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10 Shortened Season Fallers (Fantasy Baseball)

Jul 1, 2020

Zack Wheeler appears to be an unremarkable pitcher once you take away his ability to eat innings

Even though it’s only going to be around for a couple months, it’s still exciting to prepare for fantasy baseball with the knowledge that we will see the “boys of summer” trot onto the diamond in 2020. However, the truncated length and a slew of rule changes will both serve to heavily impact the fantasy baseball landscape and boost or hurt many athletes’ production. Last week, our featured pundits touched on nine players whose stock is expected to rise given the details surrounding the current season. Today we will do the opposite and shine a light on whose value stands to take a hit.

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Q1. With a 60-game season officially happening, which starting pitcher’s stock has taken the biggest hit based on the latest news and why?

Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI) 
“Part of Wheeler’s value was that he had developed into a fairly reliable innings-eater, topping 180 innings pitched in three of the last four seasons. But that trait, which ordinarily factors heavily into fantasy value, is now irrelevant. What’s left is a solid, but ultimately mediocre pitcher who has to pitch most of his games against a division of above-average lineups and the remainder against the AL East. Wheeler has averaged at least a strikeout per inning just once in his career and he has a career 4.70 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and a 7.8 K/9 rate in his career against the American League. Add it all up and Wheeler goes from a draft-day target to someone to avoid unless his price drops significantly.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Mike Soroka (SP – ATL) 
“The season’s structure could prove especially harsh for NL East pitchers, who have to deal with stout competition and the universal DH. This is most troubling for Soroka. Take away plate appearances against opposing pitchers and his already pedestrian strikeout rate falls to 18.0%, matching marks set by Dakota Hudson and Sandy Alcantara in 2019. Drafters would need him to get ample exposure to the Marlins and Orioles as five of his other NL and AL East adversaries ranked inside the top 10 of wRC+ last season. Add in preexisting regression risk and his ADP needs to fall significantly from his current mark of No. 95 before biting.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP – TOR) 
“Ryu was spectacular in 2019 with the Dodgers, but he pitched the most innings in a season since back in 2013. Now he moves over to Toronto who has a young defensive infield, which could hurt him. The southpaw is 33 years old and has massive mileage on the slingshot. The Blue Jays will have their feathers ruffled by the shortened season as they get to do most of their work against the typical foes in New York, Boston, Tampa Bay, but also get lowly Baltimore. The spring start-up and subsequent quick shut down combined with time away, not to mention other teams gaining health, makes me even less attracted to his chances of being successful in 2020.”
– Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Max Scherzer (SP – WSH) 
“I won’t be drafting any shares of Scherzer with the news of the new schedule. Washington and every team in the NL East will now play 30% of their games against the AL East, which features the game’s two best lineups and two others who should be in the top 10. Not only that, but he is likely to pick up an extra start or two in Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, and/or the Rogers Centre, which are three heavily hitter-friendly environments. Plus, I’d rather wait on starting pitcher now with all the newfound value coming from innings limits disappearing.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Michael Pineda (SP – MIN) 
“Apologies for taking the easy way out, but I really was excited for Pineda’s return to the Minnesota Twins, a team coming off a 101-win season. The 39 games he was going to miss at the beginning of the season to complete his suspension was driving his draft day ranking down to the point where he was a potential late-round steal. Now, that 39-game suspension will last for two-thirds of the truncated regular season. By the time he’s eligible to pitch, he won’t be able to help fantasy teams at all.”
– Steve Gardner (USA Today)

Q2. With a 60-game season officially happening, which hitter’s stock has taken the biggest hit based on the latest news and why?

Jo Adell (OF – LAA) 
“Prospects are tougher to value than ever for this unusual season. Some players who were on the cusp on arrival (Dylan Carlson, Nick Madrigal, Nate Pearson) could get an early call-up to avoid jeopardizing their development in the absence of minor league baseball. Others not quite ready for the majors will get held down so that clubs don’t use service time on a shortened year. Adell falls into the latter category. After ending 2019 by recording a .300 wOBA without a single home run in 27 Triple-A games, the 21-year-old needs more seasoning before he can make his mark for the Angels. Rather than start his service clock prematurely, expect the Halos to keep him on the taxi squad for most, if not all, of the 60-game campaign.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Aristides Aquino (OF – CIN) 
“One of last year’s pleasant surprises seems to have fallen completely off the radar in Cincinnati. In his first month in the majors, Aquino hit .320 with 14 homers and 33 RBIs in 29 games. But he struggled in September and the Reds added Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos to their outfield this offseason. Just this week, we found out Aquino was surprisingly not invited to the team’s main camp this summer. That’s a pretty significant fall for someone who showed so much power potential last year.”
– Steve Gardner (USA Today)

Scott Kingery (2B/3B/SS/OF – PHI) 
“I’m still excited about Kingery’s fantasy potential in 2020, but the delay has cost him dearly in my rankings. He was slated to bat leadoff for the Phillies had the season started on time, as Andrew McCutchen was set to miss at least all of April after recovering from offseason ACL surgery. Now, with McCutchen expected to be fully healthy when the season opens in late July, Kingery is set to bat seventh. Fewer at-bats, stolen base attempts, and opportunities to score runs all combine to hurt his value as compared to where it was heading into March. Kingery still offers a solid power-speed combination, but it’s not as enticing as it was a few months ago.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Pete Alonso (1B – NYM) 
“Let’s hope that the ‘Polar Bear’ doesn’t hibernate through the first 20 games because if that happens, it could be a tough, short, sophomore season. The Big Apple, the spotlight, and the media champing at the bit for something could be a potential stress bomb if you are pressing at the plate. Alonso doesn’t hit for average, strikes out a ton, and lives off the long ball. A slump could be devastating and just imagine if the balls don’t fly like they did in 2019. I might be on an iceberg doubting Alonso’s hit tool, but remember Ron Kittle?”
– Todd D Clark (The Fantasy Fix)

Brandon Belt (1B/OF – SF)
“For a while, I was targeting Belt because it seemed like every MLB game would be played away from home stadiums and in Arizona and/or Florida. That would remove the massive penalty for Belt playing half his home games in San Francisco, and frankly, he is quite the hitter, if not for that impact. As it is now, I’ll suddenly be avoiding Belt altogether.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)


Thank you to the experts for giving us their shortened season fallers. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.


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