Whatta day, here’s how it started. I woke up around 5 am, drank lots of coffee, did work stuff, got word around 8:15 that Alex Bregman would get the call this weekend and was set to join the surging Astros in Seattle. I then proceeded to pat myself on the back, throw a finger to the haters, and all the people who lived in the buildings I was prospecting in front of that called the cops on me when I was trying to make some money to feed my daughter. It was show and prove time for mi numero uno perspectiva fantasia. No longer would readers lament my existence while they starred down a dead spot on their rosters. For it was Bregman day and it was glorious. Then POOF it wasn’t, as A.J. Hinch decided to open his fat mouth and tell everyone that numero uno perspectiva fantasia Alex Bregman , would NOT be joining the team in Seattle. He did offer one assurance, Bregman could help the team down the stretch. Ahhhhh, hi A.J., my name’s Ralph, NO SH**. I’ve only been saying that forever. Doesn’t matter, he’s coming up. Maybe not this weekend, but maybe next week. Hell, maybe Monday! I’m the captain of the SS prospector, and I will sink this ship before I change course! Knowing I was writing this post for today, I thought “how appropriate everything is coming together for Ralph, The Summer of Ralph!!!”. Meh, enough of that let’s talk about the rookies that will give your redraft team a boost in the second half.

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Tell me this isn’t the most American thing you’ve ever heard. I sit mere miles from Cooperstown, NY, sipping an American made brew, working away on the final stretches of my Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball, while fireworks crackle overhead. The smell of beer and lawn clippings fill the air, and I just cooked some bacon on the barrel of my rifle. The last sentence was complete bullshizz, but the part before it is fairly accurate. I mean I’m not enough of a tool that I would sit in the yard with my laptop writing. But I am enough of a tool that I was formulating what I would type, once the pack of wild animals I affectionately call my children decide to finally retire to their beds for the evening. Well, the time has come and here I am writing to you, and you alone. Without anymore rambling incoherent non-sense, allow me to introduce the Top 100 Prospects Fantasy Baseball. This list is built with an eye to the future, in other words my goal is for this list to be more reflective of a pre-season 2017 list than the pre-season 2016 lists. I went bold, and I avoided the boring. Meaning I have no use for your Julio Urias’, your Lucas Giolito’s, A.J. Reed’s, Cody Reed’s and the like. You know those guys, they’re playing in the bigs, at this point they’re A. owned in your dynasty or B. owned in your redraft league so C. they’re owned. You thought I was going to say there’s no C right? What do I look like Grey? Nope I’m much taller and my facial hair is more Don Johnson than John Oates.

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So here we are more or less half way through the minor league season, Super Two has come and gone, and we wait for those sweet, sweet rookies to get the call and make an impact. More often than not my comments are filled with questions regarding who I think will have the greater impact this season, player A or player B. Today we take a look at the Top 25 prospects for 2016 impact. I’m going to start with a ranked list and follow that up with my general thoughts on the players  listed. I’m ignoring anyone already in the majors like Jameson Taillon, Blake Snell, and Tim Anderson. Things I’ve taken into consideration when building this were impact, proximity, and team situation. So understand this is not a straight top 25. It’s strictly 2016 focused, which why a prospect like Lucas Giolito is further down the list than he would be in a straight top 25 prospects for dynasty list.

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Well here it is the post you’ve been hollering for in the comments since November hit. That’s right ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, cats and dogs, pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts, white wall tires and low profile tires, good guys and bad guys, curved brims hats and flat billed caps, and anyone else that reads Razzball; it’s the top 100 live from my garage in suburban Massachusetts. Ahh-huh you’re being magically whisked away to a garage, with flickering lights and an awkwardly handsome gentleman with a laptop. That’s me, and on my computer is a list, it is yours to read, berate, discuss, commit to memory, burn to keep you warm. What you do with it, is really up to you I suppose. This ranking is pretty straightforward, it lists each player, their position, and a link to their team’s minor league preview. Within each preview you’ll find that players blurb. On one final note, all of these ranks take into consideration a variety of factors including ceiling, proximity, and floor. Consider this post interactive, instead of me waxing poetic after each player explaining why I rank so and so where, I leave it to you to call me to the mat and defend my rankings. Without further ado the 2016 Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

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The Diamondbacks have shipped out their most recent top picks, improving the MLB rotation but at the same time leaving the farm a little thin at the top. I would have definitely considered Dansby Swanson in the first tier, and Touki Toussaint would have been my top prospect among the more distant ETAs. What’s done is done, and there are still some solid if not elite pieces in this system. The shine wore off of Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley a bit, but they are still strong options and should contribute to the rotation shortly. Meanwhile Brandon Drury and Peter O’Brien could have some value with their bats. Cuban import Yasmany Tomas made his much anticipated debut in 2015, and while the 25-year-old did hit nine homers, fantasy owners would like to see more of his raw pop surface in his sophomore season.

