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?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The White Sox traded Adam Eaton for Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning and top pitching prospect, Lucas Giolito; the second day in a row top prospects are headed to the White Sox.  It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities that Theo Epstein is studying abroad this winter and abroad is the South Side of Chicago.  “Excuse me, but, uh, why do you have this electrodes hooked up to my brain?”  That’s Theo Epstein as Rick Hahn dips out of the interrogation room to get coffee.  If I were a fan of a club that had no chance of winning next year, I’d want my team to go about rebuilding like the White Sox.  “What, you don’t like our signing of Ian Desmond?”  I’ll get to you in a second, Rockies.  The White Sox have taken a bunch of lemons, planted lemon seeds next to a sugar plantation that they purchased off eBay and should have lemonade in a few years.  They might even trade that old guy from the Country Time Lemonade commercial for another prospect!  As for fantasy, Adam Eaton went 14/14 and 14/18 the last two years, which is deceptively awful.  It’s one thing to go 14/14, it’s another thing to go 14/14 in 619 ABs.  He’s like Markakis as a middle infielder.  If you own Eaton in any fantasy league shallower than 14-team mixed, you should lose your league.  The problem with a guy like Eaton in a shallower league is anyone who is even half paying attention should be able to beat his stats with just a few decent waiver wire grabs.  You can likely beat Eaton’s numbers by just streaming hitters every day, and never even holding any guy who gets hot.  Eaton’s stats come out to one homer and one steal every two weeks.  Holy Jewish Jesus, that’s bad.  Sure, there’s some value to his 90+ runs and .280+ average, but if you can’t get runs and average that matches that from streaming, again, you deserve to lose.  For 2017, I’ll give Eaton the projections 102/12/49/.277/16 in 605 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Red Sox made a huge splash yesterday trading away Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Michael Kopech for Chris Sale.  Red Sox must be appealing to Bernie Sanders with their rotation: two lefties named Sale and Price.  Dave Dombrowski sure does love to trade away his top prospects.  Dombrowski buys 10 copies of Baseball Prospectus every year, crosses out the ‘u,’ and barters them for two cartridges of Nintendo Baseball Stars.  Dombrowski used to have four young kids, until he traded them to a Mormon family for an honors student three months from graduating high school.  Dombrowski dreams of finding the Fountain of Youth so he can trade it for a veteran fountain.  I’m not going to compare Sale to Price even if the Jew in me wants to talk wholesale.  Price had concerning stats going into last year and is older.  Of course, some of Price’s concerning stats were a lower K-rate and a falling velocity on his fastball, which are two warning signs with Sale too.  Okay, maybe I will compare the two.  Sale’s fastball velocity went from 94.5 MPH to 92.8 MPH, while relying on it 7% more of the time.  You’re a big-time Razzball noob — Razzboob? — if you think I’m going to suggest you draft an ace, and Sale is no different.  I’m not about to say he’s going to fall off, but declining velocity, K-rate and rising xFIP is not an ace I’d be excited about.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 18-8/3.31/1.08/244 in 225 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Winter Meetings concluded day two yesterday at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.  Seen at the Gaylord so far was the best free agent starter (Rich Hill) signing, one of the best closers available (Mark Melancon) signing, and Curt Schilling protesting that the Gaylord Resort should not be allowed to marry.  “Is it going to start calling a lobby ‘Bobby’ and adopt a baby too?”  That’s Curt Schilling with his own special brand of crazy. With Giants’ signing of Mark Melancon, I’m saddened to remember all the good times I had over the past few years with the Giants’ bullpen.  Here’s those times condensed into a single run-on sentence, “I can’t believe I drafted Santiago Casilla, ugh, maybe I’ll back him up with Sergio Romo, oh man, that hurts just as bad, fine, I will grab Hunter Strickland, and he’s killing me too.”  Scene.  Yeah, those times, in theory at least, are behind those owning the Giants’ new closer, Melancon.  For 2017, I’ll give Melancon the projections of 4-1/2.26/0.97/58, 42 saves in 62 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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In an industry, ‘pert 12-team mock draft that I recently participated in, I grabbed Max Kepler with the 194th overall pick, and, quite honestly, I could’ve likely took him in the final round, or just grabbed him off waivers if there were waivers in a mock draft, which there’s not.  No one cares about the Twins.  I’d say Twins lives matter, but I’m not trying to incite riots.  One quick point on that, when someone says “Save the whales” they’re not saying, “I hope a dolphin gets caught in a tuna net and is fed to a group of Japanese tourists as they watch The Cove.”  It’s save the whales, not save the whales and eff all other fish.  Here’s my 2017 mock draft team, if anyone’s interested.  I’d put little to no weight on my draft.  I had zero prep and was asked about an hour prior to participate.  Last year in 113 games and 396 ABs, Kepler went 52/17/63/.235/6.  Obviously, the average is puke-green trying to play itself as Fern Green, Army Green or Avocado.  You’re puke-green, and you’re caught.  The rest is not bad at all.  Mr. Prorater, the assessor of missed time, would put his line at 67/21/79/.240/8.  Though, we must remember, when one assesses, they make an ass out of esses, and that’ll get you killed in some hoods.  So, what can we expect from Max Kepler for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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