I was going to open this post with my favorite Future quote, but then I remembered that I don’t know what Future is saying ever. That’s okay, I just like humming along to the words anyway. Seriously, I think that’s Future’s appeal, you can hum to the words! Brave new world, ladies and gents! So why are we here? I know why I’m here, you should figure that out on your own. In the meantime read along, as I follow up my post from this past Wednesday updating y’all on the performances of the players taken in the first round of this year’s MLB draft. On Wednesday I’ll round out the series, with my later round draft sleepers. I’ll try and figure out what Future is saying between now and then. Today we’ll look at picks 17-34, and touch on a handful of players I like from the Competitive Balance Round. I mean I could have done the whole draft, but I don’t have time to write 2,000,000 words. I’m too busy watching minor league baseball, and trying to figure out what Future is saying.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the 2015 MLB draft was a damn good one. In just 14 months this class has already produced three everyday MLB players. It’s pretty much unheard of for THAT many players to move THAT quickly through the minors, and it’s not like any of the three look particularly lost. The real beauty lies here, the draft wasn’t particularly top heavy, we’ve had plenty of very interesting players already emerge from outside the first round; Willie Calhoun, Harrison Bader, Thomas Szapucki, and Cody Ponce to name a few. On the heels of this dynasty windfall, the question on everyone’s mind is; who are the studs and gems from this draft? Over the next few posts (today and Sunday) we’ll take a long look, maybe an awkwardly long look, at the first round and the gems of the later rounds. Did I say that already? I feel like I did….I try to sound like a sports reporter, but I kill too many brain cells to pull off the act. Meh, whatevs let’s talk about Nick Senzel!

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Salutations my loyal Razzscalians, and welcome to the latest installment of The Minor League update. I’m your Prospector and Chief Ralph Lifshitz and today I’d like to discuss a mighty slugger from The Great White North. A man with the forearms of a spinach swigging Popeye. A hitter with a swing so strong, that balls explode off his bat head like forgotten land mines in former war zones. The thunderous prospect I speak of is none other than the Mariners Tyler O’neill. The outfielder was a player that popped into many managers favorite prospects lists over the past few months, including yours truly. I mean what’s not to like about Tyler O’Neill “Prospect Power King of the North.”

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If I may, I’m going to vent for a minute. Or maybe a bunch of minutes. Might even be more than a bunch of minutes, kinda depends on how quickly you read. Let’s just settle on calling it as many minutes as it takes you to read this. There’s no simple way to say this, but I hate your dynasty league. I don’t just hate it a little either I hate it a lot. I want to crap all over it every season to you and your friends, but I restrain. I don’t hate all dynasty leagues, some are great. I play in an embarrassing number of them, with a variety of sizes, scoring, and roster setups. Some have keepers, some salaries, some have complicated rules no one knows because reading the constitution is like reading an insurance policy. So I’ve had my share of aggravation over the years, but nothing like yours. No you guys did EVERYTHING wrong and now you have a crap sandwich on soggy wonder bread. So today I’m going to tell you all the things I hate about your dynasty leagues. Because I’m salty and I can, that’s why.

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You’re only as good as the information you have. This can apply to anything in life, but is particularly true when it comes to studying up on prospects for fantasy. Or prospecting, if you will. Players are constantly evolving, particularly those in the minors, and it’s important to keep up with the latest scouting reports, videos, and statistics. One area that’s heavily overlooked with prospects is batted ball profile. The numbers are tough to find, but there’s some intriguing options in the dark corners of the Internet. Yours truly has scoured those dark corners. Actually J-FOH scoured these corners, introduced them to me, and here we are. Today is a very special day. Why? Well, because I’m doing my very best on this fine Sunday to impersonate one Big Magoo. While I certainty can’t do our resident number savant justice; I’ll use his words as a guideline, while we take a look at the batted ball profiles for some of the top players in minor league ball this season. Including some recent graduates like Aaron Judge, Alex Bregman, and Andrew Benintendi.

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Rejoice fellow prospectors for Michael Wacha has been slayed and disposed of on the DL with a shoulder injury. Good riddance Wacha, may the rookie nookieing begin. In the immediate aftermath Cards top prospect and K aficionado extraordinaire Alex Reyes was promoted. The early assumption was he’d fill Wacha’s roster spot. That was until he wasn’t. Shortly there after, it broke that he would be used out of the pen rather than take Wacha’s spot. Then Luke Weaver was called up. This made me excited, one because I’m nutty about prospects, two because I own Weaver in a whole shizz ton of leagues, and three because he fits the profile of the rookie starters that have been successful so far this season. What’s that profile Ralph? Control, command, and low walk rates. It’s the love, peace, and chicken grease of pitcher prospecting. Think about it Taillon, Maeda, and most recently Musgrove; the players letting up the least amount of free passes are having the greatest initial success out of the gate. It’s not a coincidence, because talented major league hitters will sit on junk pitches all day, and force you to throw strikes. That’s what Luke Weaver does Gentlemen and five ladies. He throws strikes…. lots of’em. He had 12 total walks in 83 innings at AA and AAA this season. He’s not some Phil Hughes boring control artist either, he brings with him a 10.0 K/9. Weaver keeps the ball in the ballpark too. In fact, he’s only allowed 7 homers across 197 minor league innings. All this to say you should pick him up. Whether you start him on Saturday vs the Cubs is up to your discretion, but there will be other matchups, better matchups. You’ll want him for those.

