Another year, another Archie Bradley outlook post. He now has two said posts, which might be it for him, if he can’t start to make good on his promise. Here’s what Prospect Mike said this year on him, “Many fantasy owners thought Bradley might have already made his debut by now, but elbow problems and a D-Backs squad that went nowhere again in 2014 stalled his progress. Kinda like how Grey’s maturity level stalled in the 4th grade.” Hey, I’m way more of a middle schooler! Here’s what I said last year, “Archie reminds me of Taijuan Walker, only rawer. BTW, try to say rawer out loud and not sound like a lion. Yeah, you can’t. Is it me or does it seem the nastier a guy’s stuff is the less control they have over it? It’s like if a hitter doesn’t know where a pitch is going, then the pitcher probably doesn’t either. Another guy Bradley reminds me of is Max Scherzer. It took Scherzer six years to figure out where his pitches were going. Member all of those years I loved Scherzer and he was frustrating to own? Because I love stuff and you just never know when the control is going to come. Bradley’s control could come this year. More than likely, it’ll come in another year or two. He’s only 21 years old. If he doesn’t figure out control until age 24, he’ll still have plenty of time to rack up Cy Young awards, but will be useless for fantasy for another three years. So, I love him like his momma, but there’s no way I’m drafting him in mixed leagues.” And that’s me quoting me! Unfortch, I was way more prescient than I wanted to be with Bradley. So, what can we expect of Archie Bradley for 2015 fantasy baseball?

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The Arizona Fall League is a couple of weeks old now, so we’ll peek at a few of the highlights and lowlights. In a league with only six teams, there is a limited pool of players and we’ll have to take the small sample sizes with a grain of salt. There have been a few standout performances, and this league is a good way to get eyes on prospects returning from injuries or facing some tougher competition for the first time. One name from the AFL that has surfaced quite a bit this year is Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker. Reports on Winker like his approach and power, with left field a likely destination when he reaches the bigs. Despite a concussion early in the season and a wrist injury that ended his season prematurely, the 21-year-old hit .327/.426/.580 with 13 homers in the hitter-friendly California League before a brief stint in Double-A. In 38 AFL at bats, Winker has two homers, two doubles, and a league-leading 13 runs batted in. He’s top 5 in average (.368), on-base percentage (.479), and slugging percentage (.632). I’m not totally on board the Winker train yet since he hasn’t seen much of Double-A, but I am at the station in line to buy a ticket. Here are some other noteworthy AFL prospect performances so far…

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The Arizona Fall League starts up next week and it gives us all a few more looks at some fantasy relevant prospects. Some players are getting in the extra reps for development, while others are making up for lost time due to injuries earlier in the season. Either way, all 30 MLB clubs are represented across six teams in the desert. This week we’ll take a peek at the big names on the Salt River Rafters and the Peoria Javelinas. Included with the blurbs are the combined stats for each player’s 2014 season regardless of minor league level. I’ll wrap up the AFL previews next week before we begin the 2015 team-by-team minor league countdown…

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September call-ups are almost upon us. Despite monster minor league numbers, it appears the Cubs are not going to add Kris Bryant to the roster. Bryant dominated in 2014, hitting an obscene .328/.438/.674 with 43 home runs, 114 runs, 102 RBIs and even 15 steals across two levels of the minors. I couldn’t hit that in Bases Loaded on my Nintendo. While the Cubs did promote Javier Baez and Jorge Soler to get their feet wet, they seem content to leave Bryant where he is whcih in turn makes him worthless to the prospect hounds in redraft fantasy leagues.

