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?

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I’m guessing you’ve noticed it’s time to light this place up.

!!Fireworks!!

!!Baseball!!

Rookies??

I think so, at least for a lot of the players we’ll discuss today. They’re all wearing wings in the player pool, and most are on the 40-man, which I think is more relevant in 2020 than ever before. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

It’s already pretty difficult to forecast a player’s performance even with the large samples that we have. Consider Whit Merrifield, a player with a large recent body of work, as he’s the current active leader in consecutive games-played. Will he ever steal 20 bases again? How about Christian Yelich? He played most of 2019, but many remain skeptical that he can repeat that historic pace, at least to the same degree.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I will first quote Prospector Itch about Carter Kieboom because I think he’s right on, “Kieboom won’t dislodge Trea Turner from shortstop but could wind up a good big league second baseman. Trouble with that is second base is now a catcher in the rye for mashers with just enough hand-eye to fake it ‘til they make the plays, now that range is mitigated by analytics. Kieboom may never be above average in a fantasy world where Muncies, Hiuras, and McMahons are popping up on the regular. Unless, that is, he finds some stolen bases in his game. Wouldn’t take much. 10-15 can make all the difference these days, just like 10-15 blows to Grey’s head could make all the difference.” Aw, c’mon! Howie Kendrick, hero to all Nationals fans and owner of many International Howies of Pancakes, was manning 2nd base this year with Brian Dozier, but postseason heroics aside, they’re likely gone, and with good reason. That reason being they’re old eh-eff. This opens the 2nd base job for Shawn Carter Kieboom Goes The Dynamite Jr. (Full name.) So, what can we expect from Carter Kieboom for 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Here’s what I said in the top 100 starters last year, “Here’s what Prospector Mike said this offseason, “This is a touted arm, but one that barely pitched this year. Forrest Whitley served a 50-game drug suspension followed by two trips to the disabled list for oblique and lat injuries. There’s too much upside in his plus heater and curve to knock him out of this tier and he’ll likely still rank highly on other 2019 lists. In 118 innings over the past two seasons he’s posted a K/9 north of thirteen. That strikeout potential is where I think his fantasy value lies. He’ll be pitching in the Arizona Fall League and could find himself in the mix for a rotation spot at some point. I doubt they rush things though, so it will most likely take an injury or a shuffle for him to get many meaningful MLB innings in the coming year.  Speaking of injuries, who do I have to pay to incapacitate Grey?”  Hey!  As for the other things PM said, I agree.  I think everyone is being way too aggressive on drafting and ranking Whitley this year.  Maybe if the Astros are hit by multiple injuries, but he’s 21 years old and would be overworked to throw 100 innings this year, and I think will see closer to under 40 IP in the majors, so why rank him this high even?  He’s a decent flyer with a ton of risk.”  And that’s me quoting Prospect Mike quoting me! I’m sorta in the same place this year. Do we really see legit innings from Forrest Whitley in 2020 in the majors? Or, rather…So, what can we expect from Forrest Whitley for 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Don’t think I’ve ever done a joint post before like this, which is not to say I’m smoking a joint while I write this. Brucely, that’s every post if that’s what we’re talking about. When I say I’m cashed out, I’m not talking about being negative on my bank account. Okay, I’m talking about that too. Casey Mize and Matt Manning go together like peanut butter and your dog staring at you with a look like, “Yo, Cousin Ownerpants, give me some of that shizz.” Casey Mize and Matt Manning go together like Casey Mize and me thinking of Tyra Banks telling someone to smize. Casey Mize and Matt Manning go together like a ladder and Jose Altuve’s kitchen. Is it just me or do you also imagine Jose Altuve’s house is like a mid-century library with ladders sliding along the walls to get cereal and drinking goblets? Altuve 1000% drinks from a goblet; don’t even try to tell me different. Any hoo! The 22-year-old Casey Mize and the 22-year-old-in-January Matt Manning are both in the Tigers’ minor league system, said Mr. Obvious. The Tigers took Mize 1st overall in the 2018 draft; Manning went 9th overall in 2016. Both have the pedigrees of potential aces, so how long until the Tigers trade them to other teams so they can win Cy Youngs? I kid, I kid! (I don’t kid; this is deathly serious.) So, what can we expect from Casey Mize and Matt Manning for 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Giving you a little looksie behind the curtain at Razzball HQ, where I’m not wearing pants and have had multiple lawsuits levied against me, I asked Prospect Itch to give me about 20 names of prospects who will be relevant for 2020, and rank them in order of 2020 relevancy, so I could give you a breakdown of each one, from best to worst. He’s our prospect writer, hence the 1st name, and he knows all of these guys way more in-depthly (totally a word!) than I. My focus is on 2020. After watching some videos of these guys, I could see why they’ll be relevant in 2020 and beyond, but this is about 2020 for me. This is why I didn’t write a post about Wander Franco, and might not. (Still debating it, seems super doubtful though.) With that said (Grey’s turning the ship around!), I don’t know if Michael Kopech will be relevant in 2020, and, therefore, ergo, vis-a-vie, we’re getting towards the end of my fantasy rookie series, when I’m going over guys who might not be relevant this year. (If you have any names of rookies for 2020, who I haven’t covered yet, mention them in the comments.) So, what can we expect from Michael Kopech for 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

