Let’s be honest there’s no need to pussyfoot around the truth, we all give shortstop prospects a value boost in fantasy. We’re all looking for the next Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, or Francisco Lindor. Being able to fill our shortstop slot with a productive player doesn’t only sound homo-erotic, but is also a desirable position to be in as a fantasy owner. Wow, yeah, that didn’t sound much better. Moving along now, this lazy Sunday morning we discuss the next wave of those to man the six. We’re going to ignore the quintet of Seager, Turner, Arcia, Mondesi, and Anderson, if you don’t know all five of those guys and don’t have them marked on your watch lists in your RCL’s and re-draft leagues we have more work than I thought to do. For now let’s assume you have a general knowledge of top fantasy baseball prospects, and are looking to get beyond the surface of the big names with looming ETA’s. So we’re going to dive into some of the better up and comers at the SS position. Some of these guys are closer than others, but none are any higher in the minors than AA, and more than likely have ETA’s no closer than 2017. That’s enough of the small talk, let’s get to it.

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Truthfully I never intended to write this post. Over the past few weeks I’ve tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to plan my content a few weeks out. My original intention was for this 800+ words to cover Bobby Bradley. Why Bradley? Because it ain’t just chicks who dig the longball, it’s fantasy nerds, and prospect geeks too. Then something happened, increasingly over the last several months, Oakland A’s lefty Sean Manaea has become a hot topic of conversation. All of a sudden all the cool kids are talking about him, and wearing his jeans. Manaea couture to be exact. I’ve transitioned. Wait, what? No, not like that! – Not that there’s anything wrong with it – No! not “it” like that…..I’m painting myself into a corner here…..Any the who, I’ve transitioned from writing Manaea off as a hyped up yet oft-injured lefty with devastating stuff, to being intrigued by the possibility of acquiring him in dynasty formats. So this intrigue has led me to a deeper dive into the increasing hype of his prospect status this offseason, and whether it is real or mirage.

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And so it begins, the 2016 season. With three games on the slate today and another 12 on Monday, baseball is upon us. With the beginning of the season also comes clarity as to who’s making the cut for the 25 man roster. Coming out of every spring it’s important to take a moment and assess what players have seen an uptick in value heading into your dynasty league season. These are all players that are on my short list of targets in trades, those that could bring immediate returns in leagues this year. For the most part we’re discussing players that won’t cost you premium dollars to acquire. Some I’ve beaten to death over the last few weeks and others are popping up here for the first time. All in all the goal is to get you thinking about some potential breakout candidates to swoop on. Feel free to share some of your own.

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“OMG, seriously Ralph, could you be more of a SAWX homeah? Your first player profile of the season is Sam Travis? What’s next 20,000 words on the benefits of Travis Shaw?” That’s all of you non-nation members upon seeing that I chose to dig deep on the up and coming Red Sox first baseman, but I feel it’s an appropriate time on the heels of his spring training performance that’s drawn rave reviews, and pumped a bit of helium into his prospect status. After all outside of the actual skill set Travis possess three qualities that I find endearing in all ballplayers. 1) He doesn’t wear batting gloves, leaving me to wonder if he urinates on his hands Moses Alou style to make them strong like bull. 2) He has two first names, making his name easy to pronounce and without need for fine-tooth comb spell checking. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Travis, you done well. Third and most important for our purposes (insert Grey dolphin joke here) he’s an up and coming corner infielder with some boom-boom. As I’ve said on many occasions over the off-season the upper minors are devoid of impact corner bats. So it’s important us dynasty leaguers try our best to horde them before someone else swoops in and does the same. So let’s take a look at Sam Travis, for 2016 Fantasy Baseball (SEO sleeper hold)

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Man, the sound of the words rookie sleeper pitcher just makes my skin crawl. Prospect and rookie hitters are so much more exciting to own, and just as fun to write about. Pitchers, on the other hand, not..so..moooouch. Outside of the top 100 type guys, I typically stay away from spec arms in leagues of all shapes and sizes. Increasingly, over the past few seasons, some what unheralded starters and relievers have come from nowhere and made an impact in deeper leagues and dynasty’s. So to round out our rookie sleeper posts for the pre-season, we’re going to dive into some of the off the radar arms that should reach their rookie limits this season. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about Giolito, Urias, Berrios, Snell, Glasnow, etc. You should know those guys, if you don’t, go back and read my previous posts. BTW….you should know those guys. Rookie sleepers for 2016 fantasy baseball, this time with 113% less The Band and Da Band mix ups. Seriously, I was getting attacked in the comments and on Twitter, and all over a silly definite article mixup. Is Da a definite article?

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When it comes to rookies we all known the top 100 prospects, and the guys outside the rankings with all the helium, but more often than not it’s the unheralded prospects that can make all the difference in deeper leagues and dynasty’s. Ask the 2014 Charlie Blackmon owner, the 2015 Delino Deshields owner, or the guy that picked up Travis Shaw down the stretch. They’ll tell you that when everyone else was blinded by minor leagues stats, or top 100 hyperboles, they took a shot on a guy who had something more important than hype; playing time. When it comes down to it, no matter the format, or scoring system everything starts and ends with playing time opportunity. So, with that said, for the next two posts I’m going to take a look at players that have a chance of breaking camp with their clubs, and reaping the benefits of that most important thing. Today we focus on the hitters and Wednesday we’ll move onto the pitchers. These won’t be your heralded guys like A.J. Reed or Jose Peraza, but those less sexy “rooks” that toe the line of JAG, and sleeper. Behold, Dr. Lifshitz’s Sleeper Rookies for 2016 Fantasy Baseball!

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It’s going to be a tough act to follow for the rookies of 2016. After the “Year of the Rookie” in 2015, what can we expect from the freshman class this year? Will we have another deep class featuring numerous high impact players to fill our fantasy squads? Or will we scale back this year, and only have a few true must own froshes? Below we’ll dive into the high impact rookies to target in drafts, and keep an eye on for later season call ups. For these reasons, I’ve broken them into two tiers; those that should break camp with big league club, and those that should be high impact call ups during the season. Just for fun I’ve added top 5 lists from some of your favorite Razzball personalities to give you idea of what others besides myself are thinking. Enjoy!

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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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