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. 71-80. 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: Olson is exactly what a premier slugger looks like in terms of exit velocity, barrel rate and launch angle, and it actually showed in his numbers this time around. He hit his 36 home runs in only 127 games because of a broken hamate bone early in the year, but his production wasn't at all impeded upon his return. And for all that went right, he actually underperformed expected stats like xBA, xSLG and xwOBA.
The Case Against: Olson will still play his home games at Oakland Coliseum, where he hit .236 with a .777 OPS last year, and he'll still face lefties approximately one-third of the time after hitting .223 with a .767 against them. Those splits have never been in his favor, and both make too much sense to dismiss. It gives him a thin margin for error both on the road and against righties and may help explain why his numbers were suspiciously lacking in 2018. -Scott White
The Case For: Well, we know what the upside is: He won an MVP and nearly hit 60 homers in 2017. Stanton still hits the ball as hard as anyone, and even in a season where he regressed in 2018, he still finished as a top-25 hitter. The key for Stanton, as it always has been, will be to stay healthy, and more work at DH could help.
The Case Against: Generally speaking, Stanton doesn't stay healthy. He played just 18 games in 2019, and 2017 and 2018 have been the outliers in his career — he has played 125 or fewer games in five of his nine full MLB seasons. At 30, Stanton probably isn't going to get healthier moving forward — he was already contending with a calf strain in spring training — and the skill set might be declining, too. -Chris Towers
The Case For: If all Robles does is repeat his 2019 while batting leadoff, you're probably looking at a 20-homer, 100-run and 35-steal pace, albeit over a shortened season. That alone would make him worth the price you're going to pay on Draft Day, and that's without considering the possibility that the Nationals might let him run even more from the top of the lineup, as has been the case for Trea Turner in his career. And, of course, if Robles improves — he was a career .300/.392/.547 hitter in the minors and is still just 22 until May — we could be talking about him the same way we talk about the likes of Turner and Starling Marte among early-round steal sources.
The Case Against: He has a lot of improvement left to do. Robles ranked right at the bottom of the league in average exit velocity, and in the fourth percentile in hard-hit rate, which makes the 17 homers he did manage to hit look like a minor miracle. There's plenty of talent here, for sure, but the underlying numbers indicate some pretty significant bust potential in his profile. The steals could help keep him afloat, but there's a chance of a Byron Buxton-like outcome. -Chris Towers
The Case For: In a season when you couldn't rely on practically any closers, Yates was a steady hand. Actually, that undersells him quite a bit: Yates was absurdly dominant. He led the majors in saves, while nearly cutting his already minuscule ERA in half, and doing so in a way that is largely backed up by his peripherals. A reliever you can rely on for elite ratios, with no competition for saves and the potential for a 100-strikeout pace? These days, those don't just grow on trees.
The Case Against: Of course, Yates mostly stands out because the supposed elite class of closers nearly all fell flat on their faces last season. He should be commended for avoiding that fate, but it also highlights the tenuous nature of relying too much on any reliever. We're dealing with tiny sample sizes for every reliever, and their roles tend to create a ton of volatility, so the steps Yates took in 2019 may not stick in 2020. He's the best reliever coming into the season, but it shouldn't surprise anyone if Yates loses his job at some point in 2020. That's why we don't pay up for closers. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Suarez nearly hit 50 homers last year and you can draft him in the seventh round in many leagues. It's just disrespectful, is what it is. We're talking about a guy who has driven in 100-plus runs in consecutive seasons and has a pretty high floor even if he never comes close to 50 homers again. Although, it is worth repeating: He hit almost 50 homers last season! Let's not overthink this.
The Case Against: Well, let's think about it for a second. Suarez doesn't run and has never hit for a good average, so you really need the power production to come through. He was also one of the bigger overperformers in baseball by expected wOBA and actually led the majors in strikeouts in 2019. That tradeoff is worth it when he's hitting nearly 50 homers, but if his home run pace goes back to normal, does that come with a .250 average? The fact he's recovering from shoulder surgery after taking a tumble late in the offseason only makes him riskier. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Castellanos' consistently high line-drive rates give him a high batting average floor, which has made him a reliable mid-tier Fantasy contributor ever since he began muscling up for more homers a couple years back. His work with the Cubs late last year suggests Comerica Park was holding him back, and now he'll get to enjoy one of the friendliest venues for power in Cincinnati. Particularly given how well he drives the ball the opposite way — a skill that often went unrewarded in the past — it's not a stretch to think he could have a mid-career breakthrough, possibly even delivering numbers on the level of a J.D. Martinez.
