Is Ian Anderson rapidly pitching himself into top 40 starting pitcher consideration heading into the 2021 fantasy baseball season? *turns down TV volume, cups hand to ear* “Hey, what’s that sound?” If it were 2019 and there happened to be another human within ear shot, they would respond, “yes, that’s the sound of someone screaming.” To which I would reply, “did Eduardo Escobar see a cat?” “No, that’s just Madison Bumgarner wailing down the side of a mountain after tripping and falling off a cliff, subsequently opening up a spot in next year’s top 40.” Luckily, he landed on an ATV and drove safely to the top 80 starter campground, where he’ll likely preside for the next four years.

As Anderson trudges his way up the same mountain, covered in brambles from the forest floor below, there are those who might actually think top 40 consideration is a foregone conclusion — and why not top 30? After all, the 2016 MLB Draft’s third overall pick is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in 22 innings of work through his first four Major League starts. Does he deserve to be drafted as a top 40, or even top 30 SP next season? Today, we’ll dive into Anderson and some takeaways from his first taste of Big League action, including a refresher of his Minor League track record. At the end, I’ll answer that question.

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No sooner did I put together a post detailing my top 15 rookie starting pitchers for the rest of the 2020 season than the Yankees decided to call up one of my favorite pitching prospects in right-hander Deivi Garcia. Now, many of you may already know about my public love affair with New York’s Clarke Schmidt, but we haven’t discussed Garcia as much as we maybe should have over here on Razzball. For that reason, I’ve graciously offered to Clarke and Deivi that I am willing to turn said love affair into a love triangle, so long as Deivi answers my calls. But here’s my number, so call me Deivi. Please. No, really. I’m begging you. Call me. No? Okay. Anywho, here’s what I saw from Garcia in his MLB debut and what I expect from the youngster moving forward.

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With the 2020 season now underway, prospects that failed to make their respective teams’ opening day rosters have arrived at alternate training sites. In a normal year, this would be prime prospect writing season, as we’d follow players’ performances at various levels of the Minor Leagues making all sorts of analysis and predictions about their MLB ETAs, future fantasy output, relevance to the current season at hand, etc. With no Minor League Baseball this season, we don’t have that, but we do know that all of the information there is to know is already out there, with some extra flavor sprinkled in from summer camps. As the summer progresses, I’ll continue to stay in tune with what I’m hearing about countless players situated at those alternate sites. One player I’m especially intrigued by for the 2020 campaign is Clarke Schmidt of the Yankees, otherwise known as Clark D. Schmidt, son of Clate Schmidt, of the late Claudius P. Schmidt, descendant of Cletus Z. Schmidt. The first two were true.

Big D. Schmidt came into summer camp with a fair amount of hype as the No. 88 prospect in the game, but he was slightly overshadowed initially by 21-year-old phenom Deivi Garcia, MLB.com’s No. 92 prospect. During his time at Yankees camp, Schmidt did nothing but prove that he’s close to being Major League ready despite only having 19 Double-A innings under his belt. Before being optioned to New York’s alternate site, Schmidt performed admirably in both simulated and exhibition game action, ultimately earning the team’s 2020 James P. Dawson Award, given to the most outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training. Translation: we strategically gave you this award so you wouldn’t be pissed when we put Mike King on the roster instead of you. Even dating back to Spring Training, Schmidt still had a locker at Yankees camp when everything shut down. And for good reason, because on top of having a plus-fastball (two-seam and four-seam mix) that ranges from 92-97 MPH and an above average-to-plus tumbling changeup, he possesses a curveball that can do this:

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Nick Pollack (@pitcherlist) joins the show to discuss how Pitcher List got created. We also discuss the process on what made Pitch Con such a successful event. Nick gives us some of his favorite pitchers as well as a Jose Berrios breakdown. We all give our earliest fantasy baseball memories and why Brent and Jordan started the podcast. Nick gives us his thoughts on why the Twins can’t beat the Yankees in the playoffs.

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If you’re a hardcore baseball fan, you’ve probably already mulled through your fair share of 2020 MLB mock drafts. It seems like every website worth a damn posts one, yet no one really knows what to expect, and it only takes one curveball to throw the entire equation out of whack. Even so, I figured I’d give it a try for Razzball’s sake, if for no other reason than to give Grey some spicy motivation to tune in on Wednesday night. See, now it’s a mock draft.

There’s a lot of uncertainty with this draft. Nobody knows for sure just how college heavy teams are ultimately going to go with the unique situation created by COVID-19, and which teams will elect to play the strategic bonus tomfoolery game. It’s difficult to project just how these factors will play into each and every team’s respective strategy. We might see more teams than ever taking on the “best-available” approach.

