Updated: Feb 3, 2020
Undervalued outfielders, confusing stars, a bunch of Oakland A’s, and upside pitchers make up most of our Nos. 61-80 overall fantasy baseball player draft rankings.
Miss our earlier installments?
The next list:
Yu Darvish is probably dreaming about a better bullpen.
No. 61 – Whit Merrifield – 2B/OF – Kansas City Royals
Razzball/Steamer projections: 89/14/62/23/.282
Current NFBC ADP: 51 Razzball Player Rater projection: 61 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 37
Quick thoughts: Considering his xBA has been very consistent three years in a row and he finished the No. 37 player last season, a case can be made Merrifield should be higher, especially given his flexibility and the thirst to find steals. He’s going to hit at the top of the Kansas City lineup again, and he has some underrated RBI bats behind him. If you’re drafting him purely to boost your steals, be weary of 20 successful swipes in 30 attempts last season, a new manager, and a recent 31st birthday.
No. 62 – Yu Darvish – SP – Chicago Cubs
Razzball/Steamer projections: 12-9, 3.87 ERA, 185.0 IP, 1.19 WHIP, 221 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 57 Razzball Player Rater projection: 75 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 136
Quick thoughts: Darvish improved his K%, BB%, WHIP, Whiff%, and contact rates from 2018 to 2019. And here comes the 16-pound bowling ball set to make some pins explode: 118:7 K:BB ratio during the second half last season. If he can carry that type of control into another season with 180-plus innings, he’ll prove to be a steal… if the Cubs bullpen doesn’t blow a bunch of wins.
No. 63 – Tommy Pham – OF – San Diego Padres
Razzball/Steamer projections: 90/25/71/18/.271
Current NFBC ADP: 74 Razzball Player Rater projection: 57 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 70
Quick thoughts: Currently slotted into the No. 2 hole behind Swagmonster himself, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Pham takes his intriguing power/speed combo to San Diego. He’ll turn 32-years-old soon and doesn’t have a track record of full seasons of production. However, taking a chance on a highly competitive player on a win-now team who could hit 20-plus homers and swipe 20-plus bags is worth the selection here.
No. 64 – Luis Severino – SP – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 12-8, 3.98 ERA, 168.0 IP, 1.21 WHIP, 182 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 59 Razzball Player Rater projection: 115 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: N/A
Quick thoughts: Severino’s injury-riddled 2019 season means he’ll be a must-follow during Spring Training. Sure, he returned for a very small sample in the regular season and postseason, and his velocity was a tick down on both the fastball and slider. Assuming he returns to 2017 and 2018 form, No. 62 could look like a bargain; the risk without any Spring Training update pushes him to this point where it then becomes too good of a value to pass.
No. 65 – Matt Olson – 1B – Oakland Athletics
Razzball/Steamer projections: 87/37/106/1/.254
Current NFBC ADP: 68 Razzball Player Rater projection: 84 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 99
Quick thoughts: Red, in most cases, means stop, but when it comes to evaluating baseball players with Statcast, it screams, ‘Go!’ Olson ranked in the 98th percentile of hard hit%, 95th in xSLG, and 93rd in xwOBA. In just 127 games, he blasted 36 homers, which means 40 or more is well within reach to go with a possible uptick in batting average after a jump in xBA.
No. 66 – J.T. Realmuto – C – Philadelphia Phillies
Razzball/Steamer projections: 74/24/73/6/.270
Current NFBC ADP: 50 Razzball Player Rater projection: 46 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 47
Quick thoughts: Realmuto posted the exact same or nearly exact same xBA, launch angle, xSLG, xwOBAcon, barrel %, and hard hit % in 2019 as 2018. He’s 28-years-old, hits in a good lineup, and is an elite defender. So, besides rest, there’s never a reason to take him out of the lineup. Everything about his production and profile says, “safe pick.”
