Please see our player page for Andres Munoz to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

The BBC announced during the shutdown that when the season returns they will keep airing reruns of Fawlty Davis, delaying Mountcastle for the foreseeable future. The BBC’s head of programming Peter Angelos, noted spendthrift and lover of reality shows, said, “We should air a full season of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here starring Richie Martin trying to unsuccessfully cross the River Ruiz.” Filling their lineup:  Hanser & Renato, a BBC surprise hit, will be returning, and generating some underground enthusiasm is Austin “Martin” Hays, a David Tennant-led vehicle, where he’s a mechanic by day and detective by night, and Dwight Smith Jr. & Jose Iglesias starring in AB Unfab, where they just get gross at-bats. Okay, seriously, what on the earth that is in total lockdown is going on with the Orioles? They announced Ryan Mountcastle was optioned to the minors. THERE’S NOT EVEN ANY MINORS?! There’s no freakin’ baseball, Orioles, you giant nimrods! How can they be so dense? Trey Mancini, which I still pronounce like fettuccini, but hoping he gets healthy, needs some time, I’d imagine. Doesn’t cancer lead to chemo which leads to a lower immune system? That makes me think Mancini won’t be back this year, and I removed him from my top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball, while also moving down Mountcastle. Now all we have to look forward to is the new season of Luther starting Idris Alberto. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this week for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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This league has been going on so long I’m not sure if I’m a friend or family at this point. Think I started as a friend, became a frenemy, briefly became family through a cousin’s marriage to Dalton Del Don’s uncle, Don Del Don, then, after a messy divorce and some ugly text messages, I was called a friend again, but it was like when you say you are friends with the one person from your high school class who is now a millionaire, but they don’t really know you, i.e., we’re Facebook friends, but they’ve muted me and I don’t know it. For those unfamiliar, this is a standard 5×5, 16-team league, and, since it’s Yahoo, it’s 4 outfielders and two UTIL. As always, I used Rudy’s War Room, which is available with a subscription to our Razzball Tools. (I’m not peeing in your water and calling it Corona, we’re still drafting up in this mug, because the season will happen; it’s on my vision board!) Anyway, here’s my Yahoo Friends & Family draft recap:

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We know spring training is fully underway when a bunch of arms break. We’re sure to see more as soreness becomes less general and more devastating to our early drafts. The four-tier format is back for our closer report. This week, pandemic foodstuff themed tiers. I’d laugh but for fear that might cause me to cough resulting in those nearby turning mob justice on me. Let’s get to some news and notes on the reliever front first.

  • Emmanuel Clase – He of the hardest cutter in baseball is starting his Cleveland career off on a sour note. A back strain will likely sideline him for 8-12 weeks. This opens the door for fellow reliever wunderkind James Karinchak to solidify a leverage role. If you want a job relieving for Cleveland just have a hard to spell name, throw gas, and be in your early 20’s.
  • Jose Alvarado – Don’t look now but Alvarado looks sharp as ever. But Roto-Wan, Nick Anderson is *the* it closer of draft season?!? I have no issue with Anderson’s stuff, just his role. He factors into their ninth inning, no doubt. Let me ask you this, though. He saved some games for them last year since they’re a team that’s the most progressive in leverage roles, right? No? Ok, well he came over from Miami, who’s bullpen was a collection of molding leftovers. He racked up a bunch of saves there, surely? How about one save. Well, at least he’s a young prospect? Turns 30 in June. I don’t mean to rain on your Nick Anderson parade, and by “don’t” I mean I do, but he’s far from a lock. I’m betting on Alvarado seeing some of their saves as the lefty side of a committee in every league I draft that uses RPs.
  • Brandon Kintzler – Things are not off to a great start this spring for the presumptive Marlins closer. Like, walking four straight batters bad. I’d consider a spec play on Ryne Stanek early on.
  • Ryan Helsley – I’m not the Helsley guy but some people I respect (see: Matt Thompson, Nick Pollack) have made it a point to draft the young Cardinal in the late rounds. Their ninth inning is a mess to predict, as usual. Helsley also has an outside shot at the rotation it seems, depending on the health of their assumed starters.
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Rosie is the latest zombie reliever. He’s always been able to light up radar guns. He just has zero command at times, as in most of the time. The command seems to be there this spring, however. KC would love to add any talent it can to baseball’s most mediocre bullpen.
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Much like the classic Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) PC game, The Oregon Trail, we finish our bullpen parade out west. Apologies if the research in this post is light, I stayed up all night playing TOT on the Wayback Machine. Suck it deer, I shot so many of you I can’t even carry all the meat. Much like the game, your journey to saves accumulation is a series of decisions fraught with peril. Do your best not to die of dysentery. In this example, Wade Davis is dysentery.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

