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. 181 through 190. 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: Tanaka was a victim of circumstance in 2019. The manufacturing inconsistencies of MLB baseballs led to notably shorter seams on the ball, and Tanaka was one of several noteworthy pitchers to struggle to adapt to the new ball. His splitter lost much of its effectiveness, and he spent long stretches of the season trying out new grips to rediscover the pitch. He seemed to find something that worked in August, as he closed out the season's final two months with a 3.75 ERA. If he can get back to that level again, Tanaka is going to be a great value.
The Case Against: There's no guarantee they change the ball back, so you can't exactly expect a return to form for Tanaka. Even in those final two months, his strikeout rate was well below career norms, so he'd need to be better than that to have much appeal. It's possible an offseason of work will yield better results than trying to change mid-stream, but you'd have to treat such a claim with considerable skepticism based on what we saw last season. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Foltynewicz needed a trip back down to the minors mid-season to get right, but by the time he returned to the majors in August, he looked a lot more like the guy who broke out in 2018. In his final five starts of the regular season, Foltynewicz had a 1.50 ERA and struck out 24.2% of opposing batters, much better than what he did in the first three months before his demotion. An implosion in his final start of the postseason might be sticking in your mind, but Foltynewicz turned his season around enough to have some faith him being right for 2020.
The Case Against: Here's Foltynewicz's ERA by season since he became a regular starter in the majors: 4.31, 4.79, 2.85, 4.54. 2018 sticks out like a sore thumb there, just like his September run sticks out like for 2019. At some point, don't we have to accept that Foltynewicz is what he is? They've already shown a willingness to pull the plug if he struggles, and with a slew of top prospects sitting at Triple-A waiting for their opportunity, it might not take much for Foltynewicz to lose his job. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Garcia seems like the perfect sort of candidate to seize upon the star-making ability of Miller Park — an especially hitter-friendly venue that has had a transformative effect on players like Jesus Aguilar, Domingo Santana, Travis Shaw and, yes, Christian Yelich in recent years. Garcia makes quality contact, and while he still puts the ball on the ground more often than ideal, he has done a better job of elevating the past couple years. If you overlay his 2019 spray chart on the dimensions of Miller Park, it suggests a career high in home runs may be in store for a player who already profiles for a good batting average.
The Case Against: The home run boost is of course purely theoretical for a player who has long failed to measure up in that area, his modest total last year representing a career high. And since his on-base skills also leave something to be desired, it wouldn't take much for him to slip out of Fantasy relevance altogether. Add a questionable playing time situation in which Garcia's at-bats are partly tied to how comfortable Ryan Braun is at first base, and the 28-year-old has several possible pitfalls in a season when we're already asking him to do more than ever. -Scott White
The Case For: It wasn't too long ago that Yankees fans were beating the drum for Andujar as Rookie of the Year over two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, and let's not forget the 25-year-old hit .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBI that year. Expected back this year after surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, he still offers a unique offensive profile that lends itself to a high batting average at a time when power production is so easy to come by. And particularly with the RBI potential that the Yankees lineup presents, it gives him a chance to make a considerable impact in three categories for the cost of a late-round pick.
The Case Against: Of course, the cost is a late-round pick because Andujar, lest you forget, is coming back from shoulder surgery, making a return to his prior production in no way a certainty. Gio Urshela may have upstaged Andujar in his absence, providing comparable numbers with far superior defense. DH isn't an option with Giancarlo Stanton needing to play there much of the time, and the Yankees already have two pretty good first base options in Luke Voit and Mike Ford. Andujar saw some time in left field during the initial spring training, which should help, but he'll have competition there, too. -Scott White
The Case For: Seeing perhaps the biggest change in value of anyone involved in the Mookie Betts deal, Verdugo becomes the obvious replacement for Betts in the Red Sox outfield and should make an immediate impact with his high-contact bat. His swing is geared for batting average, producing line drives to all fields, and the .294 mark he produced last year came with a modest .309 BABIP. A hot start could move him up to the leadoff spot, too, where his run-scoring potential would also be elite.
