It’s Father’s Day, and as a father of three, there’s nothing I’d rather do than ignore my children for a few hours in order to write glowing prose about an overweight guy named Dan. Could this exercise of self indulgence ultimately lead to my demise when my daughter seeks employment at the local gentlemen’s club? Or when my two sons decide to pursue careers in baseball well into their mid-30’s on the independent ball circuit? Then again, what could make a father prouder than watching his boys player/coach the Massapequa I-Roc Z’s? I know what you’re all thinking “Ralph we care not about this tired exercise of projecting a future of unmet expectations. The Simpsons beat that theme into the ground years ago. So tell us more about this overweight Dan fellow.” Absolutely!! Verbose and demanding reader, I’d love to. Portly Cubs prospect Dan Vogelbach is at it again, reminding us that the Northsiders have an embarrassment of riches and not nearly enough positions on the major league level.

Over the past week he’s hitting .357 with 3 homers and 7 rbis, raising his season slash-line to .306/.431/.544. The biggest area of growth this season for Vogey has been the power, having previously topped out at 19. So far this season he has 12 homers over 253 plate appearances at AAA Iowa. He’s also walking 17% of the time, which is downright ludicrous. So when’s he coming up right? Well unfortunately best case scenario for Vogelbach is he gets traded to an American League team before the trade deadline, because the chances are slim (pun intended) that he sees any extended time with the Cubs. Either way he’s worth keeping an eye on, and if he does end up in Tampa Bay or another AL destination he’s worth adding immediately.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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So here we are more or less half way through the minor league season, Super Two has come and gone, and we wait for those sweet, sweet rookies to get the call and make an impact. More often than not my comments are filled with questions regarding who I think will have the greater impact this season, player A or player B. Today we take a look at the Top 25 prospects for 2016 impact. I’m going to start with a ranked list and follow that up with my general thoughts on the players  listed. I’m ignoring anyone already in the majors like Jameson Taillon, Blake Snell, and Tim Anderson. Things I’ve taken into consideration when building this were impact, proximity, and team situation. So understand this is not a straight top 25. It’s strictly 2016 focused, which why a prospect like Lucas Giolito is further down the list than he would be in a straight top 25 prospects for dynasty list.

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So it happened…. What????? The 2016 MLB Draft stoopid! I mean I am Ralph Lifshitz Prospector Esquire, and what else would I be talking about on a Sunday? Everyone else deals with the right now, but I, I deal with the future, the dreams of dynasty owners everywhere. So let’s get into the most difficult thing to predict, project, or understand. No, not Donald Trump’s campaign!!!! Are you even paying attention?!? The MLB Draft wake up!!! If you need proof as to why the MLB Draft is unpredictable, then click here and see how badly I missed on like 90% of my picks. Seriously after months of study and careful and thoughtful attention, I hit on 5 picks..FIVE out of 34! It’s cool I own it, I wear my mistakes like the rings of a pimp. So, let’s get into the steals, the stupid, the possible, and my general thoughts on the first few rounds of the draft.

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In just 24 hours MLB draft madness will be upon us. While it certainly has the least amount of fanfare among the four major sports, I find it to be by far the most fascinating. In Football and Basketball so much of the focus is immediate, mostly due to the older nature of prospects, particularly in football. This relies heavily on opportunity and fit with a team’s style and system. The NHL in many ways sits in the middle between the other two sports and baseball. But baseball, that’s a whole different story. In baseball it’s all about projection and development. Even the most MLB ready player spends a year plus in the minors developing. The other end of the spectrum is prep players that can marinate in the lower levels for 3-4 years. It’s an animal unto itself. So today I give you the final installment of my pre-draft posts. You can check the other two here and here. I’m going to begin with a quick mock, and follow that up with some general notes and thoughts. Let’s make this interactive, as more information matriculates, and the draft rumors circulate feel free to post what you’re hearing in the comments.

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We all have certain prospects we’re partial to. Players that for whatever reason strike your fancy, and you’ll forever view them through rose colored glasses. For example I think Peter Gammons is still hyping up Matt Murton. Grey wrote like 7 sleeper posts about Jedd Gyorko. Former prospector Mike legally changed his name to Maikel Franco. I on the other hand trekked down to Pawtucket, RI on consecutive days in April to watch Nick Williams first hand. Did I like what I saw? Was I impressed? Click that button, find out.