The Case Against: Given how uncharacteristically bad Castellanos' numbers were for the first four months with the Tigers, his work with the Cubs after the trade deadline may have been a correction long coming and not so much a matter of him escaping Comerica Park, where he had typically put up better numbers than on the road over the years. Now that he has some helium, given the strength of the venue narrative, he could rise to a level that's difficult to reconcile with what's a pretty well-established track record. -Scott White
The Case For: Moncada's natural ability to impact the baseball gave him obvious star potential, but an exorbitant strikeout rate prevented him from capitalizing on it during his first two years in the big leagues. Cutting it down from about one-third to about one-quarter made all the difference, leading to a breakthrough season that resulted in an 80-point increase in batting average, a 70-point increase in ISO and a 200-point increase in OPS. He can sometimes go overlooked at a deep position, but at a point in the draft that's mostly populated by pure sluggers, he can make a real impact in batting average and steals.
The Case Against: Though Moncada projects for a high BABIP, the .406 mark he delivered last year is obviously too good to be true, and a reduction in batting average of at least 20 points is certainly in order. While he's a fast runner who delivered some lofty steals totals in the minors, his reputation as a base-stealer hasn't been earned in the majors, with him barely reaching double digits the past two years. He still tends to be valued for what he could be rather than what he actually is. -Scott White
The Case For: Woodruff made good on his long-awaited opportunity for a full-time rotation spot, emerging as the ace the Brewers had long been lacking. He excelled at pretty much all the things a pitcher can control, too, pounding the strike zone with a high-90s fastball that proved to be one of the most effective in the sport and helped him make quick work of lineups. Once the Brewers took off the training wheels in late May, he had no issue pitching deep into games, throwing seven-plus innings in five of his final 11 starts before getting hurt. When hitters made contact, they generally put the ball on the ground, resulting in a low home run total. As good as he was, his 3.01 FIP and 3.36 xFIP say he should have been even better.
The Case Against: Notice the "before he got hurt" that I casually slipped in there? Yeah, a strained oblique cost Woodruff nearly two months late in the season, so while a proclivity for low pitch counts certainly helps his case for an ace workload, we still have no evidence that he's durable. As good as his fastball is, his offspeed pitches mostly just exist to set it up, so if his velocity slips at all, it's a problem. Seeing as he's already 27, the Brewers basically sat on him for two years even though they had obvious pitching needs, which perhaps reveals their own skepticism. -Scott White
The Case For: We all know what Machado is capable of. Even in a "down year," he hit 32 homers, and now he'll have a better lineup surrounding him in 2020. At his best, Machado is one of the rare five-category contributors in Fantasy, and you don't have to go far back to see him at his best: He hit .297 with 37 homers, 107 RBI, 84 runs and 14 steals in 2018. If he just gets back to that level of production, you've got one of the biggest steals of the draft.
The Case Against: Machado might not actually be that guy anymore. Since leaving the Orioles and the comfy dimensions of Camden Yards, he has hit .261 with a 150-game pace of 79 runs, 30 homers, 86 RBI and seven steals. That's not so different from his road numbers during his Orioles career and makes him something like Mike Moustakas in terms of expected production. If Machado isn't going to run anymore, the bat needs to be that much better to make up for it, and I'm not sure it will be. -Chris Towers
The Case For: If you want upside, Guerrero has it. One of the most productive and hyped prospects in years, Guerrero didn't quite live up to the hype in his rookie season, but we saw flashes of the upside — he had more batted balls hit over 115 mph than any player in baseball despite his late arrival. You're betting on Guerrero taking a step forward, and after he nearly hit .400 in 2018 in the minors, it feels like a pretty good bet to make.
The Case Against: Of course, you're passing on quite a few players who have already proven they can live up to their cost in order to take Guerrero. He needs to improve quite a bit to get to the level where he's worth this price, and despite all those 115+ mph batted balls, Guerrero ranked in just the 46th percentile in hard-hit rate in 2019 — a sign of how far he needs to go. He'll get there eventually, but you're taking on risk by betting he will get there in 2020. -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.