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A couple of years ago Bret Sayre invited me to participate in his dynasty league – The Dynasty Guru Expert League, or TDGX. At the time I was writing for him at his site, and while I don’t anymore, I’ve been allowed to remain in the league as a representative of Razzball. I’d like to say my team has been killing it, but that hasn’t been the case in the first two years. The league is a lot of fun, and there are representatives from sites like Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Baseball HQ, and CBS. It’s deep and it’s challenging. Tim McLeod and Ian Khan took the championship in each of the first two years, so major kudos to them.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (16) | 2013 (8) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [64-98] NL West
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [79-58] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [75-65] California League – Visalia
A: [83-56] Midwest League – South Bend (2015: Kane County)
A(ss): [48-28] Northwest League – Hillsboro

Graduated Prospects
Chris Owings, SS | David Peralta, OF | Chase Anderson, RHP | Tuffy Gosewisch, C | Alfredo Marte, OF | Vidal Nuno, LHP | Mike Bolsinger, RHP | Ender Inciarte, OF

The Gist
The Diamondbacks made a splash this offseason with the signing of Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who immediately becomes their best fantasy prospect. Apparently they weren’t finished though, recently signing Cuban right-hander Yoan Lopez. This system has five legitimate pitching prospects, three of which are close to contributing at the major league level. Despite the hitter-friendly home park, these arms have solid fantasy upside thanks to their strikeout potential. Recently graduated prospect Chris Owings will now man shortstop on an everyday basis. His combination of power and speed make him an interesting late round target in 2015 drafts. And while we’re here…don’t forget about Randall Delgado, who is currently slated for long relief but could run with another opportunity in a rotation.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (8) | 2012 (5) | 2011 (23) | 2010 (28) | 2009 (26)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [81-81] NL West
AAA: [60-84] Pacific Coast League – Reno
AA: [79-60] Southern League – Mobile
A+: [77-63] California League – Visalia
A: [81-58] Midwest League – South Bend
A(ss):  [34-42] Northwest League — Hillsboro

Graduated Prospects
A.J. Pollock (OF); Didi Gregorius (SS); Adam Eaton (OF); Will Harris (RHP); Tyler Skaggs (LHP)

The Run Down
The Arizona farm has been one of great interest to fantasy players over the past few years, and that trend holds true for 2014.  The D’backs have done a fine job in acquiring impact talent through recent drafts, and the trade market has been friendly to their system too.  I’ll admit, though, that this 2014 crop of prospects is a little more top-heavy than what we’ve grown used to seeing from Arizona — once Archie Bradley, Chris Owings, and Braden Shipley surface in the bigs,  this will be a system in need of high-end talent to emerge.  Fortunate for them, lower-levels prospects like Stryker Trahan, Justin Blair, and Jose Martinez seem poised for breakouts in the year ahead.

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I’m gonna double-dip on what I wrote a year ago in my week 23 MiLB report because 1) I think it still holds, and 2) I’m a double-dipper: “The Minor League Baseball season has reached it’s glorious culmination. Well, actually, it’s not very glorious. No, no one really cares who wins in the New York-Penn semis, or the International League title, or the Midwest League championship. It’s just not that interesting. Not even for me. Sure, organizations do their best to instill winning attitudes throughout their farm systems, and I absolutely agree that’s important. It’s why Jeff Luhnow is still tweeting crap like “#JETHAWKS WIN”. Yay, Jethawks… It’s fun for the players, I suppose. It’s fun for the small-town fans, too. And it’s a small source of pride for player development types. But that’s about the extent of it. All that said, the various MiLB playoffs are still worth keeping an eye on, if only for the handful of real-deal prospects who’re performing on a slightly grander stage than usual. So, to wrap up this year’s Minor Accomplishments series, I leave you with a brief rundown of what’s happening with some of the more notable prospects in their respective postseasons.”

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Note: As I explained yesterday, I’m in Mexico. Turns out, the internet blows here. Being so, I haven’t included the usual Baseball-Reference links. Apologies. (*They have been added – Ed.)

July 2nd marked the opening of the international signing period, which is a facet of player procurement that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We spend a lot of time mouthing off on the June draft, but when you look at the names near the top of prospect lists – Oscar Taveras, Miguel Sano, Jurickson Profar – it’s difficult to discount the significance of the 2nd of July. It’s important to note that this signing window is not limited to just one day – contracts for various Dominican ballplayers, Venezuelan ballplayers, etc., will keep trickling in over the next weeks. But, for the most part, the action is concentrated to the 2nd. This year featured a nice crop of young international prospects, but the prized piece, Eloy Jimenez, signed with the Cubs. Jimenez, from the Dominican, profiles as a corner outfielder with the potential to become a monster in the fantasy game. At 16 years old, though, clearly there’s a long way to go.

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