No. 67 – Jose Abreu – 1B – Chicago White Sox
Razzball/Steamer projections: 84/31/100/3/.276
Current NFBC ADP: 78 Razzball Player Rater projection: 70 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 41
Quick thoughts: The lineup he calls home is improving, and he’s coming off a 123-RBI season with improved hard hit% and average exit velocity. The whiff% and chase contact rate went the wrong way, but just barely. Despite turning 33-years-old soon, there are no signs of a decline… yet.
No. 68 – Matt Chapman – 3B – Oakland A’s
Razzball/Steamer projections: 94/35/98/3/.257
Current NFBC ADP: 92 Razzball Player Rater projection: 78 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 79
Quick thoughts: A future star, Chapman is entering the prime of his career and followed a solid 2018 with improved K%, BB%, and hard hit %. The xBA doesn’t suggest much improvement in batting average despite the unfair BABIP. Still, he’ll easily surpass 30 homers with a chance at 100-plus RBI, 100-plus runs, and a batting average that won’t kill you.
No. 69 – Ramon Laureano – OF – Oakland A’s
Razzball/Steamer projections: 79/24/78/15/.263
Current NFBC ADP: 75 Razzball Player Rater projection: 102 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 90
Quick thoughts: No, I didn’t just discover updated projections for the Oakland A’s and immediately inject them into rankings. Over 657 career plate appearances, Laureano posted this fantasy slash line: 106/29/86/20/.288. By now, you should know how difficult it is to find power/speed combinations, and he finished 90th in the player rater last season despite playing just 124 games. Besides the aggressive approach that affects K%, there’s really not much to dislike.
Eddie Rosario is going to look up at more big flies again this season.
No. 70 – Eddie Rosario – OF – Minnesota Twins
Razzball/Steamer projections: 87/29/101/5/.283
Current NFBC ADP: 95 Razzball Player Rater projection: 48 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 51
Quick thoughts: An underrated source of steady production the last three years, Rosario is going to hit near the middle of one of baseball’s most feared and potent lineups. For the fourth-straight season, his zone and chase contact% improved, which especially helps Rosario given his aggressive approach. His low xBA numbers would be an eyesore if he didn’t have a track record of always outperforming them. Pencil him in for 30-plus homers, 100-plus RBI, and cross your fingers for strong batting average and run totals too.
No. 71 – Michael Brantley – OF – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 87/21/93/5/.289
Current NFBC ADP: 132 Razzball Player Rater projection: 68 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 68
Quick thoughts: Brantley played 148 games last season, which makes two in a row over 140, and showed no decline in xBA, posting another number over .300. Projected to hit third in a great lineup, Brantley should have another solid season even if age starts to mitigate the production slightly.
No. 72 – Zack Greinke – SP – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 14-10, 4.26 ERA, 202 IP, 1.24 WHIP, 182 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 64 Razzball Player Rater projection: 124 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 29
Quick thoughts: With a career-low BB%, Greinke was the No. 29 player last season, and again beat batters over and over again with a fastball that averaged under 90.0 MPH. With outstanding command and control and a plus-plus feel for pitching, Greinke can age much more gracefully on the mound than most arms when they lose velocity.
As long as he keeps throwing strikes with all his pitches and misses barrels, why shouldn’t he have another strong season of ERA, wins, WHIP with a noticeable amount of strikeouts too? I disagree strongly with the projections.
No. 73 - Tim Anderson – SS – Chicago White Sox
Razzball/Steamer projections: 81/21/76/18/.275
Current NFBC ADP: 90 Razzball Player Rater projection: 69 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 66
Quick thoughts: Is Anderson going to have a .399 BABIP again this season to inflate his batting average to .335? Unlikely, but he did post very high BABIP numbers in the minor leagues, and his xBA was .294, a very good mark. Anderson was on his way to another 20/20 season before injury cut his season short, is going to hit second in a significantly improved lineup, and although his BB% sucks, his xwOBAcon of .403 isn’t an outrageous jump from 2016 and 2017 numbers.
