Top 40 Starters for 2019 Fantasy Baseball, A Recap

So, how’s everyone holding up without baseball every day?  I don’t know what to do with myself!  Yesterday I wandered into a Starbucks and told the coffeerista about Mike Clevinger for 2020.  Then I sobbed into a cheddar scone until someone asked me to leave.  We’ve gone over the final 2019 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters.  This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15.  That’s hardcore nerd shizz!  This is simply fantasy baseball — we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn. So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left.  You’re welcome.  I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2020 rookies — PUT ON YOUR FREAKIN’ SHOES! Not sure why I just yelled that. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

21. Domingo German – Sunday in the Park with German is getting $7.30 worth of value from his wins. So, if SitPwG had as many wins as Berrios (which is still solid), SitPwG would’ve been about as valuable as Bauer. If he had as many wins as Bumgarner, he wouldn’t have made the top 40 list at all. Am I trying to make myself feel better for dropping SitPwG in June? Yes, obviously! I’m distraught! Preseason Rank #115, 2019 Projections: 5-3/3.66/1.34/87 in 79 IP, Final Numbers: 18-4/4.03/1.15/153 in 143 IP

22. Jake Odorizzi – I’d be lying if I said I saw this year coming from Odorizzi. I did draft him in two leagues, so I didn’t hate the flyer in deep leagues, but his K/9 went from 8.5 to over 10 at age 29, which is, brucely, odd. His swinging strike percentage went up along with his fastball velocity, which, again, at his age, is odd. Couple that with a declining walk rate and 3.36 FIP, Odorizzi might be the least talked about breakout. Him or Charlie Morton seems obvious for 2020, but I’m not sure it is.  Preseason Rank #131, 2019 Projections: 7-10/4.41/1.37/161 in 179 IP, Final Numbers: 15-7/3.51/1.21/178 in 159 IP

23. Mike Minor – Not only did Minor have the best season in his career, but he also did a pitcher’s remake of Mr. 3000 to get to 200 strikeouts. “Hello, this is the MLB front office and it seems that a start Minor pitched during the month of June is being disallowed because the umpire was found to be wearing the wrong contacts and calling strikes five feet off the plate.” Minor hangs up the call, realizing he no longer struck out 200 hitters. He decides to do the only thing someone in his position can do, he kidnaps Zack Greinke so Minor can pitch in his place in the playoffs to get one more strikeout. Preseason Rank #110, 2019 Projections: 9-10/4.24/1.24/142 in 166 IP, Final Numbers: 14-10/3.59/1.24/200 in 208 1/3 IP

24. Jose Berrios – The good news is I projected Berrios to nearly identical stats as he ended up with and ranked him at the right spot. The bad news, if I’m being honest — and, eff it, let’s be honest! — I expected Berrios to exceed my projections and finally become a top 10-15 starter. The ‘neither good nor bad news but it’s just news’ news, Berrios’s 2nd half (4.64 ERA) and August (7.57 ERA) were really what killed him. The good news about the ‘neither good nor bad news but it’s just news’ news, Berrios had his highest K/9 in August and worst BABIP. The bads news about the ‘neither good nor bad news but it’s just news’ news, he still had that August. Preseason Rank #23, 2019 Projections: 13-10/3.60/1.15/205 in 196 IP, Final Numbers: 14-8/3.68/1.22/195 in 200 1/3 IP

25. James Paxton – I projected Big Maple to have a career high in innings with 179, but why? I have no idea. “I’m sucking a tree’s teat!” That’s January Grey sipping on Big Maple’s syrup. Preseason Rank #16, 2019 Projections: 14-7/3.64/1.12/206 in 179 IP, Final Numbers: 15-6/3.82/1.28/186 in 150 2/3 IP

26. Aaron Nola – From the Big Maple to the Big Easy in Nola. Beginning to forget why we ever liked Nola. “Maybe it’s because I kick so much butt.” That’s Nola thinking he’s Easy E instead of the Big Easy. Nola’s year can’t be explained with bad luck. He gave up too many homers and the number of swings he elicited in the zone dropped, which makes me wonder if he was tipping pitches. I.e., guys aren’t swinging at his pitches but waiting for their pitches and clobbering them. Preseason Rank #8, 2019 Projections: 16-10/3.05/1.02/215 in 210 IP, Final Numbers: 12-7/3.87/1.27/229 in 202 1/3 IP

27. Chris Paddack – More fun with Player Rater values! If Paddack had as many wins as Domingo German (it’s not like he had that many fewer IP), Paddack would’ve been the 14th best pitcher in the majors, about same as Luis Castillo. One small note on his projections and ranking, I told everyone who would listen to draft him and grabbed him in four of my own leagues. The stuff is undeniable, but I bet he’s still underdrafted next year. Preseason Rank #81, 2019 Projections: 7-4/3.36/1.14/112 in 110 IP, Final Numbers: 9-7/3.33/0.98/153 in 140 2/3 IP

28. Max Fried – How bad are the top 40 starters? Well, they’re bad and I’m not sure this is relevant to their, uh, badness, but Fried didn’t even start all year, coming in as a reliever towards the end. Unlike Soroka, Fried actually had a better FIP (3.72). He added a slider that he threw 16% of the time, while all but abandoning his change. Fighting myself to make this about last year and next, but Fried over Soroka all day, e’ery day. Preseason Rank #121, 2019 Projections: 4-3/3.91/1.40/84 in 71 IP, Final Numbers: 17-6/4.02/1.33/173 in 165 2/3 IP

