The Futures Game was yesterday, and while I’m writing this post prior to the game actually being played, here’s about what I’d expect the broadcast booth banter to sound like – “Player X has a lot of loud tools. He has a bright future in the bigs. This kid is going to be a perennial All-Star. Comps, hyperbole, etc.” Sounds cynical, but unfortunately there are no crystal balls. It’s fun to dream on these guys, though, and really that’s what the Futures Game is all about to me – showcasing the best young talent in the game at the moment. Be sure to check out the Futures Game edition of the Minor Accomplishments series from Chris yesterday. On this short week let’s see if there are any players in the minors we should have our eye on from a steals perspective. Players like George Springer, Gregory Polanco, Mookie Betts, and most recently Arismendy Alcantara have already come up this year. They all have the ability to make an impact in the stolen base department. So let’s see who’s next. Whether they are close to the bigs or a ways away, these players should make an impact when their time comes.

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Another week completed, another step closer to excitement for prospect-watchers waiting impatiently for the next round of call-ups, and the ultimate “Christmas In July” for prospect-hounds across the globe as we get to spend the day with the ultimate showcase – the Futures Game. In honor of this great event, this week’s Minor Accomplishments Sunday Twelve-Pack will include several players that will be participating in the game, as well as some that would’ve been at Target Field for it (yes, I’m looking at you Arismendy Alcantara, Jimmy Nelson, and Christian Bethancourt).

The All-Star Break is upon us, the playoff picture’s beginning to come into focus for several teams that were “on the fence” a week ago, and trades completed over the next three weeks will lead to many more openings for prospects to get a look at the MLB level, as well as advancement opportunities for players further down each organizational pecking order.

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Wednesday again (even if it does feel like Monday for the third day in a row following a short week!), so it’s time for another Panning For Gold – Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems - our weekly look at some of those lesser-known prospects that are beginning to generate the type of buzz that starts their climb up organizational ranking lists, leading to more discussion about them in more well-known circles. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on as you begin to participate in deeper leagues – the types of player you can wind up scooping up before your mates in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

This week we’re going to shine the light on Jairo Beras, an OF for the Texas Rangers.

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Happy Sunday again gang – hope there weren’t too many of you that overdid it with your personal firework shows to celebrate the 4th – baseball (as always) seems to help us in that regard every year around this time, and the big Billy Beane shocker provided everyone a great finale for a lot of contenders. Of course this also helps bring more clarity for those looking to make a run at the MLB-level (obviously defining the market for ANY contender looking to shore up their rotation) just as it will ultimately lead to even more prospect machinations and opportunities as we move forward.

Given the rising level of prospect interest this time of year (both in potential trade/promotion opportunities, but in general as well), and in addition to our hopes of expanding our prospect coverage and helpful information and discussion for you guys in our Razzball community, Sundays will feature, what I’ll refer to as my Sunday Twelve-Pack, as opposed to a Sunday Six-Pack. As always, pace yourselves – Monday morning still looms, and never drink and drive!!!

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Happy Wednesday gang, hope you’re ready for this week’s Panning For Gold – Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems - our weekly glance at some of those lesser-known prospects that are beginning to generate the type of buzz that starts their climb up organizational ranking lists, which will in turn lead to more discussion about them in more well-known circles. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on as you begin to participate in deeper leagues – the types of player you can wind up scooping before your mates, in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

This week we’re going to shine the light on Kyle Wren, an OF for the Atlanta Braves (Okay, insert your homer comment here!!!) [Jay's Note: Will do. Homer.].

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Happy Sunday gang – I’ll be stepping into the box now on Sundays (in addition to my weekly Panning For Gold installment on Wednesdays), and will continue to at least somewhat mirror Scott’s Sunday updates. Moving forward, Minor Accomplishments will stay mostly the same (with tweaks here-and-there at times). But as you’re used to, I’ll be pointing out some of those (often) more-heralded prospects that are on the verge of promotions or are worth consideration of addition to your roster. Like all the rest of the Razzball crew that has always done such a good job before I became involved, my goal is the same; to bring you guys as much information and insight as possible to help make those tough calls you make regarding your teams at least a little easier!

As is always the case this time of year, we’re now entering the stretch where everyone needs to begin to keep closer tabs on the near MLB-ready prospects that have been climbing their respective ladders – we’re well past the point that most MLB GM’s have to worry about players’ Super Two statuses (in most cases), so you can start to expect to see more of those true “impact” names begin to surface as contenders look to fill holes before having to consider going outside their own organization for extra firepower as they begin to make their stretch runs.

Without further ado…

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Hello again fans and foes, and welcome to the second installment of Panning For Gold – Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems. Here’s where we try to shine the spotlight on some of those young up-and-comers who may not have generated quite the buzz the players mentioned in Baseball America or MLB’s Top 100 lists YET, but someone I’m keeping an eye on as someone that may be about to turn into one of those guys often mentioned as “having helium”. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on as you begin to participate in deeper leagues – the types of player you can wind up scooping your mates with in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

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With Dylan Bundy having returned to live baseball, the focus around the 21-year-old phenom shifts from “when will he throw again?”, to “when will he throw in the bigs again?”. At the time of this writing, Bundy is preparing to take mound in Aberdeen for a start in the short-season New York Penn League. It’ll be his second outing since Tommy John surgery — the first one was quite good: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Now, while it’s terrific see Bundy pitching so well upon returning to game action, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still a long rehab process ahead of him, and the O’s won’t jeopardize his progress by pushing him too quickly. Baltimore has scripted Bundy’s recovery, and barring any setbacks, I believe their plan includes some big league action this season, but I wouldn’t expect more than 1 or 2 starts in August/September.

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Just a quick introduction – I’m the “new guy on the block” here at Razzball, Chris VanDyke. Many thanks to Grey and Jay(Wrong) for asking me to join in all the fun. I’ve competed with Jay in several deeeeeep and complex fantasy leagues involving more prospects than most care to follow for several years. [Jay's Note: Sorry for trading you Heyward.] When involved in leagues as deep as these, most owners are forced to pan for gold to find hidden gems when drafting.

I plan to utilize this space at least once a week to shine the light on an “under the radar” prospect that most folks haven’t necessarily heard much about from noted “prospect gurus” such as Jonathon Mayo, Keith Law, and our revered friends at Baseball America, who typically have to focus on the higher ranked and more talked about future stars, since their readers tend to dig for information about them.

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Happy Fathers Day, Razzball Nation, especially to the dads we have here on staff: Rudy and Mike and Nick are proud fathers, and I’ve heard Tehol has offspring on every continent, although that rumor is unsubstantiated. I’m not a dad, but I have one, and I’ll be hanging with him today, doing our usual Fathers Day bonding (sipping fine booze while watching the US Open). I hope everyone can find something equally gratifying to do with their dads, or with their sons and daughters. And however it is that you choose to enjoy the day, here’s to all the good fathers out there. Cheers.

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