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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. 

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.

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I teach in China for a month every summer, and all I really have access to for that month, entertainment wise, is baseball and whatever I can download or arrange ahead of time, so that leads to lots of podcasts and audio books.

The books I repeat most feature a certain group of young wizards invented by J.K. Rowling, and during this summer’s listen-through the whole Potter series, I had some new thoughts.

First, poor Filch. I mean what a awful gig that dude has. Whole castle full of magic, and he’s on his hands and knees scrubbing vomit and blood and snot and who knows what all.

Second, Summer for Harry Potter is a lot like Winter for baseball fans. Harry just sits around waiting for news. All. Summer. Long. So every little snippet of something takes on extra meaning. And The Daily Prophet has its head so far up it’s cauldron that even the snippets are just glances through a cracked mirror.

So who’s ready to fire up the rumor mill and speculate our way through the off-season!?

Not me.

I’m hanging onto Fall as long as possible.

If that appeals to you, let’s hop on a Thestral, fly over prospect country and pretend it’s still Summertime.

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Here we are deep-league friends, finally less than a week away from the MLB trade deadline, which also means we are two-thirds of the way through the fantasy baseball season. Here’s hoping this point in the season finds you with at least one team still in the hunt for a fantasy title or money finish, as we look to more names that might be of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only and other deep leagues.

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It is no secret, my admiration for San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller. While many remember the early win now moves in his tenure, it is the scouting and development of young talent that has really caught my eye. During his time in the Rangers organization, under the direction of former fraternity brother Jon Daniels, Preller was tasked with International Scouting. Something the Rangers did pretty well over that period. The same eye for talent on the international market has proven fruitful for the Padres, securing the services of several top signees over the last few periods, including Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, Gabriel Arias, Jeisson Rosario, and Tirso Ornelas. Some of his recent trades have helped build even greater depth, adding top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. for James Shields, as well as Logan Allen, Anderson Espinoza, Chris Paddack, Josh Naylor, and Esteury Ruiz in a collection of other trades. All this, and we haven’t even touched on some of the recent drafts. In just the last two seasons the Padres have added, MacKenzie Gore, Cal Quantrill, Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer, Hudson Potts, Luis Campusano, and Mason Thompson. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me in this post. In case you’re not caught up on the Prospect Pod, Lance and I discussed this system on the latest episode. You can listen and read! Shameless Plug! Onto the San Diego Padres Top Prospects.

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It’s with heavy hearts that we bid adieu to the dynamic duo of Halph. That’s right, it is with great sadness that I inform our listening public that Michael Halpern has moved on to the high stakes world of Bird Law. Our once loyal podcast host is needed by our feathered friends. Remember loyal listeners, bird law in this country is not governed by reason. With that said, the one the only Lance Brozdowski will be joining me as my permanent co-host until, he too grows up. I’m Peter Pan y’all, not to worry, old Ralphie ain’t going nowhere. Unfortunately Lance is unavailable until after Thanksgiving, so you got me for at least an episode. In today’s show I touch on Peoria’s stacked Arizona Fall League team. As well as my thoughts on Luis Urias, Mitch Keller, Kyle Lewis, and Eric Filia. It’s sure to be more Endorphin Ralph than you can handle. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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