Circumstances have changed since our first round of draft prep. We're working with a much shorter schedule now, which of course changes the way certain players are valued. It was always the year of the pitcher, with the most skilled at that position enjoying a bump in value at a time when offense dominates the game. But now, even those with workload limitations are able to join in.
Consider this your reintroduction to the 2020 draft pool, accounting for all the changes that have taken place since and because of the coronavirus lockdown. Over the span of 20 articles, Scott White and Chris Towers look at the top 200 in Scott's Rotisserie rankings, highlighting the reasons for and against drafting each. It makes for a well-rounded education on every player, revealing critical details that more argument-based evaluations might conveniently leave out.
So if you want a crash course on this year's player pool, particularly in light of more recent events, you've come to the right place. We're going through Nos. 141 through 150. And you can find the rest right here: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 51-60 | 61-70 | 71-80 | 81-90 | 91-100 | 101-110 | 111-120 | 121-130 | 131-140 | 141-150 | 151-160 | 161-170 | 171-180 | 181-190 | 191-200
The Case For: My working definition for "ace" heading into last season was "a pitcher with the capacity for both 200 innings and 200 strikeouts." Rodriguez achieved both marks in 2019, finally staying healthy enough to fulfill his potential. He had more than a strikeout per inning for a third straight year and threw six-plus innings consistently enough to become a 19-game winner. He didn't really take off, though, until he began putting the ball on the ground more in the second half, when he compiled a 2.95 ERA in 16 starts.
The Case Against: Rodriguez may have technically reached those thresholds in 2019, but he wasn't an ace. His lack of a legitimate breaking ball means he gives up his share of hits, and even in the second half, he had a WHIP over 1.30. Durability has never been his strong suit — he hadn't thrown even 140 innings in a major-league season prior to last year — yet that's mainly what you're paying for here. Well ... that and the 19 wins. He would have been unlikely to sustain that pace even in a full-length season. -Scott White
The Case For: Diaz was the first closer off the board in nearly all drafts this time last year. That should be enough of a case for him, as 58 innings is hardly enough to change your opinion on a pitcher, no matter how bad those 58 innings might have been. Diaz still has elite strikeout stuff but just couldn't keep the ball in the yard in 2019, surrendering 15 homers. If he can get that under control, the path to getting back to being an elite reliever is pretty clear.
The Case Against: Diaz's struggles weren't just bad luck. He had trouble gripping his slider all year, blaming the lower seams on the baseball that also led to the home run explosion leaguewide. He tinkered with his grip on the pitch at different points in the season but never found something that worked for him. He could find his comfort level with the pitch and return to being an elite option, but that's obviously no guarantee for someone who relies as much as Diaz does on that one pitch. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Another player who probably deserves a mulligan for a tough 2019, Kimbrel didn't sign with the Cubs until June — not because of any concerns about his skill set, but due to concerns about draft pick compensation attached to his signing. He then made four appearances in the minors before returning to the majors, where he predictably struggled. However, we only have to go back to 2018 to see Kimbrel was still an elite Fantasy closer. Bet on him getting back to that level with a normal offseason.
The Case Against: Kimbrel did also deal with knee and elbow injuries in 2019, and it's possible the soon-to-be 32-year-old may just be hitting the wall. We saw signs of decline in 2018 even as he was still very good, when he posted the worst FIP of his career and saw his velocity decline. We're certainly on the back half of Kimbrel's career, and as with any pitcher, the bottom can fall out quickly. -Chris Towers
The Case For: We've gotten used to a particular version of Maeda — one that the Dodgers routinely pulled early from games before shifting him to the bullpen in August — but certain clauses in his contract gave them the incentive to do just that. He's actually an efficient pitcher with a varied arsenal who fares better than most a third time through a lineup, making him a candidate for a big workload and all the advantages (namely the potential for more wins and strikeouts) that go with it. And since the Twins don't have the pitching surplus the Dodgers do, they figure to use him in a more conventional manner. His full potential may finally be unlocked.