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Back in 2012 a 26 year old Phillies first base prospect by the name of Darin Ruf hit 38 homers while playing for AA affiliate Reading. Ruf never approached a season like that before or since, and quickly washed out as he reached AAA and the majors. Over the seasons that have followed any Reading player with a power surge is looked at with skeptical looks and side eye. Dylan Cozens is the latest in a long line of Phillie farmhands to bear this cross. Over the past week Cozens has accelerated the home run pace of his magical 2016, hitting 6 homers and slashing .360/.429/.1.240. As of Saturday night Cozens’ home run total for the season sits at 32 in just 106 games. I’ve written about Cozens a few times over the past few months, and quite honestly the gaudy offensive numbers are tough to ignore. Prior to the 2016 breakout, Cozens was an intriguing prospect. Built like an NFL tight end, and blessed with raw power and base running ability. Cozens presents raw potential that would entice any dynasty owner to take a second look, but the red flags are there and shouldn’t be ignored. First and foremost, though Cozens has always produced raw power it never materialized until he reached Reading. To say that Cozens success is Reading aided is an understatement. Of his 32 homers he’s only connected for 6 away from FirstEnergy Stadium. The home and away slugging % splits are staggering, as he boast a Bondsian .801 SLG% at home, but a .415 on the road. That’s an absurd difference of .386! Or he’s a full Dee Gordon different at home. Next on the red flag rundown is Cozens long lefthanded swing. While it’s picturesque when it connects for a long fly, it’s down right ugly when he misses, particularly on balls to the outside part of the plate. Look no further than his nearly 30% k rate for evidence. The last, and in some ways, the most alarming of the red flags is Cozens splits vs southpaws. A .307/.391/.677 hitter vs righties, he morphs into Freddy Galvis when a lefty is on the mound, slashing .204/286/.387. Cozens has certainly made improvements this season, but he does come with risk; and even if he’s only a 15/15 threat with some split issues, he’s worth a spot in your minors in dynasties where 100-150 prospects are owned.

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Deadline day baby, one of the most exciting and nerve wrecking times for fantasy owners across the land. I’m not going to talk extensively about it the way I did on Wednesday. Mostly because I’m not allowed to write the same post twice. At least as far as I know. Only Tehol’s allowed to do that stuff, but he’s handsome. We call that bubble syndrome, handsome, and really all attractive people in general, live in a bubble. You know who doesn’t live in a bubble, but is built exactly like one? Josh Naylor!!! That’s right A.J. Pro-Preller continues to trade-rape the MLB and horde A-1 prospects the same way your Grandma hordes Precious Moments figurines. This time they traded Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea for Josh Naylor, Luis Castillo, Carter Capps, and Jarred Cosart. We have no need to get into Cosart or Capps, but Naylor is interesting, Castillo less so. The Marlins selected Naylor in the first round, 12th overall, in last year’s draft. So far the returns have been promising, but let’s be clear Naylor is an “unathletic” DH/1B type. He was drafted as a 1B/OF coming out of the prep circuit, but his future lies as a first sacker. He’s been billed as a power first guy, but his power at this point has only been middling. He’s surprisingly swiped 10 bags though. The hope is the young Naylor develops the power stroke and eventually matures into a 25-30 homer corner guy. I’m not as hopeful as some about that happening.

Oh don’t worry I’ll get into my take on top catching prospect Francisco Mejia, and three others moving from the Indians system to the Brewers for Jonathan Lucroy. Feel free to post rumors, deals, hopes, and dreams, etc in the comments. Let’s talk specs and trades y’all!

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Oh the deadline, where championships are dreamed about, and futures are mortgaged. Is there ever a time where the worlds of redraft and dynasty collide more? You have your redraft owners hoping their closers don’t lose their jobs, or that their hitters, and pitchers are moved to better surroundings. The dynasty owners are worried about those same things, but also hoping their blocked higher minors prospects get moved to greener pastures with opportunities waiting with a big league club. It’s also a time when veterans are moved out to make way for those potential future stars waiting in the wings. It’s a busy time for your humble Prospector. I have a lot of thoughts about prospects on the move, some got the call, some got the other kind of call, and some are waiting for one or the other. Obviously I’m alluding to a call from their doctors regarding their “tests results”….Actually I might have just had a flashback to that time I wrote for the Des Moines Medical Journal. Corn farm injuries are gruesome people.

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I got in a bit of a tiff in one of my dynasty leagues over a trade offer involving Erick Fedde. I’m one of the types that pretty much negs every first offer or counter I get below market value. IMO you’re crazy not to. I also refuse to give up multiple MLB pieces for single prospects unless the talent level is a significant potential increase. The offer was Erick Fedde for Brandon McCarthy and Mike Leake. It’s a 10 team NL only dynasty, he’s competing, I’m a prospect kennel full of young pups with big paws. In other words I’m in dead last and I’m selling all MLB players that are over 32 or below star level (McCarthy and Leake). With that said mid-rotation starters are more valuable in AL/NL only formats. Long story short I snapped back, spelled Fedde incorrectly 3-4 times, and we ended negotiations. Thought I had to share if I planned on writing about him. So random league mate, here you go an ode to Erick Fedde.

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