No. 74 – Manny Machado – SS/3B – San Diego Padres
Razzball/Steamer projections: 95/37/95/7/.272
Current NFBC ADP: 63 Razzball Player Rater projection: 40 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 101
Quick thoughts: Here’s the thing about Machado: dissecting the profile just tells us last season was probably the worst-case scenario for 2020. Sure, you can nitpick the slight dip in barrel% and uptick in K%. However, most of the swing and batted-ball data didn’t dramatically change. So, the worst that could happen is likely 30-plus homers, eclipsing 80 in both RBI and runs and a batting average around .260. If that’s the downside, betting on a player of his age and talent makes all the sense here.
No. 75 – Kris Bryant – OF/3B – Chicago Cubs
Razzball/Steamer projections: 101/30/84/4/.274
Current NFBC ADP: 62 Razzball Player Rater projection: 67 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 59
Quick thoughts: Bryant is one of the most confusing and probably one of the most polarizing players to dissect. On one hand, he scored 102 runs and hit .282 with 31 homers last season, which is pretty standard for him. He’s a former top MLB Draft pick and top prospect. Besides a season we can attribute to health, he’s been solid or better.
Then there’s the concerning: xwOBA and xwOBAcon consistently on the decline for the fifth-straight year, and Bryant’s batted ball profile spits out a list of similar hitters capable of making anyone running far away from an early draft selection:
The position flexibility helps, but don’t be stunned if a sharp decline occurs.
No. 76 – Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals
Razzball/Steamer projections: 94/30/82/5/.273
Current NFBC ADP: 72 Razzball Player Rater projection: 79 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 64
Quick thoughts: In addition to worse contact%, Goldschmidt posted worse numbers in the following areas: xBA, xSLG, wOBA, xwOBA, xwOBAcon, hard hit%, BB%, barrel%, average exit velocity. And his lineup won’t be as good during his age-32 season. Replicating last season is probably a best-case scenario.
Josh Bell might have to drive himself in a lot this season.
No. 77 – Josh Bell – 1B – Pittsburgh Pirates
Razzball/Steamer projections: 91/29/84/3/.274
Current NFBC ADP: 94 Razzball Player Rater projection: 95 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 42
Quick thoughts: Everything clicked for Bell, and he showed why he earned a record-setting signing bonus out of high school. There isn’t a single thing in his Statcast data that suggests 2019 was a fluke, and he clearly made a change to become more aggressive in the batter’s box. So, what’s the issue? It would take at last 12 Yuenglings to convince anyone the Pirates might have a good lineup.
No. 78 – Marcell Ozuna – OF – Atlanta Braves
Razzball/Steamer projections: 87/30/88/6/.276
Current NFBC ADP: 102 Razzball Player Rater projection: 71 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 84
Quick thoughts: A very good case can be made Ozuna was the unluckiest hitter in baseball last season. He hammered the ball all season only to be rewarded with a batting average 47 points lower than its expected number and a slugging percentage 76 points lower. Now, Ozuna is projected to hit behind Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Jr., and Freddie Freeman in Atlanta. You shouldn’t expect Ozuna to replicate his 2017 season, but you should expect noticeably better than 2019 and over 100 RBI.
No. 79 – Gary Sanchez – C – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 65/31/81/1/.242
Current NFBC ADP: 89 Razzball Player Rater projection: 83 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 130
Quick thoughts: One of the early frontrunners for the most “best shape of his life” headlines, Sanchez has always hit the ball hard, and he ranked in the top 1% of barrel% last season. How many games will he play? Good question. However, he doesn’t need a full season to post monstrous homer numbers hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup.
No. 80 – Giancarlo Stanton – OF – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 98/49/123/3/.268
Current NFBC ADP: 53
Razzball Player Rater projection: 19
Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: N/A
Quick thoughts: Since 2013, Stanton has played fewer that 120 games four of seven seasons. So, excuse me while I wait to see just how healthy he is after last season’s recurring issues that always ended up worse than expected. The likelihood is he moves way up in updated rankings once he proves his health because close to a full season could mean huge numbers in three categories – runs, RBI, homers.
Images courtesy of AP Images