In what figures to be the shortest minor league system review of the offseason, today we tackle the Angels system. It’s not so much that the Halos have no prospects as it’s the Angels have bad prospects. It’s almost as if they used every ounce of player development ability to churn out the greatest player of a generation, and then followed it up with nothing. Well maybe nothing is unfair, but it’s been almost half a decade since the likes of Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Garrett Richards broke through to the bigs. The addiction to bad free agent contacts has left a once proud organization decimated. The money spent on Josh Hamilton, CJ Wilson, and Albert Pujols hasn’t paid off the way they expected, and the years of lost draft picks has left the system bare. For the first time in a few years the Angels have a handful of interesting prospects, and the organization seems more focused on player development under former Yankees executive Billy Eppler. There’s only a handful of interesting players to discuss here, and a couple who could develop into impact fantasy bats. It’s the Top Los Angeles Angels Prospects.

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The Halph is back and we brought our show mascot Stabby the Cat! Don’t ask for an explanation just listen. This week on the Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com and I dig into the Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects. It’s a very solid system with players like Jose De Leon, Cody Bellinger, Willie Calhoun, Yadier Alvarez, and a whole lot more. We were supposed to have Razzball locale yocal J-FOH, but he’s a coastal elite and decided to bail on us. So we were left to our own devices trying to sound out hispanic surnames. This did not go well. We still found time to review about two dozen players that should be on your dynasty radar. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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Any reasonable man (which, technically, I am not, alas…) would tell you Jake Lamb is not a 2017 sleeper.  Last year, he had a line of 81/29/91/.249/6.  That alone should mean he isn’t a sleeper.  On our Player Rater, he was a top 15 3rd baseman last year.  I’ve seen him drafted after 200 overall already, so some have forgotten about him.  I’m not pointing any fingers, which is difficult because I’m wearing a giant, pointing Hulk Hogan foam finger.  Perhaps Lamb was too closely associated with Passover and, hence, ignored.  I think this is religious mores or less inaccurate.  If you think it has something to do with Lamb’s 2nd half, you’re getting shawarmer.  But his 1st half had us screaming, “Shanks, Lamb!  You’re my gyro!”   When the summer hit, Lamb was baaaahd in August and September, but wasn’t he mint in the sprig?  So mint, he was making others jelly.  All right, I’m gonna eat lunch and come back for the 2nd paragraph.  So, what can we expect from Jake Lamb for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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The Razzball Baseball Pod is back!  Returning from our winter doldrums, we’re ready to talk trades and signings thus far in the hot stove.  Still some big pieces still left to fall!  It’s great to be back with Grey who is continually turning more and more into the crazy Jersey grandpa he is, and on today’s show we recap the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades, Ian Desmond going to Coors, and like, 30 or 40 other trades and signings.  Gotta be sure to derail this to get to all my Brewers talk!  We’re going to pick up the Pods again in January, so have a happy new year, shop around for some winter trading in your dynasties, and get ready for more Grey-crazy in 2017!

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I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to get into the mood to write this post. As fun as a system like the Astros or the Braves is to write up, is as painful as a system like the Royals is to do the same. Then it hit me, the Royals system is your hometown bar. You know the dingy one with a name like Home Plate, Donovan’s, or The Old Mill. Not because you need to be drunk in order to even go in there, though alcohol certainly helped write this. It’s because you’ve been avoiding it like the plague every time you venture home. But one night in a moment of weakness one of your old high school buddies talks you into going. So you get over your irrational fear of seeing the girl that dumped you for the guy that only got his name right on his SAT’s, and that once popular jock that’s gained 60 pounds of Burger King breakfast, and has gone from filling up stat sheets in his glory days, to filling up sweatpants and rap sheets with petty misdemeanors. In other words, everyone in the Royals system is 25 and watching their once promising futures vanish with each passing Jager-bomb. That’s not a joke, this has to be the oldest group of hobos I’ve ever covered. I hesitate to say I’m talking about Kansas City Royals Prospects as much as I’m talking about washed up Kansas City Royals Prospects. Amirite?

