Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2020: Sleepers from projection model that nailed Kenta Maeda's strong year

There's plenty of MLB news to digest before setting your 2020 Fantasy baseball rankings. The Houston Astros were hammered with a massive fine, suspensions of their GM and manager, and a loss of draft picks. How will the news impact the value of Fantasy baseball stars like Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez? The Astros will already be without Gerrit Cole, who signed a massive $324 million deal with the Yankees this offseason.

We know that Cole will be near the top of the Fantasy baseball rankings 2020, but where can you find the next potential stud in your upcoming drafts? Targeting 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers can define your season, and the SportsLine Projection Model has a proven history identifying players poised to out-produce their Fantasy baseball ADP. Before you go on the clock, be sure to see the 2020 Fantasy baseball cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine. They'll help you identify players who will outperform their ADP while you're crafting your Fantasy baseball strategy.

Last season, SportsLine's Projection Model identified several top Fantasy baseball sleepers, including Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda. The 31-year-old was the No. 52 starting pitcher drafted on average in CBS Sports Fantasy baseball leagues in 2019, but wound up returning value as a starter and reliever. Maeda went 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA and struck out 169 while also earning three saves later in the year to finish as the No. 41 starting pitcher in standard leagues.

The team at SportsLine was all over Maeda as a Fantasy sleeper from the start. Their model had him listed much higher than expert consensus rankings, and anyone who listened to their advice was well positioned for a league title. 

Their model is powered by the same people who powered projections for all three major Fantasy sites. And that same group is sharing its 2020 Fantasy Baseball rankings and cheat sheets over at SportsLine, helping you find Fantasy Baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts long before your competition. Their cheat sheets, available for leagues on many major sites, are updated multiple times every day. Any time an injury occurs or there's a change on a depth chart, the team at SportsLine updates its Fantasy baseball cheat sheets.

In fact, when it came to ranking players in Fantasy football, SportsLine's Projection Model beat human experts last season when there were big differences in ranking. And the model was the closest to the hole overall, meaning it best pinpointed where every player would finish each week. That could literally be the difference between winning your league or going home empty-handed.

One of the 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers the model is all over: Nationals second baseman Starlin Castro. The four-time all-star hit a career-high 22 home runs and drove in a career-high 86 runs in 2019 with the Marlins and signed a two-year deal worth $12 million to join the defending World Series champions this offseason. 

Now, he should hit near the middle of a loaded lineup that also includes on-base constants like Adam Eaton, Trea Turner and Juan Soto. Castro's .270/.300/.436 slash line was weighed down by a .293 BABIP that was nearly 30 points below his career average. With better luck and a better surrounding cast, Castro should be able to maintain or even improve a career-high 41.9 percent hard-hit contact rate from last season. That's why the model projects him to be its No. 7 second baseman despite the fact that he's the 17th second baseman off the board on average in CBS Sports Fantasy baseball leagues.

Polanco's 2019 season also saw him rack up 106 more total bases than any other single season in his career, a career-best .295/.356/.485/.841 slash line and a 5.7 wins above replacement mark. Polanco's 22 home runs were a part of an MLB-record 307 Twins homers this season. SportsLine's Fantasy baseball rankings 2020 list Polanco as the No. 10 shortstop despite a Fantasy baseball ADP of 19 at the position.

Another sleeper that SportsLine's Fantasy baseball rankings 2020 are extremely high on: Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy. The 29-year-old is coming off his first all-star appearance in 2019 and hit 35 home runs, but his slash numbers fell dramatically to .251/.374/.515 last year. Some of the drop can be attributed to a BABIP that dropped from .299 to .283. 

Muncy should see bounce-back towards a league-average BABIP, which will raise his offensive profile. That's why the SportsLine projection model ranks him as the No. 3 second baseman for 2020 despite the fact that he's the 13th player drafted at the position overall.

SportsLine is also high on a first baseman with a Fantasy baseball ADP outside the top 20 that finishes ahead of studs like Josh Bell and Edwin Encarnacion as a top five player. This pick could be the difference in winning your league or going home with nothing. 

So which 2020 Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda's huge breakout last season, and find out.

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