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. 51-60. 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: Double his half-season numbers and you're looking at a guy with the potential to be the best second baseman in Fantasy — one with the capacity to hit .300 while approaching 40 homers and 20 steals in a full-length season. It's a pace not too unlike Fernando Tatis', really, but without the second-round price tag. It's not like it came out of nowhere either. Hiura earned particularly high marks for his bat from the time the Brewers drafted him, with the biggest concerns being his glove and his health.
The Case Against: Of course, the same concerns that exist for Tatis also do for Hiura. Both struck out at about a 30 percent rate, and while the way Hiura impacts the ball supports him overcoming it better than Tatis, his xBA still makes him out to be more of a .265 hitter. There's also a chance that increased exposure reveals other areas of his game that are in need of improvement. Still, considering the five-category upside at a weak position, the price here seems right. -Scott White
The Case For: If Judge stays healthy, he's got as good a chance as anyone to lead the majors in home runs. He hasn't been able to replicate his incredible 2017 in the two seasons since, but his per-162 game pace over those two seasons is still pretty incredible: a .276 average, 116 runs, 41 homers, 93 RBI and seven steals. If that's the sort of pace you get from him in a shortened season, he's going to represent a nice return on your investment, but we also know there is even more upside beyond that. Just stay healthy.
The Case Against: Um ... what was that about staying healthy? He's already contending with a stress fracture in his rib cage that wasn't addressed in the offseason, and he's been limited during summer camp, too. At this point, the expectation is still that he's ready for the start of the season, but it's not a guarantee even at this point. Then, of course, there's the fact he lost significant portions of 2018 and 2019 to injury. That could all be bad luck, but Judge is the biggest dude in the majors. It's fair to wonder if his size might be an impediment to staying healthy. -Chris Towers and Scott White
The Case For: A model of consistency, Rizzo actually delivered the highest batting average (.293) and second-highest OPS (.924) of his career last year, not that either was some great departure. His profile is remarkably stable, his expected stats matching up with his actual ones virtually every year, and at least in points leagues, his lack of strikeouts serves as its own differentiator. His on-base skills make him as capable a run-scorer as he is a run-producer — a trait he shares with other elite first basemen.
The Case Against: The number of traits Rizzo shares with other elite first basemen is becoming scarcer. At a time when home run totals are on the rise across the league, Rizzo's have been on the decline. A high-dollar corner infielder has to be able to deliver 30-plus in this environment (or that sort of pace, anyway), and in back-to-back years now, Rizzo hasn't. Steady as he is, he may not be enough of a standout at anything else to make up for it, at least in 5x5 Rotisserie leagues. The gap between his value in that format and in Head-to-Head points has never been greater. -Scott White
The Case For: Glasnow's metamorphosis with the Rays, who rescued him from a prison of outdated thinking with the Pirates, is now complete, and the end result might be the best pitcher, pitch for pitch, in the game. The numbers are staggering: a 1.78 ERA, a 2.26 FIP, a 2.94 xFIP. Those first two would have led the league — and without much competition, really — if he had managed to make more than 12 starts. And since his ADP has him going outside the top 20 starting pitchers, the injury risk is already factored into the price.
The Case Against: Just because it's factored into the price doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Long-limbed and committed to lighting up the radar gun at 101, Glasnow isn't a sure thing to hold up over a starter's workload, and in fact, he has yet to deliver 160 innings in a season (majors and minors combined), not to mention 180 or 200. It's not as much of a concern in a shortened season, but if he gets hurt in the first week or two, that's it.. -Scott White
The Case For: LeMahieu's all-fields approach to hitting will play anywhere, but it was especially well suited to his new home park in Yankee Stadium thanks to the short porch in right field, where 16 of his career-high 26 homers went. That approach also helped him avoid a significant decline in BABIP and, combined with his contact skills, kept LeMahieu's average in a healthy place. This is still arguably the best lineup in baseball, and LeMahieu's underlying numbers mostly back up what he did in 2019. Believe it.
The Case Against: Anytime you're dealing with a player coming off a career year, there's value in baking in some regression. LeMahieu probably won't be as good in 2020 as he was in 2019, so the question is how much will he regress? If the power was legit, there's a very high floor here, but if he goes back to being more like a 10-15 homer guy (that sort of pace, anyway), then you have to worry about BABIP fluctuations having an even more significant impact on his value, as we saw in his disappointing 2018. Ultimately, there should be a pretty high floor with LeMahieu, but we may have seen the tippy top of his ceiling in 2019. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Realmuto didn't take the big step forward we were hoping to see in his first season outside of Miami, but the second half showed us more of his capabilities. Freed from the cavernous dimensions of Marlins Park, Realmuto went out and hit 15 homers in the second half of the season, upping his line to .278/.327/.565 after the All-Star break. Maybe it just took a while for Realmuto to figure it out?
