Crabs gon’ eat, whether you like it or not. The best advice I can give is move out of the way when they come through your town. If they request buckets of your finest chum, drop it on your porch and back away slowly. From east to west, from north to south, and every where in between, Crabs inhabit this fine land. They might be your UPS driver, insurance agent, or state senator. They’re your husbands, friends, and neighbors. They are a secret society of highly intelligent fantasy baseball masters, and Samurai’s of the comment section, prepared for battle at the drop of a hat. I am of course discussing the inhabitants of Razzball’s own 30 team dynasty league The Razz30. It’s been a month of elite level play, with several teams still in the hunt for the 4 playoff spots in the AL and NL. Our trade deadline came and went on Monday, and there was action galore up until the last bell. As we close in on the end of our first year of independence, I’m glad to report that the state of the league has never been stronger. To all my smooth gooch rocking, white monster drinking, thirsty villains, get out the spreadsheet. Claws Up!!!

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There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

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It was only a year ago that Mickey Moniak entered our lives. After going with the first pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the California prep star hit the Gulf Coast League, raked to the tune of .284/.340/.409 with 10 steals, plus a homer, and showed he was ready for a full season assignment in 2017. You could see all the tools were there, even if his power numbers were underwhelming. Then again, we knew the power would be a slow burn with Moniak, as it often is with prep players. He did show the ability to hit for average, get on base, and steal some bags. All worthy pursuits, but it’s not going to make Moniak a fantasy superstar. We need the power to develop, and of late Moniak has struggled, not just with power, but in all facets. In fact over the last two weeks he’s hitting .179, with 1 homer, and a caught stealing. That’s how you say? Awful! Yeah, so last night’s 4 for 5, Moniak’s first four hit game of his career, was a welcomed development. In my eyes Moniak is an elite top 50 prospect, even with the recent struggles. At a newly minted 19, you need to be patient with the kid as the skill set develops. No player’s future is set in stone, just ask Byron Buxton, but Moniak looks like a top of the order bat with elite contact skills, speed, and the dynamic ability to improve any offense he’s a part of. Think Christian Yelich, early Jacoby Ellsbury, or a Trea Turner type, though maybe not quite as dynamic as Turner. Take this post as a reminder to hold onto Moniak in dynasty leagues, especially as teams that own him approach the deadline in a month and a half. If you’re a dynasty manager looking to restock your farm, I’d be looking to add Moniak every where I could. Now you just have to hope your league mates don’t read Razzball……… Here’s what else went down in the MiLB.

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We should’ve taken it as a sign of superhuman abilities, when Bo Bichette’s body digested his burst appendix last season. That’s so insane Chuck Norris is impressed. Matt Wieters facts never made a claim that lofty. That’s some X-Men mutant baseball machine stuff. The craziest part is he unknowingly played through it for a week, and raked!!! I know, I know a story this good, it’s really a lot to digest… Thank you, I’ll be here all week, literally. As exciting as it might seem to get a lesson in freaky anatomy happenings from me, that’s not why I bring up Bichette. Though it might be in line with his recent production. Freakish!! As I write this he just finished off a 4 for 5 night, with a double, a triple, and 2 runs scored. The game actually started as a 4 for 4 night, and was a diving grab away from being a 5 for 5 night. This isn’t an isolated incident either, but you knew that if you were paying attention.

After slashing .427/.451/.732 in 91 plate appearances during his stint in the Gulf Coast League in 2016. Bichette has continued that dominance in his first run at full season ball. He currently leads the Midwest League in batting average, OBP, Slugging, and has an OCD like 7 homers and 7 steals. He’s riding a 13 game hitting streak, and needs to be owned in all dynasty formats of all types. He’s outperforming teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who by the way, is performing pretty well. Bichette is of course a year older, so any comps should be taken with a grain of salt. All this to say, Bichette, who didn’t make my Top 100 in February might be in my Top 50 now. Things change fast in the minors…… Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB.

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At the quarterly Prospector meetings many topics are broached. Favorite sweatpants style, least favorite fellow Prospector, gold tooth picks, but far and away the most popular discussion amongst my peers, “Who’s your favorite Atlanta Braves Pitching Prospect?”. If you know anything about the Braves farm system, then you know there’s so many names to choose from. Think about it, there’s Anderson, there’s Soroka, there’s Fried, and Gohara, the list goes on and on. However, I Prospect Versace, find myself enamored with the best and brightest of them all, Kolby Allard. As a 19 year old in AA he’s setting the Southern League ablaze with a 1.36 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and a 7.64 K/9 to a 1.91 Bb/9. The lefty was taken by the Braves 14th overall way back in the 2015 draft, and has really taken off since early injury woes. He’s made quick work of the lower levels of the minors, never sporting an ERA higher than 4 during his 90+ pro innings leading up to 2017. The stuff has never been an issue for Allard as he throws a plus fastball in the low to mid 90’s, a plus curveball (seen below), and an improving change. His control and command are advanced for a 19 year old, and with AA looking like just another notch in his belt, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see Allard in Atlanta come next year. On the most recent episode of the prospect podcast, we discuss whether or not Allard is the highest upside starter in the minors, and it’s truly possible. The only thing holding the young lefty back is a checkered injury history, with a previous back surgery. While he’s more than likely owned even in the shallowest of dynasty formats, he’s a must add on the off change he’s not. A worthy trade target for rebuilding clubs too. Here’s your minor league update for May 7th.

