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. 171 through 180. 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: Blocked seemingly forevermore by Yadier Molina in St. Louis, Kelly got a second life with the Diamondbacks and made good on it after some early-season jockeying for at-bats. If you take his numbers just from his starts, which is how the Diamondbacks will utilize him from the get-go this year, he would have had the seventh-most Head-to-Head points per game at the position last year, behind the obvious six (Mitch Garver, Will Smith, Gary Sanchez, J.T. Realmuto, Willson Contreras and Yasmani Grandal). He should be one of safest bets for respectable home run total at a thin position, with his high walk rate helping to distinguish him further.
The Case Against: Kelly hit just .207 with a .746 OPS in the second half, when he was getting his most extensive playing time. The BABIP was low, but he was hitting more fly balls and going to the opposite field less, possibly becoming too home run-conscious. Or maybe he's just that bad against right-handed pitchers, against whom he hit only .203 with a .708 OPS for all of 2019. With the left-handed-hitting Stephen Vogt on the roster, maybe Kelly's playing time isn't so safe after all. -Scott White
The Case For: Splitting the year between the Mariners and Yankees, Encarnacion continued to perform much like in his previous two stops, delivering an eighth straight season with at least 30 home runs. And now he's headed to the White Sox, where he'll play in another hitter-friendly venue while filling a full-time DH role. The amount he's being downgraded in Fantasy doesn't quite match up with his rate of decline, particularly in formats like Head-to-Head points that reward his ability to take a walk.
The Case Against: While he has continued to hit home runs at a respectable rate, Encarnacion's supporting numbers have been slipping. He strikes out more these days and has almost entirely stopped collecting extra-base hits that aren't home runs. In fact, his fly-ball tendencies became so extreme last year that he wound up with only a .239 BABIP. It's not a problem if he continues to homer at the same pace, but now at age 37, nothing is a given for him — not even the good health he has enjoyed for much of his career. -Scott White
The Case For: One of the few bright spots on a 69-win Pirates team, Reynolds proved to be a quality hitter as a rookie last year. The profile is like something from another time, emphasizing line drives to all fields rather than elevating the ball over the fence, but the quality of contact is high enough that he wasn't a zero for power last year. His batting average will be what carries him, though, and to that end, his .296 xBA was the 17th-highest in baseball, suggesting that the bloated BABIP he delivered last year may not have been the fluke we'd normally presume it to be.
The Case Against: But it was a little bit of a fluke, right? Reynolds' .314 batting average was still a long way from that .296 xBA, and as such, his .290 batting average in the second half (when his BABIP was a still-high .354, mind you) may be the more realistic expectation going forward. Even that sort of batting average isn't so easily dismissed, of course — especially in the range where Reynolds tends to be drafted — but since he's of no help in steals, he'll need to pick up the power production to avoid becoming sort of a rich man's Nick Markakis. -Scott White
The Case For: Catchers who can hit are a rare breed, but Ramos has a pretty lengthy track record of doing just that. His batted-ball profile doesn't allow for a big home run total, which places him firmly behind the elites at the position, but it's also low-risk. He impacts the ball well and doesn't strike out much. You can wait until late to grab him in a one-catcher league and likely won't be greatly disadvantaged in doing so.
The Case Against: It may be a stretch to call a 32-year-old catcher with an ACL repair in his history "low-risk," and there are concerns for Ramos even beyond durability. Though he was never one to elevate the ball, his ground-ball tendencies took a turn for the extreme last year. Not only did his 62.4 percent rate lead the league, but No. 2 was only 56.0 percent. He did try to make some swing changes this offseason to account for the problem, but it remains to be seen how they'll translate to game action. So many grounders for someone not so fleet of foot could spell trouble moving forward, especially if it further erodes his already modest home run potential. -Scott White
The Case For: Rebounding from an injury-plagued 2018, Stroman showed that his pitch-to-contact approach can still be effective at a time when contact is more dangerous than ever, pulling his ERA back into the low threes. And calling it pitch-to-contact approach might be disingenuous anyway. He introduced some variety to his arsenal in 2019, trading off some sinkers for more cutters, and it made him a little more of a bat-misser while also inducing more weak contact. Now, he'll get a full season outside of the AL East, where he should find the opposing lineups more palatable.