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Josh Rutledge steps forward.  A hush falls over the crowd.  Delino DeShields stops obnoxiously sucking on his soda straw when he realizes the crowd has silenced.  Rutledge continues, “At one time or another, we’ve all been sleepers.  Some of us never reached our potential.  Others have, but are still forgotten.”  Rutledge taps his chest with his fist and motions towards Brad Miller.  “While most of us have seen our best days pass us by without making good on being sleepers, one of us still has one year left to be a post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-hype sleeper.”  One man stands from the crowd, but Rutledge quickly gets annoyed, “Not you, Brett Lawrie.”  Lawrie shrugs and sits back down.  “No, I’m talking about you.”  Rutledge points into the crowd, realizing he’s not pointing at the right person, he asks, “Adam Eaton, could you move right or left?”  Finally, we see Rutledge is pointing at Leonys Martin.  He’s surprised to be singled out.  Martin tentatively stands, “Me?”  The preceding took place in The Tomb of the Forgotten Sleeper.  We’ve been here before with Martin, and this, I promise, will be our last time.  A’la Q-Tip, “All you bad sleepers, you must go…”  So, what can we expect from Leonys Martin for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Well, you knew this one was coming.  If you heard me once expound on the greatness of Maikel Franco, you’ve heard me expound on his greatness dozens of times and I have to say, I need to expound on how much I love this Word of the Day calendar.  It’s expounding my vocabulary!  I used it wrong there, didn’t I?  Let’s backtrack to the most basic common knowledge we have about baseball players.  They all spit.  Okay, Random Italicized Voice, let’s fast forward a bit.  Hitters sleep with a wOBA?  Now you’ve lost me.  Good, stop following me, you creeper!  Players usually take a few years to get comfortable.  Guys don’t usually peak their first full years.  Last year, Maikel Franco had a line of 67/25/88/.255/1 as a 23-year-old in his first full season.  Okay, so there were so many homers last year that David Eckstein would’ve hit 30 homers if he was still playing.  Fair enough, but you can’t possibly think Franco was a disappointment with 25 homers in his first full season.  On our Player Rater, Maikel Franco was ranked 154th overall.  Better than Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, Craig Kimbrel and Joc Pederson.  Sure, bit apples and oranges, but orange you glad I told you?  Okay, for that, I’m going into the pun penalty box for three minutes.  *sits in penalty box, smiles showing missing front tooth*  Okay, I’m back!  So, what can we expect from Maikel Franco for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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It seems like only yesterday the Astros were the laughing stock of the AL. Times were lean, with very little talent and a decade of futility, there seemed to be little to no light at the end of the tunnel. In just a few short years General Manager Jeff Luhnow has turned around both the farm system and major league club, to the point that each is bursting at the seams with talent. The last two years have brought about the dawn of a new era in Houston; defined by young talented players all over the field, and an aggressive approach in free agency, the trade market and draft. In the last two seasons alone the Astros have welcomed multiple impact rookies in the form of Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Alex Bregman. With a host of others not too far behind, the ‘Stros look set to compete for years to come. Seriously, you can’t imagine how much work it is to do a Podcast on Houston Astros Prospects and follow it up with a magnum opus post about Houston Astros prospects? They have so much dynasty goodness it’s unbelievable. I’m not joking when I say I feel like I could just draft Astros players and manage to field a solid squad. Albeit one that needs to trade some of it’s prospect depth for pitching, but that’s besides the point. This is a long one, so enough with the small talk let’s discuss some Houston Astros Prospects! Wooooooo!!!

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After a week of action like this week, I feel like I need a cigarette now that the winter meetings have come to a close. Lots of prospects moving, mostly to the Southside of Chicago, and lots of player evals to update. The work of a Prospector is truly never done. Of course your Loyal H.P.I.C, and my digital Sherpa Michael Halpern of imaginarybrickwall.com have to give you our two cents on the prospects changing laundry. We’ll let J.B. and the one true Fantasy Master Lothario Grey Albright update you on the re-draft league side of things. We have no need for yucky major leaguers. Oh and bee-t-dubs we go through the expansive and nearly never-ending talent pool that is the Houston Astros farm system. We talk some A.J. Reed, Francis Martes, Yuleski Gurriel, Kyle Tucker, and a whole bunch of others. It’s the closest thing Halp and I will ever have to a double album, it’s the Top Houston Astros Prospects on the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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I’ve mentioned this before and might again if I do a Domingo Santana sleeper post, which I’m toying with and don’t end a sentence with with — dah!  The Brewers might be the first team in history that would have a lesser than 40% chance of scoring one run with the bases loaded and no outs due to their crazy strikeouts.  Everyone on the team Ks at an obscene rate.  It’s like their hitting coach is Rob Deer.  “Guys, you have to wait for your pitch.”  *ball bounces in dirt, three feet in front of Keon Broxton*  “Why didn’t you swing at that?  I said wait for the pitch, as in swing at every pitch when it gets to the plate — ball or strike!”  That’s Rob Deer, hitting coach.  If nothing else, it’s worth noting the team’s strikeouts for pitching streamers going against them when we get there.  The 2016 Brewers had the worst strikeout rate since 1902 with 25.5%.  The top 30 are all in the last ten years, so there’s definitely been a change in the game, but there ya go.  Keon Broxton might be the worst offender of swinging and missing on a team that is historically terrible (yes, at some point this is going to turn positive for Keon).  Losing Chris Carter’s 32% K-rate will help, but Keon Broxton’s K-rate was 36.1%.  “Terrific!  I love that aggressive approach!”  That’s Rob Deer again.  Broxton’s percentage of contact with balls outside the strike zone is 39.4%.  That’s historically bad.  Last year, the worst mark for qualified hitters was, once again, Chris Carter at 42.2%.  Of course, logic tells us if you’re not swinging at many pitches outside the strike zone, then it doesn’t matter.  Here, Broxton actually excels.  He swings at pitches outside the zone only 22.1% of the time, about the same as Matt Carpenter, Trout and Goldy.  There’s hope!  Finally!  “I’d like to see him swing more at pitcher pitches.”  Shut up, Rob Deer!  Then there’s the fact that he only makes contact with pitches inside the strike zone at a 76% rate, which would be the 2nd worst in the majors, tied with, you guessed it, Chris Carter.  Sigh.  So, what can we expect from Keon Broxton for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes a sleeper?

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