Opening Day is March 26th, and the 2020 fantasy season is in full swing. The image below is a downloadable excel draft sheet broken down by position and ranking. Auction prices and average draft positions are included, alongside projections by category. I touch on some of my favorite options for each fantasy category below.
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While he has had the aid some noise from the dugout, Jose Altuve is still a name that is headed for a strong average. He leads the league in average over the last three seasons among qualified hitters. A fair amount of the top end names are going to hit for over a .300 average, but there are some strong values to consider in this department. Luis Arraez is someone who projects to hit over .300 this season, and has had a strong OBP in a small Major League sample size, but also back to his Minor League days as well. Newly acquired Alex Verdugo has an injury issue, and is in danger of missing Opening Day. Back problems are something that can linger, but he has already shown he is a strong contact bat. He will also likely lead off for Boston when healthy.
Jeff McNeil is a good contact bat coming off of a 23 home run season, also hitting .318. He doesn’t have a high strikeout rate, and the .384 OBP is something that will drop a bit, but McNeil is a great 2B/OF option in terms of average and power. J.D. Davis is another draft value, coming off a .307 average season and also has 20+ home runs. The middle infield in Philadelphia is being overlooked right now, and Jean Segura is someone who has hit over .300 in three of the past four seasons. He saw a slight drop in BABIP last season, and still hit .280. Segura brings double-digit home run and steal upside as well.
Over the past two seasons, Max Muncy has 70 home runs. His power surge has certainly been legit, and for someone with 30+ HR upside and multi-position eligibility, sign me up at his ADP. Matt Olson cranked 36 home runs in 127 games last season, after missing the first month and a half of the season. Olson has 65 home runs in the last two seasons, which is more than Joey Gallo, Rhys Hoskins, and Aaron Judge. Health has played a big part for some of the projected top home run options. Giancarlo Stanton and Judge both have had their health issues, but in healthy years they are topping 40+ home runs.
Franmil Reyes is one of my favorite late round targets, who will get a big bump playing in Cleveland. He will see more at-bats playing outfield everyday, and he projects for over 30 home runs and not too shabby of an average either. After a down year, people have forgot that Khris Davis has his 71 home runs over the past two seasons, which is 10th in the league. The White Sox all have some big boppers, but Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, and Edwin Encarnacion are going to thrive in a friendly fantasy lineup and all have 30+ home run upside. Justin Upton is another one, as the old age, and injury plagued 2019 have caused some to forget that he has been a consistent 30+ home run guy over the last few seasons.
Marcus Semien was a true fantasy stud last season, and projects for just a shade under 100 runs this year. He ranks 6th in runs over the past two seasons, and if you miss out on the first few shortstop options, Semien is right there for the taking. The group of young Blue Jays are coming, and they have quite a few names that project fairly high Bo Bichette is one name who projects for a true breakout year. With the Jays having what should be an improved offense, Bichette has a ton of upside in the runs department. Adam Eaton is someone who needs to stay healthy, but plenty of run opportunity leading off for Washington. Keston Hiura has a real chance to breakout in a big way. Across the board he is projected for big things.
A lot of the big RBI names are going to be tied to the top home run and 3-4 hitters. J.D. Martinez has been one of the top RBI men over the last few seasons, but his teammate Xander Bogaerts ranks third in RBI over the last two seasons. Rafael Devers is 25th. One of the more underrated fantasy players of late is Eduardo Escobar. He ranks 11th in RBI over the last two seasons, and also has 58 home runs. Arizona’s offense is sneaky solid for fantasy, and Ketel Marte is more of the hot ticket item.
If Rhys Hoskins has changed his swing for the better, Hoskins is a nice buy low candidate right now. The power is there, but he had a sluggish 2019. Carlos Santana is just an uber consistent option. He has 189 RBI over the last two seasons and 58 home runs. He also has a .374 OBP and 192 runs. Nick Castellanos moving to Cincinnati is going to be a big addition for the Reds, but his fantasy value is going to go up. I find his projections a bit soft for what I project to be a career year for Castellanos.
The Nationals and Royals are both have a pair that project for big stolen bases. Adalberto Mondesi is the main one, who has 75 stolen bases in the last 177 games. He also has 23 home runs, and the power is there as well. He will run free again this season. His teammate Whit Merrifield has 65 stolen bases over the last two seasons, and has a .358 OBP. Merrifield projects for 25 stolen bases this season, and also 15 home runs. Trea Turner and Victor Robles are two strong stolen base candidates tonight. Robles is ready for a full time role, and Turner has been a consistent speedster over the last few years. Mallex Smith has 86 stolen bases over the past two seasons, and he really struggled to get on base at times last season. Smith is going later in drafts if you want some speed.
