This is the “no-man’s land” of prospects – that time between the end of the minor league regular season and the the start of the offseason leagues. That makes it a natural point to look back on the year that was. This next series of posts will focus on a breakout prospect from each team, broken down by division. These are players who “broke out” statistically in 2015 and were either ranked in the bottom half of their team’s preseason top ten list or didn’t make their team’s list at all. Some of these names will look familiar and have already been scooped up in many dynasty formats. Others may still be flying low enough that their big performances have gone undetected. Today we’ll look at five breakout prospects from the AL Central.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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This is the “no-man’s land” of prospects – that time between the end of the minor league regular season and the the start of the offseason leagues. That makes it a natural point to look back on the year that was. This next series of posts will focus on a breakout prospect from each team, broken down by division. These are players who “broke out” statistically in 2015 and were either ranked in the bottom half of their team’s preseason top ten list or didn’t make their team’s list at all. Some of these names will look familiar and have already been scooped up in many dynasty formats. Others may still be flying low enough that their big performances have gone undetected. This week we’ll look at five breakout prospects from the AL East.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before I lose everybody to the football side (where Jay and crew are doing some killer stuff BTW) I’d like to give you a sneak peek at the offseason prospect lists coming your way this offseason. While writing up the top ten prospect lists for each organization last year, I found myself frustrated by how the traditional top ten prospect list doesn’t really do it for me as a fantasy player. What if a team has 12 prospects I need to know? What if another one only has 8? How do I know which ones are going to help me in my redraft league versus which ones are going to be sitting on my farm for three-plus years? I know I’m not supposed to scout the stat lines, but which stats are important to include anyway? If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to sit around by myself and ask a lot of questions. Sometimes an idea bubble floats up from the ether…and other times I just pass out in my Frosted Flakes. In both scenarios I’m wearing a bathrobe. It’s the official uniform of the fantasy writer. Back to business. Here are some of the changes I’m planning on making during the 2015-2016 offseason…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The minor league playoffs will be starting this week, and the Altoona Curve have cut their magic number down to two entering last night’s games. Altoona is the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they called up top prospect Austin Meadows to help the cause. Meadows has rewarded them with great play, with multi-hit efforts in two of his three games, including a triple. Meadows has always been linked to Clint Frazier in my brain, since both came out of Georgia high schools in the 2013 draft and both were/are super toolsy prospects. Meadows hasn’t displayed a ton of power to this point, topping out at seven dingers this year in the pitching-friendly Florida State League. The 20-year-old has done a lot of everything else though, hitting over .300 at each stop in his young career and swiping 20 bags this season. He’s a great fantasy prospect because he’s either going to keep contributing across the board with solid power and speed numbers, or he may trade in some speed for homers as he fills out his athletic frame. It’s hard to say right now which way he’ll trend, but power tends to develop later and the carrying hit tool makes him a no-brainer Top 50 spec and one that could find himself creeping into the Top 25 now that he’s reached the upper levels. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues this week, with a special focus on players who’ll have some 2016 fantasy value…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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. While chatting with J-FOH this week, he mentioned how important it is to look at your team’s needs at this point in the year, so I’ve divided the list into three needs-based “chunks”. With the minor league season winding down and September call-ups almost here, this will be the last edition of the power rankings. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week I looked at some players who are more or less widely available and could be useful to rebuilding teams in keepers and dynasties. All of these players are available in the majority of leagues in both the CBS and Fantrax formats, which cater to dynasty players. There’s obviously some risk attached to all of them, but I chose to focus mainly on players who are already in the majors or the upper levels of the minors…the reason being you don’t want to get stuck in a rebuild forever by missing on guys who are four-plus years away. I was able to get my hands on these names in 12, 16, and some even in 20-team formats. They’re not necessarily superstars, but rather interesting pieces given the option to keep them heading into next year. Grabbing them now in free agency can save you the headache of chasing them down in the spring once everyone’s “sleepers” etc. are announced.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All year we’ve been ranking the top prospects closest to the majors. With September call-ups quickly approaching, this post is a little different. Instead of limiting the list to players with their rookie eligibility intact, this will include any players currently in the minor leagues regardless of their at bats or innings pitched totals. There’s a catch, though. It’s only going to list players who are currently healthy and on their team’s 40-man roster. If you see a big name omitted, it’s probably because they aren’t currently on the 40-man. That can still be manipulated of course, but if a player is already on the roster, it increases the chances they’ll get a look next month. I also decided to weed through it for players that I thought could actually have some relevance in fantasy. With guys like Domingo Santana, Trea Turner, and even Aaron Altherr already up, this isn’t exactly the sexiest group. But there are some nice players in here, and if they can find playing time, they could also help your fantasy team down the stretch. When looking at who to pick up, I’d recommend focusing on teams that are out of the playoff hunt and who may be more inclined to give their younger players a look. Zeroing in on injuries (or potential ones) is also a good move. I bolded a few of the names that I think are interesting gambles…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It happens every year. Bath time is disrupted by the ringing of my flip phone. Thinking it’s Subway getting back to me about my sandwich artist application, I rush out of the tub to answer. Alas, it’s just a college buddy wanting me to fill an abandoned team in his dynasty league. Now there’s water all over the floor. These teams are almost always terrible. It’s like buying a car and finding out there’s no engine and the seat cushions smell like homicide. Now what? We rebuild it baby! Whether the team’s suckiness is your own doing or the work of a deadbeat previous owner, rebuilding can be painful. If the team is just completely barren or is full of bloated contracts, there are players you can target now to speed up the process and get things moving in the right direction.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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 Indians just unloaded Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to the Braves, which created some breathing room on the roster. Bradley Zimmer could be one of the guys that benefits the most from all that extra oxygen. I ranked Zimmer 14th on my power rankings last week on a whim, but this recent trade has me looking at him as a legit call-up option as we head into September – one that could make a fantasy impact. I get to the Rubber Duck games in Akron a bunch, and seeing Zimmer in person you can definitely see where the Yelich comps come from. He has a long stride with sneaky plus speed, squares everything up, and shows good instincts on the basepaths. He’s one of those players that stands out on the field without even seeing him make a play. Already big and tall, it looks like a frame that could pack on even more muscle. Zimmer is following the typical path of a college bat, and while Double-A is one of the hardest jumps for a prospect, he’s holding his own with a .244/.359/.462 slash line, three homers, six doubles, and six steals through 21 games. He has yet to be caught stealing and his strikeout rate hasn’t spiked against the tougher arms either. He passes the eye test, the stats are yummy, and we could be looking at not only a September call-up but also a quick promotion to the bigs next summer. His ceiling would look something like .270 with 20 homers and 20+ steals in center or right field. Scoop him up in keepers and keep your eyes on him in redrafts for help down the stretch. Speaking of Akron, come say hi if you’re at the Jim Gaffigan show or the Hamburger Festival today. I’m easy to find. Just look for the depressed guy in the Expos cap. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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