Analysis

Fantasy Baseball: Takeaways From The First Two Weeks Of The Season

With a wild 2020 baseball season, being a Fantasy Baseball manager is harder than ever. 

The 2020 Fantasy Baseball season so far has been almost impossible for managers to navigate.

Reds outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge have been among the unsung heroes while stud pitchers such as Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton and Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler have disappointed forcing fantasy owners to seek rotation help.

Additionally, we learned that managers across the majors are relatively conservative in pushing their starting pitchers past six innings making the starting pitching market in fantasy even more complicated.

The most significant takeaway from the first two weeks of fantasy baseball is similar to the takeaway most fans watching the MLB have: this year is just a different breed.

Although it may not be helpful as we go deeper into the season, one red flag to watch is that starting pitchers tend to execute horribly in their first starts.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg, is a prime example. The 2019 World Series MVP  had the “task” of shutting down a less than mediocre Oriole’s lineup in his season debut Sunday.

This should have been easy to accomplish for the former All-Star but instead, Strasburg gave up five earned runs on seven hits with a walk in just 4.1 innings of work.

He also only had two strikeouts, which is an astonishingly low total considering his 10.8 K/9 ratio he posted last season.

Another pitcher who struggled in his first start of the year was Yankees southpaw James Paxton.

Paxton was named the Yankees No. 2 starter entering the season but in his season debut struggled mightily. His fastball sat at just 91 miles per hour, he had little to no command and he only recorded one strikeout. In just 1+ innings of work, he surrendered five hits, three earned runs and a walk and took the loss.

Strasburg and Paxton aren’t the only pitchers who struggled early. Rangers left-hander Mike Minor, Twins righty Jake Odorizzi, and White Sox young star Lucas Giolito all had rough first starts to the new campaign. Thus, fantasy owners must consider benching a starting pitcher if he has still yet to make his first start this season.

Fantasy Owners have also learned that players considered “nobodies” might actually be vital to a successful team.

For instance, Donovan Solano of the San Francisco Giants is hitting a jaw-dropping .445 to go along with seven doubles and 14 RBI. He is the top-ranked second baseman in fantasy and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Another “unknown” player who has produced shockingly well so far is JaCoby Jones of the Detroit Tigers. Although Jones’ numbers aren’t as impressive as Solano’s, he has gotten off to a strong start in 2020. Jones, who has never hit over .235 in a season, is hitting .333 with four home runs and 10 RBI’s.

These numbers are phenomenal when you consider the fact that Jones isn’t even an everyday starter. In fact, he only has 39 at-bats.

Kyle Lewis, the second-ranked outfielder is another example of an under the radar player producing in very unexpected ways. Lewis, in his first full season with Seattle Mariners and has posted eye-opening numbers.

He is hitting .335 to go along with an OBS of .936, three home runs, and 10 RBI’s.

If you want to win your leagues this year, the waiver wire will be vital to your success. Monitoring how well under-the-radar players are performing could be the key to taking home a fantasy baseball championship in the wild year that is 2020.

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