPadres
124Franchy CorderoPadres
125Matt BeatyDodgers
126Adam DuvallBraves
127Josh NaylorPadres
128Yusniel DiazOrioles
129Albert AlmoraCubs
130Alex GordonRoyals
131Michael TaylorNationals
132Khalil LeeRoyals
133Billy McKinneyBlue Jays
134Roman QuinnPhillies
135Phillip ErvinReds
136Bradley ZimmerIndians
137Daz CameronTigers

I was in shock when I looked back at Sam Hilliard‘s minor league numbers. He’s a late-bloomer and will be 26 this season. As a pitcher in college, he didn’t transition until 2015 when he was moved to the outfield. So, I’m not going to hold his development against him given that he’s only played the outfield for four years. He hit 21 homers and stole 37 bases in 2017 at Single-A and last year the power really came through with 42 home runs and 22 steals between Triple-A and the Majors. Now, Colorado Springs is like hitting on the moon, so maybe he’s not a 40-homer guy but given his growth and Coors Field, he could hit 25-30 home runs with 10-15 steals if given the opportunity to play. Unfortunately, the Rookies have a history of avoiding playing their young talent, so I won’t invest too heavily in Hilliard.

I’ll touch on a couple of players you may not know a lot about in Jacoby Jones and Monte Harrison. Jones is slated to start in centerfield for the Tigers and could bat leadoff given the lack of depth on the roster. He crushed the ball last year with a 45.9% hard-hit% and his 91.3 mph average exit velocity ranked 27th among all hitters in 2019! He’s going to strikeout but showed improvement in his contact and chase rates last year, so a 20-10 season isn’t out of the question. With Harrison, he’s an uber-athletic freak with plus-speed and power. In his prime, he could hit 25-30 homers with 30 stolen base upside. He’s worth a flier in deep leagues but I probably won’t draft him in standard mixed leagues because he’s going to start in Triple-A. While everyone lives C-Dick, I’m definitely a believer in A-Dick. Alex Dickerson looks like a potential deep-league sleeper if he can stay healthy. Oracle Park is brutal for left-handed batters but Dickerson’s metrics are strong. His career hard-hit% is over 40% with an average launch angle of 16 degrees to go along with a strikeout rate that’s better than the league-average. He’s one of 50 players to hit a ball above 113 mph last year as well. At 100 overall, there’s no risk, so I’m taking my shot here.

Outside of the top-100, there are some deep-league darts that I like. It appears Yoenis Cespedes may actually enter the season “healthy” but he’s also 34 and has played in just 119 games since the 2016 season. I could see a stretch of streaky power from him if healthy but nothing sustainable. Adam Duvall is another power bat without any minor league options, so he could see some time in the outfield platooning with Nick Markakis. A few other power bats who just need to find their way to playing time include Josh Naylor, Christin Stewart, and Jordan Luplow.

If it’s speed you’re looking for, Billy Hamilton is still a free agent but I don’t really have interest in him now that he’s approaching 30 and his bat continues to somehow get worse. There’s still Manual Margot, Jarrod Dyson,  and Roman Quinn who all have great speed but will be part-time options at best. A few prospects who could receive the call and provide power and speed mid-season include Christian Pache, DJ Stewart, Taylor Trammell, Drew Waters, Khalil Lee, and Daz Cameron. Stay active on the wire and keep these guys on your radar.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

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