There’s admittedly a special place in my heart for left-handed pitchers already, but I’m falling hard for Blake Snell. The 22-year-old southpaw ranked 9th in my Rays Top 10 prospects this offseason. Here’s what I said there: “His arsenal features a low-to-mid-90s fastball, plus slider, and plus changeup. His ceiling is more of a mid-rotation starter, but in deep leagues he’s a prospect worth checking in on just in case he figures out his control and takes another step forward. He will face a bigger challenge in 2015 when he gets his feet wet in Double-A.” His feet are officially wet. After just four games in High-A, Snell was promoted to Double-A Montgomery and made his first start Friday night. He responded with six scoreless innings, striking out eight while allowing just one hit and one walk. On the season, Snell has now pitched 27 innings and has yet to allow a run. He has struck out 35 batters and opponents are hitting just .124 off him. If you’re in a deeper dynasty format with some minor league slots to fill, I’d be getting on the Snell train. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Adam Wainwright is done for the year, so the Cardinals will have to dip into their starting pitching depth. At least for now it will be Tim Cooney as a replacement, but the popular opinion is that Marco Gonzales will eventually take that spot in the rotation and run with it. The reason Gonzales may not be an automatic add is that he’s currently dealing with an injury of his own. The southpaw is scheduled to throw again later this week after hitting the minor league disabled list with some shoulder/pectoral discomfort. Grab some BENGAY and let’s take a look at what Marco Gonzales might offer for 2015 fantasy baseball…

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Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

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Fantasy owners lost two good catchers this week in Travis d’Arnaud and Jonathan Lucroy. Even in 12-team formats, you probably threw up in your mouth a little when you went to the wire and saw your replacement options. God help you if you play in a two-catcher format. But not to fear, for the rookies are here! I’m looking in your general direction Kevin Plawecki…don’t disappoint me! When I went over the Top 10 prospects for every team this offseason, I typically spat on catchers in my rankings due to their limited upside. But it’s times like these when we need to bite the bullet and take a closer look at some rookie backstops. Here are six rookie catchers currently in the majors that you may need to roster while your studs are hurt. Yes, this list is ranked in the order that I’d personally add them.

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It’s not all bad news for Phillies fans. The major league squad looks pretty lousy, and when Aaron Harang is your best arm the fans probably won’t be dancing down Broad Street. But there’s hope on the farm, and this week’s Minor Accomplishments leads off with some Phillies prospects who are off to hot starts. Maikel Franco had a cold April in 2014, but this year he’s hitting .371/.436/.686 with a homer and six doubles at AAA Lehigh Valley. With only Ryan Howard and Cody Asche standing in his way, expect Franco to be a fixture in this year’s Prospect Power Rankings. Drop down a level to find Roman Quinn, who has stolen seven bases through seven games and leads the Eastern League in that category. He’s not all wheels, as he’s also hitting a cool .471 with a home run. At Single-A Lakewood, Carlos Tocci is also off to a good start. The 19-year-old is hitting .361/.439/.528 with a homer, three doubles, and four steals through his first nine games. Here are some of the other notable performances from the start of the minor league season…

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Our first prospect profile for the 2015 season will take a closer look at Orioles outfielder Dariel Alvarez. I mentioned him as an “under the radar” prospect on this week’s podcast, so it was a logical place to start. There are a few different directions dynasty leaguers can go with their farms, but most seem to fall in love with the high upside prospects whose ceilings trump their distant ETAs (I’m one of them). These kinds of prospects make sense when you only have a few farm slots to fill. Might as well use those slots for the very best prospects available, right? Then there are the leagues where it makes sense to include prospects who are a bit closer/safer, but who may not have the drool-inducing tools. Alvarez probably falls into the latter category. In leagues with larger farms or where depth is important, I think the 26-year-old outfielder should be given a look. He may even have stretches of value in 2015 redraft leagues depending on how the Orioles’ outfield shakes out this year.

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Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The 2015 fantasy baseball season is underway, and with it begins another year of prospect coverage here at Razzball. As always, I’ll be spinning everything from a fantasy perspective since that’s what we’re here for. During the offseason, I ranked my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects and covered each team’s Top 10 fantasy prospects in both the American League and National League. Whether you’re in a deep dynasty/keeper league looking to stock your farm or in a redraft league/RCL just looking for the next call-up to jump on, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at what’s on tap for this season’s prospect coverage here at Razzball…

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J-FOH is a man of many talents, one of which is brainstorming good ideas. Well, not all of them are good. But when the hateful one approached me with the idea for a new in-house dynasty league here at Razzball I was pumped. It’s a 16-team league that consists of Razzball writers and frequent commenters. This was the inaugural 40-round snake draft and included both MLB players and prospects. I’ll be the league’s commish. All that means is that I put on my Burger King crown to send the league emails. The draft took place in late February – spanning 10 days, two continents, and featuring ONE OF THE MOST EPIC DRAFT ROOM CHATS OF ALL TIME.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (1) | 2013 (7) | 2012 (13) | 2011 (19) | 2010 (15)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] NL Central
AAA: [73-71] International League – Indianapolis
AA: [61-81] Eastern League – Altoona
A+: [78-61] Florida State League – Bradenton
A: [54-81] South Atlantic League – West Virginia
A(ss): [35-40] New York-Penn League – Jamestown

Graduated Prospects
Gregory Polanco, OF | Tony Sanchez, C

The Gist
30 teams…300 prospects…and we’ve reached the mountaintop. The Pirates continue to have a very strong farm system this year with a nice balance of hitting and pitching. Adding IFA Jung-Ho Kang makes it even stronger. While they’re thin on southpaws, they’re stacked with solid right-handed pitching. Gerrit Cole has already come up and established his value, but Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, and Nick Kingham should be ready to join him in the rotation at some point this year or next. The Pirates have had success developing Latin American talent like Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, and they’ll look to continue that trend with prospects like Alen Hanson, Harold Ramirez, and Tito Polo. On a side note, this last minor league preview is a little bittersweet for me, as it will also be my last post with the site. I’ve accepted an offer to scout for the Phillies. The offer was just too good to pass up and hopefully I can help them find the next Domonic Brown. I wish you all the best and really appreciated my time here at Razzball.

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