29. Madison Bumgarner – I feel like I’m always hating on Bumgarner — maybe because he’s a giant douche — but he’s become a 3.75-4.05 ERA pitcher and he’s been in a great stadium, so *shrugs* I don’t know, man and five lady-mans. He’s kinda Samardzija with high-priced name value. Call him Madison Avenue. Preseason Rank #32, 2019 Projections: 10-9/3.67/1.20/178 in 206 IP, Final Numbers: 9-9/3.90/1.13/203 in 207 2/3 IP

30. Kyle HendricksNoah Syndergaard didn’t even make the top 40; Chris Sale didn’t; nope, no Tanaka (not even close). Those are just a few of the names I think were drafted before Hendricks this year and prolly next year and are way riskier. Hendricks doesn’t even get love from Boomers who were at Woodstock. Preseason Rank #37, 2019 Projections: 13-9/3.51/1.16/158 in 194 IP, Final Numbers: 11-10/3.46/1.13/150 in 177 IP

31. Trevor Bauer – At some point this year, Bauer became the bane of my existence, and like Bane, I wore a face mask when he pitched to muffle my screams. He went from the brink of being something akin to a modern-day Nolan Ryan to being a high-priced Robbie Ray. Call him Robbie Mywallet. “Can’t believe I went to Madison Avenue and got Robbie Mywallet, so I’m broke and lost my league.” Something someone says that only I understand. Preseason Rank #9, 2019 Projections: 15-7/3.14/1.08/248 in 202 IP, Final Numbers: 11-13/4.48/1.25/253 in 213 IP

32. Yu Darvish – Okay, one last time with Domingo German’s win total Player Rater value. If Darvish had won as many games as Domingo, he would’ve been a top ten starter this year. Wow. You should absolutely be ignoring wins totals, by the by. Now, about that insane 2nd half (2.76 ERA, 13.2 K/9). As I’ve been saying, his 2nd half was great, but why wouldn’t he just become “not great” again next 1st half? If shizz went sideways once before, it could happen again. This concerns me, but Darvish just had one of his best seasons of his career, and he’s had some good ones before. Preseason Rank #49, 2019 Projections: 9-10/3.81/1.31/144 in 128 IP, Final Numbers: 6-8/3.98/1.10/229 in 178 2/3 IP

33. Jeff Samardzija – “I owned Samardzija last year for his 6.25 ERA, and avoided him this year.” That’s the first line of my note to Cougs on why I slammed my head through our newly renovated bedroom. Preseason Rank #141, 2019 Projections: 7-9/4.43/1.33/118 in 141 IP, Final Numbers: 11-12/3.52/1.11/140 in 181 1/3 IP

34. Kenta Maeda – He was even more pronounced on not starting all year than Fried. This is the state of pitching in fantasy baseball. There’s about 25 guys you want to own, five to ten guys you are fine owning and another five to ten that you don’t love owning, but do own, then stream. Preseason Rank #57, 2019 Projections: 12-9/3.61/1.22/138 in 131 IP, Final Numbers: 10-8/4.04/1.07/169 in 153 2/3 IP

35. Robbie Ray – Robbie Mywallet vs. Robbie Ray is basically a call on which will get more innings. Mywallet is a better bet for IP, but I can’t think of any other difference. Preseason Rank #35, 2019 Projections: 8-12/3.95/1.32/217 in 177 IP, Final Numbers: 12-8/4.34/1.34/235 in 174 1/3 IP

36. Brandon Woodruff – One of the bonuses to the Brewers getting knocked out quickly from the playoffs was less eyes on Woodruff. For whatever reason, no one cares or wants to care about Woodruff and I’ve now liked him two seasons in a row. You might be thinking to yourself, why would anyone know or care about him? Well, shame on you! Here’s his career numbers:  16-6/3.87/1.19/222 in 207 IP, which is about a full season, and he’s going into his third year in 2020 and I might rank him in the top 20 starters in 2020. You’ve been warned. Preseason Rank #58, 2019 Projections: 8-3/3.09/1.21/135 in 124 IP, Final Numbers: 11-3/3.62/1.14/143 in 121 2/3 IP

37. John Means – We’re trying to be serious-minded people who are being exceptionally serious about fantasy baseball and then the Player Rater goes and puts an Orioles starter in the top 40. And an Orioles starter with a 7 K/9! C’mon! Still mocking us, PR! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 12-11/3.60/1.14/121 in 155 IP

38. Mike Fiers – I nearly projected Fiers for exactly his stats, but ranked him 95th overall. Ha, I oop. I’m so optimistic for major league pitchers I thought there was another sixty decent ones. Preseason Rank #95, 2019 Projections: 12-10/3.91/1.22/132 in 164 IP, Final Numbers: 15-4/3.90/1.19/126 in 184 2/3 IP

39. Zack Wheeler – As someone who owned Wheeler in way too many leagues this year, he felt like a top 80 starter, maybe, and I didn’t even want to start him for at least half of his games. Yo, MLB pitching, you played yourself! Preseason Rank #22, 2019 Projections: 13-9/3.51/1.14/196 in 194 IP, Final Numbers: 11-8/3.96/1.26/195 in 195 1/3 IP

40. Ryan Yarbrough – If you’re tracking how many pitchers I didn’t rank that made the top 40, stop trying to catch me being wrong! We’re all on the same team! The lack of pitchers I didn’t rank who made the top 40 is either impressive for me or really, really sad for major league pitching because only two pitchers came out of nowhere to be decent? Wow, pitching is a mess. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 11-6/4.13/1.00/117 in 141 2/3 IP

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