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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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In our never ending quest to cover every single farm system in baseball, uncover every sleeper, upside youngster, and great name in the minor leagues. We bring you the Oakland Athletics for our watershed  23rd Episode. Let it be noted in the annuals of history that the most important thing to happen on January, 20th 2017 was Halp and Ralph’s discussion of Jharel Cotton’s changeup. Truly a great moment in Podcast, Fantasy Baseball, and American history. I mean what’s not to love about a Jharel? Or Cotton, I mean have you slept on Cotton? Come on in and learn about the Semi-Pro Wrestler I beat up as a child or why Franklin Barreto might be an underrated fantasy prospect. We do it all! We talk Puk, Chapman, Nunez, and Frankie Montas. As well as any A’s prospect worth discussing. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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Whenever I write a post about Oakland, I open with a shout out to the King Of Hyphy, and fallen solider Mac Dre. I know he’s from the Valley-Jo, but the man gets a great deal of Oakland love. It’s only a half hour north after all. Or maybe all this is just a poor excuse to link to this video. So put on your best Thizz Face, and let’s get into some Moneyball A’s talk. You ready? After unloading eventual MVP, and mullet superstar Josh Donaldson, the A’s have been in full on rebuild mode. Of course treadmill hero extraordinaire Billy Beane is still pulling the strings behind the scenes, but the sort of prospect crop needed for the A’s to compete has alluded them for the better part of a decade. However, things changed last July, spearheaded by the signing of Cuban Hype Machine Lazarito. The A’s then became heavy players in an active trade deadline, settling on a solid trade with the Dodgers. Unloading the aging Rich Hill, and impending free agent Josh Reddick for three solid prospect arms with some upside. All three Jhael Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes should factor into Oakland’s rotation in the next few seasons. With Cotton the closest to the O.Co, followed by Montas, and Holmes bringing up the rear. They then followed both of those moves with the savvy December signing of Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz for $2 million; a player many think was the best arm in the 2016 international class. Saying the rebuild of the once prospect and pitching rich A’s began this July is a little disingenuous, as they did swing a trade for 2016 breakout rookie pitcher Sean Manaea at the 2015 deadline. Unloading Ben Zobrist to the future World Series champion Royals in the process. With a crop of young hitters, and pitchers matriculating to Oakland over the next few years, we could be looking at an up and coming organization.  Time will tell if that holds true. It’s the Top Oakland Athletics Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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After a two week hiatus we’re back in the saddle again. This time we brought along a couple of friends to help us, well sort of. This week’s episode is a live mock first year player draft featuring two very knowledgeable prospect hounds in Matt Thompson, lead prospect writer for Friendswithfantasybenefits.com, and the ghost of Razzball’s very own Smokey. The four of us mocked out the first 32 picks on Twitter, so technically it’s not “live”, but not to worry this allowed us to discuss each player in detail. The goal is to get you prepared for your upcoming FYPD drafts this offseason. I know, I know, we’re such givers! Though it’s not all sunshine and Rose wine. Due to technical difficulties we lost out first run-through of the show with Smokey. So, this episode features Halp, Matt, and I trying our damndest to fill the void left behind by our grizzled vet, and to give you the rational behind the LOOGY’s picks. No need to fear prospect hounds, the Razzball Prospect Podcast is back, and stroking the flames of the hot stove all offseason.

P.S. For those following along at home I’ve included the draft results here

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It’s been a rough couple days. What can I say, sometimes I leave fantasy behind, and actually dabble in the realm of investing my emotions into real baseball. For shame, my Red Sox have let me down. It’s okay, I have things to take my mind off these hard losses. Sure, I have my loving wife, and three beautiful children; most normal people would seek solace in those they hold most dear. Not me, I’m far too twisted for that. I need to bury my face in minor league stats and scouting reports. Thinking somewhere in all this I’ll find my happy place. Well now that I’ve gotten my rambling incoherent emotional discharge out of the way. Let me tell you I’m excited. Not because I’ve been doing Google image searches of busty actresses, but because it’s time to release my First Year Player Draft (FYPD) post. I’ve been working on it, and kicking around the names for a few weeks to a month now. Hopefully this can help you navigate the upcoming first year player drafts in your leagues. In addition to today’s post, Michael Halpern and I will be inviting two special guests onto next week’s episode of the Prospect Podcast. The four of us will mock out our top 32 picks, and speak a little on each. Look out for that… Speaking of Halp, he put out his first year player draft top 10 over on imaginarybrickwall earlier this week. Make sure you check that out. Today I’ll hit you with my top 15, and finish off the top 30 on Wednesday.

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