Over the past few seasons it’s become increasingly important to pay attention to the first year player draft and international signing periods. Stars are born and your dynasty leagues championships can be decided based on how well researched you are in this particular area. I’m not going to sit here and say you need to pick over recent draftees or international signings to win your league, but the research now can pay dividends later. With this in mind I’m starting a new feature throughout the season where we’ll discuss a handful of players each post to be aware of. At this point in the year it could be players that recently signed (Yasiel Sierra) or those than recently defected (Lazarito or Gourriel brothers). We’ll also discuss a couple of college players and a prep or two. The ultimate goal is educate the Razznation of the potential future stars at the beginning of the pipeline.

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Over the last month a large percentage of your questions have been focused on minors only and first year player drafts. Up until this point I’ve tried to handle your questions the best I could on a case by case basis. On who to take, where, and which player was a better fit. It was fun, I shared my biases, and you thought I knew what I was talking about. See, here’s the thing, I’m not so much an expert as I am an avid player. More than anything else these are my diary entries as I try to deal, day by day, with my crippling fantasy addiction. So today I’ve decided to give a real world snapshot of three different league’s first year player drafts. Below you’ll find a brief description of each league, and a look at the first round or two of each draft. This should give you an idea of what people are doing in actual dynasty fantasy baseball drafts in 2016. Better to show than tell, if you catch my drift.

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Well here it is the post you’ve been hollering for in the comments since November hit. That’s right ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, cats and dogs, pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts, white wall tires and low profile tires, good guys and bad guys, curved brims hats and flat billed caps, and anyone else that reads Razzball; it’s the top 100 live from my garage in suburban Massachusetts. Ahh-huh you’re being magically whisked away to a garage, with flickering lights and an awkwardly handsome gentleman with a laptop. That’s me, and on my computer is a list, it is yours to read, berate, discuss, commit to memory, burn to keep you warm. What you do with it, is really up to you I suppose. This ranking is pretty straightforward, it lists each player, their position, and a link to their team’s minor league preview. Within each preview you’ll find that players blurb. On one final note, all of these ranks take into consideration a variety of factors including ceiling, proximity, and floor. Consider this post interactive, instead of me waxing poetic after each player explaining why I rank so and so where, I leave it to you to call me to the mat and defend my rankings. Without further ado the 2016 Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

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So here we are, the final Minor League Preview of the offseason, and just in time for pitchers and catchers. It’s been a long grueling road that spanned four months, two writers, and countless late nights, study, and pizza rolls. Only punk rock pizza rolls, none of that commercial shizz! All of this has led us to today, and your payoff….THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS!!! Okay, so it’s not that exciting, unless you like far away hitting specs, and loads of floorbored material arms. As far as I know the Cards Floorboreds do not cause cancer, but the same can’t be said about the Angels. As for the St. Louie’ system, they’ve certainly churned out their share of high end talent over the years, and 2015 was no different. As the Redbirds graduated two top half of the order type bats in Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. I still can’t help but think that 2015 should have been the year of Oscar Taveres. My prospector eyes still weep for Oscar. Regardless, there’s still plenty to be aware of in the higher and lower levels, and a couple of beachy specs too! No not Brandon Beachy, because then their arms would be falling off. The Cards leave that to the northern most birds, the Blue Jays. Ha! Prospector humor kills me!! Let’s take a look at the St. Louis Cardinals Prospects, shall we?

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Avast ye mateys treasures of prospective goodness lies within. It’s everybody’s favorite C+ student back again with our second to last minor league preview of the year. Our top 100 prospect list will drop a week from today, so for those of you asking, it’s coming. Now for all of you swashbuckling buckaroos out there let’s have a deeper look at one of the more successful minor league systems over the past decade, the Pirates. In fact in the past 10 years they’ve graduated players like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Gerrit Cole. Despite the recent MLB success, the Pirates still own one of the top farms in all of MLB. Boasting at least 4 top 100 guys on most lists as well as a handful of specs just outside. From a fantasy perspective their aren’t many teams with a more exciting group of perspective players.

