Can I *itch about utter nonsense for a second? (Asterisk replacing a B there, but also works since I’m talking about the Houston Asterisks.) People who say it’s okay to draft top starters in February, due to how well they did the previous season, invariably ignore all the starters who were bumped down in rankings by the start of the season. No one next year will mention Chris Sale, Mike Clevinger, Luis Severino, Justin Verlander or Blake Snell were drafted in the top starters in 2020 up until March. People in October will be like, “Top starters were safe last year, only Scherzer, Cole and Flaherty missed time.” Yeah, only those three and five others! Contests which rank rankings always end the morning of Opening Day, when, ya know, 99.9% of leagues have drafted already! Am I saying this because I want some glory for telling to ignore top starters as early as January? YES, GODDAMN IT! Any hoo! Justin Verlander was shut down with a lat strain. Luckily, you didn’t draft any top starters, right? You did? Aw, shucks. Going onto eBay and put in a one cent bid on the world’s smallest violin, then adopt a baby and teach it how to play from a YouTube tutorial. Not sure how many times I have to say don’t draft a top pitcher, but I’m sure everyone this time next year will have forgotten I ever said it. A lat strain is better than an arm injury, or so I’m told. As in, I’m told that it’s a lat strain, but on Sunday it was triceps soreness. Sounds great! *insert giant thumbs up emoji* I told you not to draft Verlander before this, guess what this does for me? I’ve updated Verlander’s projections and moved him down in the top 20 starters and the top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Also, with Verlander’s latissimus dorsi more banged up than a dolphin at Sea World, I’ve added Josh James into the top 100 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2020 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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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. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Just when you thought you would be sparred any more Tyler O’Neill propaganda, I strike with the Cardinals Top Prospects list. You just can’t shake it! Tyler O’Neill or no Tyler O’Neill, the Cardinals have long been a strong player development program. Earning the reputation for top notch scouting, homegrown stars have been the calling card of the Red Birds. The highlights of homegrown talent are too deep to list, but more than a few potential hall of famers have passed through this farm system. With a new crop of exciting kids and a AAA team that rivals a few of the weaker MLB lineups, the future remains bright in St. Louis. If only we could say the same for Nelly. If you need an audiobook to go with this, check out yesterday’s podcast! Enough of that, it’s the St. Louis Cardinals Top Prospects.Please, blog, may I have some more?