There are two sides to the situation. On one hand Bryant could be added to the roster which gives him some major league at bats and makes all of us fantasy owners very happy. On the other hand, the Cubs could give him the full year in the minors without having to drop anybody from their 40-man roster or start his clock. That clock is important, as Bryant being called up a month or two into next seeason could buy the Cubs another year of his services should he decide to become free agent when eligible. Bryant will be worth the wait, but that’s what we’ll have to do – wait. That leaves us to figure out who is worth a look this September. Assuming that the following players will all be called up, here are some of the names (along with their 2014 MiLB stats) that I think could help fantasy owners in redraft leagues this September…

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Rosters expand on Monday to allow for the big league clubs to take a look at 15 more players during the last month of the season.  All the mainstream experts say to pick up the top prospects who will get to see playing time for the last month to boost your roster.   But I’m so bitter today that I can’t recommend doing anything like that if you’re in a points league.  You see, I woke up early and picked out just the perfect outfit, but not one person has mistaken me for homeless.  I hate people.  And I hate prospect call ups (for points leagues).  They’re so new and trendy and just not sustainable enough for me.  In fact, even my moustache hates them.  I’m so heated over the matter that all 12 handlebars I waxed into it are now pointing down.  I used Burt’s Bees and now I can breathe like Brian Wilson on the mound.  Sinuses are so clear!

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If Miggy were a Russian nesting doll, the first doll under him would be Avisail Garcia. They look like so similar they could do Sister, Sister-type stunts. “I don’t want to face Felix Hernandez today, you take my jersey and you face him…Then take my algebra exam.” “Okay, sis, but you have to go out with Bobby for me. Pinky swear!” That’s them conspiring to use their physical similarities on unsuspecting people. (Bee tee dubya, I’ve never seen an episode of Sister, Sister, and if I missed the general gist of the show, I apologize to all the prankster twins reading for generalizing. But, I will say, twins should apologize for looking similar, it’s disconcerting. The first time you see them you have to ask yourself, “Am I on peyote right now? No, I’m not, I’m looking at a twin.” Any the hoo!) Comparing him to Miggy doesn’t give the whole picture of Avisail. Well, it does, but, okay, bad choice of words. It doesn’t tell you what kind of hitter Avisail is. He’s not a 40-homer hitter. At least not yet. He has some speed, even stole 20 bases one year in the minors, when he was only 18 years old. He also probably won’t hit for more than 25 homers all of next year. He can hit for a solid average. Last year, while only 21 years old for half the year (no, he doesn’t have two birthdays a year; I mean he was 21 for half the season), he hit .370 in the minors. He reminds me more of a young Matt Holliday — think around 25 HRs, 15 SBs and .315. Definitely someone I would be aggressive about in keepers. As for this year, now that he’s fully recovered from his torn labrum, an injury that sounds like it would happen to a gymnast, he’s someone I’d look at in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Wednesday again already??? Time flies when you’re having fun (or the Braves are playing terrible baseball) it seems. That signals time for our Razzball midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game– prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top 50/Top 100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

We will continue our “Panning For Gold” series moving forward for owners in deeper leagues, but these won’t be a regularly-scheduled feature, but keep checking in for true “sleepers” daily… I’ll continue trying to “shine the light” on players that may not impact your leagues in the short-term, while revealing players you might scoop your fellow owners with as time warrants and permits. Our prospect coverage will always be a work in progress as we try to provide pertinent information that will help owners that participate in deeper leagues as well, and features will be adjusted and added in our effort to be able to help fantasy GMs as much as possible regardless of the depth of league you compete in.

Disclaimer: the bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top 50/Top 100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

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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…

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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.

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You make plans, and the Fantasy Baseball Overlord laughs. I believe that is how the saying goes. Yesterday, Carlos Gonzalez succumbed to his time-honored tradition of hitting the DL. This time it was due to his finger inflammation. I wonder if his finger plumped up like a Ballpark Frank. By the by, you know the secret ingredient that is used for Ballpark Franks to plump up when you cook them, why is that not used in other foods? This seems to be the cure for world hunger. Inject everything and ship it to Africa. “Nice pancake, colonizer, but can you plump it up?” Yes, we can now little African kid! On his trips to Africa, why is Bono not armed with Ballpark Franks? We need some sodium nitrate up in here! On the bright side of things, Corey Dickerson is now definitely going to get everyday looks for at least the next two weeks and I’d guess it’ll be more like three to four weeks. Grab Dickerson! Whew, glad his name isn’t Dick, er, son. On a side note, “precious cargo” is the stupidest Urban Dictionary definition I’ve ever seen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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