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When your farm system graduates four top 100 prospects in one season, like the Cubs did, it’s only natural that your overall minors grade takes a hit the following year. After coming into 2015 with one of the most talented groups in recent memory the 2016 version is a bit of a letdown. Don’t misunderstand me, the Cubs system is still head and shoulders above the last two systems we previewed, but it’s a far cry from the level it’s been the previous two springs. There’s still a solid group of hitters left and some upside arms with ETA’s a year or two out. So there’s still a lot to discuss, but none of the current crop has the through the roof tools of Bryant, Russell, Soler, or Baez. In closing its not the prospect pants tent of yesteryear, but it hasn’t dipped to Angelic levels either.

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It’s been a long time coming for the Kansas City Royals, but they finally tasted the sweet fizz of championship champagne last fall, and it was all due to Jonny Gomes. I’m not sure if you know this, but he’s the kind of guy you want to go to war with. Hacksaw Jonny musings aside, the Royals built a winner the old fashioned way. And by old fashioned I mean good drafting, solid player development, and excellent trading. In the process, they’ve graduated quite a few players onto their major league squad, traded some for established vets, and let others take the time needed to fully develop. The aftermath is there isn’t a ton of sexy fantasy prospects anymore, but the farm’s not barren, and there are some really intriguing players in the low minors. Dayton Moore and his constituents stuck to their philosophy, and in the end they’re the poster children for why prospects matter. Just ask Baseball America!

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The Blue Jays sort of operate their franchise like your buddy that chases strippers and always ends up with a massive credit card bill to show for it. Sure, sometimes it makes for a once in a lifetime experience (Josh Donaldson), but other times it’s for fleeting exploits with a disappointing outcome (David Price). Only the bill in this case isn’t an actual physical one, but a bare cupboard once chock full of valuable prospects. In recent years, the Jays have upgraded the major league roster for sure, but have seen prospects like Franklin Barreto, Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, and Miguel Castro leave their system. So now we’re left to review a mortgaged farm with a prized cow, a lot of young calves, and some goats. Confused? Me too! Then again is it any more confusing than a team that needs pitching trading away all it’s young pitching? Time to review the Blue Jays Prospects! You’re excited, I can tell…

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The best way to describe the Dodgers system is “an embarrassment of riches”. Not only do they have one of the biggest budgets in MLB, but they’re also the proud owner of one of the top farms in all of baseball. With two top ten prospects in Corey Seager and the newly two eyed Julio Urias, there’s a ton of top level talent. Including top 100 darlings Grant Holmes, Jose De Leon, and Alex Verdugo. Additionally, there’s a good amount of depth in the other tiers boosted by good player development (Cody Bellinger), recent trades (Frankie Montas), solid drafting (Willie Calhoun), and an aggressive approach in the international market. One of the biggest components of the Dodgers recent success, and organizational depth, is their ability to hit on late round picks and develop prep arms. Two areas where most franchises miss the mark. With impact specs on both the pitching and hitting side, the Blue Bloods should be a pipeline of fantasy scrumptiousness for years to come.

By the way a big shout out to my Grandma Betty who turned 100 last week, and grew up not too far from “Da Bums” original home, Ebbets Field.

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If the excitement of the World Series wasn’t enough, the Mets can also celebrate the success of Michael Conforto and Steven Matz in 2015. Both look like solid fantasy options moving forward. As much as it hurts my insides as a Phillies fan, the Mets should be good for a while with that pitching staff. On the farm there aren’t a ton of impact fantasy players if you’re not counting Matz anymore. Dom Smith might be your best bet, but he’s yet to show his game power. Amed Rosario hasn’t taken off offensively, and Marcos Molina went under the knife. There’s a lot of international talent in the low minors however, and those signings will keep feeding the system. What this farm lacks in star power it makes up for in depth.

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