Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another week completed, another step closer to excitement for prospect-watchers waiting impatiently for the next round of call-ups, and the ultimate “Christmas In July” for prospect-hounds across the globe as we get to spend the day with the ultimate showcase – the Futures Game. In honor of this great event, this week’s Minor Accomplishments Sunday Twelve-Pack will include several players that will be participating in the game, as well as some that would’ve been at Target Field for it (yes, I’m looking at you Arismendy Alcantara, Jimmy Nelson, and Christian Bethancourt).

The All-Star Break is upon us, the playoff picture’s beginning to come into focus for several teams that were “on the fence” a week ago, and trades completed over the next three weeks will lead to many more openings for prospects to get a look at the MLB level, as well as advancement opportunities for players further down each organizational pecking order.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Frenemies and cohorts, it is that magical time of year where the player pool begins to grow.  Summer harvest begins to reap the treasures of the seeds sown by unheralded draft pundits of years passed.  The scout’s moment is now.  Having spent their lives adorned with holey New Balances, wholly unrefined frozen dinners of Salisbury steak and discount diner breakfasts, they get to pound an Old Milwaukee and puff a few Doral’s as they revel in the glory of their hatred of sabremetrics.  A life not fancied by us fantasy internet blogger moguls.  No sirs and madams, we require a much fancier life—a life infused with excitement brought on by WHIPs and FIPs and wOBAs and WARs!  The rest is mas o menos lo mismo— the same old shizz.  Other than our baseball lens, the only other difference is that we stuttering B-Ball Bloggers need to score!!!  Points…

Points is why we’re here, and June presents a unique opportunity where the player pool expands with talent that is usable and keepable.  September offers a smorgasbord of young talent, but mostly it’s too late and the infusion of players nourish your team like an energy drink shooter with cinnamon whiskey.  The hangover is awful and often begins before the luster of the buzz has worn off.  The June callups are the cognacs, ladies men.  Let’s take a look at these beauties.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On occasion, it works out where a notable prospect gets called-up to the bigs during the weekend, allowing me to post some notes on him before Grey gets the opportunity. That happens to be the case today, as LA has summoned 1B prospect, C.J. Cron, to the big club. Of course, when it’s me providing the spin on a call-up like this, we miss out on Grey’s clever wordplay in the title. Something like, “Angels Finally Embrace Pot Legalization, Will Roll with Cron(ic)” seems sufficient. In any case, Cron can mash. He established his power potential in 2012 at High-A, hitting 27 homers in 129 games. Then last season, he followed that effort with a puzzling 14 HR year at Double-A Arkansas, causing many to cool at the idea of Cron as an everyday 1B at the highest level. The pop appears to have returned in 2014, though: Through 28 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, Cron slugged .602 with 6 HR. At least for the short-term, there’s opportunity for the 24-year-old to earn regular plate appearances from the middle of the LA order. The upside in his stick is worth the gamble in deep leagues, especially if you’re hurting at CI.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

1.  Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (Previously Ranked #2): He’s hitting .400/.457/.632 with 4 HR and 4 SB through 105 PA at Triple-A Indianapolis. Need I say more? If I do need to say more, then please refer to Sunday’s Minor Accomplishments post, where Polanco headlined.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In his first plate appearance of spring training, a big league camp AB versus David Phelps, Gregory Polanco turned on a breaking pitch, sending it over the right field wall. Such things happen to 22-year-olds during spring training, and most of the time, they’re anomalies. In Polanco’s case, however, that moment, in retrospect, seems profound — a statement as to his readiness to produce at the highest level from the instant he stepped on a diamond this spring. Reassigned to Triple-A to begin the season, Polanco’s statements have only grown louder. Through 92 PA, he’s hitting .417/.467/.679 with 4 HR and 4 SB, making him the best mixed league stash in the minors. The Bucs have been fortunate thus far to squeeze some production out of their Travis Snyder/Jose Tabata platoon, but the upside with Polanco is unquestionably higher and it’s only a matter of time before Pittsburgh slots him into their lineup as the everyday RF. His incredible start at Indianapolis should allow him to segue into big league ball with a shizzload of confidence.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (10) | 2012 (19) | 2011 (13) | 2010 (6) | 2009 (22)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [66-96] AL Central
AAA: [77-67] International League – Rochester
AA: [66-76] Eastern League — New Britain
A+: [79-56] Florida State League – Fort Myers
A: [88-50] Midwest League – Cedar Rapids

Graduated Prospects
Oswaldo Arcia (OF); Aaron Hicks (OF); Chris Colabello (1B/OF); Chris Herrmann (C/OF); Ryan Pressly (RHP); Andrew Albers (LHP); Pedro Hernandez (LHP); Kyle Gibson (RHP)

The Run Down
With regard to fantasy impact on the farm, the Twins are right there with the Cubs at the top of the league.  And, narrowing our scope a bit, no team in baseball can boast a better one-two prospect punch than what Minnesota has with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.  But try not to distract yourself too much with the shiny, hyped-up names at the top of this list, because this org is loaded with talent from top to bottom.  The top ten we have here don’t even tell the whole story — we’ll have to let the steady flow of homegrown talent speak for itself over these next few seasons.

Please, blog, may I have some more?