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For all my rankings this year, I have gone along with Major League Baseball’s numberwanging insofar as prospect eligibility is concerned. Within these specialized rules, we find a days-on-roster component and a magical August 14, 2020 demarcation line and I suppose the traditional 50-inning barrier matters as well, although a relief pitcher is much more likely to graduate on time served than innings pitched. 

All that is to say: hard pass on MLB’s shizz for the purposes of this list. 

The only way forward is to minimize fuzziness and speculation. Also I believe this list functions as a way for deep leaguers to find MiLB eligible relievers on the wire. 

One caveat: anyone currently on a starting pitcher path is disqualified. Converted starters make up a big portion of the player pool, so we’ll blend them in here if/when that switch happens but not before.

I’ll also set aside a small group who could switch and quickly leap the ranks like Devin Williams and Jonathan Hernandez have here. I suppose JB Bukauskas qualifies for the switch-and-leap bucket, but he’s in the rankings already because Arizona has clarified they want him in the bullpen this spring. Likewise, Genesis Cabrera and Taylor Hearn are out for the moment because the Cardinals and Rangers have them starting this spring. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Can you name the last Rangers prospect who exceeded expectations?

Sorry to cut to the quick, but it feels like something of an unreported secret that Texas is trouble for top prospects. 

Can go with Gallo, if you want to give your brain a break. I think he’s more or less lined up with expectations, for what it’s Weurtz. 

Elvis Andrus came from Atlanta in the Teixeira trade, and I guess he counts. Kind of. 

I know they’ve had environmental issues, but can you recall the last time they developed a fantasy-relevant starting pitcher? 

Remember when Martin Perez was a top ten prospect? 

I went digging through 40-man rosters year over year for the past decade or so as I was composing this piece, and it’s not inspiring, especially through the lens of internal development. 

Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Tanner Scheppers, Jorge Alfaro, Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar (injury exception), Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Keone Kela, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Mike Olt, 

I think it’s Ian Kinsler, by the way: a Rangers prospect who exceeded expectations. Michael Young. They had a good run. 

But it’s a new dawn, kind of. Chris Young has been hired because he is a former player who is extremely tall and probably possesses other traits that make him a good face for the organization’s transactions. I say such only because his first trade occurred within 12 hours of his hiring: Lance Lynn for Avery Weems and Dane Dunning. Hard to imagine he did much more than agree with the guy who’d just hired him, Jon Daniels, President of Baseball Operations. 

Anyway, I feel good about the talent in this system but have reason to doubt the development team. If Young is being hired to re-imagine that aspect of the organization, I can lean in and hope for the best. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you listen closely enough, you can hear the fantasy baseball season sliding away from us like an 0-2 pitch from sexpot Sixto Sanchez. Your roto leagues are probably a bit settled by now–the final few teams jostling for the top spot. In your dynasty leagues, the rip-off guys are probably making their annual post-deadline runs for the roses. Such is the nature of fall baseball. The fatigue factor feels a little different this year, worse for some I’m sure but perhaps less impactful in general across the entirety of fantasy baseball. 

Though who knows: the overarching 2020 fatigue factor might supersede the excitement of the short-season burst. In a typical season, these final few faab runs can make a huge difference, and it’s typically just a couple teams paying close enough attention to add a Jazz Chisholm or some similarly high riser on the last day of the season. I only mention Jazz because he was added on the final day in one of my 15-teamers just a few weeks before his big Fall League glow up. Seems like we won’t have that particular league this year, but we’ll still see some winter ball, I suspect, and some prospects will still change their outlook through a combination of hope, hype, and happenstance. Happy hunting out there, dear readers. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?