Updated: Feb 3, 2020
Let’s continue the first installment of 2020 season overall draft rankings with players 21-40. If you missed No. 1 through No. 20, click HERE.
(fantasy slash lines: runs/homers/RBI/steals/average; numbers rounded up)
Smile as much as Ozzie Albies does whenever someone drives him in.
No. 21 – Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves
Razzball/Steamer projections: 96/33/101/6/.291
Current NFBC ADP: No. 15 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 25 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 12
Quick thoughts: A consistently great hitter, Freeman elevated his barrel%, BB% and hard hit rate back to their usual territory this past season. Can he get his xwOBAcon back to an elite level? That could be the difference between a very good and great player.
No. 22 – Walker Buehler – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
Razzball/Steamer projections: 14-9, 3.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 215 SO, 182.1 IP
Current NFBC ADP: No. 17 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 42 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 53
Quick thoughts: The hard-throwing righthander enjoyed the breakout many predicted thanks in part to a brilliant K-BB% of 28.8% at home. Plus, Buehler increased his four-seam fastball usage, and decreased his sinker usage. Additionally, his curve performed like one of the best in baseball during 2018, and despite having similar elite spin and break, didn’t generate the same results in 2019. It’s possible it’s back to getting the batted-ball results along with the consistent whiff%. He handled a full season workload and was terrific in the playoffs.
For fun here are the pitchers most similar to Buehler based on velocity and movement: Mitch Keller, Jameson Taillon, Jacob deGrom, Dinelson Lamet, and Gerrit Cole.
No. 23 – Aaron Judge – OF – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 100/39/95/6/.253
Current NFBC ADP: No. 26 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 51 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 190
Quick thoughts: Judge played only 102 games last season after 112 in 2018. He’s played a full season just once. So, there’s some obvious risk taking the mammoth slugger this early. That said, he ranked in the top 1% off barrel%, hard hit%, and average exit velocity last season, and for his career, his hard hit% is an outstanding 54.4%. Steamer/Razzball seems a batting average in the .250s, but I don’t. He hits the ball too hard too often for that type of number.
Again, there is major risk here, but there’s also a chance he does something like 2017 again when he scored 128 runs, blasted 54 homers, and racked up 114 RBI.
No. 24 – Ozzie Albies – 2B – Atlanta Braves
Razzball/Steamer projections: 90/24/84/14/.288
Current NFBC ADP: No. 41 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 34 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 33
Quick thoughts: This is probably higher than the industry consensus, but Albies’s consistency and five-category contribution holds a lot of value in my book. He’s 23 years old and is coming off the best season of his career, a season expected statistics supported, thanks to increased average exit velocity and a better barrel%. Why shouldn’t you expect something like 100 runs, 25 homers, .290 batting average and 15-plus steals?
No. 25 – Jose Ramirez – 3B – Cleveland Indians
Razzball/Steamer projections: 95/31/100/23/.277
Current NFBC ADP: No. 19 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 10 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 75
Quick thoughts: Ramirez was miserable before the All-star break (.218/.308/.344), and fantastic after it (.327/.365/.739). So, perhaps he belongs higher on the list considering the stolen base and power production (consistently, he’s had a very high launch angle), and previous elite seasons. There are some concerns in the swing profile, and he’s never hit the ball extremely hard at a high rate. But that hasn’t prevented him from posting monstrous seasons before.
No. 26 – Ketel Marte – 2B/OF – Arizona Diamondbacks
Razzball/Steamer projections: 84/22/80/8/.296
Current NFBC ADP: No. 44 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 64 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 18
Quick thoughts: What happens when a talented athlete increases his launch angle, fly ball rate and barrel% significantly? Marte enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, and while he probably won’t replicate his .329 batting average, everything else he did could be repeated. While a player like Albies delivers less risk, Marte has a higher upside and more positional flexibility; he just hasn’t proven he can do it multiple seasons… yet.
The Diamondbacks are one organization that should earn the benefit of the doubt because of their scouting and development.
