Way back in the late fall, I released my Original edition of the first year player draft rankings. So, it’s been awhile since I first wrote those, and ranked these players out. I figured it was about time to update those now dated ranks. The question you may be asking yourself is “Ralph, why are you so handsome, and also what’s changed?” Well I’ll tell you, I “gots somes” experience now. Because, over the last month plus I’ve had several first year player drafts, meaning I “gots somes” actual real life draft knowledge to draw from. Not to mention my ever-evolving opinions and evaluations of players. So what better time to update the rankings, and give you an idea as to where my heads at after reviewing all of these youngins over the course of my team by team prospect rankings. I’ve fallen in love with some, soured on others, and been introduced to players I previously overlooked. If these rankings are too late for your league’s draft, my apologies, and I understand your angst. We’re deep into draft season, meaning our collective sweatpants smell of rot and butt cheeks, it’s okay to be ornery. I’ll make it easy, use small words, and discuss lots of wildly inaccurate and inappropriate expectations to put on a teenager. It’s all good though because it’s in the name of fantasy baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Under the guidance of Gm Mike Rizzo, the Nationals have experienced a successful, yet frustrating run in their franchise’s history. With five straight winning seasons, but nothing to show for it, the Nationals were once again aggressive on the trade market. Sending top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, along with 2016 first rounder Dane Dunning to the White Sox for Adam Eaton. Despite moving some very good prospects in Giolito and Lopez, the Nationals activity in the International market, and a strong 2016 draft crop, has helped restock the lower levels of the system. Due to diligent scouting, and astute drafting, Washington has been able to maintain organizational balance throughout all of the levels of the system. They have a potentially ready made replacement for Bryce Harper, should “Make Baseball Fun Again” walk for Greener Pa$trues. There’s far less arms in the upper reaches of the system than there used to be, but Erick Fedde isn’t that far from contributing on the major league level. There’s exciting young power hitter Juan Soto, and top international signing Yasel Antuna, as well as another Tommy John reclamation project in Jesus Luzardo. The Nats keep churning out the talent, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue. It’s the Top Washington Nationals Prospects.Please, blog, may I have some more?
After an exciting week of Top 100 Prospect coverage following my list dropping last Wednesday, it’s back to the system reviews this week with the Toronto Blue Jays. An often underrated system, America’s Hat’s favorite team has 4 Top 100 Prospects amongst their ranks, with two exciting new comers to their organization in Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and T.J. Zeuch. It will be interesting to see what former Red Sox GM and scout Ben Cherington does in his first draft, and international period. For now we discuss the system he inherited. Cherington certainly made his bones in the Boston organization, drafting, signing, and identifying amateur talent. Can he do the same in the T Dot? Hopefully, because the Jays are a team that could use a youth movement. With the core of their lineup (Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and Jose Bautista) all on the wrong side of 30, the time to build up is now. Luckily there are some exciting hitters at each level of the minors, and a depth of boring right-handed strike throwers who should battle to fill out the bottom half of the Toronto rotation in coming years. It’s the Top Toronto Blue Jays Prospects!Please, blog, may I have some more?
After I finished my Top 100 Prospects post, I had a whole lot of leftovers of players who didn’t quite make the cut. The thing is many of these players were at one point in my Top 100, and therefore had a write up. Today’s post is those leftovers, it’s the turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving, or the album a band releases a year after a successful album of all the songs that didn’t make the cut. It’s me being lazy, but also kind of wanting you to have as much of my info as possible. I get a chance to go into detail on a few last minute subtractions, and get you familiar with some players that will be jumping into my top 100 by mid-season. These are the bubble players, those that are every bit a top 100 level player as those that just limboed under the line, some flameouts looking for redemption in 2017, and everything in between. There’s a little bit of everything! I hope you enjoy, it’s the Leftovers.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year. It’s Prospector Christmas/Holidays/Festivus/Chanukah it’s Top 100 Prospects list time. Michael Halpern my cunning co-host, and I discuss the differences in our Top Prospect lists. Halp decided to be an overachiever and went a full 200 prospects over on his site Imaginarybrickwall.com. It’s brilliant, check it out. We flip flop Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi in our rankings. We then fight over Benintendi, and make up over Austin Meadows. We have some big swings on Cody Bellinger, Manuel Margot, Francis Martes, and Kyle Tucker. We mix in a little talk about my affinity for hit tool first baseman that no one else likes. Then Halp wonders how Stephen Gonsalves ended up on his Top 100 and not mine. It’s the latest episode of The Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you my pièce de résistance!! Yes, applaud for me, revel in my greatness. I even broke out a fancy accent marked phrase, who does that but a pretentious liberal arts major with delusions of grandeur? This is my title fight, the list for which all prospectors are measured. It’s my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Now that I’ve gotten beyond all the muckedy muck, let me explain a little about my list, and ranks. First: Yes I 100% factor in proximity, and it effects my rankings. Second: Upside is the most important factor. Third: Production in the minors matters to me. Unless it’s in a crazy ballpark (cough, cough FirstEnergy Stadium: Reading, Pa), or contradictory to batted ball data. I’ve been deep in my hole since early October breaking down every system in the minors, reviewing video on Youtube, looking at batted ball data, checking the stats, and reading any and every scouting report I can get my hands on. It’s one part eye test/ one part player profile/ one part production. I’ve been training all offseason for this, only my training involves sweat pants, a laptop, and lots of snacks. Speaking of snacks, I’m hungry let’s get into the list!! You already know who’s ranked first… It’s Top 100 Prospects day!Please, blog, may I have some more?
