Welcome back to 2020, home of the Black Swan event, home of the brave, but less brave if you’re required to wear a mask. Here we are, less than a handful of days into the season and we already have a true outbreak. Grey and I jump into all the current madness, before putting the problems aside to dive into the debut of Brady Singer, the forthcoming debut of one Nate Pearson. We talk some strong early showings and cuddle at the end to calm our fears of a world without baseball. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball podcast with all the feels.

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Carter Capps (@CarterCapps) joins the show to talk about his career and what it’s been like working at Driveline Baseball. We discuss the earlier parts of his career and what made him one of the hardest throwing bullpen arms in the league. We talk about his recovery from TJ and what kind of impact that had on his career. We dive into his job with Driveline Baseball and what kind of impact analytics have on the game of baseball in 2020. We get some of his favorite memories, ballparks, players and more!

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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.

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Who could be this year’s Chris Sale or Brandon Finnegan? Those two made their Major League debuts in the same year in which they were drafted: 2010 for Sale, 2014 for Finnegan. Sure, both of those players got their feet wet via abbreviated action in the Minors, but “feet wet” might be an overstatement. If anything, their spikes got a little damp, then dried off by the time they arrived in the realm of the AL Central. Sale made just 11 Minor League appearances for a grand total of 10 1/3 innings pitched, while Finnegan bested him with 13 appearances and 27 frames. 2020 draftees won’t have the same opportunity to prove themselves against MiLB talent, but they’ve also been gifted with the uniqueness of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, which opens the door for all sorts of insanity and unprecedented strategies from MLB brass.

Therefore, we have to call it a wash. If all goes according to plan and we do indeed get a 60-game season, 2020 is going to be super weird. As a result of that, I’m not the first person to openly predict we will see a 2020 draftee appear in the Bigs this year and I certainly won’t be the last. My expectation is that we will see one-to-two recently drafted players appear in the MLB this season. Although I can’t say with certainty who exactly that will be, I can attempt to do so using the information that’s out there. That’s precisely what I’ll be breaking down in this post by providing you with a list of pitchers who have an outside chance to contribute actual fantasy value in your league this year, ranked from the most likely to the least likely.

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Ian Smith (@FlaSmitty), Pit Master and prospect analyst, joins the show to breakdown this years MLB draft. We discuss the teams that had the best draft as well as the Top 10 picks. We breakdown Max Meyer and Zac Veen who may have the most upside in this years draft class after Spencer Torkelson. Ian gives us the best tips and tricks to make the best BBQ. Brisket, Ribs and burgers are some of his favorites to cook. What are yours?

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Exactly three weeks from now, the 2020 MLB Draft will be on its second and final day of selections and nearly all of the players in my Top 25 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues should be off the board. Commissioner Rob Manfred will be found reading off the names of draftees in his personal man cave located in the basement, as he slowly digests a large glass jar of cracker jacks for all to see. During the two-day event, he may even sit down on his leather recliner and announce a few picks while glugging down some Basil Hayden’s bourbon in between sets in a mild attempt to understand why he ever took his job in the first place.

As the draft winds to a close, fantasy owners will finally know which farm systems the players they’ve been targeting, or have already bought stock in, will be developing in. If said player is picked by the Miami Marlins, you get excited because you know they’ll be a star in the NL Central within the next four years. If they’re drafted by a New York team, you’ll be filled with mixed emotions, knowing it will be a miracle if that prospect’s arms and legs don’t mysteriously all fall off by year’s end. Let’s face it, even if that actually happened, the Yankees’ training staff still wouldn’t be able to properly diagnose it.

But in all seriousness, draft day will be a glorious day, as we so desperately need something, anything, Baseball. As you consume the 2020 MLB Draft next month, intently take in new information brought about by national coverage, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Know which players you like and are targeting regardless of class, and don’t put stock in a player out of raw emotion or recency bias. Just look at all the first round picks from the last five-to-ten years that still aren’t Major League contributors: you don’t want the “have-now” prospects, you want the right prospects – and if that means buying on a player in the 2021 or 2022 classes as opposed to this one – so be it.

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I’m becoming increasingly infatuated with Zac Gallen. Like any good researcher, I’ll first call attention to a significant bias. I could chuck a rock from my hometown and hit his hometown. South Jersey for the win. But home cooking aside, Gallen is currently the best pitcher in Triple-A, and it isn’t particularly close. This year that kind of dominance is especially impressive. Triple-A started using the same juiced ball as MLB, and the Pacific Coast League of Triple-A was already notoriously friendly to hitters. To quote a caller from the Mike Francesa show on Friday: “They took the juice out of the players and put it into the ball.”

We’ll dive deeper into the specifics of Gallen’s performance after the jump. In the meantime, take a hard look at stashing Gallen in all formats if you haven’t already done so. He’s begun to appear in Grey’s buy column, and has been a member of both the May and June stash lists. Consider today’s individual spotlight on Gallen similar to the giant neon sign I put up about Austin Riley a few weeks ago.

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It’s the holiday special edition of the prospect podcast, and Halp and I are full of cheer. There’s talk of Jelly Donuts, Egg Nog, the need for a craft rum movement, and so much more. We also lay it on you heavy for your naughty behavior, with a big olde lump of coal. Genuine and from a mine! We talk three of the most wretched systems in baseball, the Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, and Los Angeles Angels. Each system has only a few players to offer so we packed it into one. If you’re on the fence about whether you should tune into something I’m openly deeming awful or not, three words. Stabby the Cat. She’s back, but not really. Believe me, no one can make the Angels, Royals, and Marlins more fun than Halph! I mean come on Kansas City Royals Prospects!! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Festivus, it’s the latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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The Marlins have a young and talented big league roster that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, and Marcell Ozuna. But at this point, the farm system is a dog. With most of the high-end specs graduated or traded away, there are just not many left to get excited about here, and none that fall in the elite tier. There are some good prospects, but they mostly check in as long-shots thanks to distant ETAs. Compounding the issue for fantasy is the fact that Crayola Canyon will be the final destination for the hitters if they stay within this organization. But hey, I’m not here to crap on the Marlins. I’m here to talk prospects. So while Miami will be at the bottom of most prospect power rankings this preseason, I still managed to scrape together fifteen names I think we should know.

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The MiLB season may be winding down, but “the kids” continue to battle in an effort to catch everyone’s eye before off-season organizational meetings that will determine timetables and ETAs. The number of youngsters making noise as their seasons come to a close as players scramble for the chance to get a taste of “The Show” seems to grow each day.  Time once again for Razzball’s midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game – prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on late in Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

(Keep checking in daily for information regarding our end-of-season Top 100 and Organizational Top-10 Lists that will be rolling out as the minor league season ends – those of you following me on Twitter will be notified there as well.)

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