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. 81-90. 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: Donaldson put the ageists on alert with a big bounce-back season. It wasn't quite a classic Donaldson season, but his trademark plate discipline and power were still there. Now he moves into arguably the best lineup in baseball in Minnesota, where a 100-run, 100-RBI pace should be easy to achieve. He's not done yet.
The Case Against: But … he might be done sometime very soon. Donaldson struggled to stay healthy for two straight years before playing 155 games in 2019, and at 34 years old, he's certainly closer to bringing the rain for the last time than the first time. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Man, 10 years ago a guy coming off the season Tim Anderson just had might be a third-rounder. That's a sign of how far we've come as an industry in identifying what is or isn't sustainable, but it also might be a sign that we're underrating Anderson. The power is real, he improved his contact rate, and there's room for further homer and steals improvement even if he probably won't hit .335 again.
The Case Against: This was a pretty significant breakout for Anderson, whose batted-ball profile suggests he might have been lucky to even hit .240 in 2018. He was legitimately one of the worst hitters in the league before 2019, so the potential for regression is significant. There's a reason nobody was really investing much in Anderson a year ago despite the 20 homers and 26 steals. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Abreu is an RBI machine, and the White Sox should have a better lineup than they've had in his entire career. The overall production may not wow you, but you know you'll get help in RBI, homers, and batting average at a pretty reasonable clip. Plus, Abreu might have actually underperformed his batted-ball profile in 2019, so there's still room for improvement.
The Case Against: If Abreu doesn't improve, there's probably a lot of regression coming, because he won't lead the majors in RBI again while also leading it in double plays and sporting a low .800s OPS. Abreu finished eighth at 1B in Roto leagues last season and is being drafted as the No. 8 1B right now, but the RBI total carried a lot of weight. Even with an improved lineup around him, some regression is to be expected there, and since Abreu doesn't really stand out anywhere else these days, that's not a great thing. You may not have to worry about first base if you draft Abreu, but you also aren't likely to gain much of an edge from him either. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Staying relatively healthy and conflict-free in 2019, Sano positioned himself among the game's elite power hitters, performing at a 50-homer pace. He was Aaron Judge's co-outlier in both average exit velocity and hard-hit rate, and players like Judge and Joey Gallo have already proven that when you impact a baseball in that sort of superhuman way, you can overcome a 33 percent strikeout rate. Sano could produce similarly to those two at a fraction of the cost.
The Case Against: Sano's strikeout rate wasn't just 33 percent. It was 36.2 percent, making him a whole new kind of vulnerable if he has bad home run luck. Giving away that many outs, a .247 batting average might be his ceiling, and again, that was with him performing at a 50-homer pace. I describe it terms of pace because, yeah, he still missed time, specifically the first six weeks of the season with a laceration on his heel. It was obviously a freak occurrence, but he doesn't have a history of great decision-making either, which should lead you to wonder how much of him you'll actually get. -Scott White
The Case For: Sometimes a player gradually builds up to a breakthrough, refining his skills over time to achieve maximum impact. Other times he makes a change that proves to be completely transformative. Montas is the latter case. He added a splitter that immediately became his best pitch, not only improving his ability to miss bats but also inducing weak contact on the ground. That sort of change in outlook for two of the three true outcomes rightfully had a dramatic effect on his numbers, and for the three months prior to his suspension, he performed like an ace.
The Case Against: But there's the rub, isn't it? Montas lost the second half of the season to a PED suspension, which raises suspicion over how real any of the first half was. Forget that he looked the same when he came back for one start late in September or that countless players who have served PED suspensions go on as if nothing ever happened. Montas doesn't have enough of a track record to get the benefit of the doubt. And even if he doesn't owe anything to PEDs, who's to say he can repeat last year's trick? -Scott White
The Case For: Who wouldn't take an easy 30-35 homers, especially from a second base-eligible player and especially in the middle stages of the draft, after the top 90 players have already gone off the board? Particularly with him headed to another hitter's park and another deep lineup, you know what you're getting with Moustakas, and what you're getting is irrefutably good.
The Case Against: But is it great? Well, maybe at the going rate, it doesn't need to be, but just so we're all on the same page, home runs and RBI are all you're getting from him. The high fly-ball rate that makes all the home runs possible also limits his BABIP, making him a lackluster contributor in batting average, and he's not great at getting on base in other ways. Yes, the overall production is good, but it's also boring, and the risk-takers among us might set their sights higher. -Scott White
The Case For: Osuna is never going to be the best closer in Fantasy, but five years in, it's pretty clear there might not be a higher floor at the position. His worst ERA in the majors? 3.38 in 2017. His worst WHIP? 0.974, also in 2017. He saved 39 games and had a career-best strikeout rate that season. Here's one reliever you won't have to worry about.
The Case Against: There really isn't one, except that he just doesn't put up quite the same run prevention and strikeout numbers as some of the elite options at the position. However, after a year in which seemingly all of the "elite" options faltered, that's hard to hold against Osuna, who will be just 25 this season. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Chapman isn't quite the overwhelmingly dominant force he once was early in his career, but you don't want to overstate how much he's lost — he still had a 2.21 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 2019, even as he saw his strikeout rate dip by three per nine. He remains one of the elite closers in baseball, and nowadays you don't even have to pay full price for him. The price of all closers has gone down in 2020.
The Case Against: The best case against Chapman is he's no longer the outlier of all outliers among relievers when it comes to strikeouts and velocity — he hasn't had 100 strikeouts in a season since 2015, and his WHIP is usually a bit higher than you'd want. Some durability issues have begun to creep in, too. He hasn't thrown even 60 innings in a season since 2015. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Brantley is a great example of why there is often profit to be found in buying low on "injury-prone" players. For years, Brantley couldn't stay healthy, and now he has played at least 143 games in two consecutive years. There is no guarantee he'll stay on the field for 2020, but the risk of injury is already baked into his price, and there's no doubting how good he is when he is on the field. And who knows, maybe Dusty Baker will let Brantley run a bit more in 2020.
The Case Against: Brantley will turn 33 in May, and I bet you didn't know he was quite that old. That makes him a risk already, without even considering his significant injury history. Brantley could take a step backward any day now, and it wouldn't come as a surprise at all. -Chris Towers
The Case For: Ozuna is a lot like Michael Conforto, except we've seen more upside and he's in a better park. 2019 was a rough one in terms of his average, but Ozuna was still productive and, more importantly, hit the ball much better than his final numbers would indicate. He ranked in the 93rd percentile in average exit velocity and 96th percentile in hard-hit rate, with a batted-ball profile that suggests he probably should have hit closer to .280 or .290. With a bit better luck, Ozuna could have another elite season like the one we saw in 2017.
The Case Against: Ozuna has underperformed his expected wOBA per Statcast data in all but one of his MLB seasons, so it's hard to write it off as just bad luck or a fluke. There is something about his swing that doesn't seem capable of maximizing his production. He's also struggled to stay healthy at times, adding more concern for his profile. -Chris Towers