Now that the 2020 MLB season has hit the three-week mark, we’re at the point where we can start looking into some sell-high and buy-low candidates. With sample sizes increasing from the “far-too-small” to the increasingly indicative, we begin to ask ourselves questions like: “is Dylan Bundy actually good now, or are hitters just being thrown off by his dusty, pathetic attempt at facial hair?”  Translation: are the results we’re seeing legitimate? If you’re willing to make a calculated gamble, this is as good of a time as any to find excess value in the trade market and/or dump an early star destined for decline to the league dingus. One such player I’m looking at adding shares of at present is Eduardo Escobar of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who entered the week of Aug. 10 batting .164/.233/.255 with just two extra base hits across his first 55 at bats of the season. After finishing draft season with an ADP of 113 overall as 2B13/3B17, Escobar looks to be an obvious bust from the outside looking in — but let me tell you why he’s a major buy-low candidate for me for the rest of the season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s an excerpt from a real conversation I had with my sister last week:

Her: “Hey, have you ever seen Monty Python? You would like it.”
Me: “Is that the one where those guys get naked for child support money?”
Her: “No… that’s The Full Monty. Monty Python was about the Knights of the Round Table. Camelot. The Holy Grail.”
Me: “Ohh. Right. Well, I saw Spamelot live once at a theater. Does that count?”

It didn’t count. And besides possibly eliminating all remaining faith our readers might have had in my level of intelligence, this conversation provides an excellent segue into one of this week’s more interesting prospect call-ups: Miami Marlins outfielder Monte Harrison. Back on Monday, Grey wrote about Harrison in the lede for his weekend roundup, urging you to add him in every league “for some power and great speed, though he might hit .210.” I’m with Grey and have already added one Harrison share, but as I was doing so, I began digging a bit deeper into one of baseball’s more imposing and polarizing prospects. As a result, I present to you the findings from my report, The Full Monte, fully undressed and free of bias.

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With the 2020 season now underway, prospects that failed to make their respective teams’ opening day rosters have arrived at alternate training sites. In a normal year, this would be prime prospect writing season, as we’d follow players’ performances at various levels of the Minor Leagues making all sorts of analysis and predictions about their MLB ETAs, future fantasy output, relevance to the current season at hand, etc. With no Minor League Baseball this season, we don’t have that, but we do know that all of the information there is to know is already out there, with some extra flavor sprinkled in from summer camps. As the summer progresses, I’ll continue to stay in tune with what I’m hearing about countless players situated at those alternate sites. One player I’m especially intrigued by for the 2020 campaign is Clarke Schmidt of the Yankees, otherwise known as Clark D. Schmidt, son of Clate Schmidt, of the late Claudius P. Schmidt, descendant of Cletus Z. Schmidt. The first two were true.

Big D. Schmidt came into summer camp with a fair amount of hype as the No. 88 prospect in the game, but he was slightly overshadowed initially by 21-year-old phenom Deivi Garcia, MLB.com’s No. 92 prospect. During his time at Yankees camp, Schmidt did nothing but prove that he’s close to being Major League ready despite only having 19 Double-A innings under his belt. Before being optioned to New York’s alternate site, Schmidt performed admirably in both simulated and exhibition game action, ultimately earning the team’s 2020 James P. Dawson Award, given to the most outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training. Translation: we strategically gave you this award so you wouldn’t be pissed when we put Mike King on the roster instead of you. Even dating back to Spring Training, Schmidt still had a locker at Yankees camp when everything shut down. And for good reason, because on top of having a plus-fastball (two-seam and four-seam mix) that ranges from 92-97 MPH and an above average-to-plus tumbling changeup, he possesses a curveball that can do this:

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If you’re reading this, it’s Thursday — Opening Day 2020. Drafts are pretty much done with and, if you still have one yet to go, holy shit, you’re giving me anxiety just thinking about it. I wrapped up my final NFBC draft this past Monday and, as I’ve become accustomed to since the onset of my 2020 draft season back in early March, I got yet another share of Adrian Houser. Now, if you read our 2020 Razzball Fantasy Baseball Staff Picks, you know I already made some bold predictions about Houser this season. Not only did I pick Houser to become the Most Valuable Fantasy Pitcher (MVFP), but I also tabbed him to win the NL Cy Young. Truthfully, I probably should have stopped at MVFP, because that alone would have demonstrated the statement I’m trying to make about Houser while increasing my chances of being correct. But I’m not here to toot my own horn and act like I know everything about fantasy baseball — I’m here to inform our readers and, if just one lucky soul added Houser as a result of my boldness, I believe I’ve succeeded in my mission.

