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 excited St. Louis fans were to see Ray Lankford and Brian Jordan roaming the same outfield and Rick Ankiel on the mound. 

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?

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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?
 

While it seems so far away, before you know it the 2020 MLB Draft will be here. For us fantasy players, that means some first year player drafts will start happening as well (although you should really wait until the end of the season), and players who many know little about could soon become the future of your dynasty team. Many of you may also be participating in best ball drafts, where some of these guys have the potential to contribute to your team in the next 5 years. The point is, it’s never too early to start looking into the players in the MLB Draft Class. I’m going to talk about a few names that stick out for me, and talk about their fantasy outlook, as well as where they could end up.

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?
 

1. Don’t Prospect Hug. 

We’ve all heard the term “prospect hugger” before. We’ve all likely played with prospect huggers before. Many of us have probably been prospect huggers before, but if you want to be a successful dynasty player, then you want to avoid prospect hugging. It’s important to note here that there is a difference between properly valuing your prospects and prospect hugging.

There’s nothing wrong with holding on to guys who you think are more valuable than what you’re being offered, but what I’m talking about is guys who will rarely move prospects, or even consider moving prospects, even when they get offers that are more than fair. As someone who writes almost exclusively about prospects, I understand how exciting the unknown can be, and I see the appeal in prospects, but it’s also important to be realistic and understand that a large percentage of prospects never really amount to anything. You should never value a prospect at what their ceiling is, but rather a fraction of their ceiling based on how far they are from the majors. This is especially true the more shallow a league is, as when there are fewer prospects rostered, there’s always going to be solid guys available to replace anyone you trade.

I saw a trade offer posted on twitter recently by @Prospects365 which was Sonny Gray and Matthew Liberatore for Kristian Robinson, and the Robinson side somehow got 40% of the vote. Personally, I would take the Gray side in any league, but what makes this even worse is that this was a league where only ~100 prospects are owned, meaning that there’s plenty of solid prospects available to replace Robinson with. To be completely honest, prospects should mostly be considered trade bait. When I play dynasty, I’m always looking to move prospects in 3-for-1 type deals for major leaguers, and then replacing those prospects with potential breakout guys who I can trade after they breakout, and it’s an endless cycle.

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?