More backend value for stolen bases, Oscar Mercado projects for over 20 stolen bases for the Indians. We saw some speed from him in a short sample size in 2019. Byron Buxton isn’t quite at the ADP for his upside as prior years, and if healthy can get 25-30 stolen bases. For the shortstop position, Elvis Andrus isn’t being valued enough in my opinion. He projects for 20+ stolen bases.
Wins are always a flukey stat to project. Jacob deGrom has been a top three pitcher in baseball, yet is outside of the top 30 in wins over the last two seasons. Names like Lance Lynn, Mike Fiers, and J.A. Happ have more wins than him. Both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole lead the league over the last two seasons in wins. No surprise there for a team that has surpassed 200+ wins in that time, and they also stayed healthy. Guys that eat innings and pitch on at least decent teams will have better chances of racking up wins. Bullpens also play a small role in wins, which is why deGrom has had some wasted over the years. The Reds arms are a group I think can see an increase in wins, and have been up there over the last few seasons. They have a good bullpen, and I expect better run support.
Saves are another one that can be a bit flukey. No surprise to see most of the top closers on playoff potential teams. However teams that have lesser offenses will also project better saves. The dreaded closer by committee has become of frequent use, but this year there are at least over half the teams with closer roles already confirmed. Over the last two seasons, Edwin Diaz, Kenley Jansen, and Aroldis Chapman lead the league in saves. Diaz had a big fall off in New York, although some can be tied to bad luck and what he said to be the new ball.
Looking at this year, there are a few new closer names that project really well given they have the stuff, but will now finally get the opportunity. Brandon Workman has been named the closer in Boston, and has potential for 30+ saves tonight with decent strikeout numbers. The walks are the only real concern. Liam Hendriks has electric stuff, and is now the Oakland full time closer. He is one of my favorite tier two names right now. The Pirates have Keone Kela locked into a closer role, and the ADP is at a spot where I am finding myself with a lot of him already.
In terms of strikeouts, there is a quite a bit of value at the backend of drafts, as well as the middle round. Dinelson Lamet isn’t the name most will be drafting first on the Padres, but is back and healthy. I love his upside this season, and he projects for over 170 strikeouts. Andrew Heaney had great second half form, and health has always been his biggest problem. If he can stay healthy, 160+ strikeouts is in the work, and he has the chance to be more than strikeout per inning guy. Frankie Montas got off to a hot start last season, and then the PED suspension hit. I don’t believe that will affect his 2020 numbers as he has a strong fastball, and developed solid secondary pitches.
Zac Gallen heading to Arizona is going to be a strong add for them, as he showed tons of talent in Miami. He won’t hit a big innings number, but the strikeouts within will be high. Oakland has another arm, as A.J. Puk will deal with walk issues, but he has a ton of strikeout potential. Puk is a big lefty that resembles Randy Johnson with a wipeout slider and power fastball. Getting Dylan Bundy out of the AL East is going to be a plus, and he should have a drop in ERA and the home run issues. His secondary stuff is lights out and can generate a ton of whiffs.
Walker Buehler can really make the jump this season, and is already being drafted as such. I like him a ton, and projects for under a 1.10 WHIP this season, which is elite numbers in comparison to the rest of the aces around the league. Chris Paddack and Jack Flaherty are in the same boat as younger names taking that next step this season. Carlos Carrasco has a strong ADP, and projected for under a 1.20 WHIP, and his strikeout potential, the value is there in snake draft formats. David Price going to Los Angeles is a big plus for me. He gets out of the AL East, even though he had a ton of success in Fenway Park. Basically all of the Dodgers rotation is going to be strong names in the WHIP department.
Not sure why those are not looking at Luis Severino as an ace this year, as he looked healthy in the small portion he was last season and has the whole offseason and Spring Training to get back on track. Severino is one of the best arms in the game, and projects to be a top 20 ERA name among starting pitchers as well. Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow are solid mid round options outside of those first few rounds. If you are going heavy on hitters, these are a few names to kick things off with. Aaron Nola continues his consistency, and is also an innings eater. The ERA should once again be in the 3.00-3.50 range, and can also bring a hefty amount of strikeouts. Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets and Brandon Woodruff are the last two names I want to mention. Woodruff has good stuff and won’t go deep into games but he limits damage. Stroman getting out of the NL East is also a plus for him and the high groundball rate.
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
- Fantasy Baseball Sleepers & Late Round Values
- MLB Closer Depth Chart
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Closing Pitching Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Top 40 Catcher Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball 2nd Base Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball SS Rankings
- 2020 Fantasy Baseball 3B Rankings