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Imagine you’re turning six years old and your birthday is right around the corner. It’s the day before the big celebration, and you’re pretty much wetting your pants just thinking about it. Actually, scratch that, you really are wetting your pants as you envision the festivities, thinking of the big family trip planned for tomorrow. If you were a super weird kid like me, here’s what it looked like: your family travels about an hour away, but it feels like an out-of-state trip to another land because you have a practically non-existent attention span. You’re going to see one of those interactive childhood shows where they grab kids from the audience to play random parts in the play (if I’ve lost you, you made it to the teenage years unscathed, congrats). But the grand finale of your birthday is that you get to go spend a whopping $100 at Toys “R” Us and pick out anything that falls within that budget. Damn. What a day.

The first part of this tale is a true story, as are all the anecdotes I share in my weekly fantasy articles. I remember to this day what I purchased with my $100: the Pokemon Silver Game Boy game and a new skateboard. Clearly, I was the fliest kid in town. But let’s rewind back, revert to the day before the long-awaited birthday when you’re wetting your pants. What if instead of the grand festivities detailed above, your mother or father came to you and said that they’d simply be giving you your Halloween costume instead. Sure, tomorrow will still be your birthday, but we’ve decided to focus on an entirely irrelevant celebration even though the big show is supposed to be tomorrow. Well, that’s kind of what this article is. The MLB season is just over one week away, but as one of Razzball’s prospect writers, I’m writing about something almost one full year in the future. Opening Day is within our grasp (or so we think), but today, I’m going to discuss my “way-too-early” college baseball prospects for the 2021 draft, while attempting to weigh their future fantasy value into the equation.

My top 12 have remained unchanged, although Jaden Hill has been moved from No. 12 to No. 9. There will be an incredible amount of movement on this list as we progress to next June, but for now, this is where I stand with the top 25.

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Alright, aright. Time to fess up. Who here has been that person who has inadvertently left a water bottle or thermos filled with their drink of choice in their bag for the TSA security check? I have to be brutally honest, I come into this week’s fantasy post with a two-flight coffee thermos streak. The first time, I managed to chug the entire (hot) coffee down and slide over to the plastic bins without causing any panic or delay. The second time, I began to repeat my previous actions before a particular TSA agent leaned over and said, “You know, you can just pour that in the recycling bin. We don’t recycle anything here.” I will leave that airport anonymous.

While I did my absolute best not to crap my pants during the ensuing flight detailed in scenario No. 1, the latter situation provided me with an equally intriguing story. Scenario No. 2 also left me with a much better appetite and more bearable stomach composition as we cruised through the air. As a result of these strange experiences, the theme for this week’s prospect security check will not be so much who to pack (or unpack) for your fantasy journey, but how certain prospects might play into the meal you enjoy (or throw up, depending on how you fare in your league) on your fantasy baseball trek along the way.

This will be the second installment in my prospect security check series, the first of which you can find here. As a reminder, the purpose of these pieces is to thoroughly break down fantasy baseball prospects that Razzball readers have specifically asked me to dive into more detail about. In this installment, I will discuss three top 50 MLB prospects that we may (or may not) see debut in 2020: Christian Pache, Sixto Sanchez and Tarik Skubal. But remember, no amount of fantasy advice I give you can outweigh my advice to never chug a full tumbler of coffee before a flight. You will thank me — and so will those who wind up within your vicinity on the plane.

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Who could be this year’s Chris Sale or Brandon Finnegan? Those two made their Major League debuts in the same year in which they were drafted: 2010 for Sale, 2014 for Finnegan. Sure, both of those players got their feet wet via abbreviated action in the Minors, but “feet wet” might be an overstatement. If anything, their spikes got a little damp, then dried off by the time they arrived in the realm of the AL Central. Sale made just 11 Minor League appearances for a grand total of 10 1/3 innings pitched, while Finnegan bested him with 13 appearances and 27 frames. 2020 draftees won’t have the same opportunity to prove themselves against MiLB talent, but they’ve also been gifted with the uniqueness of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, which opens the door for all sorts of insanity and unprecedented strategies from MLB brass.

Therefore, we have to call it a wash. If all goes according to plan and we do indeed get a 60-game season, 2020 is going to be super weird. As a result of that, I’m not the first person to openly predict we will see a 2020 draftee appear in the Bigs this year and I certainly won’t be the last. My expectation is that we will see one-to-two recently drafted players appear in the MLB this season. Although I can’t say with certainty who exactly that will be, I can attempt to do so using the information that’s out there. That’s precisely what I’ll be breaking down in this post by providing you with a list of pitchers who have an outside chance to contribute actual fantasy value in your league this year, ranked from the most likely to the least likely.

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Historically, players who compete for the USA Collegiate National Team do quite well in the MLB Draft. Despite the uniqueness of the event in 2020, this rule held true on June 10 and 11, as 41 USA Baseball alumni were selected across the 160 picks included in the five round draft. Of the 26 players to make the 2019 USA CNT summer roster, 20 – you heard that right, 20 – were drafted in the abbreviated 2020 draft. Further emphasizing the importance of USA CNT participation was the fact that each of the top five picks – Spencer Torkelson, Heston Kjerstad, Max Meyer, Asa Lacy and Austin Martin – were included on that 26-man squad.

