I begin with this:

Foul Ball Chug

The scene above is from Wednesday’s Mariners v. Astros game, and I realize that the clip has made the rounds by now. Still, I’m compelled to bring it up because it is truly wonderful. From the leaning grab, to the triumphant hoist and subsequent chug, this man wins the week. It always seems like the most brilliant moments happen at crappy games in empty stadiums, and this is no exception. What a hero.

Oh yeah, two-starters… Week three’s look-ahead is below. As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. Back in February, I rolled out my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects for 2013 (part 1, part 2), and those are already garbage. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, I thought it might be helpful to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent. Let’s get started.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A year ago, Nolan Arenado was entering the 2012 season with loads of hype. Minor League production expectations were enormous, and most folks around baseball were already penciling the young 3B into the Rockies’ mid-season lineup. But a slow start at Double-A and a concerning lack of over-the-wall power quickly put an end to those 2012 Arenado arrival fantasies. The 21-year-old watched his prospect stock slip this off-season, dropping out of the top 50 on prospect lists from almost every publication. Fast forward to 2013: Arenado put together a terrific spring in big league camp, blasting four homers and posting a .852 OPS in 52 PA. And after reassignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs, he hasn’t slowed down whatsoever, going 7/14 through his first two games, including two long balls. Chris Nelson is not a long-term option for the Rockies at third, and Arenado finally appears to be ready to step into Coors field and entrench himself at the hot corner. He’ll be fantasy-relevant once he’s up, and I imagine that’ll be no later than mid-June.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Weekly leaguers, Two-Startapalooza is back with a fresh lineup for week two. It’s a weekly feature, so obviously it’s back. I’ll try to come up with more clever ledes in future weeks, but I’m a little busy right now prepping my photog equipment for Tehol’s Playgirl shoot. Speaking of Tehol, he’s gonna be posting on points leagues this season, and I know many of you two-start hoarders are points league participants, so be sure to read his stuff. Anyway, here’s a look at the two-start landscape for week two.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. And for a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link. The Steam-o-Nator goes live April 8th.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The guys over at Sons of Roto have been hosting Blog Wars for a handful of years now, and this is my second year involved. I ended up in fourth place last year — not too bad, I know. But considering I held first place by a sizable margin from April through August, the fourth place finish takes on a truly bitter taste. My pitching collapsed down the stretch, and I watched helplessly has my ratios ballooned. Alas, I flew too close to the sun on the wings of Lance Lynn. Should’ve seen it coming…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (1) | 2011 (14) | 2010 (24) | 2009 (21) | 2008 (10)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [98-64] NL East
AAA: [70-74] International League – Syracuse
AA: [64-78] Eastern League – Harrisburg
A+: [64-75] Carolina League – Potomac
A: [82-55] South Atlantic League – Hagerstown
A(ss): [46-30] New York-Penn League — Auburn

Graduated Prospects
Bryce Harper (OF); Steve Lombardozzi (Util); Tyler Moore (OF)

The Run Down
A little more than a year ago, this Washington Nationals system was regarded as the best in the game. Then a trade with Oakland sent a handful of prospects out west, their top draft pick went down with a broken ankle, and Bryce Harper graduated to the bigs. What’s left, now, is a system that’s filled to the brim with risky, oft-injured prospects. There is almost nothing here that I would consider safe. Top overall prospect Anthony Rendon is an exciting, high-impact guy, but he’s yet to play a full season as a pro. Top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito tossed only two professional innings before being shut down for Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch again ’til 2014. The rest of the top ten seem to be rehabbing from their third labrum operation, or their twelfth precautionary arthroscopic elbow surgery. This is not among baseball’s top 20 farm systems at the moment, but thankfully for Washington fans, the Nationals have a young and talented collection of talent at the big league level already.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For those of us who prefer our fantasy baseball leagues to mirror our fantasy football leagues, there are weekly H2H formats. Sure, H2H is a poorer measure of fantasy skill than rotisserie — weekly snapshots of baseball statistics are hardly indicative of a team’s overall value. But the one-on-one element of H2H provides owners with weekly closure, and adds quite a bit to the competitive nature of the fantasy game. Simply put, H2H is fun. One way to stay ahead in these weekly formats is to maintain a flexible roster and stream two-start pitchers. So every Saturday in-season, we’ll be providing a glimpse at the upcoming week’s two-start landscape.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2) | 2009 (1) | 2008 (4)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [93-69] AL West
AAA: [69-75] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [80-60] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [74-65] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach
A: [74-65] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss): [28-48] Northwest League — Spokane

Graduated Prospects
Yu Darvish (RHP); Robbie Ross (LHP); Michael Kirkman (LHP)

The Run Down
This Rangers system is stacked. I could’ve gone 20 deep here, and I’d still be listing guys with bigger upside than most systems feature at the back-end of their top tens. One guy I had a hard time not listing here is 2012 first-rounder Lewis Brinson. Consider him #11 for now, but Brinson has the type of explosive athleticism that could carry him to the top of this list in a year’s time (that’s assuming guys like Profar and Olt graduate, of course). There are other youthful, high-upside types, too, in Jorge Alfaro and Joey Gallo. And as we know, there’s a slew of high-impact potential at the upper reaches of the organization. I’ve been outspoken about the St. Louis system being the best system in baseball for fantasy purposes and otherwise, but this Texas Rangers system is not far behind.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [72-90] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [58-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [66-74] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-72] Midwest League – Kane County (SAL Lexington beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Will Smith (LHP); Kelvin Herrera (RHP); Everett Teaford (LHP)

The Run Down
The Royals traded away a decent chunk of their upper-levels talent in the James Shields deal with the Rays. Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Mike Montgomery are all gone, and what’s left is a very young system. It also happens to be a very good system. But with youth comes risk. There’s as much upside here as there is in any other organization — numbers 1-10 below are all capable of bringing significant value to fantasy owners — and there are some college arms that should move quickly. But for the most part, this farm system is unproven. Unless Yordano Ventura is converted to relief, I don’t see much fantasy value pushing through until 2014. Even so, this group will be a lot of fun to watch in the upcoming season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28) | 2009 (26) | 2008 (20)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [81-81] NL West
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [69-71] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [64-76] California League – Visalia
A: [67-73] Midwest League – South Bend
A(ss): [36-40] Northwest League — Yakima (Hillsboro beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Patrick Corbin (LHP); Bryan Shaw (RHP)

The Run Down
The Diamondbacks entered the off-season with one of the most impressive collections of 25-and-under talent in the game. With the departures of Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer, however, that youthful core took a major hit in the high-impact department. One of Arizona’s motives in those trades was adding low-risk depth, and in that regard, they did quite well — Didi Gregorious and Nick Ahmed are premium defenders up the middle, Zeke Spruill is a safe bet to max out his potential, and Brandon Drury is a 1B with upside. Unfortunately for us, though, these changes make the D’Backs organization a tad less exciting for fantasy purposes. But that doesn’t mean this system is void of fantasy intrigue. There’s actually plenty of immediate-impact potential here with guys like Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton. There’s long-term excitement, too, with prospects like Archie Bradley and Stryker Trahan.

Please, blog, may I have some more?