No. 27 – Xander Bogaerts – SS – Boston Red Sox
Razzball/Steamer projections: 94/26/98/6/.291
Current NFBC ADP: No. 36 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 33 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 15
Quick thoughts: Entering the prime of his career, Bogaerts’s body filled out and his power is beginning to show. Another player that was an elite prospect, the talent and skill have never been in question, and he’s regarded as having terrific makeup as well. The likelihood the Boston shortstop gives you very good or better production in four of five categories is very high.
Be bold. Take Jack Flaherty early.
No. 28 – Jack Flaherty – SP – St. Louis Cardinals
Razzball/Steamer projections: 12-10, 3.60 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 231 SO, 196.1 IP
Current NFBC ADP: No. 24 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 61 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 43
Quick thoughts: Flaherty is sure to cause some internet riots because opinions vary greatly about his projections and rankings. Plus, “The Best Fans in Baseball” always conduct themselves so intelligently and politely on Twitter. That last sentence is dripping in sarcasm, by the way.
Anyway, he’s basically a two-pitch pitcher with the slider getting most of the attention because it’s devastatingly dominant. But only one pitcher generated more value with his fastball last season – Gerrit Cole. Plus, Flaherty, unlike Shane Bieber, does a solid job of limiting hard contact.
Interestingly, his curve’s expected statistics rate well. There’s no evidence to support increased usage in that pitch, sinker (ditch it, dude) and changeup. That said, there are some other things in the repertoire that could allow him to utilize a more varied arsenal if needed. The Cardinals are going to win a lot of games, so it’s reasonable to expect more Ws in his column during 2020.
No. 29 – Mike Clevinger – SP – Cleveland Indians
Razzball/Steamer projections: 14-9, 3.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 238 SO, 198.0 IP
Current NFBC ADP: No. 23 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 46 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 80
Quick thoughts: If you draft Max Scherzer and Clevinger on the same team, you’re absolutely required to name it “My Neck, My Back.” You’re welcome for that song now being stuck in your head or even better your first introduction to it.
Clevinger would be higher but as outstanding as his 126.0 innings with a 2.49 FIP, 2.71 ERA and 33.9 K% were, they were still just 126.0 innings. Watch him throw a pitch, and you can tell he needs a healthy back more than most pitchers.
No. 30 – Javier Baez – SS – Chicago Cubs
Razzball/Steamer projections: 86/34/103/15/.274
Current NFBC ADP: No. 40 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 26 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 55
Quick thoughts: Yes, he swings and misses a lot, but Baez just proved his improved barrel%, hard hit rate, xSLG, and xwOBAcon were no fluke because he posted very similar numbers in 2019.
No. 31 – Starling Marte – OF – Pittsburgh Pirates
Razzball/Steamer projections: 84/22/80/26/.287
Current NFBC ADP: No. 32 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 23 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 23
Quick thoughts: If Marte had a track record of actually playing full seasons, he’s closer to No. 10 on this last than No. 20 because of his power/speed combo. The possibility of trade to a contender could lead to more run-scoring opportunities, but no one has been able to score or drive in runs from the disabled or suspended list.
No. 32 – Gleyber Torres – 2B/SS – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 90/36/103/7/.271
Current NFBC ADP: No. 28 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 35 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 48
Quick thoughts: Torres cut down his K% and whiff% while increasing his contact and chase contact%. Combine that with elite talent and placement in one of the best lineups in baseball, and a good fantasy player emerges. Just keep in mind his career .251 xBA could produce a batting average below .270.
Razzball/Steamer projections: 14-7, 3.19 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 233 SO, 177.0 IP
Current NFBC ADP: No. 37 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 21 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 163
Quick thoughts: Sale had one of the strangest seasons in recent memory. His K/BB numbers were still strong, and his xFIP was 2.93. But his velocity dipped, and he gave up homers at an alarming rate (1.47 per nine innings). How Sale throws in Spring Training will need to be monitored closely, although he’s always been a guy that builds up in the beginning to be his strongest in the end.
No. 33 – Pete Alonso – 1B – New York Mets
Razzball/Steamer projections: 96/43/103/2/.252
Current NFBC ADP: No. 30 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 54 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 17
Quick thoughts: Alonso might see an increased diet of breaking stuff this upcoming season. However, he finished second in both max exit velocity and total barrels last season. Hitting 50-plus homers again is asking a lot, but nothing about his 2019 campaign was a fluke.
