Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Will age finally get to Nelson Cruz?
No. 81 - Kirby Yates – RP – San Diego Padres
Razzball/Steamer projections: 4-3, 3.21 ERA, 32 saves, 1.09 WHIP, 65.0 IP, 88 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 79 Razzball Player Rater projection: 56 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 89
Quick thoughts: Yates was fantastic last season, and ranked in the 99th or 100th percentile in xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, and K%. It would be awesome if he threw more innings. Anyway, shouldn’t we expect at least a tiny bit of regression from by far a career-best 1.19 ERA?
No. 82 – Marcus Semien – SS – Oakland A’s
Razzball/Steamer projections: 99/25/77/12/.269
Current NFBC ADP: 88 Razzball Player Rater projection: 69 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 19
Quick thoughts: Entering last season, Semien hit more than 15 homers just once in his career. In 2019, he blasted 33 big flies with improved barrel, K, and BB%. Right now, I think I align with the projections and a little ahead of ADP because we’re discussing a 29-year-old with big improvement almost across the board.
No. 83 – Roberto Osuna – RP – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 4-3, 3.64 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 65.0 IP, 33 saves, 76 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 93 Razzball Player Rater projection: 78 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 97
Quick thoughts: Brandon Taubman would take this man No. 1.
No. 84 – Nelson Cruz – UT – Minnesota Twins
Razzball/Steamer projections: 95/39/117/1/.281
Current NFBC ADP: 91 Razzball Player Rater projection: 27 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 35
Quick thoughts: Is this the year age finally gets him? There’s always the risk with a player of his age the Baseball Grim Reaper shows up and curses his bats, and the player falls apart. But even putting him 84th feels like almost completely ignoring how brilliant he was last season. Yes, the lack of positional eligibility is like buying a Porsche and driving the speed limit. Still, the dude freaking mashed last year… again… and was better than he’s ever been. Yeah, he’ll probably be moving way up the list if he looks like the same dude in Spring Training.
No. 85 – Trevor Bauer – SP – Cincinnati Reds
Razzball/Steamer projections: 12-11, 3.93 ERA, 202.0 IP, 1.24 WHIP, 241 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 76 Razzball Player Rater projection: 77 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 135
Quick thoughts: The prevailing industry thought about Bauer right now is 2018 won’t happen again, and Bauer is the career 4.04 ERA guy. I’m willing to bet on Bauer for a few reasons: he’s obsessed with getting better; he can spin the ball about as well as anyone with good stuff; he has a full arsenal to choose from and tweak; he’s going to throw a ton of innings, and miss a lot of bats.
No. 86 – Zack Wheeler – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
Razzball/Steamer projections: 11-10, 4.13 ERA, 189.0 IP, 1.23 WHIP, 195 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 118 Razzball Player Rater projection: 119 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 157
Quick thoughts: Based on velocity and movement, the most similar pitcher to Wheeler, according to Baseball Savant, is 2019 Gerrit Cole. Like Cole when he left Pittsburgh, Wheeler has better stuff than the numbers show, and is a few tweaks away from a breakout season. In addition to throwing extremely hard, Wheeler limits hard contact extremely well and is about to get a big catching boost in J.T. Realmuto. There might be safer pitchers on the board, but the breakout upside is very real.
This photo should be framed and put in the Smithsonian.
No. 87 – Chris Paddack – SP – San Diego Padres
Razzball/Steamer projections: 11-9, 3.86, 1.17 WHIP, 166.0 IP, 178 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 54 Razzball Player Rater projection: 100 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 117
Quick thoughts: If I ranked a list on who was most likely to slam 17 Lone Stars at dive bar and kick the shit out of someone harassing a female with terrible pickup lines, it would be Paddack. The man shows up to the park with a huge dip, cowboy boots, and a perfect-fitting cowboy hat. He’s awesome. I love him. I just probably won’t own any shares of him because everyone knows about him and loves him now after last season’s breakout.
I was surprised to see his four-seam velocity didn’t dip late last season because he looked like a guy that ran out of gas. He’ll have a longer leash this season, but he’s still never proven able to throw a full season at the MLB level and the curveball isn’t yet strong enough to be a third true weapon. Let's not forget the fastball-change combo is sexual, though.
No. 88 – Aaron Nola – SP – Philadelphia Phillies
Razzball/Steamer projections: 13-11, 3.82 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 211.0 IP, 235 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 49 Razzball Player Rater projection: 84 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 114
Quick thoughts: Nola used to be my hipster Cy Young pick every season, and he nearly made me and my beard look smart until last year’s season that didn’t meet expectations. Where did it go wrong? Nola strikes me as a guy that searched for more strikeouts and overthrew his curve slightly.
Statisically, Nola’s hard hit% made a big jump in the wrong direction, and while his curve was good, it wasn’t nearly as dominant as it was in 2018; I don’t think it’s a coincidence his average curve velos in 2017 and 2018 were 77.4 and 78.0 MPH, respectively, and in 2019 it was 79.1 MPH despite having a nearly identical spin rate. Nola also moved away from challenging more in the zone (5.2% decrease in pitches in the zone; 7.1% decrease in F-Strike%), and when he did come in the zone, he was hit more often (5.0% increase in zone contact%).
If Nola gets back to throwing more strikes - a fair expectation - with his usual hook, it's possible he meets his very high current ADP of 49 in January NFBC Draft Champions leagues.
No. 89 – Aroldis Chapman – RP – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 4-2, 34 saves, 3.01 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 65.0 IP, 94 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 86 Razzball Player Rater projection: 82 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 112
Quick thoughts: Still throws extremely hard with a dominant slider, and is closer for one of the best teams in baseball. Also, he sweats a lot.