The Case Against: Concerns about Verdugo's power potential follow him from Los Angeles, especially since Fenway Park doesn't do left-handed hitters like him any favors in that regard. If he can perform at a 20-homer pace with a high batting average, it'll probably put him in the must-start category, but anything less puts him at a real disadvantage in this power-laden environment. There are also lingering concerns about a stress fracture in his back that dates back to last season. -Scott White
The Case For: You might be stunned to see Dozier's final triple-slash line: .279/.348/.522 in 586 plate appearances. That line is basically what Gleyber Torres did, albeit with fewer home runs and in a worse lineup. That's not to say Dozier is on Torres level, but the underlying numbers backed up a lot of what Dozier did, so there could be a significant value available here.
The Case Against: Dozier's 2019 wasn't just an outlier for his major-league career (though it was). It was also better than anything he has managed at any level since 2016. Maybe he's a late bloomer, but Dozier had a sub-.770 OPS in three of six months, so it's not like there's any kind of guarantee this was for real. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Upton has been a steady middle-of-the order bat for a decade now, reliably delivering 25-35 home runs with a batting average in the .250-.280 range. He has decent on-base skills, making runs just as much a part of his profile as RBI, and has been known to deliver double-digit steals from time to time. He has rarely performed up to the level of the game's elites, which can cause him to slide in drafts, but he's so bankable from year to year that you'll never regret making him a part of your team.
The Case Against: All of that would have been the perfect case to make for Upton prior to last year. Now, there's reason to wonder what, if anything, he has left. Maybe it's just that his 2019 was disrupted beyond the point of recovery by an early bout with turf toe, but for the 219 at-bats he was able to take the field, he made some of his weakest contact ever while striking out more than ever. There's no salvation to be found in the Statcast data either, so an investment in Upton is simply about putting your faith in the track record. -Scott White
The Case For: As hard as it may be to believe, Vazquez's 2019 might have been for real. He improved his underlying skill set pretty much across the board, most notably with a 38.5% hard-hit rate, by far the best of his career. He stuck out a bit more, but you'll happily take that trade-off if it results in Vazquez being a Fantasy-relevant catcher again.
The Case Against: It's hard to overstate just how big of an outlier Vazquez's performance in 2019 was. A hitter with a .089 ISO in the majors (and a whopping .123 in the minors) before last season turned in a .201 ISO overnight as a 28-year-old. The underlying numbers largely back it up, but skepticism is always going to be warranted when we're talking about this kind of improvement from one year to the next. If Vazquez can't maintain those gains, he's probably not Fantasy relevant. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Narvaez was a popular sleeper this time last year, and he largely lived up to expectations. He doesn't have a ton of raw power, but he makes the most of what he has with a fly-ball and pull-oriented swing that led to a career-high in homers in T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Now he gets to play his home games in Miller Park, one of the best hitting parks in the game. 2019 could be the floor.
The Case Against: When I say Narvaez doesn't have a ton of raw power, I mean it. He ranked in the eighth percentile in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate last season, and his average home run traveled just 385 feet. He's a decent contact bat, but the calling card here is the 25-homer upside, and there could be a very slim margin for error with his profile. Miller Park will help, but if he regresses even a little bit, Narvaez could be a non-factor for Fantasy. -Chris Towers
The Case For: A year ago at this time, Colome was one of several White Sox closer candidates, but he took the job and ran with it, giving manager Rick Renteria a nice security blanket for that most pivotal of innings. It made it three years in four with 30-plus saves for Colome. Job security is everything at relief pitcher. Who's line for saves, and who's most likely to stay that way? Those are the two most pertinent questions this time of year, and with regard to Colome, the answer to both is a favorable one.
The Case Against: But is he actually fit for closing? What does he excel at? He isn't a great strike-thrower. He had less than a strikeout per inning last year — which is rare among all relievers, much less closers. He gives up hard contact, too. He's fortunate most of it is on the ground, but still, his expected stats suggest he deserved worse than he got last year. The White Sox may not have any obvious alternatives, but they'll be looking for one if things unravel. -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.