The Case Against: It's a big assumption, right? A bit convoluted, too, with lots of ifs and buts. It's not like the Twins are on the record about Maeda's workload, and the Dodgers may have kept him on a leash for other reasons. He has shown some vulnerability to the long ball in the past, and it's possible his ERA could be on the high side even if he's a help in strikeouts and WHIP. -Scott White
The Case For: In an era when power is easy to find, Lux's contact skills could make him stand out. We saw a dramatic version of that in the minors, when Lux hit .347/.421/.607 and, most impressively, improved as he got to Triple-A. There's five-category potential here, too, as he has averaged 20 steals per 150 games in the minors. He could be a star, in Los Angeles or somewhere else if they dangle him in trade offers.
The Case Against: The power had never really been there for Lux before he got to Triple-A, which famously saw an across-the-board power spike as they used the same seemingly juiced baseballs as the majors. In Double-A, Lux was good, but he didn't quite look like a potential superstar until he got to the PCL. Lux also struggled in the majors, where his contact skills didn't quite translate immediately. The Dodgers have yet to confirm his role for 2020, and if he struggles, they have the depth to send him back down or reduce his role. -Chris Towers
The Case For: It's been a while since we've seen McCullers pitch in the majors, seeing as he spent all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery, but in the years leading up to the injury, he proved to be an elite strikeout and ground-ball artist — hence the career 3.24 FIP. If he's right coming back from Tommy John surgery, we're probably talking about McCullers as a top-70 pick this time next year. Snag him at this discount and prosper.
The Case Against: After losing a whole year to injury, we just don't know what kind of workload McCullers could be looking at. He's expected to be ready to go at the start of the season, but even though we've become conditioned to expect players back mostly the same from Tommy John, setbacks happen. Will he be free to pitch six innings at a time, even with expanded rosters? Unless we know the answer to that question, it's hard to say just how high the upside is for McCullers, especially since he could just be rusty in his return, too. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Before the injury that cost him all of 2019, Perez was about as reliable a source of power as you could find at catcher, and that was before the juiced ball sent his home run numbers skyward. He hit at least 20 in four straight seasons, including back to back years of 27 homers in 2017 and 2018.
The Case Against: Perez will turn 30 this year and has caught a ton of innings — he played at least 129 games in each season between 2013 and 2018 — and now he's coming back from Tommy John surgery. Obviously, that isn't as tough a task for a hitter as a pitcher, but a big part of Perez's value in the past came from volume. If he isn't going to play as often, which may be the case even in a shortened season, he might be a pretty marginal option, even at catcher. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Getting a new start with the Blue Jays, Giles finally looked like the lockdown closer he was always projected to be, ranking fifth among full-time relievers (minimum 50 innings) with a 1.87 ERA, fourth with a 2.27 FIP and seventh with 14.1 K/9. He's the surefire closer for a team that figures to be improved after breaking in several young hitters last season and making a free agent splash this offseason, but he's rarely one that Fantasy players seek out as their No. 1,
The Case Against: Giles' breakthrough follows a perplexing stint in Houston when he was never as reliable as his numbers suggested he should be, and one strong season doesn't necessarily mean he's free from those demons. He also battled through elbow troubles in the second half. -Scott White
The Case For: Davis was the most impressive hitter nobody knew about in 2019, as just his season line -- a .307 batting average, 22 homers and .895 OPS -- will tell you. His playing time wasn't always consistent, but when he did get a chance to play every day in August, he hit .295 with eight homers and a .951 OPS. And lest you go calling it a fluke, note that the batted-ball profile completely backs it up. In fact, he actually underperformed both his xBA (.308) and xwOBA (.383).
The Case Against: OK, but is the playing time going to be any more consistent this year? The Mets lost Todd Frazier, sure, but they're expected to get Yoenis Cespedes back from ... um, both heel and ankle surgery. At age 34. Yeah ... I'm having a hard time seeing how Cespedes would get the lion's share in left field. And even if he does, the DH spot should still be available to Davis. Maybe because he doesn't have a track record yet, you can't go assuming he'll pick up where he left off, but the glass appears half full to me. -Scott White
So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda's huge breakout last season, and find out.