I wonder if the Rays are mad at the Yankees for stealing their style? The kings of drafting/signing and stashing are back, with a whole new crop of youngsters, and there’s some underrated names to come. While their top specs may not have the name value the Yankees, or say the Braves have, many of them are destined to make an impact on fantasy in the coming years. One of my favorite shortstop prospects calls the Rays home in Willy Adames, who is at most a year away. As well as one of the more slept on corner infield prospects in Casey Gillaspie, who could have an impact this year. In fact the Rays have a lot of high floor, low ceiling types waiting in the wings in Durham ready to become wavier wire fodder, and hot schmotato’s. Not only do we have some Top 100 types, and some floorboreds, we also have some talented far off youngsters, ’round here we call them Lolita’s, for you to crush on. Without further ado, it’s the Top Tampa Bay Rays Prospects. That’s right, it’s TAMPA! Stevie J.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Wait, what? This doesn’t look like Halph…SIGH, yucky words from Ralph. TL;DR…. Now that we got that out of the way. Yes, this Saturday you get yet another verbose, yet informative minor league rundown from Prospect Jesus himself. Not to worry, we just flip-flopped days, your weekly dose of the prospect podcast is coming tomorrow. Today we dig into the useful but always a little boring St. Louis Cardinals system. Only this time we got some sweet sweet muy caliente at the top of the system, with at least 4 members of my forthcoming Top 100 (dropping February 22nd Shameless plug). With Alex Reyes on the cusp of the major league stardom, and Luke Weaver and Harrison Bader not too far behind, the future remains bright in “The Lou”. Isn’t it always? Seems one generation leaves, and another comes up right behind it. Death, taxes, and the St. Louis Cardinals player development machine just keeps rolling along. It should come as no surprise that the 2016 draft yielded yet another strong crop of players including wunderkind Delvin Perez, and personal favorite Dakota Hudson. Not to worry there’s plenty more to discuss, and a lot of good names to be cognizant of for dynasty league managers. So off we go, let the trumpets blow and hold on because the driver of this mission is a pro. The Ruler’s back. The Top Cardinals Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I hear Jerry Dipoto kills the whistling solo from the Scorpions “Winds of Change“. Then again, it’s a whistling solo in a rock song. But that’s not the reason he kills it. Oh no, it’s because JDP, as I call him, loves change. I mean, JDP walks into a room and changes everything just because he can. He only leases cars, and never moves in with his girlfriends. He loves a good month to month contract, and has had 7 different hairstyles in the past 17 months. Suffice it to say things at his workplace are changing too. His work place just so happens to be the Seattle Mariners baseball club, and he just so happens to run the joint. He’s already made dozens of trades over the last couple of offseasons, and overhauled the organizational philosophy. Running a hitting summit for their minor leaguers focusing on cutting strikeouts and improving contact rates. What followed were career years from some of their top power bats with contact woes, players like Tyler O’Neill, and DJ Peterson gained the most. All across the organization winning became a priority. In fact, all six of the Mariners minor league affiliates qualified for some sort of post season baseball, with Jackson their AA affiliate, and their rookie level Arizona League affiliate taking home titles. The changes are evident in the upside of their recent draft class too, spearheaded by 2016 Golden Spikes winner Kyle Lewis, and talented prep bat Joe Rizzo. Add that to trades for MLB ready talents, and the aforementioned break outs across the organization last year, and you have recipe for success. Big shouts to Tehol Beddict, Sky, and the rest of the Mariners fans here on Razzball. It’s the Top Seattle Mariners Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Giants are one of the more unheralded organization’s in sports when you step back and consider the immense success they’ve achieved over the past 10 years. Yet they seem to rarely get credit when talking about the top teams of the last decade. And from a player development standpoint they’re just as underrated. While they’re certainly no juggernaut on par with the Astros, Red Sox, and Dodgers of the world; they’ve done a good job of developing a solid core of players, including two of the best at their respective positions in Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. However, in recent years the Giants have been short on high impact prospects, instead churning out role players, and back end of the rotation pitchers. While not much has changed in that regard, there’s hope that Bryan Reynolds, Heath Quinn, and 2015 2nd rounder Andrew Suarez could give them a few above average major league players in the making. Real baseball Ralph…… Why do I care? Honestly, depending upon league size you don’t have to. But for those of you who are deep league junkies like myself, there’s a core of interesting fringe prospects that could offer sneaky value in the short term. So you’ll notice there’s no Tier 1: Specs On the Beach in this system, but they’re overflowing with Tier 2: Floorbored types, led by 2014 first rounder Tyler Beede. This falls in line with their overall draft strategy over the past few seasons, preferring high floor picks to those with higher ceilings. I think this year’s crop strayed from that mantra a little in the later rounds but I’m sure San Fran will boring them up. Okay, now that I’ve attached one hundred qualifiers to this intro, let’s talk some prospects! It’s the Top San Francisco Giants Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?