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Has summer officially begun? When’s the official cut off date of spring? Did you come to Razzball this morning with the intent of discussing the seasons? What about the weather? Could I write a more boring intro? Yes, but only if I discussed common core math, and the best method for folding a t-shirt. Actually that sounds a lot like a TED talk. Is it a TED talk? Probably, anyway this is the point in the foreword where I transition to baseball. Okay, go! This Sunday instead of doing another minor league update, I’m going to try something different. Let’s take a look at ten minor leaguers that are making some noise. These are players that should be on your radar, particularly in leagues of 16 teams or above with 10+ minor spots. We’ll give you a quick introduction to who they are and why you should care. Then let you do some digging on your own, and figure out if these players are owned or not, and if they fit into your team’s long term plans. Not to worry we have the comment section if you’re feeling anxiety. None of this is exactly earth shattering shizz, but a tidy package nonetheless, like my man parts after a Brazilian.

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As the weeks go by, all of you will notice that these posts will be increasingly more influenced by your questions, and the players you the readers and commenters show interest in. In the same way, all that attended a New Kids On The Block concert in 1990, were dubbed honorary “Newest Kids”, you are all my Shitz Stiks, and will be such forevermore. So it is with great excitement and anticipation that I begin today’s post dedicated to the hottest swinging bat this side of Jackie Bradley Jr., Alex Bregman. I know a player is generating a ton of buzz not only when I get questions about them, but when people start asking Grey questions about cats in AA. It’s almost as if you people dropped the A.J. Reed punch for Bregman lemonade and have no plans of letting up. (After all lemonade is a popular drink, and it still is.) When you’re putting up the sort of crooked numbers that Bregman has for Corpus Christi that will happen. So let’s get into this helium tank and see where it leads us.

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After serving a 50 game suspension because all he do is smoke mad izm, the Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes returns this afternoon for AAA Memphis. If you’re not familiar with Reyes, then leave…seriously get the heck out of here. Okay, I’m kidding, but really you should be generally aware of the right handed flamethrower. If all goes well, I could easily see him in the big league rotation come late July, with a chance at being one of the most impactful rookies of the 2016 term. After all this is a player that averaged a 13.4 K/9 in 101 innings across three levels last year. He’s also starting his season just a step away from St. Louie in AAA Memphis. With “ironmen” like Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez in the Cardinals rotation, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where he’s in the bigs rather quickly. Going forward he needs to be considered amongst the top ten potential promotions, and a top 3-5 pitcher in the minors. In keepers or redrafts where you can stash minors, grab Reyes if he’s available.

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I didn’t want to open this post with just any old sentence. I needed to come up with an unbelievable opening. Something that screamed brilliance. Something that truly captured my feelings for Andrew Benintendi. I held off on really gushing about him in an opening, because the time needed to be right. You know popping his opening cherry, so to speak was special stuff….(WOW! those were some words you could quote me out of context on, and it would look real bad on my part.) The time is here! So off we go, let the trumpets blow, and hold on because the driver of this mission is a horse proctologist by the name of Jan Wilbury. Is that my real name? It shall remain a mystery!! Oh yeah, Andrew Benintendi was promoted to AA Portland on Monday. The long and the short of it, or the “those Grey readers who just read the openings to other posts and scoff” version of why you should care. He’s a future 5 category, 6 if you’re in OBP leagues, contributor, and he’s going to be in the Boston outfield in short order. I suppose he could be in someone else’s outfield too, if there’s a …..gulp….trade. I’d just like to suppress those thoughts for today.

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Today we pickup where we left off last Wednesday, with the second part of our 2016 MLB draft preview. I tried to write the entire thing in emojis, but it didn’t work, and I was told explicitly by Grey that wing dings is never appropriate for print on Razzball. Then again who prints anymore? Seriously where have all the paperboys gone? What are our children to do to learn entrepreneurship? Lemonade stand? Pffft!!! Whatever!!! I can see this is going into a “get off my lawn” type rant…So let’s move along. After reviewing the top 10 prospects in the first installment of the draft preview, this morning we look at the next 15+ prospects that should be on the first round radar. This should take us through the first 30 or so selections. So you know, there’s 30 teams, so that means there’s a player for each team figuratively. I didn’t know math would be involved either….Life hack; use calculators….they work.

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