The Case Against: Even if his strikeout potential has improved slightly, that's still not Stroman's game. His game is putting the ball on the ground, and as part of the tradeoff for more strikeouts, his ground-ball rate went from being spectacular to merely very good. So now he's more exposed to home runs while still being as susceptible as ever to hits. Since you know the WHIP will be high and you know the strikeouts will be low, Stroman really needs to crush it everywhere else, and that's a difficult standard to meet. -Scott White
The Case For: For the first time since 2013, Cain failed to hit at least .287 last season, so if you're the type who likes to bet on bounce backs, here's a great one to target. Cain played through a thumb injury for much of the season and it seems to have primarily affected Cain's two strongest traits as a Fantasy player: His batting average and baserunning. He was still one of the best defensive players in the game, so it doesn't seem like he's lost a step, meaning the thumb seems like a pretty good explanation. If Cain is healthy, expect him to return to hitting .300 and running at what would be a 25-steal pace.
The Case Against: Cain will turn 34 shortly after Opening Day, so a bounce back from the injury is no guarantee. He's at that age where, even if he is ostensibly healthy, he might just struggle to live up to expectations. Cain has been a solid, consistent player for such a long time that it can feel like a bounce back is inevitable, but his game is so reliant on athleticism that there's just no guarantee he does. If that's the case, he's a pretty replaceable player. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Something, something ... stolen bases and upside. Not to be flippant, but it's the same case we've been making for Buxton for about four years now. Maybe this is the year he finally stays on the field for long enough to put it all together. He did cut down significantly on both the strikeout and ground-ball rates for the time he was healthy last season, which are especially positive developments in the context of today's game. He was on a near 20-20 pace before his season was uprooted by shoulder problems, and he might have led the league in doubles.
The Case Against: Whatever momentum Buxton was building toward a breakout last year was halted by a shoulder injury that was eventually revealed to be a torn labrum, requiring surgery. That's a sizable wrench to throw into the machinery. If you're keeping the faith, it's still going to cost you a middle-round pick in Rotisserie leagues, where stolen bases are in such high demand, and the sort of players you'd be passing up (guys like Willie Cahoun, Mark Canha and Garrett Hampson) are pretty interesting in their own right. -Scott White
The Case For: For a three-year stretch beginning in 2016, Davis was one of the game's premier power bats, averaging 44 homers and 112 RBI. His 2019 started much the same way, with 10 homers in his first 17 games. But then a hip injury in late May forced him to the IL, and while it didn't sideline him for long, he clearly wasn't the same thereafter, homering just 11 times (while batting .207 with a .616 OPS) over his final 90 games. If you buy into the theory that he was never right after hurting his hip, then you have to like the discount you're seeing for a guy who was typically drafted in about the fourth round last year.
The Case Against: Davis' profile has always been built on one thing: home runs — like, a lot of them — because he doesn't do anything else particularly well. Anything short of a full rebound, then, will make him a significant liability in batting average and a difficult fit as a DH-only player. He has enough believers that he's not just free for the taking, and since there's a chance it could be a wasted pick, you'll have to weigh how desperate you are for home run production at that stage of the draft. -Scott White
The Case For: You were paying attention last year, right? You saw what Urshela did taking over third base from an injured Miguel Andujar? The high batting average? The surprising power? The competent defense? Yeah? It should be obvious, then, what he can do for you. If we take his numbers from just his time as a starter, he averaged more Head-to-Head points per game than Mike Moustakas —and that was with more sporadic playing time to accommodate DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu should have a fixed position now with Gleyber Torres moving to shortstop, which should mean even more of Urshela. And with all those big bats ahead of him in the Yankees lineup, the RBI potential is scary.
The Case Against: Ah, but won't Andujar be back this year? Maybe Urshela regresses, opening the door for him to sit more. True, he did make a swing adjustment that improved his exit velocity and has always had the sort of line-drive profile and contact skills that would support a high batting average, but it all came together a little too easily for a two-time castoff. It's a crowded corner infield picture in New York, no matter how you look at it, and while Urshela has the leg up for now, any letup could change things. -Scott White
The Case For: Rosario showed definite improvement as a hitter in his second full big-league season, demonstrating the potential to hit for batting average with a high contact rate and low fly-ball rate. His .291 xBA pretty much tells the story there, but considering Rosario leaned even harder into these tendencies in the second half, when he hit .319, it's likely he's only beginning to show his upside as a hitter at age 24. And, hey, he wasn't a zero in home runs or stolen bases.
The Case Against: Rosario may have figured out how to hit for batting average, but putting the ball on the ground more will work against his already limited power potential. And while he runs fast, he won't run more unless he can figure out how to do it more successfully, having been caught stealing more than any other player last year. Shortstop is too deep for you to have to settle for mediocrity, and barring a transformation in his third season, that's what Rosario is. -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.