But as it relates to fantasy baseball, Wednesday’s draft is relevant because it sets the stage for the ensuing trajectory of every drafted player’s stock as a prospect. Not only does draft position tend to influence how people value prospects in first-year player drafts, but who drafted said player can also go a long way in determining what their Minor League journey will look like and how confident we are as fantasy owners that they will develop successfully. That being said, here is my carefully-concocted mock draft of the first 29 picks this upcoming Wednesday. Mush! Onward into the unknown!

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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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Over the past two months, I have immersed myself in the college baseball ranks and provided in-depth analysis in regard to which players to target in dynasty formats. As it relates to the priorities of my life, I refer to this project as the “Immersion Diversion,” in which I neglect all other areas of my life for researching college prospects. This began with my top 10 college prospects, which then grew into a top 25 before culminating into my top 100 overall. Then, I was slammed with arguably the largest hazing scandal Razzball has ever seen, as some questioned in the comments why I failed to address the underclassmen in these lists. Was it solely due to an underlying hatred for the newcomers? 

At the time, my response was two-fold: 1) the upperclassmen have added value due to the fact they will be attainable via first-year player drafts next off-season and 2) only those eligible for the 2020 MLB Draft come with complete and updated scouting grades. Not only do these scouting tools help us predict future MLB production, but they shed light on where players will be drafted, and where specifically a player is drafted goes a long way in determining said player’s perceived value in deeper formats. What I’m saying is that no first-year player fantasy drafts have 10th round talents being selected. At least they shouldn’t. Draft position influences hype, which influences who you and your league-mates target post-draft and beyond.

Still, this posed an intriguing dilemma. What about open world leagues, where everyone in the college circuit is readily available at present? In those cases, would I recommend Asa Lacy (2020 class) or Kumar Rocker (’21)? Would I advise anyone to pass on LSU’s Daniel Cabrera (’20) for Colton Cowser (’21) of Sam Houston State? Over the next several weeks, I will begin revealing college underclassmen not yet eligible for the MLB Draft who I recommend deep-leaguers begin targeting NOW, beginning with five names this week to put on your radar.

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What a great week. Any time I have a legitimate excuse to binge watch Star Wars one day and bloat myself with an excess of Mexican food and homemade margarita slushies the next, it’s a good week. Making matters even better, I was able to catch some quality KBO action on TV, something that revealed that my thirst for baseball can be temporarily quenched by just about any bat-to-ball action – other than that time I was on a cave tour in Pennsylvania and a big brown bat flew into my crotch.

Although I know not every Razzball reader and writer is a die-hard Star Wars fan such as myself, this got me thinking: how can I incorporate these two loves of baseball and late 1970s-early 1980s science fiction? Since there are only three truly great Star Wars films, I had the idea to split my prospect writing into three categories: 1) A New Hope (breakdown of the six top-100 prospects in the Marlins farm system), 2) The Empire Strikes Back (analysis of Yankees right-handers Clark Schmidt and Deivi Garcia) and 3) Return of the Jedi (what to expect from Brent Honeywell’s long-awaited comeback).

As I began this project, it didn’t take long before I completely lost track of time down in a Honeywellian rabbit hole. What I mean by this, is that I was trudging along, minding my own business with my eyes glued to 2017 Honeywell tape on my iPhone, when I literally fell into a hole in the ground and had no choice but to research Honeywell’s outlook for the next three-to-four hours while I called for help. And that is how this piece went from one of my typical, wide-ranging prospect breakdowns to one focused on a singular arm: Brent Honeywell, the young Jedi Knight, the man who can do things on the hill that no one else can, but has long been struggling with his own inner battle of health and spiritual clarity. In this piece, I will not only break down Honeywell as a prospect, but speculate on his return to the mound, reasons behind his recent arm injuries and what level of health (or lack thereof) we might be able to predict moving forward.

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Razzball’s own Paul The Martian (on Twitter @PaulTheMartin) makes a guest appearance on this week’s Ditka, Sausage Pod! Discussion topics include 2019 #2earlymock drafts, Yankees players, The Martian’s expectations for Nolan Gorman, Alex Kiriloff, Keston Hiura, and Jesus Luzardo, as well as, potential tax evasion techniques, and of course, some flat earth discussion.

Are Aaron Judge and Christian Yelich fantasy first rounders for 2019? Acuna or Vlad in dynasty leagues? Gleyber or Andujar for rookie of the year? Who is Black Grapefruit?

Find out the answer to all of these questions in addition to why Mallex Smith was forced to seek a restraining order against Paul, right here:

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