#1 PICK – IS IT ACUNA
I was asked on Twitter if Ronald Acuna will be the top pick in 2020. It’s certainly possible, and in fact it is likely to happen an awful lot. His power speed combo, going 40/35, certainly vaults him into consideration, especially since Mike Trout has averaged 19 steals the last three seasons. Note too that Trout has failed to appear in 135-games in 2-of-3 seasons, and that has to be at least a little concerning. Trout is undoubtedly a better hitter, but the fantasy game doesn’t necessarily care. Example. In 5×5 no one cares if Trout has a .438 OBP. But, if you’re in an OBP league, Trout’s league leading total dwarfs the .365 mark of Acuna. Hell, Acuna’s .883 OPS isn’t even in the same league as Trout’s AL Leading 1.083 mark. Doesn’t matter in fantasy though. Heck, I didn’t even mention Christian Yelich yet, and all he has done is hit .325 with 35 homers and 20 steals each of the last two seasons.
I will return to this – is Acuna #1 talk, in a view moments.
IS THE #1 PITCHER COLE?
In the above piece I noted that Gerrit Cole was my selection for the AL Cy Young award winner in ’19. He’s not slowing down in the playoffs either. I’m sure you saw that he punched out 15 batters in his first start to set an Astros record, and it was the third highest mark ever (Bob Gibson had 17, Kevin Brown 16). That’s 10-starts in a row with 10 punchouts for Cole. That’s absurd. He’s now unbeaten in 23-straight starts. He’s gonna get a gajillion dollars as the top free agent arm in baseball.
GET YOUR VOTE IN FOR THE BREAKOUT PLAYER OF 2020.
A 2020 DRAFT – FOR REAL
Yes, the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, or NFBC, has already started conducting drafts for 2020. It’s absurdly early to be doing a draft for next season of course, but that doesn’t mean that folks aren’t interested in trying their hand at putting squads together at this early date. To that end, here are the results of the first couple of rounds of that draft. Yes, it’s early, and it’s glorious.
Here is Round 1.
In the first paying draft of 2020, Acuna did indeed go first with Yelich and then Trout rounding out the top-3 (this is the top-3, in various orders, that seems most likely to occupy the top-3 spots next season).
Trea Turner, and that speed he brings up the middle, went four, while Cody Bellinger rounded out the top-5.
Mookie Betts wasn’t at his best this season, but he’s still a top-10 talent.
Alex Bregman could win the AL MVP.
Francisco Lindor started slowly cause of injury, but he had another amazing season.
There is Cole, the top pitcher off the board.
Trevor Story, Mr. 30/20 at shortstop.
Jacob deGrom is a hell of a pitcher, even if he never racks up victories.
Justin Verlander – at some point will his arm betray him? Sooooo many innings and pitches over the years.
Juan Soto is an amazing young hitter, even if he doesn’t run.
Nolan Arenado is the Rock of Gibraltar.
Fernando Tatis was on a record rookie pace before being felled by injury.
Here is Round 2.
Max Scherzer was great – when on the hill this season.
Aaron Judge was good, not great, in his limited work this season.
Gleyber Torres is a young middle infielder who nearly went 40-100-100 in his second season.
Jose Ramirez still went 20/20 – and he wasn’t very good.
Rafael Devers had a breakout, amazing campaign.
Freddie Freeman is the new Joey Votto – with more power.
Peter Alonso set a rookie homer record. Can he repeat?
Walker Buehler was the balls in ’19.
Yuli Gurriel at 24th is preposterous. Just dumb.
Jack Flaherty was the best pitcher in baseball in the second half.
Stephen Strasburg had his best season in ‘19.
Shane Bieber was a breakout pitcher in 2019.
Patrick Corbin may not be elite, but he’s really close after the last two seasons.
J.D. Martinez just keeps hitting.
Mike Clevinger was as good as ever, wrapped around the injury.
The first of a gazillion drafts before Opening Day, 2020.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Thursday 8-10 PM EDT, and Friday’s from 10-12 PM EST and Sunday’s at 9-11 pm EST on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys) and be sure to listen to his podcast work too.