In fourth grade, I was forced to pick an instrument.

Kennedy Elementary’s gym was adorned with little practice hubs, and my music class went station to station to try the drums, trumpet, xylophone, etc. 

I wanted to play the drums but wound up enrolled in the school band equipped with a used saxophone I was told was very expensive. $875, if I remember right, which still seems like a small fortune and a ridiculous investment for a ten-year-old who literally could not care less about playing a saxophone. I hadn’t even heard Coltrane yet. The only sounds I could create were the kinds of fork-on-a-plate screeches that made my ears bleed. 

Years I ‘played’ this thing. Daily practiced times were enforced under threat of Nintendo removal. The first song I remember playing that sounded like an actual song to me was Pomp and Circumstance. I’d played Twinke Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb, but those didn’t feel like songs to me. Certainly didn’t feel like an endpoint for the squeaky saliva-world I was drowning in day after day. (If you’ve ever played a woodwind, you know the slobber involved in getting the reed just right.)

But the first time I nailed that graduation song, the ring-walk song for Macho Man Randy Savage, I felt like a real musician, albeit a miniature, unskilled musician. 

I’m sure Dylan Carlson has felt like a real ballplayer before, but today, he is blasting a flawless rendition of Pomp and Circumstance as he graduates the stash list alongside Spencer Howard, Lewin Diaz, Alec Bohm and Jorge Mateo. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

NOTE: This ranking is focused on redraft impact of players who’ve yet to debut in 2020. It’s a snapshot of all the information I can synthesize as of publication day. 

Here’s Volume 1.

Graduates from Vol. 1 = Jo Adell, Monte Harrison

Here’s Volume 2.

Graduates from Vol. 2 = Spencer Howard*, Alex Reyes, Jordan Yamamoto, Joely Rodriguez

Busy weeks like these are alright alright by me. Let’s get to the list. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’d been thinking this would be a Sunday feature, but that’s partly because alliteration is word-weed for the brain, and Sunday Stash List feels like a party and mainly because I thought making the list once a week might naturally accommodate the list’s inherent turnover. 

Well this week brought a bit more turnover than the typically three-day window, so we’ll reshuffle the stashes like a 70’s skin flick and bump prospect news to Sunday.

NOTE: This ranking is focused on redraft impact of players who’ve yet to debut in 2020. It’s a snapshot of all the information I can synthesize as of today.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m not sure how to start this week because every time I do, I find myself saying something like “If there’s actually baseball,” and I’m kind of exhausted with reading that stuff. Wish I could stop myself from thinking it. And now I’ve said it in the intro anyway. Maybe I’ll delete it later. Maybe they’ll just delete all the stats from this year. Doh! It’s happening again. And so is baseball! I do think we’ll have a season, such as it is, for what it’s Wuertz. 

NOTE: This ranking is entirely focused on redraft impact of players who’ve yet to debut. It’s a snapshot of all the information I can synthesize as of Saturday night.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Have you seen A Bronx Tale

If so, perhaps the $20 lesson is enough to share the moment in my mind with your mind. 

If not, I am morally obligated to recommend that film and writerly obligated to describe a small scene that has stayed with me across two decades. 

Our main character sees a guy who owes him 20 bucks. The guy sees him too and takes off running. Our main character is stopped from pursuing by his, let’s say mentor, who asks if he likes this guy with the 20 bucks. No. Not at all. He does not like him. So the mentor re-framed the context. Our main character paid $20 to get a guy he doesn’t like out of his life forever. Seems like a small win in that light to our character in that moment, but to me, it landed like few lines of dialog ever have. Perspective. It’s a kind of magic we could cast a little more often with a little help from our friends. 

Atlanta has decided Mike Foltynewicz can keep the 20. They’re moving onto bigger and better things. Things like Tucker Davidson throwing 100 miles per hour from the left side.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Major League Baseball dropped a bomb this week, introducing a new playoff structure that invites 16 of the 30 franchises to participate in 2020. 

Gone is the one-game, wild-card playoff. 

In its place is a best-out-of-three, on-the-road showcase for middle-tier teams. 

The higher seed will host the three-game, first-round series. Home field advantage will be nice–always good to have the last at bat–but without fans in the stands, top seeds are newly vulnerable in 2020.

Over the past decade or so, baseball has shaped itself around demands of the previous post-season: superteams jockeying for wins at the top because winning the division meant avoiding the do-or-die wild card playoff–perhaps the most exciting wrinkle baseball has introduced in my lifetime. 

If an organization’s front office didn’t see its club as division-winning material, it frequently decided to lose as much as possible, altering the free agent market and prospect timeline universe in ways people are still grappling with.

That’s all different now.

MacKenzie Gore is coming up soon, is what I’m saying. A.J. Preller doesn’t have much incentive to worry about seven years from now if he can push for a playoff berth by trading Zach Davies for perhaps the game’s top pitching prospect. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In a blurry baseball universe, one thing that’s clear about 2020 is the numbers will look funky. 

I will miss the number 30, especially. 

We had some good times. 

And sometimes we’d double up 30/30 . . . those were the days . . .

I suppose we could rally around 30 Runs or RBI? 

Nah that’s ridiculous, and only Kyle Lewis or apex Giancarlo could hit 30 home runs in 60 games, so we should probably say our goodbyes to those curvy round benchmarks. Funky numbers only from here on out! 11? Come on down! 17? Wow that’s a lot of whatevers in 2020!!

As part of this ongoing effort to make my funk the P funk, I’m building rookie leaderboards with concrete Miss Cleo numbers. Projections, if you’re nasty. 

Here’s a funky song to play while you imagine the future. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I first started this gig back in September of 2019, I thought I was low on Jo Adell, ranking him sixth on my initial Top 25 Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball. Given how frequently I see people cite his AAA line and bash his hit tool, I’m pretty sure I’m high on him. 

One weird aspect of this whole thing is while Mike Trout’s ADP is sliding (6.2 in July NFBC drafts) due to his wife’s pregnancy and the quarantine that may take place on either side of the birth, Adell’s ADP is tanking (269.64 in July v. 230.04 pre-July) even as Brandon Marsh is out (for *wink* undisclosed reasons) in his attempt to return from the elbow injury that ended his Spring. Have to wonder if Adele’s sad songs are impacting our general optimism for Adell.

Please, blog, may I have some more?