Even if you suck at math, you have likely already used the art of deduction to determine that only six players from that team went undrafted two weeks ago. Two of those players, Sam Houston State’s Colton Cowser and Mississippi’s Doug Nikhazy, were not even draft-eligible, as their draft year does not come until 2021. As a side note, Cowser is currently positioned as my No. 8 college player to target in the 2021 class. I have only ranked 12 players so far in the 2021 crop and although Nikhazy did not crack that list, he’ll fall within my top 20-25 when I begin to expand on those rankings.

That leaves us with just four 2019 USA CNT alumni that will now be reclassifying into the 2021 draft year: left-handed pitcher Andrew Abbott (Virginia), first baseman/outfielder Tanner Allen (Mississippi State), catcher Casey Opitz (Arkansas) and shortstop Luke Waddell (Georgia Tech). None of these four are expected to sign any kind of post-draft free-agent deal, unsurprisingly so, as all likely already turned down offers for more than $20,000 during the latter rounds of the 2020 draft.

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Ouch. *cues voice of a young British child named Harry* That really hurt! I can’t say I  actually know the level of pain Harry felt when his younger brother Charlie bit his finger that fateful day, but I do know this: last Wednesday really hurt. I mean, yes, it was glorious. It was day one of the 2020 MLB Draft, and it was real. It was baseball, or at least something relevant to the product we so desperately wish to see dancing before our eyes on the diamond during these summer months. It was consumable. It was on live television. It was something I needed and I know a lot of you needed as well.

But as it related to my 2020 MLB Mock Draft, it was a disaster — it truly hurt. It was like being brutally bitten by a bald-headed baby (alliteration on fleak!). I won’t even hide from it. There’s the link. Check it out. There isn’t a whole lot that I got right. Then again, most everyone who took a shot at it got it utterly wrong this year. I love Heston Kjerstad and he’s an incredible player. I believe he’s an excellent prospect to target in upcoming fantasy first-year player drafts (FYPD). But find me a mock that had him going No. 2 overall. Find me a mock that had Nick Yorke going No. 17 to the Red Sox. There were a lot of surprises, even within the top 10. And now, with it all over, we’re left to pick up the pieces.

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you watched or not. Even if you didn’t, you can look up who was drafted where, get lost in the hype, and decide who you want to target in your dynasty league. I play in a few home leagues where I already know I’ll have the most efficient FYPD of anyone in my league. While many people select prospects based on where they were drafted, or what Harold Reynolds said about them on TV, I’ll be picking out the future fantasy gems hidden along the way. Just because someone went 30 picks later than another player doesn’t mean they should necessarily be drafted later in FYPD. Hopefully, if you’re in a high stakes league, you already understand that concept. But the MLB Draft, regardless of your own personal philosophy of how teams should pick players, does not provide an outline for the top 150 players to target, ranked from best-to-worst.

If I were you, I would draft Tanner Burns (No. 36) over Jared Shuster (No. 25), just like I would select Daniel Cabrera (No. 62) or Isaiah Greene (No. 69) instead of Hudson Haskin (No. 39). That doesn’t mean I don’t like Shuster or Haskin, it just indicates I won’t be letting MLB Draft position dictate how I draft, and neither should you. That being said, here are 16 players I think should be targeted much higher than their draft position indicates. No one within the first 25 picks was under consideration (I made an exception for Sabato, that incredible hulk of a man), as they likely come with gaudy FYPD stock as is.

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If you’re a hardcore baseball fan, you’ve probably already mulled through your fair share of 2020 MLB mock drafts. It seems like every website worth a damn posts one, yet no one really knows what to expect, and it only takes one curveball to throw the entire equation out of whack. Even so, I figured I’d give it a try for Razzball’s sake, if for no other reason than to give Grey some spicy motivation to tune in on Wednesday night. See, now it’s a mock draft.

There’s a lot of uncertainty with this draft. Nobody knows for sure just how college heavy teams are ultimately going to go with the unique situation created by COVID-19, and which teams will elect to play the strategic bonus tomfoolery game. It’s difficult to project just how these factors will play into each and every team’s respective strategy. We might see more teams than ever taking on the “best-available” approach.

But as it relates to fantasy baseball, Wednesday’s draft is relevant because it sets the stage for the ensuing trajectory of every drafted player’s stock as a prospect. Not only does draft position tend to influence how people value prospects in first-year player drafts, but who drafted said player can also go a long way in determining what their Minor League journey will look like and how confident we are as fantasy owners that they will develop successfully. That being said, here is my carefully-concocted mock draft of the first 29 picks this upcoming Wednesday. Mush! Onward into the unknown!

Please, blog, may I have some more?