No. 34 – Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals
Razzball/Steamer projections: 14-10, 3.58 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 228 SO, 200.0 IP
Current NFBC ADP: No. 29 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 47 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 25
Quick thoughts: Strasburg has started 30 or more games just three times in his career, and will enter 2020 after the largest workload of his career. All pitchers are injury risks, but some are riskier than others. Strasburg is one of them. The good news is if he does start 30 or more games, he’ll be in the mix for a Cy Young because he’s come a more well-rounded pitcher than just a power arm.
No. 35 – DJ LeMahieu – 1B/2B/3B – New York Yankees
Razzball/Steamer projections: 89/18/71/7/.284
Current NFBC ADP: No. 64 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 124 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 20
Quick thoughts: LeMahieu posted a .307 or better xBA and .519 or better xSLG against fastballs, breaking balls, and offspeed pitches. He increased his swing% and had the highest average exit velocity since 2015. Although it isn’t a big number, his launch angle again went up and his fly ball rate was again above his career average. Heck, I’m describing a guy that might need to be higher, especially considering the positional flexibility and placement in a great lineup. But he'll turn 32 years old during the season, and his 26 homers bested his previous career-high by 11. The good news is it's unlikely he'll be a complete bust in this spot.
No. 36 – George Springer – OF – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 111/35/90/8/.273
Current NFBC ADP: No. 42 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 30 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 30
Quick thoughts: Maybe Springer will take this ranking and throw it in the trashcan because he’s coming off career-highs in barrel%, xSLG, launch angle, xwOBA, xwOBAcon, and hard hit%. The concern? He’s played more than 140 games just once.
No. 37 – Charlie Blackmon – OF – Colorado Rockies
Razzball/Steamer projections: 100/29/83/8/.293
Current NFBC ADP: No. 45 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 32 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 31
Quick thoughts: Remember when Blackmon stole 43 bases? His sprint speed dipped by nearly a full MPH last season, and he swiped just two bags. He’ll also turn 34 years old during the season and will probably hit in a lineup without Nolan Arenado. Perhaps he replicates his 2019 season, which included a career-best hard hit%, but a slight regression, although it’s not being projected, wouldn’t be that surprising based on his age.
No. 38 – Adalberto Mondesi – SS – Kansas City Royals
Razzball/Steamer projections: 79/19/73/48/.253
Current NFBC ADP: No. 39 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 19 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 76
Quick thoughts: Mondesi might top the list of high risk, high reward players given no one would be surprised if he stole 60-plus bases and hit 15-plus homers. And no one would be surprised if he didn’t play 120 games and hit .240. His 76th finish in last year’s player rater is pretty impressive for a guy who played only 102 games.
No. 39 – Bo Bichette – SS – Toronto Blue Jays
Razzball/Steamer projections: 93/22/75/25/.274
Current NFBC ADP: No. 74 Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 31 Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: N/A
Quick thoughts: Have you seen his hair? Even Tom Verducci nods his head in approval. Yeah, his 2019 batting average was probably inflated, but Bichette has the prospect pedigree, big league roots, and everyday playing time at the top of the lineup. He showed in his brief stint to end last season he could excel at the MLB level, and 25-plus homers and 20-plus steals are within reach. I’ll gladly bet on the upside, especially with power/speed so hard to find this late in drafts.
Bo Bichette was ecstatic to hear he made the top 40.
No. 40 – Yordan Alvarez – UT – Houston Astros
Razzball/Steamer projections: 102/40/124/3/.276
Current NFBC ADP: No. 38
Razzball Player Rater projection: No. 24
Razzball Player Rater 2019 season: No. 152
Quick thoughts: Like Bellinger, I needed a little time to shake how often Alvarez looked overmatched and lacked confidence in the playoffs and time to remind myself how special he was during the regular season. He’s unlikely to hit over .300 this season, but is there a reason to think his elite barrel, slugging, and exit velocity numbers will suddenly decline? No. During the regular season, the Houston rookie displayed fantastic barrel-to-ball ability, including against elite velo.
Images courtesy of AP images.