True or false, the best thing about Brendan McKay is he sounds like what a dad in the 1990’s would’ve called two different characters on 90210. Gonna go with false, but a fantasy baseball ‘pert has the prerogative to change his or her mind. On a side note that’s only tangentially related (like the rest of this will be related), McKay is the fourth guy this offseason who either just kept or lost rookie eligibility. McKay threw 49 innings, and the cut-off is 50. Interesting side note there, Tangent Grey. Brendan McKay is a two-way player from the Rays; imagine if the Rays were short for Ray Searage. *insert GIF of Rays fans King Tommen’ing out of a window* Thankfully, it’s not and the Rays, I’m told, are good with pitchers, but how are they with hitters? Fine, but they’re like a guy who lives in a refrigerator in Home Depot. They have a ton of tools at their disposal but there’s an overload of tools with way too many options, and they’re always giving us the cold shoulder. (You thought the refrigerator was unplugged — ha!) If hitting and pitching made Ohtani a unicorn, McKay is a commitaphobe unicorn. Capable of doing the two-way thing, but either he or the Rays don’t seem committed to having him hit, so I don’t plan on projecting him for hitting. Maybe he gives a handful of homers in under 100 ABs, but you’re not really drafting him for that. Picture Michael Lorenzen without having the whole ‘pitchers hit’ thing. Sorry for those of you having Siri read you this, picture/pitcher prolly confused the shizz out of you there. So, what can we expect from Brendan McKay for 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Two Orioles for the fantasy baseball rookies series and Grey plants his flag in the Shizzville district of Camden Town. I’m someone sad like Morrissey singing about Camden Town. *places hand on ear to listen intently, another hand on my heart, swaying back and forth singing a song I don’t know so it’s just mumbles* “Blue blue blue, sad sad sad…So sad…” That’s me singing a sad song I don’t know. *climbs fence at the late Boog Powell’s house and places a flower on his freshly dug grave, sniffs around* That smells terrible. Just then Boog Powell comes out of the house, screaming, “I’m not dead! That’s my septic tank!” Sorry, Boog! I’m getting in touch with my O’s love! It’s my O’s face! Okay, fellas and five ellas, I don’t suddenly love the Orioles, but Austin Hays has great defense and an interesting hitting profile for fantasy. Defense doesn’t mean much for us, but it helps pencil in playing time. Here’s him making one of the best catches of last year:

via Gfycat

How much does Gorilla Glue have to advertise to get that placement behind home plate and also get Austin Hays to beat his chest like a gorilla? Did every Orioles player beat their chest after every routine catch? Is that all part of the same advertising campaign? What’s that, you don’t have Gorilla Chest-Thumps as a category in your league? Hmm…Can you find a new league? No? Okay. So, what can we expect from Austin Hays for 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

“Hey, Bud Black, do you see Sam Hilliard being called up to start the 2020 season?”
“He has to earn it.”
“Right, right, of course. Last year in Triple-A, Sam Hilliard hit 35 homers and stole 22 bags. Some would say that is earning it.”
“That was in an environment that was very conducive to hitters.”
“Um, yeah, well, the thing is, and I hope I’m not being out of line, but the Rockies play in Coors.”
“Right, but the pitchers in Triple-A.”
“Again, who am I to tell you your job, but the Rockies’ team ERA was 5.56.”
“ERA isn’t everything.”
“What measure are we looking at then?”
“The IDK percentage and other such stats.”
“Did you just make an acronym of ‘I Don’t Know?'”

The preceding was a conversation between Bud Black and a reporter. If you can find any reason why the Rockies did not promote a 25-year-old like Sam Hilliard, who hit 35 homers in the minors, during a season when they were essentially out of the race by May, please send it to me, because I couldn’t find a reason anywhere. They didn’t even have a steady center fielder all year. Are we sure Bud Black knows he has a minor league team of players he can call up at any time? I get it, sure, he could’ve played Raimel Tapia to see what he had with him. That’s a great theory! I wish that was what was going on, because Tapia was being randomly platooned too. Did Ian Desmond need to get 443 ABs? An alien who doesn’t know anything about baseball, except what it learned five minutes before being questioned (because, let’s be honest, it needs to know something to answer the question) would tell you, Desmond didn’t need that many at-bats. Here’s a hilarious example of stupidity. Bud Black gave Yonathan Daza more at-bats than Hilliard last year. Daza went 7/0/3/.206/1 in 97 ABs; Hilliard went 13/7/13/.273/2 in 77 ABs. HAHAHAHA–Breathe, Grey, breathe! Why would you not play Hilliard? Seriously, WHY? Caps for emphasis, not because I don’t know my own typing finger’s strength. So, what can we expect from Sam Hilliard in 2020 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?