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?

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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:

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?
 
 

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.

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?
 

Major League Baseball is pushing through time lapses in testing procedures in its quest to fake having a plan until it makes one, but two things have become crystal clear: 1) players will be opting out, and 2) players will be catching the virus. 

Players can opt back in at any time if the situation changes, so that could make for some interesting faab runs.

Other side of that coin: players can opt out at any time. 

Along with the danger and chaos comes opportunity, so let’s scan the NL Central for players poised to climb that ladder.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?