There’s always a handful of player every season that are past their “rookie limits”, but they’re still kind of prospects. For many dynasty leaguers, like myself, these players are of keen interest. If you’re in a league where no minor leaguers past their limits can be stashed in minor league roster spots, then these guys are almost droppable. You watch the spring training box scores, scouting reports, and tweets, praying for news of a starting job. You don’t care if it takes injuries, suspensions, or jail time to the players ahead on the depth chart. If they don’t make the club out of spring then they’re burning a hole on your bench. What other option do you have besides dropping or holding? Might be the worst case scenario depending upon your league size, and setup regarding salary. Players like this can really put you in a pickle, and there’s a few hanging around this spring that could get you caught between first and second. Don’t get caught, get caught up, and hold or sell before it’s too late.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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You don’t really care about prospects, and I get that. You’re a redraft player, and probably a damn good one. You don’t want a top 100 list where half the guys won’t sniff a major league field for the next 2 years +. You need the right now, the rookie nookie, the sleepers in the waivers. The ones waiting in the weeds until the call comes, and the earliest bird plucks them minutes before the rest of the league, to a collective of moans and groans. This is the song of the RCL rookie scavenger. The man beating you to Trea Turner by 3 minutes, the guy who stashed Alex Bregman on and off for a month. You need to beat him this year, let this be your map, and the Twitter/MLB/Traderumors alerts be your batphone. I think I just mixed metaphors. Whatevs!!! You get the jist. Behold! The Top 25 Rookies for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. By the by, this list is 100% 2017 focused, so ETA, lack of a platoon or temporary fill-in status matters. I don’t care what he’s going to be in 2 years. THAT DOESN’T MATTER!!! It’s all about the right now, the present. I’m listening to Right Now by Van Halen. I’m wearing white jeans. I’m holding up signs that say, “Right now someone is drafting Ian Desmond unaware of his injury”. It’s that real.

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This Sunday I wanted to sort of shoot from the hip about no particular subject, but sort of just share some things I’ve been thinking, and other I’ve observed. Baseball is back in full tilt and there’s lots of prospects vying for major league gigs, while others hope to leave an impression. Regardless, there’s a ton of players that they could fill a major league role at some point in the season. There’s plenty to talk about, so why not get into some of it. I love this time of year because you get to see prospects playing against major leaguers. Allows you to get a read on who’s the goods and who still has work to do. Not that spring training is the be all and end all, it’s obviously not, but it’s fun to take a look at who’s doing what, and what it might mean for their 2017 Fantasy Baseball values.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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