Seattle’s farm produced two interesting players for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. I like Ketel Marte as a late-round flyer at a shallow middle infield position. He can hit and steal, and should be a good source of runs if he bats in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz as he’s currently projected. Then there’s Carson Smith, who I imagine a lot of fantasy owners will be drafting as the closer in waiting if he hasn’t already taken the reins by opening day. The first thing I noticed when putting together this preview is the plethora of outfield prospects in the Mariners’ system, as well as the lack of impact talent from the 2015 draft (they didn’t pick in the first round). It’s a bit dicey gambling on hitters that may call Seattle their home one day, so this has never been my go-to system for fantasy prospects. Of course the flip side of that is that their pitching prospects have a little more room to breathe.

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Last week I joined a league called The Devil’s Rejects. You’ve probably seen posts on this league over at FanGraphs recently. In fact, it must have subconciously rubbed off on me because that is a very FanGraphsy title. Rejects is a 20-team dynasty with 45-man rosters where we keep 28 forever. It’s full of industry talent from sites like FG and Baseball Prospectus. Razzball’s own J-FOH has a team and we’ve already made our first trade with no blood, sweat, or tears spilled. The squad I took over was one that had cycled through a couple of owners in the previous two or three years. So yeah, it’s a bit of a project. But the point of this post is that there’s one name on this roster I have absolutely no idea what to do with, and I’m wondering if other dynasty geeks out there are faced with the same problem. It’s Shohei Otani, the Japanese pitcher who’s tearing it up in the NPB.

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Last season didn’t go as planned for the White Sox, but we did get to see the emergence of Carlos Rodon, one of the more exciting young arms in the game. The Sox followed a similar formula in the 2015 draft, selecting college righty Carson Fulmer in the first round. He might not be as quick to the show as Rodon, but Fulmer shouldn’t last long in the minors either. While rookie Carlos Sanchez held down the fort at the keystone in 2015, this year should bring another extended look for Micah Johnson. Tim Anderson could also get a shot this year. He’s a polarizing prospect on traditional lists but brings a high fantasy ceiling to the table.

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There are organizations flush with prospects that you’d like to have on your fantasy roster. Then there are organizations like the Tigers. Not to hate on the Motor City Kitties, but finding a spec I can get excited about on this farm is a little bit like this. Even with trades, the players they brought in are mostly in the pitching category, namely Michael Fulmer and recent grads Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. Their first round pick in 2015 also went to an arm, and a prep arm to boot, meaning it will be a while before he’s making any kind of fantasy impact. That said, your dear friend Mike is still going to trot out fifteen names and plow forward. Let’s just rip this thing off like a Band-Aid and on Sunday we can chat White Sox specs over turkey sandwiches.

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The Padres are probably the closest thing to your home league’s rosterbater. After trading for Craig Kimbrel last season, they’ve already flipped him to Boston. The latter move netted four good prospects, and while San Diego is still not a finished product, there are pieces that could start gelling together in the next year or two. Manuel Margot was the jewel of the Kimbrel return, and he’s a no-brainer to top this farm now. A butterfly flapped its wings in Panama and the fences were moved in, so San Diego trended towards neutral in 2014 after being considered an extreme “pitcher’s park” for a long time. It’s still no hitter’s haven, but the point being you don’t have to run screaming from their hitting specs.

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The Marlins have a young and talented big league roster that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, and Marcell Ozuna. But at this point, the farm system is a dog. With most of the high-end specs graduated or traded away, there are just not many left to get excited about here, and none that fall in the elite tier. There are some good prospects, but they mostly check in as long-shots thanks to distant ETAs. Compounding the issue for fantasy is the fact that Crayola Canyon will be the final destination for the hitters if they stay within this organization. But hey, I’m not here to crap on the Marlins. I’m here to talk prospects. So while Miami will be at the bottom of most prospect power rankings this preseason, I still managed to scrape together fifteen names I think we should know.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Two years ago I was invited to take over an abandoned roster in a 30-team dynasty league. It looked like what I imagine most abandoned dynasty teams look like – a couple of good players with good contracts, a couple of decent players with bad contracts, and a bunch of horses***. Each roster is capped at 75 players, so there are over 2,200 players owned. There are probably readers out there who scoff at that kind of depth, but for me it was by far the deepest fantasy league I’d ever been in. The biggest problem with righting the ship was the state of the farm. It was just a handful of non-prospects. The previous owner didn’t use all of their available roster slots, so there was no new blood coming in via minor league signing bonuses, etc. Additionally, all of the supplemental draft picks in the prior year were traded in acquiring a “bad” major league contract. I don’t write these details to crap on the previous owner – I don’t even know them and I’m sure they’re a cool person – but rather to illustrate the state of the team and to relate to some of my readers who also find themselves trying to revive a dead roster. So how did I tackle this particular rebuild?

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Oakland’s pitching-friendly park might ding the overall upside of its hitting prospects, but on the flip side the pitching gets a slight boost. The Athletics have a balanced farm with solid prospects both in the box and on the mound. What this organization lacks in blue chip prospects, it makes up for with depth and a slew of players on the verge of joining the show. At the 2015 trade deadline, the A’s turned Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, and Tyler Clippard into three of the prospects listed below. Billy Burns emerged as a table-setter, while fellow graduate Mark Canha was third on the team in both homers and runs batted in. Oakland will pick sixth overall in the 2016 draft.

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The Brewers picked up three solid prospects in trades this past summer – acquiring Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, and Zach Davies. Santana has already graduated and should be an interesting power upside play in 2016, while Davies should start the year in the rotation. Phillips migh have the most upside of any of them, but likely won’t reach the majors until 2017. After being one of the weaker systems entering the 2015 season, these trades and the 2015 draft have done a lot to bolster the farm. They’ll add another strong piece this summer with the fifth pick in the MLB draft.

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The Colorado farm is full of tasty fantasy prospects, with five names that could easily slot into a Top 50 overall. You’re going to have to tread carefully here with pitching prospects, but despite the unfriendly home territory there are still three arms that are worth looking into for dynasty leagues. On the hitting side, there’s a bunch of high-upside youngsters who may one day call the best hitter’s environment in baseball their home. While we didn’t see many graduations in 2015, we did get to watch Nolan Arenado evolve from a potential monster into an actual monster…so that was fun. After picking third overall in 2015 – and making good use of it with Brendan Rodgers – the Rockies will pick fourth overall in the 2016 draft. That should give them another blue chip prospect to add to their collection.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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