I can’t say it feels like baseball season looking out my window at empty trees and snow-filled streets, but just a few states to the south, human beings are playing the real game (for practice).

One of my favorite traditions as a young fan was Peter Gammons profiling each team’s spring training focus points. 

I loved the spittle and shake of his voice, the depth of his details, and especially how he always shot the segments in front of people playing catch, gloves popping symphonically as Gammons explained how Bill Pulsipher, Paul Wilson, and Jason Isringhausen were going to re-define the New York Mets.

It’s in that spirit that I begin our next prospect series—one that works in concert with Razzball’s Gammonsian team previews and one that involves a few nods to some non-prospects. Graduating from eligibility requirements doesn’t mean you’re a known quantity, nor that you’ve graduated to an everyday opportunity. Yesterday’s failed prospects are often tomorrow’s sleepers, so let’s take a lap around the division looking for some fantasy profit. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Which position would you say has gained the most value over the past decade?

In MLB? In fantasy?

Maybe it’s shortstop. 2020 might be the best shortstop season of all time, whatever that means.  

And that’s pre Wander. 

But this winter saw Emmanuel Clase traded for Corey Kluber. I know Delinosaur Jr. is feeling the pain of everyone there, too, and the old Klubot has been in the shop for a hot minute, but to say this trade made waves is an understatement.

The conversation began in alarmist, anti-ownership fashion and ended in hushed admiration of Clase’s cutter and consideration of the relative values of their contracts and remaining innings, especially in the context of a team with a pitching surplus such as Cleveland’s. 

Felt like a signpost to me.

As did Tampa Bay’s trade of top 50 echo chamber prospect Jesus Sanchez for erstwhile bartender Nick Anderson. 

As have the contracts dolled out every off-season, even in the miserly winters of 2017-18, when bullpen pitchers were signed early in the cycle for near-record middle-relief contracts. 

I might be kicking the horse a bit at this point when all I really want to do is share my work-intensive relief prospect rankings. More and more leagues are incorporating holds, either as its own category or a combination category with saves. Given the dominance of hot relievers, all these guys gain a lot of value in saves+holds leagues, where their barrier to helping you in that category is all but erased. In the dynasty game, they can be swapped in and out of your minor leagues to expand your active roster and suppress your ratios while snagging some strikeouts and the occasional win. 

Without further ado because we’ve had plenty of ado because hey I worked on this one all winter, the following humans are my top 20 relief prospects for 2020. 

Back in September, I sequestered myself into a sound-proof booth to create a top 100 fantasy baseball prospect list free from the mad cries of the echo chamber. Shortly thereafter I went to work breaking down the top prospects for each MLB team. A week after coming up for air following my 30-team deep dive into the minor leagues, I’m excited to share my updated 200!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in October I sequestered myself into a sound-proof booth to create a top 100 fantasy baseball prospect list free from the mad cries of the echo chamber. Shortly thereafter I went to work breaking down the top prospects for each MLB team. A week after coming up for air following my 30-team deep dive into the minor leagues, I’m excited to share my updated hundred!

 

*Note: I’ve written about each of these guys if you’d like more and are curious enough to follow the threads to October’s Top 150 for 2020 Fantasy Baseball or my organizational top ten lists.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In dynasty baseball, the June draft is must-watch television and the July 2 international signing day is fodder for a million clicks. 

Months later, typically in February or March, dynasty leaguers select their favorite college, high school and international players in annual first-year player drafts. I have attempted to consider and rank this year’s player pool for your reading pleasure. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First-Year Player Draft Rankings for 2020 Fantasy Baseball

In dynasty baseball, the June draft is must-watch television and the July 2 international signing day is fodder for a million clicks. 

Months later, typically in February or March, dynasty leaguers select their favorite college, high school and international players in annual first-year player drafts. I have attempted to consider and rank this year’s player pool for your reading pleasure. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the past four months, I’ve been digging and evaluating with just about every free second I can find. If you’re ever looking for a winter project, you might want to consider deconstructing every minor league system into its potential fantasy components as I’ve just done while creating the 2020 Minor League Preview Index. We’ve had joy and fun and seasons without sun, but now we’ve got a chance to discuss some off-season roster machinations and how they impact the young players that matter to us in 2020.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Time for the last dance. 

Find your partner.

Sway with the Clapton.

You feeling wonderful tonight?

Then lean in. Hold close as we fade toward our disparate futures. 

Sorry, I’m sentimental about endings, and I’m finally finishing this project. The Rangers find themselves last on the 30-team fantasy prospect rundown, and as fate would have it, Texas has a big old Longhorn of a system, though perhaps one without a lone star.  

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Top Seattle Mariners Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball with Tiers

Seattle General Manager trader Jerry Dipoto got us through last off-season, making what felt like a transaction every day to keep the baseball media grinding through a bleak, mostly silent winter. 

This time around has been so busily different in baseball that Dipoto’s big move sending Omar Narvaez to Milwaukee for Adam Hill and the 71st overall pick in the 2020 draft registered barely a blip on the radar. 

The Twitterati and me are grateful to be less bored this year and grateful to Dipoto for getting us through the free agency freeze of winters past. 

And hey along the way he’s put together a system that gives Seattle fans hope even as they bottom out in search of a winning wave.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When the biopic of your life comes out, who’s playing the role of you? 

Danny Glover?

Jesse Eisenberg?

Or maybe if you’re a disrespected sort: Rodney Dangerfield? 

How would you feel if it were, say, Brad freaking Pitt? 

Pretty good, right? I mean one thing we never talk about is the hot GM. 

And I don’t just mean Brad-Pitt hot but also hello-Mister-Pit-Boss hot. Throwing-sevens-all-night hot. 

Some of the heat waves can be observed in the pace, preponderance and timing of their transactions. Some is plain as day in the results on the field. Some is apparent only through the stillness—through the inverse of that visible heat: a stagnant team scared to rock the boat for fear it’s mere moments from tipping. 

Perhaps I’ve mentioned that I’m a Cubs fan. That stagnation describes the Cubs moves since the ill-fated Eloy trade. Describes the Rockies, too—just letting assets pile into a traffic jam with hopes to maybe sort them later. 

Tampa is perhaps the best example of pace and preponderance of transactions signaling confidence. The Dodgers’ refusal to engage with Pittsburgh on their lofty terms last summer demonstrated a similar if different confidence. Oakland’s style is closer to that patient Dodger model than the high-wire act Tampa has to perform, but it’s definitely a style all its own. Twenty years after Moneyball, Billy Beane’s teams still find value when nobody’s bothering to really look. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?