The Case Against: Generally speaking, you're better off using full-season statistics to project for the future than trying to figure out which slice of the season represents a player's "real" skill level. In Realmuto's case, his 2019 wasn't all that different from his 2020, which should tell you that it's probably pretty close to who he really is. The good news is, he's established a really high floor over the past three seasons, but there just may not be as much beyond that as we hoped. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Rarely does a pitcher come along who transitions to the majors as easily as Paddack did. The efficiency with which he could put away hitters jumped out in spring training and continued to stand out across 140 innings. It isn't just about missing bats with him, though he does his share of that. Only twice in 26 starts did he issue more than two walks, and only five times did he issue more than three earned runs. And now, as he enters his second year, he won't have as many restrictions on his workload.
The Case Against: Of course, no pitcher figures to have any restrictions on his workload in a shortened season, so Paddack is merely on equal footing there. While his fastball and changeup play well off each other, allowing him to pound the strike zone, they're basically the only two pitches he has, and hitters might catch on more in Year 2. His tendency to put the ball in the air makes him vulnerable to home runs, and his 3.95 FIP, 4.05 xFIP and 3.83 SIERA all suggest he might have been lucky considering. -Scott White
The Case For: Once things clicked for him — July 12, or possibly a few days earlier — there was no more dependable pitcher in baseball. Darvish was dominant in the second half, posting a 2.76 ERA and 0.808 WHIP over his final 13 starts, with just seven walks total. He's dealt with so many injuries over the years that he might have just needed a few months to figure things out, but once he did, Darvish looked every bit like an ace.
The Case Against: We can't just ignore the first three months of the season, obviously. It wasn't just that Darvish was giving up a lot of runs; he also often looked like he couldn't throw strikes. He walked at least four batters in six of his first eight starts and had an ugly 12.5% walk rate through the end of June, a stretch actually longer than the one where he dominated. Maybe he figured it out around the All-Star break and will carry that with him through 2020, but the more likely outcome is Darvish will be something like what he's always been: A gifted strikeout artist who isn't quite as good at everything else as he should be. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Basically since he left the Rangers in 2014, Cruz has been one of the most reliable superstud bats, delivering no fewer than 37 home runs or 93 RBI across six seasons. His batting average during that time is .285, and he has even averaged 85 runs. He was the No. 26 hitter in traditional 5x5 leagues last year, and that was while playing through a damaged wrist that put him on the IL twice. Best of all, you'll be able to draft him at nowhere near that level, possibly even outside of the top 80 overall.
The Case Against: He's 39 now, which isn't just old — it's ancient. He's beating the odds just by holding down a big-league job, much less putting up MVP-caliber numbers, and we've all gotten so comfortable with him beating the odds that someone is in for a shock when he finally doesn't. The going rate justifies the gamble, of course, but you may want to think twice about reaching any sooner for him, especially since his DH-only status can make him a tricky fit in a Fantasy lineup. -Scott White
The Case For: A former top prospect made good, Bell finally started using that mammoth frame to hit for power in 2019. He's always had great plate discipline but struggled to elevate the ball much before last season, and therein lies the key to his breakout. His 23.9% HR/FB rate is high, but not so much higher than his career rate that you can't believe it is sustainable, especially when backed up by elite hard-hit numbers. Bell hits the ball hard, he makes consistent contact, and now he hits the ball in the air. That's a good combination.
The Case Against: Bell feasted early in the season, and while I don't believe in the Home Run Derby curse, he just wasn't the same guy after the All-Star break. His ISO fell to .196 and his HR/FB fell to 16.7%, both much more in line with his career rates, and his production fell off as a result. Some of that could have been luck-related — a .241 BABIP is hard to overcome — but opposing teams seemed to make more of an effort to force Bell to hit from the left side of the plate, his weaker side, in the second half. Opposing pitchers also threw him fewer first pitch fastballs in the second half (and Bell absolutely feasted on first pitches), so it could be that the scouting report just got out on him. If that's the case, it's now on Bell to adjust. There's no guarantee he will effectively. -Chris Towers
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.