No. 90 – Carlos Correa – SS – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 89/32/104/3/.273
Current NFBC ADP: 96 Razzball Player Rater projection: 62 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 350
Quick thoughts: Amount of games Correa played the last three seasons: 109, 110, 75. If you enjoy running red lights for fun, Correa is your shortstop four rounds earlier. No one disputes the talent, but it’s impossible to ignore the inability to play a full season.
No. 91 – Jorge Polanco – SS – Minnesota Twins
Razzball/Steamer projections: 94/19/84/8/.280
Current NFBC ADP: 148 Razzball Player Rater projection: 88 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 67
Quick thoughts: A 26-year-old who just dramatically increased his first-pitch swing% and didn’t see a big drop in contact rates, Polanco is an overlooked fantasy player. He’s projected to hit second in one of the best lineups in baseball, and while his barrel and hard hit% numbers aren’t great, he’s either met or exceeded his xBA projection every year. Oh, he hits the ball in the air a ton too and is probably going to score more than 100 runs again.
No. 92 – Andrew Benintendi – OF – Boston Red Sox
Razzball/Steamer projections: 96/19/83/13/.272
Current NFBC ADP: 107 Razzball Player Rater projection: 68 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 197
Quick thoughts: It didn’t seem like Benintendi was every fully healthy at any point during last season, but he still posted career-best barrel% and xwOBAcon numbers. In a good lineup with the ability to steal bags, Benintendi should return to giving owners a little of everything and a solid season. Also, his nickname is, "Benny Biceps."
No. 93 – Victor Robles – OF – Washington Nationals
Razzball/Steamer projections: 74/17/71/27/.261
Current NFBC ADP: 56 Razzball Player Rater projection: 86 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 77
Quick thoughts: Robles managed to finish in the 0th percentile in average exit velocity, and he hits at the very bottom of a lineup that’s now weaker. Sure, he was a former top prospect, and he steals bags. He could also be a former top prospect that steals bags, doesn’t walk, hits .240, and doesn’t score as many runs as last season.
A real-life Pedro Cerrano.
No. 94 – Franmil Reyes – OF – Cleveland Indians
Razzball/Steamer projections: 82/37/101/1/.260
Current NFBC ADP: 149 Razzball Player Rater projection: 96 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 141
Quick thoughts: Long live the Franimal. Big fella bashed 37 homers in 548 plate appearances last season and finished in the top two percent of average exit velocity and hard hit%. The whiff% sucks, but he’s a little more launch angle away from 40-plus homers and 100-plus RBI as the No. 5 hitter in the Cleveland lineup.
No. 95 - Jeff McNeil – 2B/3B/OF – New York Mets
Razzball/Steamer projections: 91/20/74/9/.288
Current NFBC ADP: 89 Razzball Player Rater projection: 94 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 81
Quick thoughts: His batting average and slugging percentage outperformed their expected numbers. However, his expected statistics were still strong. It’s difficult to find a source of good batting average and anything else at this point in the draft, and McNeil profiles at three different positions too.
No. 96 - Eugenio Suarez – 3B – Cincinnati Reds
Razzball/Steamer projections: 92/33/89/3/.252
Current NFBC ADP: 61 Razzball Player Rater projection: 120 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 32
Quick thoughts: I never like hearing about a shoulder injury that’s going to be an issue during Spring Training. His ranking is a direct reflection of that.
No. 97 – Sonny Gray – SP – Cincinnati Reds
Razzball/Steamer projections: 11-10, 3.93 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 175.0 IP, 191 SO
Current NFBC ADP: 97 Razzball Player Rater projection: 150 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 74
Quick thoughts: Reunited with an old friend in Cincinnati, Gray increased his K% 7.9% and posted a 2.87 ERA and 3.42 FIP. I was all-in for the Gray bounceback last season. This season? I see a guy who, among qualified starting pitchers, finished dead last in F-Strike% and completed 7.0 innings or more just three times. He’s going to be solid again, but the ERA might jump up near the FIP and his WHIP could regress significantly because of how often he’s behind in the count.
No. 98 – Yuli Gurriel – 1B/3B – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 83/23/93/5/.288
Current NFBC ADP: 121 Razzball Player Rater projection: 80 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 45
Quick thoughts: Yeah, he’s 35-years-old and his barrel rates are closer to bad than good. He also puts the ball in play a ton, is scheduled to hit fifth in a great lineup, increased his launch angle significantly, and has hit .291 or better his last three full seasons.
No. 99 – Max Kepler – OF – Minnesota Twins
Razzball/Steamer projections: 102/31/88/6/.259
Current NFBC ADP: 154 Razzball Player Rater projection: 79 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: 78
Quick thoughts: Projected to hit leadoff for one of the best lineups in baseball, is 26-years-old, hit 36 homers last season, increased his swing% by nearly 6% and posted his best barrel and hard hit% numbers of his career.
No. 100 - Luis Robert - OF - Chicago White Sox Razzball/Steamer projections: 76/26/78/23/.272
Current NFBC ADP: 80
Razzball Player Rater projection: 40
Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: N/A
Quick thoughts: The tools are enough to make any fantasy man blush, and the minor league numbers are terrific. How much will the inexperience matter? Robert hasn't spent a full season above A+ in his career, and is on a similar path to a man he shares the outfield with, Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez was up-and-down his first season, and finished No. 138 in the player rater after 122 MLB games. Of course, Jimenez doesn't run like Robert is projected to. But even with the possibility of 20-plus steals, Robert comes with a lot of risk in early rounds.
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